A Lucrative Field Trip

, , , , , , | Learning | May 27, 2020

When I am in high school, I get to go to France on a student ambassador program. One of the rules of this program is that, even though there might be multiple people to a room, everyone needs to have their own bed. Our first night there, we get our room assignments, and my two roommates and I head up to our room.

We get into the room and immediately find two of the beds: a regular queen in the bedroom and a sunseat-esque thing near one of the windows. My roommates snag the two visible beds and then we start searching the room for the other bed. We look in the closets in case it’s a murphy bed situation, tap the walls, again in case of a Murphy bed situation, and just look everywhere we can think of.

We have to call down to the front desk to get sheets for the second bed, so when the employee comes up with those, we ask him to show us where the third bed is because we are clearly dumb Americans.

He looks at me and [Roommate #2] and says, “There are only two of you.” We tell him that the other girl is in the bathroom. He looks at us like he doesn’t fully believe us — why in the heck would we lie about that?! — but tells us it is under the queen.

After he leaves, we go back and look at the queen bed; we initially dismissed it for having anything underneath because there wasn’t a ton of clearance. But I get down on my stomach and crawl around on the floor, tapping on the base, and there’s no bed; it’s definitely a solid base.

By this time, our leaders are doing room checks. They get to our room and I explain that I have no bed. One of the leaders goes down to see if there’s possibly a single room available while the other one comes and does a second glance over the room just to see if we have missed something. We haven’t, and the first leader comes back and lets us know that the hotel is full. 

It’s decided that I’ll room with one of the leaders for the night, so I get my stuff together and move up to her room. She tells me to shower if I want and then I get the sunseat bed. I get cleaned up and I’m all snuggled up in my bed, writing in this journal that the program requires us to keep — we get school credit for this trip — when one of the other leaders comes back and lets us know that they’ve found a bed.

So, I get all my stuff together and move again. Why they couldn’t let me sleep and then just move me in the morning, I’ll never know. This time, I’m in a room with my own bed and things are good and I get to go to sleep.

Before we leave, we have a picnic. There is a donation basket. Once stuff from the picnic has been covered, the leaders convert the leftover money to Franc and Euros give it out to those of us that have done something kind of above and beyond. So, because I moved around and was a good sport about all of it, I get a little extra money.

A few days later, I call home and talk with my mom about things, and I tell her what happened with the money. I find out after I get home that she almost gave my dad a heart attack telling him about it. Here’s what happened:

My mom tells my dad, “[My Name] found a way to make some extra money while on vacation.”


“Yep! She’s sleeping around!”

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Reputation Is Everything

, , , , | Learning | May 9, 2020

In middle school, I go on a school trip to New York. The school has us wear name tags on school lanyards. Since all the places we visit are popular with school groups, the lanyards let the employees know we should be with the group or at least a chaperone. If any of us slips away from the group, employees will quickly usher us back.

Some students have tried to hide or throw away their name tags to avoid this, so the head chaperone — a very strict nun — announces that anyone found without a lanyard or name tag will have to spend the remainder of the trip within six feet of her at all times and then have a month’s worth of detentions when we get back.

While we’re on a ferry, we’re allowed to wander around a bit, since we can’t go far on a boat. I’m leaning against the railing and fiddling idly with the name tag when I notice something white fluttering down to the water below. I don’t realize it’s my name tag until it’s way too far to reach.

I start to freak out internally. I’ve never gotten in trouble at school before or had even a single detention, and now I’m possibly facing a month’s worth of them! After debating what to do, I eventually decide to just tell the head chaperone what happened and hope for the best. There’s no way I could get away with not having a name tag because they’ll be checked as soon as we get off the ferry.

I go to the head chaperone and explain very nervously. Instead of yelling at me, she writes out a replacement name tag and hands it to me. I stand there staring at it in shock. She laughs and says, “Did you think you’d get detention? Don’t worry; that’s just for the bad kids. I know you’re a good kid.”

And that was the day I learned I could get away with anything, so long as I maintained my reputation as a “good kid.” The rest of middle school was fun.

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Realization In Horrific Harmony

, , , , , | Learning | February 6, 2020

(Our Boy Scout troop is visiting a museum. One of the boys is diagnosed with ADHD, but his parents don’t like him being on medication and regularly have him go without it. As a result, he can be a handful to deal with at times. At the end of the trip, we’re all in the gift shop when a friend and I notice the boy with ADHD grabbing a harmonica from one of the racks and walking with it over to the cash register. Realizing what will happen later, we both exchange horrified looks and immediately turn to one of the assistant scoutmasters who drove up in his own car.)

Me: “Say, is it okay if we ride back with you?”

Assistant Scoutmaster: *confused* “Umm… okay, I guess?”

(So, while the rest of the troop loads up in the van to head back, we get in the car with the assistant scoutmaster. Halfway back, we stop off at a gas station. My friend’s mother, who came along with for the trip and has been riding in the van, gets out with a very annoyed look on her face.)

Me: “Let me guess. [Boy With ADHD] was playing the harmonica the entire time?”

Friend’s Mother: *through clenched teeth* “Non… stop.”

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Thankfully, It Is A Lone Wolf

, , , , , | Learning | December 12, 2019

(My family owns a ranch that is secluded but is a well-known tourist attraction for our Halloween and Christmas attractions. From January to June, we offer free tours and shows for schools, all about how we work together with animals. My family is also known for rehabilitating animals, and those who cannot be released back into the wild act as our “animal ambassadors.” My youngest son is sixteen at the time of this incident when we are putting on one of our outdoor shows for a school. Several of our animals are animal actors and have been trained from a young age, and that includes the animal in this story: our timber wolf named Sitka. Sitka is in his show harness, which we hold onto when we show him. My son brings Sitka out from his holding pen and into the outdoor ring we use for shows and goes through the safety spiel.)

Son: “This is Sitka. He was brought to us from the illegal pet trade. His former owners claimed that they didn’t know he was a wolf and tried to pass him off as a Malamute, instead. He came to us when he was about a year and a half old; unfortunately, he had already been habituated to living with people by then. So now, he works in the movies and here as one of our animal ambassadors.”

Nine-Year-Old Student: *raises hand* “Can I pet him?”

Son: “No, I don’t think he’d be comfortable with someone other than myself, my dad, or my brother handling him or touching him.”

Nine-Year-Old Student: *dejectedly* “Why not?”

Son: “Because he could bite you. He doesn’t know you and could become scared and bite you. His bite is much worse than his bark.”

Nine-Year-Old Student: *stands up and starts walking to the ring* “But he’s just a big dog!” *starts trying to climb over the fence between the seats and the ring*

(At this moment, Sitka’s attention turns to the student, who stops when he notices the wolf looking at him. This is when I arrive with one of our other animal ambassadors and notice what is going on. I try to flag down the teacher, who seems to be absorbed in her phone instead of keeping an eye on her students. I walk over to the fence, looking down to the student.)

Me: “If you want to pet the wolf, it’ll be the last thing you do. Stay on the other side and you can maybe pet the snake; is that a good trade-off?”

Student: *thinks for a moment before climbing back to his seat*

(I’m amazed that the teacher didn’t notice anything that was going on during the entire show, and only addressed her students when it was time to move onto the next activity.)

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Dropping You Off In The Hotel

, , , , , , | Learning | December 5, 2019

My son is in his high school band. They were on a band trip from Pittsburgh to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He was sending texts about how bad their bus driver was. She couldn’t get out of the high school parking lot without trouble. At a rest stop, she went in the wrong way to a restaurant.

A few hours later, he texted that everyone was all right, but they were in an accident. One person got hit with a small piece of safety glass when a window broke, but she was fine. The driver was in a tight space and couldn’t turn around, as she was having a very tough time of it. My wife texted asking how close he was to the hotel. His answer was, “Touching it.”

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