Behaving Fairly Fairy

, , , , , , , | Romantic | November 17, 2017

Some friends and I are at a party over Halloween weekend. One of them is dressed as the Good Fairy and carries a wand which is handmade of pretty thick wood, painted, with a star and glitter. She’s also a bit of a goody two-shoes, and every time someone swears she’ll tap them on the head with her wand and say, “The Good Fairy doesn’t like that!”

As the night goes on, people get progressively drunker, and a guy none of us knows has been bugging her for a while. We’re trying to get away from him when he grabs her breasts from behind. She swings around and smacks him in the face with the wand so hard she breaks it in half. “THE GOOD FAIRY DOESN’T LIKE THAT!”

He got kicked out.

Have Lunch Or Be Lunch

, , , , , , | Related | November 16, 2017

My family has always loved the sea, and we’ve always had a boat, travelling around New Zealand during weekends and holidays. Growing up, my siblings and I loved to swim off the boat whenever it was anchored, and we often proved difficult to persuade out of the water, causing our mother to go hoarse as she yelled over the waves for us to come in.

The year I was 12, we were anchored in the Hauraki Gulf which is around the top of NZ’s North Island. My siblings and I decided we’d have one more swim before lunch. I was wearing a snorkel and a mask and although I could hear Mum calling us in for lunch, I decided to take one more dive. I dove and resurfaced a couple of times, moving away from the boat. On my third dive, I turned up the right way, floating in a circle to see all the fish… and found myself staring into the face of a grinning great white shark.

Looking back, years later and with a degree in marine biology under my belt, I know now it was quite small — probably not even seven feet — which meant it was a juvenile. It was so close I could see each one of its ampullae of Lorenzini, the black marks around the snout. Every cell in my body was screaming in terror, but I had frozen in place. After regarding me for a couple more seconds in what can only be described as mild curiosity, the shark swam away on its business, leaving me to float, still literally scared stiff, to the surface, where Mum was standing on deck waving her arms in the air.

“Honestly, [My Name], you are such a dreamer! I’ve been hollering for you the last 15 minutes. I know you could hear me when you popped up! What do I have to do to get you out of the water, start screaming that there’s a shark around?”

Although that baby great white gave me the fright of my life, it sparked in me an obsession with sharks that has endured to this day. I studied marine biology at university and have a fantastic career in shark research. I’ve cage-dived with great whites in New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. The first time, at Stewart Island in New Zealand, I was privileged to see a magnificent, 18-foot male pass majestically back and forth in front of the cage. He was truly astonishing, but as I gazed at him, marvelling at his sheer size and power, I couldn’t help but think back to the little, baby great white who’d started it all!

Knows How To Navigate These Noisy Waters

, , , , | Right | November 16, 2017

I work at the Water Bureau. I got a call to go out to a house on a “loud water” complaint.

A nice elderly gentleman came out of the house and told me that the water was louder and it had been that way for a week. I asked many questions to try to narrow it down to a cause, and the gentleman said he hadn’t made any changes to the house or anything different with the plumbing recently.

Finally, I asked him if there was anything new in his life in the last week. The man thought for a moment and said, “Well, I did get new hearing aids last week.”

I suggested that perhaps he could just hear the water better now that he had hearing aids. The man said, “Well, God d***, I bet you’re right! That just proves to my wife I’m not crazy. Thanks!” And he went back into his house.

Another satisfied customer.

Enclosed In A Guilt Cage

, , , , , , , | Learning | November 15, 2017

I am at a zoo with my school to learn about the animals, and one of the volunteers asks if there are any questions. I can’t remember my exact question, but I say something about “cages.”

The woman goes very stern and says, “We say, ‘enclosures!’”

Guilty, much?

Kindness In Death

, , , , | Healthy | November 14, 2017

I used to work in an oncology unit specialising in gastrointestinal cancers – the sort of thing that, by the time it got to us, all we could do was arrange for palliative treatment to make the time the patient had left longer and more comfortable. I handled phone calls from the patients and families, all of whom were obviously upset and as a result not as thoughtful as they might have been.

Sometimes, they had a right to be abrasive, though. One man whose mother needed an urgent chemotherapy booking had been left hanging for weeks, and the registrar who was supposed to be handling the booking hadn’t done anything despite the fact that her prognosis was dwindling all the time. Eventually, I got fed up; I grabbed the patient file and the documentation that he hadn’t signed yet, interrupted the consultant at lunch, stood over him until he checked and signed the document, delivered everything to the ward personally, and, apologising to the still-furious son of the patient, told him his mother had an appointment the following day.

Less than a month later, I got word that the patient in that story had died. Two days after that, reception told me that said patient’s son was on his way to my office. I was sure he was coming to berate me to my face… but when he turned up, it was with a small silk rose and a small box of chocolates. He told me that he wanted to apologise for losing his temper, and tell me how grateful he was for how hard I’d worked to see that his mother got proper care.

I am never going to forget the man who managed to be so thoughtful of someone else even with such a recent bereavement. It’s the yardstick to which I hold my behaviour to this day.

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