Who Needs Science When You Can Have Myths?

, , , , , | Related | June 29, 2020

I live in a rural area near a pond, so we see lots of wildlife. My mom and I are taking a walk when we see a baby turtle, no bigger than a quarter, crossing the street. I carefully pick it up and move it to the other side of the road, and then we continue on our walk.

Mom: “That was weird how it knew to go toward the pond. How do turtles know where the water is?”

Me: “It’s instinctual. How do you know how to breathe?”

Mom: “But that’s different. This is directional.”

Me: “I don’t know. I guess if they’ve been doing it for millions of years, it becomes a habit. How do birds know to fly south?”

Mom: “Well, the birds probably follow each other. But that turtle was by itself.”

Me: “But if the birds follow each other, at some point there has to have been a bird that started it all. How does that bird know to go south?”

Mom: “There’s a grandfather bird.”

Me: “A grandfather bird that flies all over the country?”

Mom: “Yes! He’s the keeper of the compass and he flies around the country telling all the birds to go south, and they all follow him there.”

Me: “And then, when he finally arrives in the south, he immediately dies and is reincarnated into another bird.”

Mom: “Yes, he passes on the compass to a new bird.”

Me: “I think we just invented a myth.”

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He Rolled A One On That Encounter

, , , , , , | Right | June 26, 2020

My parents ran a tabletop gaming store when I was in elementary school. My father hosted a “Dungeons and Dragons” campaign, which drew in a fair number of teenagers from the local high school. As I had to stay at the store after school, my mother brought in a “swear jar” and made sure everyone was aware of it beforehand.

In the middle of one session, one teen decides to ask before he uses one such word:

Teen: “Hey, [Mother], does ‘d*****bag’ count as a swear word?”

My mother looks him in the eye and says:

Mother: “No. But seeing as you’ve said that two feet away from my eight-year-old, you get to tell her what it means!”

The look on his face was priceless.

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Drunk, Malevolent, Or Vapid?

, , , , , | Working | May 19, 2020

I recently moved to New Hampshire so I go to the DMV to apply for a new driver’s license. After filling out all the proper paperwork, making sure I have proof of residency and blood type and mother’s dog’s maiden name, and waiting in line for the typical ninety minutes, I finally get to the counter.

The woman behind the desk looks through all my papers, and everything seems to be in order, until:

Clerk: “Okay, can you just review all the info on that screen and confirm that everything is correct?”

I look at the first line.

Me: “Uh… actually, there’s a problem. My address isn’t correct.”

The clerk seems slightly offended that I’m accusing her of entering in my info wrong.

Clerk: “What’s wrong with it?”

Me: “The street number is supposed to be 25. It says 75 here.”

The clerk looks at the forms I filled out.

Clerk: “Oh. That looks like a 7 to me.”

She says this despite the fact that the other documents I had given her, including a lease agreement and an electric bill, all confirmed it should be 25.

Clerk: “Okay, so, everything else is correct?”

I look at the second line.

Me: “Uh… nope. My birthday is [date], and this says [different date].”

Clerk: “Seriously?”

The clerk sighs and then goes to correct all of the info on the computer.

Clerk: “Oh, I guess I need manager authorization to change the birth date. Hold on one second.”

A manager comes over and authorizes the birth date change and gets my temporary license printed.

Manager: “Okay, you’re all set! We just need to take your old [Other State] license away. You can’t have both at the same time.”

I have never heard of this before, but it seems to make sense, so I comply.

Manager: “Your new license will arrive within sixty days. Have a nice day!”

About a week later, I go to a local specialty store and attempt to buy alcohol. As I have not yet received my permanent license, I hand the cashier my temp license.

Cashier: “Oh, I’m so sorry, but we can’t accept temp IDs here. Can I just see your old license to confirm your age?”

Me: “Oh, I don’t have it anymore. The DMV took it away when I applied for my new one.”

Cashier: “What? That’s odd; they usually just punch a hole in it so it’s not valid on its own, but so you can still use it to confirm everything on your temp one. I’ve never heard of them taking it away!”

Me: “Yeah. Me, neither.”

I don’t get any wine that day.

After that, about a month and half goes by and I still have not received my new license. I am getting very concerned as it has never taken me this long to receive a new ID in the past, and my temp one is almost set to expire. I am worried it got sent to the wrong address, so I even try going to number 75 on my street to see if they received it by mistake, but they are never home when I go.

Finally, I give in and call the DMV.

Me: “Hi. I still haven’t received my new driver’s license, and my temporary one is going to expire in about a week and a half. I’m worried it might have been sent to the wrong address, because my address was entered incorrectly the first time.”

Support #1: “Okay, can I have your name and address?”

I give them to her.

Support #1: “All right, I see your application right here, and it looks like all your info is correct but the license just hasn’t been printed or sent yet. If it doesn’t come by [date next week], call us again and we will expedite it to you.”

Sure enough, a week goes by and still no license. I call the DMV again.

Me: “Hi. I called last week to say that my license hadn’t come in yet and was told to call back today if that was still the case and you would expedite it to me.”

Support #2: “Okay, can I have your name, please?”

I give it to her.

Support #2: “Okay… Huh, I can’t seem to find you. Is it [Different First Name]?”

Me: “Nope, [My Name].”

Support #2: “Okay, let’s try your social.”

I give her that.

Support #2: “Nope… Birth date?”

I give her that.

Support #2: “Huh. All right, what is the number on your temp license?”

I give her that.

Support #2: “Wait, your license number is [number] but your birth date is [date]? That doesn’t make sense. The number is based on your last name and birth date.”

Me: “Well, the woman who took my info at the DMV office entered my birthday incorrectly the first time…”

Support #2: “Ohh… Okay, I think I know what happened, then. Let me just look into this further.”

She puts me on hold for about fifteen minutes.

Support #2: “I just confirmed with my supervisor. There cannot be a license account with more than one birthdate. If the date is changed, our system completely erases the old application. The clerk should have reentered all of your info in a new application and retaken your picture. She basically deleted your application when she made the change.

“Here’s what I can do for you: if you can get back to the DMV this afternoon, I will tell them to let you go straight to the front of the line. Make sure you bring in all the paperwork you had last time, and we will expedite a new license to you within two business days. I am sorry for all of the inconvenience this has caused!”

This last support person was very helpful and, true to her word, I was let up to the front of the line when I got to the DMV office. However, I don’t know what bothers me more: the fact that the original clerk AND her manager made so many fumbles with handling my application and didn’t know that the mistake would completely erase all my info, or the fact that it seems the first phone support person blatantly LIED to me saying she saw that my application was in process. 

Bonus: my new license finally arrived, no less than a month later.

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This Whole Neighborhood’s Going To The Dogs!

, , , , , | Related | May 13, 2020

I’m about seven years old in this story. As I’m getting off the school bus, a random dog decides he wants to follow me. I try shooing him off, but he just refuses to go away. Not really knowing what to do, and worrying about what might happen if this dog sees my cat, I decide to try and get my dad’s attention in the hopes that he’ll know what to do.

Our house has a screen door just outside the front door, so rather than risk letting the dog inside, I bang on the screen door as loud as I can. My dad opens the front door and I tell him, “We have a problem.”

Before I can say anything else, he opens the screen door to see what the “problem” is. Naturally, our cat is literally right behind him.

The dog immediately chases our cat through the kitchen, into the living room, up over the couch, and back into the kitchen. Dad grabs some of his fireplace tools and uses them to haul the dog back out the door, while our poor cat bolts upstairs. After he’s gotten the door shut again, I quietly point out that there was a reason I hadn’t opened the door.

We didn’t see our cat until sometime the next day; judging by the soot on her fur she’d somehow hidden herself in the attic through the night. Can’t blame her, honestly.

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The Teacher Isn’t The Smartest Cookie, But She Sure Is Sweet

, , , , , | Learning | May 5, 2020

I am a teaching assistant in an elementary school. My name is extremely uncommon and also happens to be spelled almost exactly like a popular cookie brand. I’m used to people joking about it and don’t really mind.

A few days before classes start, all the faculty meet at the school for orientation, and afterward, I spend a few hours helping my partner teacher set up the classroom.

Teacher: “So, how do you pronounce your name?”

Me: “[My Name].”

Teacher: “Okay, gotcha. Good thing you have a name tag!”

Me: “Yeah, I feel like many of the younger kids will have trouble pronouncing it, but it’s fine.”

On the first day of school…

Teacher: “Welcome, class! My name is Mrs. [Teacher], and this is Ms. [Cookie Brand].”

Me: “Actually, it’s Ms. [My Name].”

Teacher: “Whoops! Sorry about that.”

Day two…

Teacher: “Ms. [Cookie Brand], can you please collect these papers?”

Me: “Sure. But it’s Ms. [My Name].”

Teacher: “Right! Sorry, sorry. I’ll remember that.”

Day three…

Teacher: “It’s time to line up for recess! Please form a neat line behind Ms. [Cookie Brand].”

Students: “It’s Ms. [My Name]!”

Teacher: “Oh, no. I got it wrong again, didn’t I?”

I thought it was pretty hilarious, but the teacher honestly felt bad that she kept messing up my name. The next week, she brought me a bag of those cookies, but she had covered the brand name with masking tape and written the correct spelling of my name in all caps. Most people who mess up my name just keep saying it incorrectly, but she made a huge effort to use the correct pronunciation after that.

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