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Just When You Thought The Dentist Couldn’t Get Scarier

, , , , , , , , | Working | February 27, 2023

It’s December, and I’ve had to book time off for dental surgery. Normally, the recovery is two or three days, but due to the delightful combo of a tiny mouth, nerves that are about 30% larger than normal, and roots that are 50% longer than normal (which puts the root tips essentially touching the facial nerve along the jawline), the surgeon told me to plan to be out a week minimum.

I’m nervous about dentists anyway, so I am on edge before they even start. Thankfully, they knock me out for it, so I am only vaguely aware at the very end when they are putting the last stitches in.

They move me to a recovery room so I can wake up a bit before going home, and I get a text from my boss. Keep in mind, I’m loopy as heck still.

Boss: “Hey, just to let you know, I’ve calculated the year-end bonuses. It will be added to your final paycheck.”

In my drugged state, I think I have just been fired, and just before Christmas! I panic, of course, and my brain starts going on wild tangents about me not being able to pay my bills, losing my house, etc.

I look at my phone again, and only then do I see the text my boss sent immediately after the first one.

Boss: “You will also be getting a raise, so you will see that on your first January paycheck.”

At the time, all I felt was relief. But once the sedation wore off, I found it hilarious. I told the company VP about it, and he laughed and told me I would never be fired because I know how to do so many aspects of everything in the office besides selling policies and that the office wouldn’t be able to function without me.

It’s definitely nice to be appreciated, but good lord, that’s a lot of pressure!

Fighting Ridiculousness With Ridiculous-er-ness

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | February 26, 2023

My daughter is twenty-two years old. She has autism and is diagnosed with Asperger’s. She’s high-functioning, but she has some tics which give her away. She gave me permission to share this story.

She’s trying to work on her social skills and become less sensitive about her surroundings, so she has joined a group on social media where they invite people out who might struggle with the great “outdoors”. During and after their outing, they discuss thoughts and bring out suggestions on how to improve and be more comfortable.

One day, they sit down at a café. There are more people around than usual. It’s more than my daughter can handle, and she starts stimming — rocking gently from side to side while folding and unfolding her hands. It’s a behavior she uses to help calm herself.

From nowhere, a couple of women approach, asking another member of the group what’s going on with “this”. The group leader speaks up, trying to be sensitive about his group.

Lead: “I’m not sure what you mean, miss.”

My daughter, however, doesn’t care what others think and wants these women gone.

Daughter: “I have Asperger’s. I don’t like crowds. I’m here with these people trying to work on this.”

The women speak to her with fake enthusiasm in their voices, with a tone usually used when talking to pets.

Women: “Oooooh. Okay, sweetie. Can we just ask you a quick question? Are you vaccinated?”

Having had this question asked before and knowing how this might turn out, my daughter is quick to respond.

Daughter: “Just recently! My idiot parents didn’t vaccinate me or my brother.” *Not true* “We both caught a neuro-comolious disease.” *Not a real thing* “That gave me autism and my brother ADHD.” *Not true* “We both got vaccinated once we moved out, but it’s too late now. We’re r****ded for life and it’s their fault!”

There’s nothing else said. The two women simply walk away with confused expressions. 

[Daughter] comes home and shares a little bit of this event. I give the group lead a quick call. With my daughter right next to me, I put him on speaker.

Not only does he fill in some extra details, but he happily praises my daughter for speaking more than usual and not getting worked up by the situation. He isn’t happy she lied, but he does support my daughter’s logic. 

Daughter: “I’ve been asked about vaccines a lot. If they can make things up, why can’t I? If I tell the truth, they lie to themselves. So, I thought next time, I would lie first.”

She’d had this planned out, even the name of the condition. She said she wouldn’t do it again, and for her routine and sanity, I agree. But I can’t help thinking to myself, “Why not?”

Paperwork Isn’t All Bad

, , , , | Healthy | February 26, 2023

I’m a supervisor in a machine shop. The crew I work with is usually pretty great about safety and protocol, even if it gets annoying sometimes. We all realize that a little bit of inconvenience now can be worth it to prevent bigger problems later.

We have a new employee who is in his first week of real work after the training and probationary period. He’s been pretty open about going through some personal struggles, and he’s been acting like a stereotypical “tough guy” around work to make up for it.

He manages to nick his thumb with a box cutter. It’s not bad, but there’s enough blood that he needs to step away from his work and find a bandage.

New Guy: *To me* “Hey, boss, do we have a first aid kit around?”

Me: “Yeah, over here.”

I take him to the office where the kit is kept.

Me: “What do you need?”

New Guy: “Cut my thumb on a box-cutter. No big deal, but I need something to put on it.”

I get him a bandage and then pull out “the incident book”, where we keep reports of all injuries that happen on the job.

Me: “While we’re here, let’s get this report done, too. What time—”

New Guy: “Nah, I can head back to work. No need for a report.”

Me: “[New Guy], we’re doing this report whether you like it or not. If you refuse to do it, I’ll have to talk to Human Resources about it.”

New Guy: “All right, whatever. I can’t believe I need to do a whole big report for a cut that’s barely even visible, but let’s get it over with.”

We go through the report, confirming as many details as possible about the situation, and then I send [New Guy] back to his station.

A few days later, [New Guy] calls in to request the day off.

New Guy: “My thumb got infected, so I need to have the doc look at it.”

Me: “Is it the cut you got a few days ago?”

New Guy: “Yeah.”

Me: “Okay, in that case, make sure you get a report from the clinic to submit to HR. They’ll add it to the initial injury report and get started on your worker’s comp claim.”

New Guy: “Wait, I can get this covered by worker’s comp? That’s… That’s actually good to know. I wasn’t looking forward to the bill for this one after [previously mentioned personal stuff].”

Me: “Yeah, it should qualify.”

New Guy: “Thanks, boss.”

Me: “No problem. Let me know how it goes and when you’ll be back to work.”

New Guy: “Also… thanks for making me do that report. Guess it wasn’t such a waste of time after all, huh?”

His thumb healed pretty quickly with proper care, worker’s comp covered his costs, and he learned to be as diligent as the rest of us when it comes to safety and reporting.

Maybe His Head Hurts Because It’s Empty?

, , , , | Right | February 25, 2023

I work in face-to-face tech support for a telecommunications company. This involves troubleshooting mobile broadband devices (and laptops), setting up email accounts, syncing mobile phones to computers, and giving tutorials on how all this sort of stuff works.

This guy, probably in his late twenties to early thirties, comes in with his laptop and USB broadband modem.

Customer: “I need this looked at. After about an hour of using it, I start to get really bad headaches.”

Me: “Don’t you think it would be a much better idea to see a doctor about this instead of coming to a [Company] store?”

Customer: “No! It’s my USB modem, and there could be no other explanation. You have to test it for gamma rays.”

Me: “That’s not possible.”

Customer: “I have a Bachelor’s degree in IT, and I know what I’m talking about.”

I am getting annoyed with him. I have appointments to get through and I’m running late from previous ones and don’t have time to put up with his crap.

Me: *With a straight face and neutral tone* “Sir, you are wrong, and you’re obviously lying about your degree in IT because if you did have one you could not be this blatantly dumb. Stop wasting my time and take your matter of health to the doctor instead of coming to bother us.”

Thankfully, that was enough to make him leave!

The Mark Of A Kid Who Will Grow Into A Decent Adult

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | February 25, 2023

I’d been having a bad day, and I had ridden with my daughter to the store. I’d finished my shopping and was sitting on a bench by the registers waiting for her to check out, and while I was waiting, I was coloring a picture of a dragon on a color-by-number app on my phone. I glanced up as a young boy, I’d guess to be four or five, approached me. I have a large facial birthmark and it’s not unusual for youngsters to ask about it, so that’s what I was expecting.

Boy: “Whatcha doing?”

Me: *Turning my phone so he can see* “Coloring. Do you want to see?”

Boy: “Oh, a dragon! But it’s not real, you know.”

Me: “I know, it’s a drawing of what someone thought one would look like if it was.”

Boy: “But it’s wrong; dragons aren’t blue!”

Me: “Oh, they aren’t? I didn’t know that! What color are dragons?”

Boy: “Red and green, and they have fire coming out of their mouths.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks for the correction!”

Boy: “You know, I have one of those.” *Points to my face* “It’s right here!”

He lifted his shirt to show me a red mark on his belly.

Boy: “My mama says it’s a birthmark. I really like yours; it’s pretty!”

The woman he was with — I assume his mother — who was checking out at the closest register to where I was sitting, came to collect him and apologized for him bothering me. I assured her that he was not bothering me — in fact, he was quite delightful — and thanked her for sharing him with me for a moment.

It still wasn’t my best day, but I was still smiling a few minutes later when my daughter came to collect me.