One Punch Man

, , , , , , | Learning | November 15, 2019

(For the past few summers, I’ve worked as a camp counselor for an arts/theatre camp in between semesters at school. The camp is based out of a school but we’re not connected to the school. For context, I am a certified EMT with extra certification in Tactical/Combat medicine. I’ve also done Krav Maga — an intense Israeli martial art — for a few years and am about to become certified as an instructor in that. The female counselor is about to finish her teaching degree and has about eight years of experience teaching and working with kids under her belt. Our campers range in age from about four to ten, and we have about 30 of them. We take them out to the playground after lunch. After about ten minutes, I notice the boys getting rougher and rougher. Then, one boy punches another in the jaw. I immediately break up the fight and check on the victim, who is the brother of the puncher.)

Me: “Are you okay?”

Victim: Yes.”

Me: “Do you need ice?”

Victim: “No.”

Me: “Do you need me to call the trainer?”

(We’re supposed to ask for liability even though I guarantee you I know more than she does. Whatever, I don’t mind.)

Victim: “No.”

(About every ten minutes for the next hour, I check on him and ask him the same questions. His response is always the same. My female counselor disciplines the brother. It’s not harsh because we’re at camp but we believe it’s fair for a punch. Turns out the victim had been stealing the brother’s hat throughout the day and he’d eventually had enough. The next day, we’re called to a meeting with my boss and the person in charge of the school’s summer program. The mother of the boys is also there. We tell them what happened.)

Mother: “I can’t believe you didn’t call the trainer. My son could’ve had a broken jaw. He came home saying his head hurt all day.”

Me: “He didn’t want me to call the trainer.”

Mother: “He said you didn’t even give him any ice.”

Me: “That is correct.”

Mother: “Don’t you think someone with medical experience should’ve seen him? Honestly, the entitlement of you all is astounding.”

Me: “Yes, I do.”

Mother: “Then why didn’t you call the trainer?”

Me: “Because…”

(I list my credentials to her.)

Me: “That, coupled with the fact that when I asked him, he said he didn’t want the trainer, made me think it wasn’t the best use of her time.”

Mother: “Well, why didn’t you stop the fight?”

Me: “I did. The second I saw the punch, I intervened.”

Mother: “Why didn’t you intervene before the fight started?”

Me: “Because I’m not psychic. I’m gonna go do my job now.”

(I walked out and back to work. The mother and boss of the school’s program wanted me fired but my boss refused. Luckily, she agreed with me and realized how dumb the mother was being.)

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Deaf To Reason, Part 11

, , , , | Right | November 14, 2019

(One of my coworkers is this young woman in her early 20s. She’s deaf and usually wears a hearing aid, but she can lip read and sign just fine. Her job mostly consists of unpacking and loading merchandise on the shelves so it’s rare that she has to deal with customers, and most customers seemed to understand that… except for this one time.)

Me: “Hello there. How may I help you toda—”

(The customer ignores me and directly walks towards my coworker.)

Customer: “Hey, you! Come over here and help me find [product]!”

(My coworker has her back to the customer so she doesn’t notice her yelling.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’ll be more than willing to assist you if you need anything; there’s no need to bother the other workers here. Plus, she’s—”

Customer: “No! I want her to help me; she’s lazing around the store doing absolutely nothing while you work your a**es off! These types of people need to learn a lesson! HEY! YOU!”

(She cuts me off and angrily steps towards my coworker and blocks her way.)

Customer: “I’ve been talking to you for a while now. How dare you ignore me, you b****?!” *pauses, seemingly noticing something in her ear* “You were on the phone this whole time?! I cannot f****** believe this! I am a customer and I deserve to be treated with respect!”

Me: “Ma’am—”

(I can’t believe my eyes. The crazy customer starts attempting to yank the hearing aid out of my poor coworker’s ear while the customer continues to scream, demanding proper service.)

Me: *while pushing her away* “MA’AM! FOR GOODNESS SAKE, SHE’S DEAF! Leave the store now or I’ll call the police to kick you out personally!”

Customer: *red-faced, realizing what she has done* “WELL, I DIDN’T KNOW THAT SHE WAS DEAF!”

Me: “Does that give you an excuse to violently yank something out of someone’s ear?”

(The customer left the store quickly and I contacted a few numbers to report about the case and have this woman banned from our store. My poor coworker, fortunately, didn’t have any injuries, but she got switched to work at a different department later on.)

Deaf To Reason, Part 10
Deaf To Reason, Part 9
Deaf To Reason, Part 8

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Self-Defending Your Answers

, , , , , , | Learning | November 8, 2019

While at university, I was a member of the Science Fiction Association. We shared a lot of membership with both the D&D club and, importantly, with the University Regiment. This meant that a lot of us learned a great deal about self-defense by osmosis.

Dial forward twenty years. I’m a teacher at a girls’ school, and our principal decided to have a guest lecturer to talk about assertiveness and self-defense. As part of it, we were asked to describe how we might react to someone trying to steal our money while making a withdrawal from an ATM. I’m sure that they were expecting “run” or perhaps punch with keys interlaced with fingers and other similar responses.

However, by coincidence, one of the staff at the school was also a female friend from uni who’d been a member of the Science Fiction Association. Our natural reaction was to start describing all the ways that one could disable or kill an attacker. I mentioned punching in the throat to crush the larynx, she talked about a palm strike to the nose to drive the bones up into the brain, I followed up with… well, you get the idea.

As we did so, we gradually noticed that the other staff were backing away from us.  

We got a lot of odd reactions for years afterward, and the principal never brought up self-defense again.

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Off The Clock And About To Go Off On You

, , , | Right | November 1, 2019

(I work as a supervisor at a membership store. We have a high turnover rate but a few shining employees manage to stay year after year. One of our cashiers is one example of a good employee: She does not complain about her job, she follows policies, smiles, goes above and beyond for customers, the whole nine yards. But I’ve noticed when she is off the clock that she can be quite cold and prefers to be left alone. This has never been an issue as our company does not try to police what employees do when they are off the clock and out of uniform. Unfortunately, she must reek of retail as customers bother her when she isn’t working. One day, a man approaches her as she is leaving the employees-only area, on her way out.)

Customer: “Where can I find the generic brand [item]?”

Cashier: “I don’t know. I don’t know the new summer inventory well enough to know where they’ve moved things. Why not ask someone else? A manager is right over there.”

Customer: “You know where it is. Tell me, now.”

Cashier: *clearly bothered by his slightly aggressive tone and his obvious refusal to listen to her* “I don’t. Leave me alone. I’m sure some employee up there can help you.” *tries to walk away but he walks in front of her to cut her off* “Go away.”

(He starts yelling at her about “poor customer service” thrown in with some vague threats and I try to intervene.)

Me: “Sir, she is not on the clock. What was the item you needed? I will be happy to show you where it is.”

Customer: “No! Not you! I want this lazy, no-good, millennial, [gay slur] b**** to help me so she learns her d*** place!”

Cashier: *does not look at all surprised and in fact looks quite bored with this situation* “Yeah, I’m going to go home now. See you tomorrow, [My Name].”

(I try to wish her well and hope that is the end of it, but the man grabs the hood on her jacket when she turns and tugs so hard that she falls back and the hood rips. A manager is called and I approach, helping the cashier up.)

Me: “Sir, you have just assaulted someone. Leave or the police will be involved.”

Customer: “I want this stupid [gay slur] to help me!”

(I’m foggy on the details as I step away as the manager steps in to help her while I call the police. Eventually, the man is arrested for assault and taken away.)

Me: “I am so sorry, [Cashier]. Are you all right?”

Cashier: “I guess. I’m just confused as to why he kept calling me gay.”

Me: “Well, whatever the issue was, how about we give you some credit for the cafe for snacks on your breaks?”

Cashier: “I’m fine, [My Name]. Thanks.”

(She’s definitely good at handling these bouts of stress. But as an act of goodwill, the manager bought her a new jacket just like the old one that was ruined and I bought her ice cream from the cafe during her next shift. Thankfully, our company is allowed a backbone. That customer had his membership refunded and revoked, and is now banned.)

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Dojo No No

, , , , | Friendly | October 25, 2019

This happened a few years ago when I was a newbie to Aikido. For those unfamiliar with this martial art and important for the story: there is zero competition. No tournaments nor friendly matches.

One session, I was paired with a more experienced guy and although he was more experienced, he was a difficult student. Not sure what his beef was — I’m female and maybe he wanted to impress me — but when it was my turn to practice the move shown, I was suddenly on my back. “You’re doing it wrong.” Rinse and repeat a few times and I was becoming seriously fed up and frustrated with his attitude. Suddenly, I noticed an opening. The next time, I didn’t concentrate too much on my move but was checking if I was right. He was indeed opening up for a counter-attack that I, with my limited knowledge, could exploit and I took back control. He was thrown halfway the tatami — exercise mat. When he returned to his position, he boasted that he knew I was going to do that, but suddenly, he was much more cooperative and allowed me to practice without further fuss. 

Writing this down, I don’t know why the sensei didn’t intervene, but at least the guy didn’t cause any more trouble.

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