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The Rumor Mill Comes To A Grinding Halt

, , , , , , | Friendly | February 5, 2022

This occurred when in the 1990s when I was a teen. We were at a church picnic, and a lady was making friendly conversation with me. She asked about my dad and when he would be back to the church. The truth was that my dad had left after endless fighting with my mom and had filed for divorce. To avoid divulging too much information, I said:

Me: “My dad is no longer around. Whether or not he comes back to the church, I’m not sure. Maybe you can ask him if you see him around town?”

Lady: “Hmmm… Okay.”

I didn’t think anything else about it. After the picnic, my mom and I rode with a good friend of our family to their house to hang out for a while. About fifteen minutes into our visit, her phone rang. Our friend casually picked it up, and as she listened to the person on the other end, her eyes began to slowly grow wider and wider to the size of freaking saucers.

Friend: “Um… excuse me? She’s actually sitting right here. Maybe you want to ask her yourself?” *Hands over the phone*

My mom took the phone, spoke briefly, and then immediately excused herself outside to continue the conversation. When she came back in, she looked seriously pissed and asked me to go into another room and amuse myself with some video games there.

As it turned out, the person on the phone was the lady at the church picnic, calling over to the friend’s house to start a rumor chain that my mom had kicked my dad out and speculating that it was because of a possible extramarital affair with the church choir leader because she’d seen them eating lunch together at a restaurant. They’d simply run into each other by coincidence, and my dad even told us about it.

Unsurprisingly, I didn’t see that lady at church services for almost the entire summer, and when she did return, she would sit in the back.

Can’t Sea(Food) You

, , , | Right | January 31, 2022

I’m the idiot customer. A few months into the global shutdown, at the end of a very long day of dodging anti-maskers while in the grocery store and running errands, I order pickup from my favorite cheap seafood chain. This particular seafood joint is located right next to a steak chain. Cue me logging onto the app, confirming I’m here, and giving a description of the car. I sit there waiting and playing on my cell, not paying attention to how long I’ve been sitting there.

An employee knocks on the window, scaring the bejeebus out of me.

Employee: “I am so sorry! I didn’t mean to scare you!”

I am laughing hysterically.

Me: “Oh, holy crap, that was funny! It’s all good and I’m more awake now. Is that my order?”

The employee is obviously relieved to find out I’m not a problem customer.

Employee: “Um, no, ma’am. I just wanted to know the name on your order?”

Me: “Oh! It’s [My Name].”

The employee goes to check but comes back empty-handed and looking terrified.

Employee: “Um… I can’t find that name. Is it under another?”

Me: *Opening the app* “Weird, I just sent it from my cell right before I got here through the app. Let me see what the confirmation number is.”

Employee: *Now with a deer-in-headlights look* “We don’t use an app for to-go orders. We only do call-in orders.”

Me: *Confused* “But why would [Seafood Chain] have an app if you don’t use it?”

Employee: *Suddenly trying to remain professional and not crack up* “Uh… ma’am, this… uh… this is [Steak Place].”

Me: *With dawning horror on my face* “I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE I AM ANYMORE! I AM SO SORRY! Oh, gods, I just turned into my mother.”

I then cracked myself up so bad I had to sit there for a minute before I could drive across the parking lot to the correct pickup area and get my food and explain to the food runner why I said I was there when I wasn’t. He laughed, too. A year later, I still get the giggles when I think of it.

You’re Not Making Any Cents

, , , , , , , , | Working | January 18, 2022

I go shop at a grocery store. At checkout, the total is $31.69. I pull a $100 bill out and ask the cashier if this is okay. He says yes and takes the bill. The receipt prints. He counts out sixty-eight dollars and then turns to me.

Cashier: “I don’t have the 31¢ in my drawer for your change. I’ve paged a manager; when she gets here, I can give you your change.”

I get 69¢ from my pocket and hand it to the cashier.

Me: “No problem. Here’s 69¢; now you owe me a dollar, which you can give me for change.”

The cashier looks at the 69¢, takes 31¢ from the 69¢ — which I just gave him! — and tries to hand it to me!

Cashier: “Here is your 31¢ change, sir.”

Me: “No, I gave you 69¢. You now owe me one more dollar, not the 31¢.”

Cashier: “Sir, I owe you 31¢.”

Me: “Nooo, you said you could not pay me the 31¢, so I gave you 69¢, so now you owe me no coinage but you owe me an additional one dollar.”

The cashier points at the change due on the receipt: $68.31.

Cashier: “See, I owe you 31¢. Do you understand now, sir?”

Me: “Noooooo, you could not pay me the 31¢, so I gave you 69¢ to round it up to a dollar that you now owe me.”

The cashier points again at the change due on the receipt: $68.31.

Cashier: “The receipt says I owe you 31¢. Do you understand now, sir?”

Just then, the manager, who was paged due to the empty change drawer, comes over.

Manager: “I’ll bring change for your drawer in a minute. What is the problem here?”

I explain it to her. She looks at the receipt and counts the bills in the cashier’s hand.

Manager: “Did he give you an additional 69¢?”

Cashier: “Yes.”

Manager: “Then you don’t owe him the 31¢ change, but you do owe him an additional dollar.”

He still looks uncertain but gives me a total of sixty-nine dollars in change.

Me: *To the manager* “Thanks for your help. Sorry I confused your employee.”

Manager: “Have a good night, sir.”

Shouldn’t an employee who is handling money all day long be able to do second-grade math?!

Out Of The Frying Pan And Into The Fire

, , , , , , , | Related | January 13, 2022

This took place in the mid-1990s when I was fifteen years old. It was around 11:00 at night when I heard someone tap on my window. I looked out to see two of my best buddies waving at me and gesturing for me to come out. I opened my window.

Me: *Whispering* “Dude! What the h*** are you doing here? You’re gonna get me in trouble!”

Friend: “Dog, you gotta come with us! There’s this smashing party going on at [Boy]’s place! His dad is out for the weekend and he’s got the place to himself! Girls all over the place! You gotta check it out!”

I’d never snuck out of the house before.

Me: “Uhhh… I dunno about that.”

Friend: “[Crush] is there.”

Me: “You serious?”

Friend: “Dead serious. Come on, I told them we were gonna come get you. You’re gonna let everyone down!”

That particular girl being there was all the reason I needed to risk my neck. I quietly got dressed and tiptoed out the back door since the screen in my bedroom window was too difficult to remove and replace.

After spending a good five hours or so frolicking around with everyone and acting like the bunch of high school morons we were, we decided around 4:00 am that we’d all better split and get back home before our luck ran out and someone came looking for us.

I managed to slip back in through the back door and was tiptoeing back to my room when I heard a toilet flush and my mom emerged from the bathroom with a groggy look on her face. And there I was, standing in the middle of the hallway, fully dressed and reeking of cigarettes and beer (neither of which my parents had).

Mom: “What are you doing?”

Me: “I heard a weird noise in the shed so I just went to check it out.”

Mom: “You got dressed up like that to—” *sniffing* “OH, H*** NO! [Dad], get out here now!”

My parents were having some serious marital issues at the time, to the point where they were sleeping in separate bedrooms.

Mom: *Banging on my dad’s door* “GET OUT HERE, [DAD]!”

No answer.

In a rage, my mom threw the door open and ripped the blanket off my dad’s bed to reveal an empty bed. Puzzled, my mom looked outside to see his car missing from the driveway, and then, she picked up the phone.

Mom: “Hello, is [Dad] there?” *Pause* “This is [Mom]; I am [Dad]’s wife. Did he have a graveyard shift tonight?” *Pause* “He hasn’t had one all this year?!” *Pause* “Really now?!” *Pause* “Thank you!” *Slamming the phone down* “If this is some kind of prank, somebody better say something now because I’m about to go homicidal! Get back in bed! Don’t think you’re off the hook!”

I got back in bed with an “I’m-so-dead” feeling of impending doom hovering over me.

Around six am, I woke up to hear:


Dad: “I got called in for a graveyard shift; someone called in sick.”


Cue a mayhem-filled screaming match where my dad finally fessed up about “the other girl” — who happened to be one of her good friends. The screaming match grew into a screaming marathon that continued almost until noon, and my dad ended up moving out about two weeks later.

As for me, my mom was so pissed that she never punished me for sneaking out of the house to smoke and drink, although, for a while, she started making me put my shoes and jacket in her bedroom at night. That lasted up until I was sixteen.

My dad still jokes with me to this day that I inadvertently got him busted doing essentially the same thing the same night.

Don’t Hang Around For This Twitch Stream

, , , , | Right | November 17, 2021

I go into a convenience store for a cold soft drink. Standing in line in front of me is a guy in his twenties, kind of grungy, with tattoos all over both arms. He checks out and raises his hand to pay. I notice his arm “jerking”; the muscles in his arm are independently twitching, causing the whole arm to jerk slightly. I look closer and see that the back of his shirt is convulsing from his back muscles all twitching. Legs; muscles twitching, neck; muscles twitching.

I start to ask if he’s all right, but the holstered pistol he’s carrying does not give me any warm fuzzy feelings. I stand silently and watch him finish and leave, and then I step forward to the counter.

Me: *To the clerk* “Is that guy all right?”

Clerk: *Stares at me* “He’s a regular; we call him ‘Twitch’.”

Me: “Because of that muscle thing?”

Clerk: *After pausing* “No, it has to do with that pistol, but the manager doesn’t want us telling customers about it, so I can’t tell you anything.”

I never went back to that convenience store.