Both Ham-Fisted And Half-A**ed

, , , , , | Legal | May 25, 2019

This happened in the post-war years after the second World War when food was still rationed. Especially in the border regions, there was a lot of smuggling going on and police and customs were on the lookout. A common practice was to make people suspected of smuggling butter comfortable next to the stove… until the butter melted.

My grandparents took a trip to visit old friends when the bus was boarded by officials on the search of contraband. There was a heavy-set farmer’s wife on the bus and she was asked — rather rudely — what she was sitting on.

Defiantly, and in the local slang, she pointedly replied, “My two hams.” The bus erupted in laughter, and police and customs exited the bus without much further poking around. When they left, she sighed, said, “Finally,” and retrieved… two hams from under her buttocks.

More laughter ensued.

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Pancakes In Human Form

, , , , , | Friendly | May 12, 2019

My grandmother told this story several times. She was born in the 1920s and survived World War 2 with her family intact — as far as she let us know, anyway. One of her favourite stories is when she and her older sister were sent out for food during the dire Hunger Winter of 1945.

She and her sister were sent out to several farms for food. The first farm had pity on them and the nice farmer wife decided to treat these poor hungry ones to some delicious pancakes! My grandmother and her sister were delighted and they ate as much as they were offered. Then, they continued their journey.

The next farm also offered a bit of food for home and those farmers had pity on the young girls as well. The farmer’s wife decided to give them something delicious: egg pancakes — more eggs than normal pancakes. My grandmother and her sister did not want to be rude, and ate as much as they could. They thanked the couple for the meal and went to their last stop, a family member’s farm, at which they would also spend the night.

“You poor things; you look famished! But I made something special for you: bacon pancakes!”

My grandmother and her sister did not dare to tell the truth and yes, again, ate as much as they could. They spent the night on the outhouse as a tag-team and they overheard their family members discussing how rude they were! Even after they confessed the truth, they were still considered “the rudest Choosing Beggars” — even by their parents! — as we’d call it nowadays.

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This Realization Wasn’t Built In A Day

, , , , , , | Learning | May 9, 2019

(I teach grades four and five. On this occasion, I’m talking to them about what’s coming up the next day. Our art lessons this term have been about art through history: cave paintings, Egyptian hieroglyphics, etc. Next up is a project on ancient Roman mosaics, but they don’t know that yet. There is also a boy in the class named Roman.)

Me: “Tomorrow should be a pretty awesome day. We have science first thing, and then we’ll be doing some art until recess. I’m really excited about this project; it’ll take a while, but you’re going to end up with something pretty cool.”

Student #1: “What are we going to be doing?”

Me: “It’s a surprise; you’ll find out tomorrow.”

Student #2: “Can you give us a hint?”

Me: “Oh, all right. Well, given that we’ve been studying historical art, your hint is… Roman…” *emphasizes the child’s name and says it slowly* “…might really enjoy this one.”

Students: *silence*

(They didn’t get it! I had to repeat his name twice more before someone went, “Oh, ROME!” They’re a great class, but they’re not always quick on the uptake.)

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At War With History

, , , | Right | May 1, 2019

(I work on a museum ship in the United States. While I am at the front desk:)

Woman: “So, what exactly did this ship… do?”

Me: *has a canned response for this* “Well, ma’am, that’s a great question. The ship entered service with the US Navy in 1943 and was deployed to fight in the Second World War—“

Woman: “Oh, right. This is one of the ships they used to transport the Jews.”

Me: “Err… what? Uh, no, ma’am, this ship was in the Pacific—”

Woman: “Right, fighting the Chinese.”

Me: “Uh, no, ma’am, China was on our side in World War II.”

(It went back and forth like this for several minutes before she asked where the bathrooms were and wandered off.)

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She Is Not A National Treasure

, , , , , | Right | April 15, 2019

(It is the Fourth of July weekend, and the SPCA in our town is running an adoption special. All adult dogs are $17.76 to adopt in honor of the holiday. I volunteer at this shelter, and my boyfriend and I have come to visit the dogs frequently. We’ve finally found one we love and fits with us, and we’re signing the adoption papers. This conversation happens with another member of the public at the front desk.)

Shelter Staff: “There you go, [My Name]! I’m so happy you guys finally found a dog you love, and for a great price!”

Me: “Yeah, Brandy is a great dog, and we can use the money we’re saving on her adoption fee to buy more stuff to spoil her with!”

Teenager: *standing in the lobby looking at the cats hanging out in a cage there* “How much are dogs this weekend?”

Shelter Staff: “They’re only $17.76 to adopt adult dogs! Did you want to look at one?”

Teenager: “I don’t get it. Why is it $17.76; is there tax or something?”

Me: “No… It’s Independence Day. $17.76 like the year? 1776? Declaration of Independence?”

Teenager: “Oh! Like that Nicolas Cage movie!”

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