A Mass(ive) Excuse

, , , , , , | Related | May 15, 2020

I’ve always hated going to church. Starting when I was about six, I’ve used any and every excuse I could find to get out of attending Mass on Sundays, ranging from faking sick to hiding until church was over. My parents wised up to my excuses and found all my hiding spots over the years, making it much harder to escape church.

One Sunday when I’m eleven, my mom is out of town. Thinking it’ll be easier to pull one over on my dad, I try the old fake-sick routine.

Due to several chronic health conditions, I’m prone to fainting in the right — or wrong, I suppose — circumstances. I skip breakfast that morning so that my act will be more believable. However, it doesn’t work, and my dad makes me go to church anyway. Since I haven’t had anything to eat or drink at all, I actually do start to feel faint on the way over.

I also happen to be in the process of losing my last baby tooth. It’s not quite ready to come out yet, but I spend the first half of Mass pushing at it with my tongue. If I can knock it out, I’ll be able to miss at least ten minutes of Mass. I eventually succeed and start to ask my dad if I can go to the restroom. He shakes his head immediately, knowing that there’s no chance I’ll willingly come back into Mass if I’m allowed to leave. When I smile and spit my bloody tooth into my hand, he begrudgingly allows me to go.

I go to the restroom and rinse out my mouth. But since the tooth wasn’t ready to come out yet, my gums just keep bleeding, more heavily than with any other tooth I’ve lost. Between the fact that I already was feeling faint, the blood loss, and seeing all the blood, I start to pass out. I’m used to this, so I sit on the floor against the wall to wait for it to pass.

I’m only semi-conscious for a while. At one point, I vaguely notice the sound of the door opening, and then several seconds later, I hear a bloodcurdling scream. My music teacher, a sweet old lady with a morbid penchant for true crime documentaries and police procedurals, has come into the bathroom to find one of her students collapsed on the floor, mouth hanging open with a trickle of blood leaking out. She assumes I have been murdered. She runs back to the rest of the congregation, screaming bloody murder.

My memory of the next hour or so is a little fuzzy, but I know a lot of people were packed into that tiny restroom. It quickly became apparent that I had not, in fact, been murdered or harmed in any way. I was given something to drink, and I believe an EMT checked me over while I was semi-lucid. Once everyone calmed down, they decided I just needed to eat something and lie down. I was fine within an hour.

A couple of years later, my parents finally gave up on forcing me to attend church. I’ve only been back for weddings and funerals since then. Every single time I’ve attended one of my more religious cousins’ weddings, someone has jokingly asked if I’m going to knock out my own tooth to skip the Mass portion of the wedding.

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The Tale Of The Princess Karen

, , , , , | Right | May 15, 2020

I work in a library. It is a few days before we expect the state to announce a lockdown. We are allowing all patrons to come in and borrow books and movies without penalty fees to last them the duration of the lockdown.

Every nervous parent suddenly coming to terms with having to handle their spawn at home all day, every day, raids our children’s DVD section, and all the popular animated and Disney films are gone completely. I remember a mother checking out specifically because she is renting one of my personal favorite movies, “The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya,” a Japanese animated film.

I see her come storming in the next day, right up to me.

Patron: “You guys f***** up! You f***** up real bad!”

Me: “What is the problem, ma’am?

Patron: “You had this smut in the kid’s section! I started it for my son, and within minutes, some tramp is getting her boobs out! This is disgusting and I want to know what you’re going to do about it!”

For context, the movie is about an old couple finding a magical baby in the woods. The magic extends to the old woman regaining the ability to breast-feed, which she does so early on in the movie. It’s a totally innocent, natural scene, drawn in stylistic charcoal and not sexual at all.

Me: “Ma’am, the movie is rated G for all audiences. I have personally seen the movie and it’s a perfectly innocent and normal scene. I admit that the movie does cover some heavier themes compared to American animated films, but it’s still suitable for most children.”

Patron: “How dare you assume what is good for my child?! We are a God-fearing family and I demand this filth be taken off of your shelves!”

Me: “I will take a note of your complaint and bring it to the attention of our manager. We are expected to go into lockdown tomorrow, so please feel free to take another movie, instead.”

Patron: “I maxed out my book loans yesterday. Give me some more and I won’t make a scene.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. I am not authorized to do that. I will call my manager and see what I can do.”

Patron: “You do that. I am going to find my new books and an age-appropriate movie for my child.”

She says that last sentence almost spitting with contempt. I call my manager and explain the situation, and after laughing, the manager says I am allowed to rent her three more books. The patron returns with some books and a movie and I relay what my manager said.

Patron: “Fine. I’ll take this movie and these books.”

The movie is a PG action film that, while generally family-friendly, does contain way more violence than the Japanese animation. The books, however, are all trashy romance novels, and the three she’s selected are “Bedded For Pleasure,” “The Playboy’s Passionate Pursuit,” and “A Naked Desire.” I scan them out.

Me: “I hope you enjoy a smut-free lockdown, ma’am!”

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Underaged And Overspoken

, , , , | Right | May 13, 2020

My younger sister has gotten a hold of my twin sister’s ID. At seventeen, she uses our sister’s ID to buy cigarettes as we are eighteen and old enough to buy. Our mom makes sure the closest gas station knows our little sister is underage so she can’t buy cigarettes there and has to go out of her way to get them.

Today is the day before our little sister’s eighteenth birthday and we’re buying drinks at the closest gas station.

Cashier: “And how are y’all doing today?”

Little Sister: “Great! I turn eighteen tomorrow!”

Cashier: “Awesome! Happy birthday!”

Little Sister: “Now I won’t have to use my sister’s— I, uh, never mind.”

She runs out of the store.

Me: “Now she can stop using a fake ID.”

The cashier and I laughed over her almost admitting to breaking the law. She never did get in trouble for using that ID and busted it back out to buy alcohol after my twin and I turned 21.

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Rage Against The Machine, Part 7

, , , , | Right | May 11, 2020

I’m working as a teller at a bank and have just completed a withdrawal for a customer. It works like this: I type in the amount the customer wants and swipe his card, and he signs for it and goes to one of the cash machines to get the money, because we don’t store money at the till.

When I give customers back their card, I always make sure that I give it to them the way they need to insert the card. I also explain exactly what they must do — including clear gestures — at the cash machine. 

They just need to insert the card, which comes out only a few seconds later. Then, the money comes out. No typing, just put the card into the machine, grab your card and the money, and you’re good to go. 

The customer I just served returns to my till. He’s in his late thirties and absolutely furious.

Customer: “Your f****** machine is broken! It didn’t give me my money! I can’t believe this d*** bank; you get nothing right and every time I come here you just f*** everything up!”

I glance at the cash machine, which is working just fine with another customer.

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, may I see how you’ve inserted your card? The chip needs to be—”

Customer: “The h*** I will! You just want to take even more of my money! You’ll refund me the money right now!”

Me: “Sir, please calm down. If you would insert your card again, with the chip at the front top, the cash machine can read the card and will give you your money.”

Customer: “Don’t talk to me like I’m stupid. This d*** thing isn’t working! It’s not my fault you’re too dumb to do your job.”

He tosses the card, which he was holding in his hand the entire time, at me.

Customer: “Here is your f****** rubbish. I want a new card. One that works this time. Do you understand me, you stupid b****?”

Me: “Sir, is this the card you were using?” 

Customer: “Of course, it is!”

Me: “Well, sir, I might be a stupid b****, but at least I know that a cash machine won’t work with an ID.”

He looks at his ID in my hand, looks at me, grabs the ID and walks straight out of our branch. 

When I looked into the notes on his account I saw that this was not the first time he’d yelled at and insulted coworkers. I was more than happy to get permission from my boss to send him a nice letter saying that we would be closing his account due to his repeated intolerable behavior.

Rage Against The Machine, Part 6
Rage Against The Machine, Part 5
Rage Against The Machine, Part 4

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A Fitting And Tasty Tribute

, , , , , , , | Related | May 11, 2020

My grandma was… eccentric, to put it mildly. She was a slight kleptomaniac, she took no s*** from anyone, she raised eight kids alone after her husband died, she worked at a chocolate factory for thirty years because it meant that she and her kids had a steady supply of candy, and she absolutely loved throwing parties and having people over.

When she dies, we decide to throw her the best wake we can, and as such, almost everyone who comes brings cookies, coffee, soda, sandwiches, PLENTY of chocolate, and maybe a flask or two. The funeral home has a couple of sitting areas set up in the basement, so we stake one out and turn the wake into an all-day affair, with people coming in and out as they can. 

A couple of other wakes are going on, as well, and toward the evening, we notice a little boy from another wake, maybe seven years old, sneak over to the sitting area we’re using, steal a couple of cookies, and run back.

Me: “Did he just…?”

Aunt: “Yeah. Man, I would not have had the guts to do that at his age!”

Cousin: “To be fair, that family has been here for at least five hours; that’s pretty long for a kid that young.”

Aunt: “And we definitely have the better snacks!”

I look, and sure enough, the sitting area that the other family is using has coffee and a veggie plate — nowhere near as attractive to a little kid as our overflowing array of goodies.

Me: “You know, I think Grandma would’ve approved. Remember when she stole the serving plate from the restaurant at [Uncle]’s wedding?”

That led into another round of stories about my crazy, awesome grandma and got us laughing too hard to be too upset. When his parents came down, the little boy kept glancing over, wondering if we were going to tell on him, but it was so much like something my grandma would’ve done that we couldn’t be annoyed. It was a nice laugh when we badly needed one!

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