Giving History The Finger

, , , , , , | Friendly | December 19, 2019

(My parents are visiting the nation’s capitol and I live nearby, so I meet up with them to tour the Smithsonian Museum of American History. At one of the exhibits is a statue of a colonial period woman holding her arm bent upwards with her palm facing towards her and her index finger pointing upwards. My dad and I are near this exhibit, as are a couple of girls who look to be around 14 or 15.)

Me: *jokingly to my dad* “Oh look, back then they used to flip each other off with this finger.”

Teenage Girl: *seriously* “Wow, really?”

Me: “No, that’s a joke.”

Teenage Girl: “Oh.”

Dad & Me: *silently cracking up as we walk away*

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One More Thing The Nazis Ruined

, , , , , | Related | November 21, 2019

(My parents are from India. My uncle is visiting and my mom is talking to him about a trip she took recently to the West Coast.)

Mom: “In the city, it was very segregated, you know! I stayed in the Chinese section, and everything was covered in Chinese lanterns and letters and all and the people were Chinese, and then I went to the Jewish section and everyone was wearing the black caps and the buildings all had Jewish symbols–”

Aunt: “Jewish symbols?”

Uncle: “Ah, like the blue star or the Swastika or something.”

Mom: “No! Not the Swastika! That is the symbol of the Nazis.”

Uncle: “Oh! See, I knew the westerners had corrupted that symbol and I knew that it was associated with the Jew.”

(To be fair, there are many Indians who wish the Allies should have lost the war because they know much more about the Bengal famine happening to Bengalis in India and other British atrocities in India than they know about the Holocaust happening to some faraway religion in some faraway place. However, my uncle represents the European and African foreign relations for his company that purchases and sells to people in Europe and Africa, making me wonder how many deals he’s lost in the past due to Nazis.)

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Cinco De Nono 

, , , , , | Right | November 20, 2019

(On Cinco de Mayo, we naturally receive a lot of customers; mysteriously, most of them tend to be obviously not of Hispanic descent. This occurs about two hours into what turns out to be a six-hour constant string of customers, what we term a “rush.” A customer rolls into the drive-thru and the order proceeds normally. At the end, she wishes me a happy Cinco de Mayo. I am not Hispanic but I politely respond as that is what is expected. The next occurs when we finally manage to get them to the window after everyone in front of them has gotten their food.)

Me: “Hello, your total is—”

Customer: *handing over money* “Happy Cinco de Mayo. You didn’t respond like you should.”

(I give back change and ask if they want sauce.)  

Me: “Ma’am, Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican Holiday; all my ancestors are European. I honestly have no reason to celebrate it.”

Customer: “But you should! I mean, it was important to the outcome of the American Civil War!”

(My face is very screwed up as history has always been something I love.)

Me: “Ma’am, Cinco de Mayo was just the date of an important battle in the Mexican war for independence.”

Customer: “Yeah, it helped win the battle of Gettysburg.”

Me: “No, ma’am, it did not.”

Customer: “Yes, it did, and you’re wrong; when I get home I’m checking Wikipedia to prove it.”

Me: “Ma’am, you do know that anyone can edit Wikipedia and put whatever they want on it, regardless of its authenticity.”

Customer: “No, they can’t!”  

(At this point, we had her food, so I handed it out and she left.)

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This Conversation Went South Super Fast

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 11, 2019

(Something they never tell you until you move to a southern state is that Southerners get very touchy about what actually constitutes “The South.” It’s a particularly sore spot in places like Oklahoma, where geographically the state straddles three different regions. My boyfriend is Oklahoma born and bred, and has some strong opinions on the culture.)

Friend: “Oh, c’mon, Oklahoma isn’t the South! You gotta earn your cowboy boots!”

Boyfriend: What?! Oklahoma historically invented cowboy culture! You’re from Virginia! All you invented was f****** slavery!”

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That Day Took Its Toll-Free On Everybody

, , , | Right | October 3, 2019

(I used to support dial-up rotary systems for a long-distance company. The rotaries were used to process transactions for credit cards, ATMs, lottery machines, etc. Being a long-distance company, any toll-free calls have to be sent over landlines from the local carrier to the voice switches in our central office. I get a call from a customer stating that their ATM can hit the secondary toll-free number to another long-distance carrier, but not our primary number, and their field tech is onsite.)

Me: *gives out toll-free number for my lab’s test rotary and has the field tech put that into the ATM*

Field Tech: “Nope, still not working.”

(I don’t see the call hit my test rotary. A call trace also shows the call never hit our switches.)

Me: “Can you call the test number on your cell phone?”

Field Tech: “I’m getting a ‘call cannot be completed as dialed’ with [code].”

(The code tells me that the call is getting to the last local switch, but not to us. If there was a problem on the landlines between us and the local carrier, we wouldn’t be troubleshooting a single ATM; all my customers would be yelling at me. We try a few more things for about an hour until…)

Field Tech: “I’m at [address], which is about ten blocks from the World Trade Center. Would that affect anything?”

(The date of this call is 9/18/2001. The local carrier’s central office suffered serious damage, including destroying the equipment carrying our landlines. The secondary toll-free number works because that equipment is on the other side of the building. All my other customers aren’t yelling at me because they READ the emails our CIO has been sending out with updates. I place everyone on hold, utter a few choice words, and then…)

Me: “[Customer], I’m forwarding you some pictures of the damage to the local carrier’s building, which should explain the problem. We won’t have working toll-free service for a while. I’m placing this ticket on hold.”

(After the call, I looked up the address, and it was WAY inside the exclusion zone where only residents, local workers, and first responders were supposed to be allowed. I figure the field tech came up with some song and dance, but for a single standalone ATM with a working backup?)

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