My Mother Would’ve Killed Me If I’d Acted Like This Kid

, , , , | Friendly | May 7, 2021

After we move away from our old town, one of my children makes a new friend.

Son: “Can I invite [Child] from school over for lunch?”

Me: *Gladly* “Yes, but don’t ask him yet. I want to talk to his parents first.”

I manage to meet the child’s mom during a parent-teacher conference. After the standard greetings, I decide to go for it.

Me: “[Son] wants to invite [Child] home for lunch one of these days. Is there anything I should know? Allergies, likes and dislikes?”

Mother: “Oh, that’s great! [Child] has really struggled in finding other children to talk and play with; I’m glad to hear they’re becoming friends! He isn’t allergic to anything, but he really likes pasta with tuna and tinned meat, so you might want to keep that in mind for when I send him to lunch with you.”

Me: “Okay, thank you.”

When I get home, I pass this on to my son, who then actually invites him to our house. I make sure to pick up some good tuna and upper-label tinned meat, since it isn’t something we usually eat in my home, and while I am at it, I also set aside some time to make a chocolate cake.

The day comes and I pick up both [Son] and [Child] from school, ask the maid to add a seat to the usual setup, and then put everyone at their seats. I serve them both, I serve myself, and then I sit down to eat, too. As I start to eat, I notice that [Child] is staring at his pasta with a confused expression.

Me: “Is everything all right, [Child]? Don’t you like it?”

He looks up from his plate.

Child: “Hmm… Mrs. [My Name], this isn’t tuna pasta.”

Me: *Chuckling* “Don’t be silly. It’s tuna; just try it.”

Child: “But… it’s not tuna pâte; it doesn’t look like it at all. This is tuna from the can. I don’t eat canned tuna.”

Colour drains from my face. I’m feeling confused, ashamed, and annoyed all at the same time, but I mask it the best I can.

Me: “Ah, well, at least try it. If you really don’t like it, I’ll just give you the meat afterward.” 

He does try to eat a few tentative forkfuls, but his face scrunches up in weird ways and, in the end, he pushes his plate away and puts his fork down. My maid comes, picks up his still-full plate and my son’s empty one, and then comes back with two tins of meat each.

Child: “What’s this? This isn’t [Store Brand] canned meat; this is [High-End Brand]! How can I eat it?”

Son: “Wait, you like canned meat?”

Child: “Well, yes, but not this one.”

Me: *Sighing* “Have you ever tasted it?”

Child: “No, but I know I won’t like it because it’s not [Store Brand].”

Me: “Fine, do you like salad?”

Child: “Nope!” 

I’m torn between feeling bad that I couldn’t feed a guest properly and feeling angry that he is being so picky while his mother didn’t bother to tell me any details. Knowing it’s pointless to push it, I just let him stare at his unopened can while my son keeps on eating his meat and salad quietly. My maid brings out the freshly-squeezed orange juice, to which my son’s friend crosses his arms and pouts, so I don’t even bother asking. With a single gulp, my son finishes his juice and then looks at me pleadingly. Figuring I can’t go wrong with it…

Me: “All right, [Son], fine, I’ll bring out the cake. Do you want any, [Child]?”

Child: “Is it from [Supermarket Chain]?”

Me: “No, it’s not, but I swear—”

Child: “Then I don’t want it. Homemade cakes suck.” 

I would be very offended if I wasn’t just done, so I let it slide and let them both get up to go play. I relax a bit in the living room and then go to work. When I come back that evening, I do the obvious.

Me: “How did your time with [Child] go?”

Son: “It was super boring. He wanted to play ping-pong but didn’t want me to get too close to the edge, and all he could talk about was about how his dad was an exterminator or how much he liked ACE. I was almost happy that he got picked up by his mom.”

Couldn’t blame him. It wasn’t long before the two drifted apart due to major differences between them, and I’m still miffed that the mother didn’t think of warning me about her son’s narrow diet.

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So Much For The Compassion Of The Clergy

, , , , | Working | May 4, 2021

Sadly, my dad has recently given up the ghost due to the current health crisis. Since my family lives in a region that doesn’t allow people from other areas of Italy to enter without a work or health-related reason, his side of family cannot come and participate in the traditional mourning ritual, but we still try to fulfill his funerary wishes to be buried by Catholic rite. To that end, my mom calls up the priest of the parish where my dad used to go in life.

Priest: “Hello and good day, parochial office of [Parish]. How may we help you?”

Mom: “Father [Priest]… my poor husband, Mr. [Dad], has died. I was wondering if you were available to give him the funeral blessings, despite this horrid situation.”

Priest: “My condolences, Mrs. [Mom]. May God rest his soul, given what he’s gone through. I’m available, but I think that, given how things are going, something outside of the church might be better.”

Mom: “That’s understandable, but how would it work?”

Priest: “I don’t think your husband would’ve wanted to have a lot of pomp during his last journey to God. I’m of the idea that I shall come to your house, read a passage, and then have his sons and his daughter read a poem related to him before the hearse comes to bring him to the cemetery.”

My mom is rather taken aback; my dad was a bit crude in his manners, but he did explicitly request a solemn funeral, incense, and specific passages read.

Mom: “Seriously?”

Priest: “Yes, I’m sure that’s what he would’ve wanted anyway.”

Mom: *Upset* “No, that’s not what he would’ve wanted at all!”

Priest: “Eh, I mean, a full ceremony definitely doesn’t suit his personality. I think that reading poetry from his children would be more fitting than just reading a few impersonal passages. Besides, right now, it’s not possible to do a full funeral, so his requests are sadly moot. You can always have that proper funeral at a later date.”

Mom: *Very upset* “I know how things are! We would be just me, my family, and you! If it’s really not possible to use the church, our garden will be fine. I just want to satisfy his request to read his favourite passages and have some incense spread.”

Priest: “I still think the poetry is the best option. Reading the Holy Bible in a garden really isn’t very appropriate, anyway. Just hold off until things are better to read those passages.”

Mom: *Holding back tears* “We have nothing more to discuss, goodbye!”

And with that, my mom hung up and started crying quite a bit. Later that day, my brother and I did manage to find a priest that was willing to conduct a proper-as-possible funeral. Seriously, what kind of priest refuses to read the Bible for a ceremony?

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The Law Of Groups

, , , | Right | April 23, 2021

Stores smaller than forty square meters can let only one customer in at a time inside. The fines are harsh, and the store can be forced to close.

At least five times a day, I have to block people who try to enter in groups of two or three, all with the same excuses.

Customer: “But she is my daughter/mother/sister/friend…”

Customer: “But he is my son/father/brother/friend…”

What do they expect me to say?

Me: “Oh, right, the law says that you can enter in a group because you are so special!”

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They’re To Blame, But The Questionnaire Saves Them

, , , | Right | April 17, 2021

Me: “Thank you for calling [Travel Company]. How may I assist you?”

Customer: “You guys charged me without any reason! I never made any reservation with you!”

Me: “Okay, sir. May I ask you for the merchant’s name as shown on your bank account, to determine what the charge refers to?”

Customer: “Yes, it says [Totally Different Company].”

Me: “Well, sir, then may I suggest you get in touch with [Totally Different Company] to check your unrecognised charge with them?”

Customer: “Ah, okay. Bye.”

The only comment in the customer satisfaction questionnaire was, “F*** off.”

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Rome-ing Off The Reservation

, , , , | Right | March 22, 2021

I’m on holiday in Rome just after high school graduation. I join a tour organized by the youth hostel I’m staying at. After a long trek through the Eternal City, as we go back to the hostel, a boy not much older than me approaches our tour guide.

Boy: “Excuse me, but I want to know: are you Roman?”

Guide: “Well, not quite. I’m Sabinian, but I’ve lived in Rome for years.”

Boy: “Oh, I see. So, can you tell me where I can find the reservation?”

Guide: *Puzzled* “The reservation? What do you mean, exactly?”

Boy: “Y’know, the place where Romans live, and they all dress up in togas and have gladiatorial fights in. Those reservations.”

Guide: “I… I’m pretty sure there isn’t one.”

Boy: “So they demolished it when they banned traditional costumes last year? That’s s***ty as h***. At least they’ve been protesting about it pretty well.”

Guide: “Wait, what? What are you talking about? There’s a law against people dressing up as centurions, but…”

Boy: “But what? Aren’t you proud of your heritage?”

Guide: “If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t work as a guide, but what does that have to do with anything?”

Boy: *Shaking his head* “Never mind, then.”

The guide shrugs and carries on as usual. When we all get back to the hotel, I approach the boy.

Me: “What were you trying to ask to [Guide]? I’m not sure I understood your train of thought.”

Boy: “I wanted to visit the Roman reservation, that’s all, but apparently Italians are too racist to treat the Romans any better.”

Me: “But Italians are descended from the Romans; how’s that even possible?”

Boy: “Explain yesterday’s protest, then.”

He then went on ranting about racism and cultural appropriation. I tried to look up the protest he was talking about, but, as it turned out, it was the 21st of April, which is Rome’s birthday, and has a parade of Roman-era reenactors going down the streets around the Colosseum. But I still don’t understand how he could even think Romans were still existing as a separate population!

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