The World’s Oldest Profession Is Actually Teaching

, , , , , | Learning | June 9, 2019

(We are in school discussing current events, specifically the fact that our state’s governor resigned earlier today.)

Teacher: “Did everyone hear what happened to [Governor]?”

Student #1: “He resigned.”

Teacher: “Does anyone know why?”

Student #2: “He was involved in a prostitution scandal.”

Teacher: “Correct.”

Student #3: “Wait? He was a prostitute?”

(No, silly, he was the client.)

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Just Keep Trump-eting That Rhetoric

, , , , , | Right | May 16, 2019

(Our store is collecting change for a local charity that works with homeless men. As our town already has several excellent charities for families and women, this smaller group is working to help those who have previously been overlooked, and is having great success. To encourage giving, the change jar has a sign that reads, “Your change helped a homeless man buy boots so he can go to work.” I’m ringing up a woman who has been a bit brusk but otherwise polite. It’s late 2018, well after the presidential elections. As I’m ringing the woman up, she sees the change jar and makes a disapproving sound.)

Customer: “That’s not right, you know. I don’t approve. I don’t believe in helping those who won’t work.”

Me: *totally caught off guard* “Well, ma’am, that’s the goal: to help them get to the point where they can work.”

Customer: “They’re lazy and we’d be better off without them all.”

Me: *thinking: “Wait, you’d rather they just died?”* “Well, illnesses, both physical and mental, are the leading causes of homelessness. A lot of those men would love to live normal lives but can’t afford the medical care needed to get there. This group works with each one, ensuring they have the basic necessities like food and shelter, and then helps them navigate the next steps so they can hopefully get off the streets. It’s obviously more complex than that, but that’s the basic—“

Customer: “I just don’t think my hard-earned money should pay for them.”

Me: “No worries; you don’t have to give—“

Customer: “Trump’s going to fix that, you know.”

Me: “I… Excuse me?”

Customer: “He’s going to help them and fix things. Hilary wouldn’t, you know. Trump will.”

Me: “I… You… So, the Republican plan is to discourage local, grass-roots charities, and to instead fix things with federal-level programs?”

Customer: “Yeah, sure. He’ll fix it.”

Me: *pause* “Here’s your change, ma’am. Have a nice day.”

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A Broken Observation

, , , , | Right | May 1, 2019

It is during a US presidential election, and I am in charge of a district polling place. As it’s a large and very emotionally-fraught election, many groups around the state have sent out third-party observers to monitor the activity at polling places. As they are not considered election staff, my authority over them is limited to making them sign in and ensuring they don’t interfere with voters in any way; I have no say over who they are or how many.

I have three observers at my site, and they are all doing exactly what they’re supposed to, which is why I’m shocked when a woman tells me she wants to complain about them.

That is, until I hear her complaint. She’s upset because all of the observers are from one political party and there are none from the other, and wants to know what I’m going to do about it.

As patiently as I can, I explain to her that I have no control over which groups send observers, that it shouldn’t affect the process in any way because observers aren’t allowed to interfere with voters or try to convince them to vote a certain way, that she could try reaching out to the other party to send observers if she’s really concerned, and that I can’t just ask the observers to leave because she’s uncomfortable.

She decides this isn’t sufficient and continues to stand in front of me and declare that it’s “unfair” and “just doesn’t seem right” until I finally tell her point-blank, “Ma’am, the observers are allowed to be here, I don’t choose which groups are represented, and there is nothing more I can do, so I need you to step aside and allow me to help other voters.” She finally walks off, still muttering under her breath about the unfairness of the situation and making me wonder exactly what it was she expected me to do; create observers for the second party out of thin air?

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She Had A Fall, And So Did Australia, Apparently

, , , , , , | Healthy | April 26, 2019

(I’m in the ER with my husband after he broke his arm. A woman and her adult daughter are in the curtain area next to us. From what I can gather, the older woman had a fall and hit her head; she doesn’t remember what happened and has lost her hearing aids. The nurse is asking her some general questions. It is 2014 and we live in Australia.)

Nurse: “Okay, just a few questions. What is your full name?”

Older Woman: “[Older Woman].”

Nurse: “Great, and your birthdate?”

Older Woman: “Pardon?”

Daughter: *bit louder* “Your birthday, mum”

Older Woman: “Oh, it’s [birthdate].”

Nurse: “Who is the prime minister?”

Older Woman: “I’m sorry, what?”

Daughter: *louder again* “Who’s the idiot that runs the country?”

Older Woman: “Oh, that’s Tony Abbott.”

(My husband and I couldn’t help but laugh. The nurse had a good chuckle, too.)

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Will Take A Vote On Who Was Right

, , , , | Friendly | April 13, 2019

(Our voting place has been inside an apartment complex near our house for years. I usually walk there, but one year I decide to drive. I go in the morning because I can vote before work and my shift will last past voting hours. No big deal, right? I drive up and the complex has four parking spaces for voters and all are being used. The only other parking space is handicapped. Knowing I am going to run in and out — I have a filled-out sample ballot so all I have to do is color in some circles — I park in a resident’s spot. I hate doing it but figure I’ll be really quick. I am quite literally filling in the last circle when a lady bursts into the voting place.)

Lady: “Who drives a [car meeting mine’s description]? You’re in my spot!”

Me: *fessing up* “That’s me. I’m leaving right now. Sorry, there was nowhere to park.”

(It’s lame, I know it, but I’m complying with her wants.)

Lady: “You’re in my spot! It’s not for voters!”

Me: “I know. All those spots were filled. Again, I’m sorry.”

(I try to leave to move my car, but she isn’t done.)

Lady: “You can’t park there! You—“ *directs her finger to the voting volunteers* “—need to make sure they can’t park there.”

Volunteer: “Ma’am, we do not block people from voting. It is about ten in the morning, so people are going to use those open spots. We will not stop them.”

(She had a small meltdown and I walked out to move the car. Out there I saw one vehicle parked across two open resident spaces near the spot I parked in. Apparently, she could park in two other people’s spot but I couldn’t park in one!)

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