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And We Still Have A Long Way To Go

, , , , , | Learning | November 12, 2020

My mom grew up in a segregated suburb. Even though segregation was made officially illegal before she was born, housing discrimination continued for a long time and her school only had white students in her grade.

She shows me her elementary school yearbooks one day.

Mom: “Each year, when the yearbooks were printed, there was a picture of a black student that was never in any of my classes, and I didn’t know why the school kept making the same mistake. But eventually, as I got older, I realized that it was put in just to make the school appear to comply with integration laws. I just wanted you to know how far some people are willing to go to discriminate.”

Don’t Be Russian To Conclusions

, , , , , , , | Friendly | November 4, 2020

My mother is in her eighties. One day, I come by while she is having a party with a few of her old-lady friends. The issue of race-relations comes up.

Old Lady #1: “I don’t see why anyone would have a problem with black people or Mexicans.”

Old Lady #2: “Right, we’re all the same in God’s eyes!”

Me: *Thinking* Gee, how nice to hear all these old people saying—”

Mother: “Except for those d*** Russians!”

Old Lady #1: “Yeah, and they stink, too!”

Old Lady #2: “And they eat soup with their bare hands!”

I was a bit bummed, but then I remembered that they had all lost family, and then their whole country, to Russian invaders.

Elephants Never Forget; Not So With Humans

, , , , , , , | Related | October 22, 2020

My family is playing board games one night, and we are playing a game where you build a city and place people in it to gain points. My mom places her tile but doesn’t have any people to place on her tile so she doesn’t get any points.

Me: “That’s what you get for spreading yourself too thin. Wasn’t that Napoleon’s problem?”

Brother: “No, he attacked Russia in winter.”

Me: “Then who am I thinking of?”

Brother: “Alexander the Great. But he also attacked Russia in winter.”

Me: “But he had elephants.”

Brother: “No, that was Hannibal.”

So That’s How He Ended Up On So Many Hundreds…

, , , , | Right | September 21, 2020

When I am at a physical therapy session, two of the other patients start a political debate. I know better than to get involved, but I do hear this gem.

Patient: “Look at Benjamin Franklin! He invented the printing press, then he could get all the money from making the printing press and pursue his life’s work, like inventing the lightbulb.”

I was vastly amused, after I got done being appalled that a woman in her thirties could be so ignorant.

She Is Suffering From An Acute Case Of Being A Karen

, , , , , , | Right | September 8, 2020

Our store is enforcing strict social distancing measures: mandatory masks, one-way system, hand sanitizer, etc. I am at the customer service desk serving an old man who is wearing a mask when I see a woman enter the store who isn’t wearing one. Since I am the closest member of staff, I call out.

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am? You need to wear a mask if you’d like to shop in-store today.”

She looks at me as if I’ve just cursed her mother and sneers.

Customer: “No way in h*** am I putting one of those on my face! I am medically exempt! My lungs can’t handle them!”

While some states have made lists of medical exemptions for wearing masks, ours has not, and our corporate policy is that everyone wears a mask, no exceptions. 

Me: “Ma’am, I’m afraid I am going to have to insist. You must wear a mask to shop in our stores.”

She just huffs and marches into the store, ignoring me. I call the security guy and relay the information before returning to my patient older gentleman who has been waiting.

A few minutes later, I see the woman storming up to my desk, enraged. The security guard is close behind her.

Customer: “How dare you call security on me?! I have a medical condition! I have bad lungs! I don’t have to wear a mask! I am going to take your name and get you fired! This is harassment!”

Old Man: “Oh, shut up, lady!”

Customer: “What did you say to me?!”

Old Man: “Lady, I grew up in London when it was being bombed by the Nazis. We had to wear heavy masks for days in case they used poison gas; at the same time, I had to clear away rubble from my neighborhood. If you can’t wear a light piece of cloth for twenty minutes, then you’ve never known harassment in your entire God-d*** life. Now f*** off!”

The woman has tried to interrupt this old man but he wasn’t having any of it. When he finally finishes, she starts loudly screaming more obscenities, but the security guard is already escorting her from the building. The old man turns back to me.

Old Man: “For someone with ‘bad lungs’…”

He didn’t have to finish the sentence as we both smiled.


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