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Kids Really Do Say The Darnedest Things

, , , , , | Friendly | March 3, 2023

This happened years ago when my younger brother was very small. We have a community of Hungarians who live in our town in Germany. One year, someone had the brilliant idea to invite another Hungarian community from another town to our Christmas party. Two groups of Hungarian people sharing the experience of living in Germany, right?

Well, it didn’t take long for the adults to start arguing. Our guests insisted on kicking a family off the party, as they aren’t ethnic Hungarians, which our group disagreed with. Once the argument calmed down a bit, my younger brother went up to one of the guests.

Brother: “Why don’t you like [Woman]?”

Guest: “Her family’s bad; they’re [slur]s.”

Brother: “What did they do to be bad?”

Guest: “They don’t need to do anything. They’re [slur]s.”

Brother: “So, [slur]s are bad because they are [slur]s.”

Guest: “Yes. Finally, someone here gets it.”

Brother: “Why don’t you just say you’re Nazis?”

Raining On Their Own Parades

, , , , , , , | Friendly | March 1, 2023

In Norway, we have something called the “russ celebration”. It’s to celebrate when we graduate high school and is generally just a bunch of young adults partying and behaving wildly.

While the celebrations have escalated wildly over the last couple of decades, costing enormous sums of money for decorated vehicles, stereo sets, and going to festivals, one of the longest-running traditions is that the “russ” have to participate in our Seventeenth of May parade; that’s our Constitution Day. That also means that, traditionally, the night before is the biggest party night. For our American readers, this whole thing kind of becomes like spring break and the Fourth of July all rolled up in one.

When I was a “russ”, I wasn’t drinking much; I was one of the people organizing the parties rather than getting hammered all the time. (The legal drinking age in Norway is eighteen.) Some of the guys teased me a bit over this, but I felt like I didn’t really need to be on the sauce all the time. Therefore, while we partied all through the night on the sixteenth of May, I stayed relatively sober while my classmates got drunker and drunker. At this point, some of them really started teasing, saying ironically how much of a shame it was that I had to organize things and leave the drinking to them.

On the morning of the seventeenth, just before the big parade was due to start, most of the guys were hungover, probably still drunk. Then, it occurred to them that in order to drive their special vehicles in the parade, they’d have to be sober!

Suddenly, the light drinker was very much sought-after as I could fulfil the role of stand-in designated driver.

That’s One Hot Birthday Party!

, , , , , , , | Working | February 2, 2023

I will remember this birthday for a long time! Tonight, we went to [Steakhouse Restaurant] for dinner to celebrate. I had asked [Husband] to invite everyone from the Armed Forces recruiting offices to join us, and a few were able to come.

As we were only able to get an 8:00 reservation, we were among the last people of the evening. Things were going smoothly with everyone enjoying appetizers, drinks, and engaging conversations.

Our food came, and everyone noticed that [Husband]’s boss had ordered a meal that came covered in a glass dome. The server lifted it up to do the fancy presentation and release the smoke.

What we didn’t realize was that our table was right underneath the smoke detector… and there was a lot of smoke! The commander’s young son kept pointing out the smoke to everyone, just as the smoke alarm went off.

They had to evacuate the entire restaurant while we waited for the fire department to arrive. After a few minutes of standing outside in the cold, we were allowed back inside the building, although we were asked to move to a different table so that the smoke detector could be reset.

The management felt so bad that our bill was completely paid for, and everyone in the restaurant was given coupons for free appetizers on a future visit!

Everyone got a good laugh about the entire situation. At least we all had a good time and now we all have a funny story to share!

Every Party Has A Pooper; That’s Why We Invited You, Part 2

, , , , , , | Friendly | January 10, 2023

I live in an apartment complex. Rather than one huge tower or block, it’s a series of one- and two-floor buildings each with twelve to fourteen apartments depending on the size and configuration. Some of the rules make sense and some less so; one of the rules is that people aren’t allowed to use outdoor grills at all. Right next to the buildings where it could be a fire hazard is understandable, but there are open fields and yards between the buildings where it should be safe. Still, no grills.

Despite this, I have to say that one of my favorite things about living here is the SMELLS. There are a lot of people from a lot of cultural and ethnic heritages — in my building, at least — and smelling all the different types of cooking and inspiring me to try more has probably contributed to my weight gain in recent years.

It also inspired someone else to organize a potluck between the whole building and the one next to ours! One Saturday, we all got together, set out tables, and brought unique dishes. You didn’t have to bring food to participate, but the organizer did ask folks to bring their own drinks and some way to label their dishes so folks had half an idea what they were grabbing.

There were bowls and crockpots and serving platters; Indian, German, Mexican, Southeast Asian, South American, Middle Eastern, and African — I think the only inhabited continent/area we didn’t have represented was Australia; snacks and appetizers and soups and entrees and desserts. Everyone was trying mostly everything, folks were getting to know each other, and a good time was had by all.

Then, SHE arrived. This woman came huffing and puffing her way across the street from another building. There may as well have been thunderclouds billowing above her head.

I was unfortunate enough to be part of the group that was closest to her.

Woman: “What the f*** do you all think you’re doing?!”

Neighbor #1: “Having a party?”


Me: “Nnnno? I mean, if you wanna join us, we’ve got plenty, but—”


From this point forward, she never talks in less than a bellow.

Neighbor #2: “All of us, potluck!”


Me: “No grill, lady. We cooked these in our houses.”


And just like that, this tornado of rage spun around and marched back home, leaving everyone baffled. Much laughter was shared over the novel concept of “moving food from where you cooked it”.

Then, ten or fifteen minutes later, a couple of police cars rolled up with their lights blazing. I conspicuously noticed a few neighbors disappear; whether they had actual issues or just didn’t want to get involved, who knows? But the organizer and I were front and center as the police got out.

Officer: “Good afternoon. We’re here because of complaints that you all had an open fire pit going on.”

It’s usually not a good idea to laugh in a police officer’s face, but I really couldn’t help it. After a brief discussion and showing of what was going on — we didn’t even have anything playing music, which was also part of the complaint — the officers headed off. Thankfully, nothing else happened that day, but occasionally, I’d spot an angry face peering from a window to which I’d give a cheeky wave.

And no, nobody got evicted, but a new rule was put into place: any planned outdoor gatherings of more than two apartments need to be communicated with the main office. Thanks, [Woman], for adding bureaucracy to a friendly get-together!

Every Party Has A Pooper; That’s Why We Invited You

You Don’t Have To Go To School To Understand That Theft Is Wrong

, , , , , | Right | January 5, 2023

A long-time friend of mine who has also been a good client with thirty projects completed chats me up at a holiday get-together. 

Friend: “Have you ever heard of Milton Glaser?”

Me: “Of course; he’s a very famous designer.”

Friend: “I bought four of his books. Have you read them?”

Me: “Yes. I did a paper on him in school.”

Friend: “Reeeaaally? Huh, not sure why you went to school. After reading these, I realized I can do all your work myself. I should have saved myself a lot of cash over the years.”

Me: *Pauses* “That’s pretty insulting. What program are you using?”

Friend: “PowerPoint.”

Me: “Can I see these designs?

Friend: “Well, not right now; we’re at a party.”

Me: “Right. Just curious, how are you drawing in PowerPoint?”

Friend: “Drawing? I can’t draw. I take a picture with my phone of the things I like in the book, and then I put text over the picture in PowerPoint.”

Me: “You do know that is infringement, right?”

Friend: “It’s called ‘creating a design’.”