Driving The Marriage Into The Ground

, , , , , | Related | May 15, 2018

My husband likes to joke with my dad that he was never paid a dowry for marrying me. My dad’s pride and joy — and the object of my husband’s envy — is a 1967 Chevy Impala, in mint condition. Dad likes to drive it to the beach and to golf. When my husband and I are visiting the hometown, Dad gives my husband the keys and lets him drive it for the duration of our visit. And, he says, when he dies, he’ll leave it to my husband, by way of a legacy and a dowry.

One day Dad sees a boat he’d like to buy. The Chevy’s been spending more and more time tucked up in the garage. He decides to sell the Chevy to buy the boat. He advertises the Chevy on New Zealand’s online auction site. There’s a space for comments under each auction listing, and when my husband sees the Chevy listed, he goes pale. He doesn’t speak. He goes outside to his garage. Then he comes back in and types the following into the comments section:

“That car was my dowry. I’m sending back your daughter.”

We Decline Your Solution

, , , , | Right | May 15, 2018

A customer comes to the counter, bottles in hand, and gives me his card to run. It is declined. I give it another shot. Declined again.

He snatches the card back from me, looks at it, licks it with gusto, and attempts to hand it back to me.

I decline, and he cannot figure out why I won’t touch it again.

Blowing It Up Out Of Proportion

, , , , , | Learning | May 14, 2018

During my sophomore year of college, our campus had a bomb scare, not because of a threat, but because of incorrectly stored chemicals. A professor had brought some picric acid into one of the labs and failed to screw the container’s cap on properly. Picric acid is a component of TNT. It’s relatively safe when kept in an aqueous solution, but when it dries it’s highly explosive and can be set off by being jostled. In response, the university cancelled classes and evacuated half of the campus. The cafeteria was also half-closed, and students were shuffled in to eat in small groups, and told to finish as quickly as possible and get out of the “blast zone.” The fire department was called, and they sent in a bomb squad to retrieve the container and detonate it safely.

Later that day, one of the professors found more dried picric acid in the lab, and asked another professor what to do. They just poured water into the container and dumped it down the sink.

It’s Good On Paper

, , , , , , , | Hopeless | May 13, 2018

My brother had just finished soccer practice in his senior year and decided to drive his friend home. On the way to her house, a distracted driver ended up rear-ending the two of them into an intersection, where the passenger side was hit by a van going 50 miles per hour. My brother broke four ribs in the crash and managed to roll out of the car. He stood up and tried to make his way back to help his friend, puncturing a lung in the process. Eventually, a bystander managed to restrain my brother so he wouldn’t be injured further. The girl was taken into intensive care, and we didn’t know what was happening with her for a long time.

I was in the same high school as my brother, and I was allowed to take a week off to stay with him in recovery. He was incredibly worried about his friend, and he was starting to get depressed. That’s around the time people started coming to see him. Throughout his stay he had nearly the entire school visit him, both students and staff. The nurses actually had to start getting involved to make sure not too many people were in the waiting room at a time. Each and every person brought him an origami swan.

We learned that the day after the accident the entire school shut down all its activities. Instead, everyone was taught how to make origami swans, which signify health and quick healing. Everyone spent the entire day folding them for my brother and his friend. My brother received over 3,000 swans. When he was finally released and he went back to school for the first time, we found the entire school covered in swans. They were hanging from the ceiling in nearly every room. One of his friends even managed to make a seven-foot tall swan that the school kept in the cafeteria.

My brother and his friend miraculously recovered. Even the doctors were baffled that there was no permanent damage to either of them. My school had those swans hanging in the hallways until the day it shut down. It might be silly to think little pieces of paper could make a difference in a life-or-death situation, but I can’t help but be thankful for each and every one of them.

Today Everyone Is A Top Dog

, , , , | Hopeless | May 12, 2018

I’m driving to work tonight on a major road with two lanes of traffic in either direction. I pass through a rather large intersection when I notice two things: there is a woman struggling to run through the high grass at the side of the road, and the cars in the right lane have all slowed down. I don’t think there’s a connection right away as I continue driving in the left lane, but then I see it: a tiny dog, maybe a Frenchie or something similar, running full speed on the right shoulder of the road. I’m worried for it, but there’s nothing I can do moving at the speed I’m going, and I’ve already passed it.

That’s when I notice people in the right lane beginning to pull over. At first I see just one or two, but then I look in the rearview mirror and see that every single car has pulled onto the shoulder to avoid hitting the poor dog and presumably to help catch it. I obviously wasn’t around to see if it worked, but so many people were putting the effort in I can’t imagine it didn’t. Seeing that line of cars whose drivers all just decided to work together warmed my heart.

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