Don’t Kick A Trojan Gift-Horse In The Mouth

, , , , , | Learning | January 12, 2018

(I’m a librarian. A woman comes in about 15 minutes before closing and asks for photos of the Trojan War for her fifth-grader to use in a school project. I do some searches and find quite a few, from carvings on urns to paintings to drawings of the Trojan horse, and portraits of Helen of Troy.)

Customer: “But those aren’t real. I need photographs, not pictures of drawings and paintings.”

Me: “I’m sorry; there aren’t any photographs of the Trojan War. It’s a myth, like stories of the Greek gods.”

Customer: “But I need photographs! That’s what the teacher told them they had to have! I don’t want my child to fail this project because you can’t find them.”

Me: “I’m sorry. I’m not explaining this right. The Trojan War was about 4,000 years ago. That’s 2,000 years before Jesus was born. Photographs weren’t invented until the early 1800s, about 200 years ago. So, the Trojan War happened thousands of years before cameras and photographs were invented. That’s why there are no photographs.”

Customer: “The teacher specifically said photographs. Can’t you look again?”

Me: “You know what? I think there was a miscommunication with the teacher. I’m sure if you tell her what I just told you, everything will be fine.”

Customer: *near tears* “But the project is due tomorrow. What if you’re wrong?”

Me: “Tell you what. Why don’t you choose some of these pictures, anyway? I’ll write a note to the teacher explaining why you have them instead of photographs, with my name and phone number in case she has any questions. Teachers usually make exceptions when we explain why we aren’t able to get exactly what they require.”

Customer: “Then, it’ll be your fault instead of mine.”

Me: “Right.”

Customer: “Well, it’s not what I want, but I guess I don’t have a choice.”

No Calling Birds, Either

, , , , , | Working | January 11, 2018

A few Christmases back, I decided to get my wife a bird. She already had a female finch, so I was going to get her a male one of that particular variety so she’d have a breeding pair.

About ten days before Christmas, I go to the big chain pet store in town, purchase the bird, a cage, food, and so forth, and take it to my office to spend the days up until Christmas. When I come into work in the morning, I find the bird dead on the floor of the cage. I take it back to the pet store, explain what happened. The guy says that birds are sometimes fragile, this happens, apologizes, and gives me a new male finch. I take it to my office, clean and sterilize the cage in case there’s something viral, read up more carefully on bird care, install the new little guy, and proceed, enjoying having a bird by my side while I work.

The next morning… dead bird again. I take it back, and the guy is a bit huffy, but gives me another one. I also buy bottled water and a different brand of food, just to be safe. On the way back to the office, I buy one of those smoke detectors that detects carbon monoxide and gas leaks, and at the last minute, decide instead to take it to stay at a neighbor’s house.

The next morning, I get into the office. The detector’s clean. I’m getting to work, and the phone rings. It’s the neighbors. Guess who’s dead? So, I take it back to the store, the guy refunds my money, tells me I’ve run through his entire stock, and icily tells me not to come back, ever. I icily tell him I’m not in the market for near-dead finches.

I get on the phone, and locate a store that has what I need, although forty-five miles away, and go get it. I take the FOURTH finch back to my office, get it set up, and the next morning… LIVE finch! Hooray!

The time passes till Christmas Eve with the finch happily singing in my office, and I take it home. I smuggle it into the house, and give it to one of the kids with sotto voce instructions to hide it in his closet. About an hour later, he comes down to get me, in tears, and leads me up to his room. Pieces of the cage, and an assortment of feathers, is strewn around the room, with a smug cat sitting there and no sign of the finch.

My wife never did get that finch. I guess sometimes it’s inferior merchandise, sometimes it’s a clueless customer, and sometimes, fate just decides somebody’s not going to get a finch for Christmas.

They’re Crackers About This Holiday

, , , , , , | Working | January 11, 2018

(A Jewish friend recently moved to North Carolina. She goes to her local grocery store and finds a big display of challah bread… for Passover, AKA The Holiday Where Jews Can’t Eat Bread. She goes to the customer service desk to speak to a manager.)

Friend: “Excuse me, but why do you have a display of challah for Passover?”

Manager: “It’s challah! Don’t you Jews eat this at every holiday?”

Friend: “Not Passover. That’s the holiday that is coming up. We can’t eat leavened bread on Passover.”

Manager: “Oh… Is that why we’ve got those big boxes of Jewish crackers?”

Friend: *sighs* “Yes, that’s when we eat the big crackers.”

(The next time my friend went to the grocery store, they were selling the challah at a sharp discount.)


, , , , | Friendly | January 2, 2018

(I’m walking into a small grocery store with my mother and two very red-headed sisters. As we head towards the entrance, a woman exits the store and stops to admire my sisters’ red hair.)

Woman: “Oh, your red hair is just gorgeous!”

Sister #1: “Oh, thanks!”

Me: “Heh, they get that a lot.”

Woman: “You know, I hope I can be reincarnated as a redhead. Yes… Maybe as a red-headed dolphin?”

(The woman then continued on her way. My sisters, my mother, and I exchanged puzzled glances before heading into the store. My sisters get compliments on their hair all the time, but usually the compliments end at the “your hair is gorgeous” line…)

They Seem To Exist On A Separate Temporal Plane

, , , | Right | January 1, 2018

(There has been a string of cancellations that affect a bunch of flights. Most of us have been already bumped 2-3 times. In order to make amends, the supervisor prints some vouchers for future travel for everyone due to the delays.)

Agent: “Sorry for the inconvenience. Here’s your voucher, sir.”

Customer: “I don’t want a voucher; I want to go home. What is the problem with the plane?”

Agent: “Sir, the plane had a mechanical problem and we want to make sure that it is okay before taking off.”

Customer: *goes on futile circular tirade about the plane* “Clearly you aren’t charging me enough for this flight if you can’t afford to keep the planes properly repaired and running on time. I need to get home to my wife and kids. And I want to be home at the time I paid to be home.”

Agent: “Considering it’s already past the time your flight would have arrived, there’s nothing I can do about that, but I can offer you this voucher as a gesture of goodwill.”

Customer: “Just give me my voucher.” *storms off*

(Everyone at the desk rolls their eyes.)

Me: “Don’t worry, I won’t ask you to invent a time machine.”

Agent: “H***, if I had one, I’d be the one using it!”

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