They Finally Nailed It

, , , | Right | August 17, 2017

(I work in the hardware department. This means mostly screws, nuts, and bolts. An older woman come in.)

Customer: “I need a screw that I can bend to hang up a line from.”

Me: “What is the line for?”

Customer: “I want to hang a line to dry some clothes.”

Me: “In that case I can suggest a screw hook.” *I show it to her*

Customer: “No. That’s not what I want.”

(After showing her as many possible screws as I can think of, she gets quite mad.)

Customer: ” NO, I want a screw that you hammer in!”

(Pause.)

Me: “Do you want a nail?”

Customer: *looks me up and down and then says with disgust* “Well, if that’s what you call it!”

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Having A Psychyatric Breakdown

, , , , | Learning | August 17, 2017

(It is the pre-Internet days of reference books and slide projectors. A lecturer is discussing health emergencies and displays a slide about “psychyatric” emergencies. It’s also important to note that the lecturer is very short.)

Professor: “Can anyone tell me what’s wrong with the figure on this slide?”

Student #1: “Well, uh, you spelled psychiatric incorrectly.”

Professor: “No, I was looking for issues with the approaches to care. And for the record, I spelled it correctly.”

Student #2: “I don’t think so…”

Professor: *turns and stares at the slide* “Maybe… Luckily, this is why we invented dictionaries.”

(She goes to get a dictionary off the shelf, but it’s too high for her. Despite students offering to help, she stands on a chair and retrieves the dictionary, but immediately slips and falls. Students rush in to help, but she waves them away.)

Professor: “I think the lecture is going to have to wait. I believe I’ve broken my foot. Could someone run down to the office and fetch [Medical Professor]?”

(The medical professor shows up, confirms her suspicion, and starts to help her out of the classroom. Just before leaving, though, he looks back at the slide.)

Medical Professor: “You know that’s not how you spell psychiatric, right?”

Professor: “If one person tells me that, I’m going to give a practical demonstration of a psychiatric emergency. Can we go to the hospital?”

(Years later, this was told by Student #1 as a professor at a medical school lecture when asked if he thought the Internet had improved health.)

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Racists Lose Every Argument

, , , , , | Friendly | August 17, 2017

(My friend and I are at a popular pet store chain picking up food for my snake. While waiting in line, he is trying to teach me a few words in his tribe’s language (Native Creek). He is very clearly not white, dark eyes, long, straight dark hair, copper skin tone, etc. Another customer behind us scoffs and we both look at him but my friend keeps speaking Creek.)

Customer: “You know, he should really learn to speak American if he’s going to be here.”

Friend: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “So you do speak English! Why are you speaking that gibberish, then?”

Me: “He is teaching me some words; he can speak whatever he wants. This is America, right?”

Customer: “Yes, it is! And as an American, he should just speak English!”

(My friend is looking very uncomfortable, as he is pretty shy and sensitive about racism.)

Me: “Sir, he is more American than you could ever wish to be.”

Customer: “How dare you! Look at him! I am the most blue-blooded American you can find! Born and bred!”

Me: *laughs* “His ancestors were here thousands of years before yours or mine even knew America existed.”

(He sputtered and huffed but shut up until we checked out.)

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Thanking You Hard

, , , , | Working | August 16, 2017

(I am very nervous about going to the dentist, and I go to a new practice to get a cavity filled. The dentist is very friendly and supportive through the whole procedure.)

Dentist: “You’re doing great!”

(I make a noise that sounds like ‘thank you’ because, of course, she’s working on filling the cavity and I can’t talk.)

Dentist: “You’re welcome! I understand what people mean when they make that noise… or maybe they’re actually saying ‘F*** you’ and I’ll never know!”

(It’s hard to laugh with a dentist drill in your mouth but I did!)

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Unfiltered Story #91666

, , , | Unfiltered | August 16, 2017

(One 12-year old I have lessons with is completely wonderful. I encourage her to talk about her interests, her school and stuff like that in English, but we often end up chatting after class. This happens a couple weeks before I am to leave for home. I had only introduced myself by name to her once, in our first lesson, about eight months ago. Also note that in Japanese, you usually say a person’s name or title instead of “you.” On the whiteboard, I write “1. I live in Kyoto.” “2. I am living in Kyoto”. As my student’s English is not yet sufficient to discuss grammar, I usually switch to Japanese for those explanations.)

Me: “So, one of those is something you can say, and one is something I can say. Can you tell me which is which?”

Student: “The first one is me, because I live here all the time. The second one is…” *she pauses* “The second one is [My Name]! Because you are leaving soon, so are only living here temporarily.”

Me: *absolutely delighted* “You remembered! Wow, you actually remembered my name even though I’ve only ever said it once!”

(This student also brought me doughnuts on our last class!)

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