Check Yourself Before You Wreck Someone Else

, , , , , , , , , | Healthy | August 6, 2020

This took place about eight years ago. My younger brother and I join a group of guys for a game of indoor football — soccer — at our local sports centre every weekend. Everyone else is college age, seventeen or eighteen, while I am the eldest at twenty.

Things go by smoothly. One of the guys is a friend of ours, and there is a clear mix of ability so there is little in the way of unbalanced teams. Nonetheless, one of the guys is super competitive and continually body-checks others into the walls in order to tackle them. As the eldest in the group, I have de facto responsibility to ensure everyone’s health and safety, so I gently ask him at the end of the session to tone down his tackling, since he could seriously injure or be injured in doing so. As I feared, he simply brushes it off and says everything will be fine.

Cut to a few weeks later. My brother is unable to come with so it is just me this time. Everything goes fine until a harsh tackle from me on another guy causes me to roll my ankle, causing me to fall hard on my lower back. As play stops, the idiot I mentioned has the brilliant idea of grabbing me by the arms and ankles and carrying me away from the playing area!

While they carry on their game without a care in the world, I am lying there in agony. Between the now worsened ankle injury, they also jarred my lower back by unceremoniously dumping me on the floor. My friend stops playing and comes over to see if I’m okay. I immediately order him to get a member of staff, which he does. When the on-duty first aider — also the manager — arrives, the guys laugh and tell me to “stop acting like a p****,” to which my friend replies that this is serious.

An ambulance is called and my mother arrives after my friend used my phone to call her. About six hours later, I leave the local hospital on crutches with a severe high ankle sprain and strained lower lumbar muscles, and a metric crapload of various prescription painkillers. The following morning, my ankle has swelled to twice the size and looks the colour of a ripe blackberry. I take a photo for my university as proof — I commute to the uni and will be in no shape to get there for at least a week, maybe even two — and settle in to working out how to use my crutches effectively.

Six months later, I start training again to get my fitness back, and my brother and I go back to the football group. Naturally, they laugh that I took half a year off for “diving”…

…until I wordlessly walk up to the idiot in charge and show him the photo of my blackberry-coloured, inflated ankle. I stress my warning back to him from way before, and I swear I have never seen the colour fade so fast from someone seeing consequences of their actions. 

Nowadays, my ankle is fully functional, if slightly more tender, while my lower back has developed into full-on sciatica. Still enjoy football, though!

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Polly Participates In Perilous Pranks!

, , , , , | Friendly | August 3, 2020

After totaling my car step-mother’s old car, I’m given an old Ford Escort hatchback that was donated to her church by a sweet little old lady who had absolutely no idea how to drive with a standard transmission. The gears were ground completely smooth because, by her own instructions she’d left on how to drive the car, she’d never used the clutch to change gears and maybe didn’t even know what the third pedal was for.

The car turned out to be a money sink, for various reasons, but it was mine and I loved it and would often volunteer to chauffeur any number of friends around. This became all the more fun for me when, after taking a particularly hard turn one day, the keys went flying out of the ignition and across the cab. After my initial panic and a bit of experimentation, I learned that the keys could be pulled straight out of the ignition after starting the car and the car would remain running. How exciting!

From then on, whenever I had someone new in the passenger’s seat, I would wait until we were cruising along and then casually pull my keys out and say, “Can you hold this?”

It turns out that a lot of people will just take whatever you hand them without looking first. I got reactions ranging from laughter, to surprised swears, to asking if I had a set of dummy keys, to everything in between, all without crashing — as I learned only just recently that you can actually turn the car off like this if you accidentally turn the key, and say goodbye to power steering.

That old boat of a car had plenty of — often very costly — quirks, but the key trick was by far my favorite. You were a good ol’ car, Polly. I hope you’re still running and accidentally scaring the bejesus out of people wherever you ended up after I finally sold you.

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Everyone’s Got Baggage, Not Just Orphans

, , , , | Related | July 31, 2020

I’m at a friend’s house. Her aunt is currently visiting. My friend is a lesbian, and this aunt has been giving my friend a hard time about her homosexuality. While she is not totally homophobic, she just doesn’t understand what it means. I’m a witness to the following exchange.

Aunt: “I still can’t understand why you wouldn’t even try to find a husband. I’m sure if you found the right person—”

Friend: “[Aunt], I’m lesbian; you know that. I’m not attracted to men. Like, at all.”

Aunt: “But you are a woman. It is your God-given duty to marry a man and have children!”

Friend: “At this day and age, that’s just nonsense.”

Aunt: “Don’t you want to start a family and have children?” 

Friend: “At some point, I might.”

Aunt: *Triumphantly* “Well, how can you have children if you don’t have a husband? Don’t tell me you’re thinking about going to a sperm bank. That’s gross and unnatural.”

Friend: “If I decide to have children, I’ll adopt.”

Aunt: “Adopt? Why?”

Friend: “There are enough children out there who don’t have parents. I don’t need to make more. Besides, if I adopt an older child, I don’t need to bother with not being able to sleep at night and having to change diapers all the time.”

Aunt: “But adopted children often have… issues.”

My friend takes a moment to understand what she means and process the statement.

Friend: “[Aunt], I have ADD and PTSD, I was born with diabetes, and I’m allergic to half of the things on the planet! I’d say I have more issues than most orphans, and I’m home-grown.”

Her aunt didn’t say anything after that. But from what I’m told, that wasn’t the first or last time she brought that up.

To clarify, my friend’s PTSD comes from her home burning down when she was little. She never fully got over it and is still very afraid of fire.

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The Travelling Bible

, , , , , , , | Friendly | July 31, 2020

A while back, when I still believed myself religious, I purchased a copy of the New Testament written in Hawai’i Pidgin — an English-Creole dialect — partly for the novelty and partly because I love studying languages and dialects as a hobby. It ended up as nothing more than a shelf decoration after I found myself to be agnostic, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to get rid of it.

A few years pass, and I find myself working with an absolute joy of a human being from Jamaica. We become casual friends and I learn he’s a pastor at his church, among many other hats he wears. He also likes to play a bit of a game with me where he will speak to me only in very rapid Jamaican Patois to see how much I understand — which is mostly everything — and it’s after a bit of this that I remember that particular book on my shelf.

I tell my coworker I have something I want him to look at, and that he can have it if he likes it. Even the possibility of a present has this enormous man doing a literal happy dance, and we part ways grinning.

The next day, I present him the book and he immediately flips it open and starts reading it aloud fluently, which has me excited because I wasn’t sure how similar different Creole dialects were, and it has him excited because this translation gives him a modern level of comprehension that a lot of the older, stuffier English varieties lack. Naturally, I give him the book, and he gushes on about how excited he is to use it for future sermons since there are a lot of immigrants like him at his church.

While I may not ascribe to any particular religion anymore, I like to believe that there is some degree of fate to be found, and if there is, that it’s what had me keep that book through several years of paring down my collection just so that I could give it to a friend one day and make him smile.


This story is included in our Feel-Good roundup for July 2020!

Read the next Feel-Good Story here!

Read the July 2020 Feel-Good roundup!

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Life Teaches A Harsh Lesson

, , , , , | Learning | July 28, 2020

When I was in university, I had a friend who was in the same course and we noticed that a lot of people had trouble with a certain subject. He enjoyed being active with people, organizing things, taking part in student politics, and the like. Thus, he offered to organize an afternoon course for people who needed help with the subject. I also agreed to help, we booked a room, and he even managed to enlist one of the professors teaching the subject. He told everyone when the courses would take place and a couple of people said they’d come.

The date and time came and nobody showed up. My friend and I were rather confused, the professor was rather miffed, and we tried to find the other students. We knew they were likely still in the building since we had a course later that day. We found them in one of the computer labs, playing. Most of us had laptops, but the WiFi was terrible and very restricted.

When we asked them why they didn’t show up, they said they didn’t know it was serious and thought we were just asking if anyone was interested.

“We told you the times and you said you’d come,” my friend pointed out.

The response was general shrugging and comments that they didn’t remember that.

Adding insult to injury, the professor reprimanded my friend for wasting his time. “Next time, make sure to confirm with people when you organize something before wasting my time.”

Needless to say, my friend felt like he had been stabbed in the back and, once we were alone, he cried tears of rage. All I could do was to try and console him, telling him he wasn’t the one who wasted anyone’s time; they had wasted his, instead.

This was the last time he tried anything like this, deciding that people didn’t need or want his help, so why should he bother. He also retreated from some of the other activities he had participated in, feeling similarly disappointed, but for different reasons.

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