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Taking Note Of The Note-Taking

, , , , , | Learning | January 1, 2022

Several years ago, I worked as a substitute Special Education Paraprofessional (Aide). This particular day, I was assigned to a high school student who didn’t need much help, so I was mostly there to take notes for the aide I was subbing for. The science class was watching the movie The Day After Tomorrow, and the teacher instructed the students to take notes on the various weather and scientific aspects they saw in the movie to discuss later. I had watched the movie in the theater when it came out years ago, so I knew the plot.

The classroom had several tables set up with chairs all around, and since my chair faced away from the screen, in order to take notes, I had to turn my body slightly to write. Several times after a scene in the movie occurred, I turned to write notes, and the students nearby immediately leaned forward to start writing, too, sensing that something important must have happened if she’s writing it down!

I wish I could have read the other students’ papers just to see what they came up with. I even thought about pretending to write when nothing happened, but I’m not that mean and I wanted to enjoy the movie. It sure was fun to see the students scribble notes just because I was.

Pound For Pound Just Stupid

, , , , , | Right | December 28, 2021

I’m in line at the cash register of a grocery store. The fresh meat products at this store are priced “per pound”, as is fairly standard in the grocery industry. If you buy a three-pound package, you’ll pay three times more than the listed “per pound” price. The woman at the cash register in front of me does not understand that part. The cashier rings up a package of meat, and when the woman sees the price for the meat, she loses it.

Customer: “Excuse me, but that [meat product] rang up wrong. It’s supposed to be $8.”

Cashier: “Yes, $8 per pound. This is a three-pound package, so the total is $24, which is what it rang up as.”

Customer: “What do you mean, ‘per pound’? The sign said $8, so I should get it for $8.”

The cashier calls a manager to run over and double-check the price of the meat. The manager returns, confirms that the sign says $8 per pound, meaning her three-pound package will cost $24, and tells the woman that she can either pay the full cost of the package or she can leave it.

Customer: “Well, I have never heard of something being priced per pound. Everything is always priced for the entire package.”

Manager: “What kind of car do you drive?”

Customer: “What? Why does that matter?”

Manager: “I’m just curious.”

Customer: “Well, I have a Toyota Yaris.”

Manager: “That’s a pretty small car, right?”

Customer: “Yeah, it is.”

Manager: “So, let’s say you fill your gas tank, and there’s a great big pickup truck at the next pump. You both pay $60 for gas, even though his truck is way bigger than your little car. Is that fair to you?”

Customer: *Scoffs* “Of course not. My car can’t even hold $60 of gas.”

Manager: “That’s why gas is priced per gallon, right? That way, if you only use a little bit of gas, you only have to pay a little bit of money, but when someone with a giant truck uses a lot of gas, they have to pay a lot of money. Do you see what I mean?”

Customer: “…”

Manager: “That’s why grocery stores almost always charge per pound for fresh meat. Our butchers can’t always cut a perfectly equal amount of meat for every package, so by charging per pound, we can make sure customers only pay for the meat that is actually in their package. Does that make sense?”

Customer: “Well, I still think you’re ripping me off. I’ll take the meat this time, but you should really change your prices to be for the entire package. All this ‘per pound’ nonsense is just pointless.”

A Thief With A Heart Of Gold

, , , , , , | Working | December 24, 2021

I am the office food thief. I honestly consider it fair wages because I’m also the only one who cleans the refrigerator and the desks. I look for food that’s about to expire and I eat it. I also watch people’s lunches, write their names and the date on it if they forget, and make sure that if a lunch is in the fridge longer than a week and a half, it gets thrown away.

The new manager decides to do something about all this food theft. It is all me. I keep track of all the food in the office. My desk is closest to the fridge for a reason. She says it’s completely unacceptable and that if she catches someone stealing food she’s going to fire them.

So, I stop… and I also stop cleaning out the office fridge. Within about six months, the office fridge is so full of expired food and freezer-burned TV diners as to be unusable. The fridge itself stinks. Worse, certain coworkers have filled their desks with candy and snacks, bags with five chips, quarter-filled Cheetos bags, melted chocolates, etc. Those have attracted mice and insects.

I approach the manager and make an offer: I’ll take on the responsibility of keeping the fridge and desks clear of expired or old food, and in exchange, I can eat what I want.

The manager gives me a weird look like she thinks it’s weird that I like eating almost expired food, or maybe like she realized what was happening… but she accepts.

I take a few evenings after work is over and clean out the fridge with soap and water, check all the foods, throw out the old sack lunches, clean out the desk drawers with soap and water, install new mouse and insect traps, put a new de-stinkifier in the fridge, and go back to being the office food thief… with official sponsorship!

Christmas Cheer Doesn’t Have To Be Conventional

, , , , , , , | Related | December 22, 2021

I have a bit of holiday trauma from an abusive, overly-religious stepmother. My father usually deliberately worked on holidays to avoid her religious fanaticism but allowed her to burn gifts we got that weren’t religious enough. As such, I’m not a big fan of Christmas, and as an adult, I don’t celebrate it for years.

When I marry my wife, who loves Christmas and has a religious mother, I brace myself for the holidays.

Wife: “Honey, I found the perfect tree!”

Me: *Trying to fake enthusiasm* “Oh, cool!”

Mother-In-Law: “[Wife], show her what you found. Trust me, you’ll like this.”

My wife drags in a completely black tree.

Me: *Stunned* “Is that… a black tree? I didn’t even know those were a thing!”

Wife: “Yeah! I’ve always wanted a black tree but Mom prefers real trees, which don’t come in black. But I found this one at work on clearance… and these ornaments!”

Me: “Are those dragons? You got dragon Christmas ornaments?”

Wife: “I know you love dragons. Plus, I figured we could get a skull tree topper or something. And I work with a woman that makes custom wrapping paper, so I figured we can order some of that and wrap our gifts in it. She does coffins, bats, blood splatters…”

Me: “Okay, I might be coming around on Christmas now.”

Mother-In-Law:  “I did find an angel tree topper for you, though.”

She proudly pulls out a Weeping Angel from “Doctor Who,” a show all three of us love. 

Mother-In-Law: “What do you think?”

Me: “I think that, for the first time. I’m actually excited about decorating for Christmas.”

Our holiday wreath has flowers and skulls on it, and none of the religious family members batted an eye when they saw our decorations. My wife’s preacher grandfather even asked us where we got our bat wrapping paper because he loved it so much and ordered some for himself. I look forward to Christmas now!

The Place Beyond The Pines

, , , , , | Right | December 20, 2021

My parents and I are going Christmas tree shopping at an enormous garden center. I’m marveling at all the beautiful Christmas decor available when my dad hears something.

Customer: “Where do pinecones come from?”


Dad: “I should have told her they come from oak trees.”