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An Interesting Way To Lack Autism Awareness

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 18, 2023

My synagogue was having our annual fair for the community. We had lots of vendors attending to sell goods and advertise services. My wife and fourteen-year-old son were hosting a table for one of the vendors, an autism-friendly play-place (with the word “spectrum” in its name) at which my son is a member.

At about noon, I took a break from my volunteer position and took my wife’s place at the table so that she could get lunch. A woman came up to the table and glanced over the literature.

Woman: “Are you Spectrum?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Woman: “Are you Spectrum?”

I thought that was a funny way to put it but was willing to play along.

Me: “No, but he is.” *Pointing to my son*

The woman looked confused but then recovered.

Woman: “Well, what are you going to do about your rates now that Disney and [Multiple Sports Provider] have changed their packages?”

Our local cable company also has the word “spectrum” in its name.

Me: “Ma’am, autism-spectrum not cable-spectrum.”

Woman: *Very flustered* “Oh, I’m so sorry.” *Scurries away*

Son: “Why did she say that?”

Me: “Because some grown-ups don’t pay attention. They see just one word but don’t look at all the other words around it.”

Son: “Oh, I get it.”

It turned out to be a good learning opportunity — hopefully, for two people.

Mommy, What’s A Double Entendre?

, , , , , , , | Right | October 5, 2023

I am working at a large Renaissance faire. There is a rather crass singing duo in one of the pavilions while I am serving lunch. We love them to death, as they sing a lot of fun songs and really know how to work the crowd, and while they never use bad language or vulgar words, their clever lyrics don’t leave much to the imagination for those who are listening.

Some of the parents in the audience with younger children are wincing at their humor. After a song is finished, one of them speaks up.

Parent: “Guys, seriously! I have kids here!”

Singer #1: “Sign out front says this pavilion is advised for fourteen and up, my friend!”

Parent: “Yeah, but… it’s a faire!”

[Singer #2] suddenly grabs the mic and launches into an impromptu song. 

Singer #2: “And for those parents giving us mean looks right now, remember this: if your kid gets the joke, it’s not our fault!”

Don’t Need To Control Wind To Dodge This Dart Or These Demands

, , , , , , , | Right | August 2, 2023

The most unrealistic demand I’ve ever heard came in the form of a flustered mother at the 50th State Fair around 2010 or 2011.

Carnival people are… a very mixed bag. You have people that are just there to have a good time and don’t care about throwing money away to do so, and you have those for whom every wasted dollar is a sin against the holy name of Christ and it’s your fault.

I was running a game called Star Darts. The idea of the game is simple: throw a dart and land it entirely on a red star that’s about the size of a floppy disk. It’s not entirely hard, but the target is a distance away to add challenge.

My coworker had just taken a metal-tipped dart to the shoulder thanks to a child who was way too hyped up on cotton candy and had way too little supervision, so I was running the booth by myself. A large family came up to the booth.

This woman paid for about five kids to get a set of darts. They missed most of them — I think one kid stuck one dart into a star.

The mom, bless her soul, looked crestfallen, but then, she started demanding that I turn off the wind.

I thought she was joking at first, but she was dead serious. She started going off about how the carnival was rigged and we’d designed all the games so that we could manipulate them with the wind.

I showed her that there were no fans in the trailer my game was run out of, but that only made her angrier. I believe her exact words were:

Woman: “I don’t care about g**d*** fans! I want you to get rid of this wind, and I want them to try again!”

I guess they had gone from game to game and they just weren’t having any luck. Unfortunately for her, I hadn’t been… shall we say… trained… in customer service yet, so I couldn’t help but laugh as I reiterated that I had no control over the literal wind.

The woman threw a dart at me. To this day, I do not know how, but I caught it like a frickin’ ninja between my index and ring fingers — literally the coolest thing I’ve ever done on the fly like that, and NO ONE SAW IT.

I called for a supervisor, not fully processing that she had just tried to long-distance stab me. He ended up leading her away and calming her down before coming back to me.

Supervisor: “Was she telling you to turn off the wind?”

Me: “She was.”

Supervisor: “I thought so…”

Me: “Just to be clear… we can’t do that, right?”

Supervisor: “No. No, we can’t.”

Me: “Good to know.”

Supervisor: “Did she throw a dart at you?”

Me: “She did, yeah.”

Supervisor: “Do you want me to do something about that? We can file a report and have her removed. She’s only gone down to Gun Ball.”

Me: “Nah, just do me a favor.”

Supervisor: “Mmm?”

Me: “Get one of the [Fan Brand] blowers from the back and follow her around.”

The supervisor laughed louder than I would have expected.

About an hour later, the woman came back and apologized for her behavior and for snapping and throwing the dart, but she still maintained an implication that I could control the wind.

So Cool She Nearly Lobster Head

, , , , , , , | Friendly | June 13, 2023

Every year, the church down the street from my house has a small fair involving a lobster meal, craft tents, and a flea market. I attend with my mother and sister, and one year, my sister brings a friend. 

The four of us get our meals and find an open spot on the lawn to eat. My mother and sister finish well before us, so they go to see what’s for sale. [Friend] and I chat between ourselves as we finish our own food and drink, and she winds up pulling the head off her lobster entirely. A few minutes later. I tease her about something, and she immediately reaches for the lobster head.

Me: “Ohhh, no. No!”

She throws it at me, and I kick my foot up to block it. Not only do I block successfully, but somehow, I bring my foot up at the perfect momentum and angle, launching the lobster head up and over me to land in the grass behind my back. 

We’re both stunned, and then we start loudly shouting and cheering at how absolutely awesome it was. 

Friend: “Let me throw it at you again!”

Me: “NO!”

Bee Realistic

, , , | Right | April 17, 2023

At a fair, I stop at an herb stall. There’s a customer, not much older than me, looking at the wares.

Customer: “Is this acacia honey real?”

Seller: “Of course, it is — 100% made by bees from Poggibonsi!”

Customer: “Well, yes, but is it real?”

Seller: “Yeah. Do you want a sample?”

Customer: “No, I’d like to know if it’s real first.”

Seller: *Getting annoyed* “Yes, it’s real honey. What other thing is it supposed to be, pine resin?”

Customer: “Never mind, then. I don’t like not being told.”

The customer left and muttered that they didn’t trust people selling “decorative honey”. I’m not sure whether be stunned or impressed by the long-shot logic.