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While You’re At It, Pick Up A Board Stretcher

, , , , , | Working | January 3, 2022

I’m pretty hands-on. I spent a lot of my childhood taking things apart to see how they worked and putting them back together. So, when I had the opportunity to do some work experience in my uncle’s factory, I was excited.

The first few days were great, but they clearly ran out of things for me to do, so they put me with [Employee]. He was a guy in his fifties who didn’t seem to want me there and wouldn’t let me help with anything!

After a day or two of following him around, I asked if I could actually “do” anything.

Employee: “When I was your age, I would have killed to have this opportunity.”

Me: “I’m not complaining. I was just hoping to help. Anything, at all. I’ve swept up twice already.”

Employee: “Why don’t you go over the road and see if they have any tartan paint?”

Finally having someone useful to do, I headed over the road to the paint shop, looking for a paint pot. After looking for something like “tartan red,” I realised that he was wasting my time. There was no tartan paint; he wanted me to ask for a paint that dried in a tartan pattern.

Shop Worker: “Can I help?”

Me: “Oh, no, thanks.”

Shop Worker: “Was there anything you were looking for in particular?”

Me: “Oh, yes. But it doesn’t matter.”

Shop Worker: “There is another paint shop down the road.”

Me: “Hmm? Oh, yes. Thank you.”

Still annoyed, I went out and grabbed a drink and took a long lunch. I mean, he wasn’t expecting me back from his fool’s errand anytime soon, right? I took my time and got back to the factory right as my lunch ended.

My uncle was there, furious.

Uncle: “Oh, thank God! There you are. I thought I was going to have to ring your parents.”

Me: “I got some lunch.”

Uncle: “Oh, that’s fine, really. But when I heard what [Employee] did, I called the paint shop; they told me you’d left for the next one and that we couldn’t find you there. I was worried that you got lost. Or worse.”

Me: “Sorry.”

Uncle: “Don’t apologize. [Employee] is an idiot and shouldn’t have done that. I’ve already had strong words with him.”

Me: “Oh, okay. Well, what should I do now?”

He sent me to the shops to buy some doughnuts for everyone. Then, I spent the rest of my time with him. It was great and he gave me a load of cash as “pay” on the last day for all the team help. Apparently, [Employee] felt so bad he put most of it in himself.

Breaking Out The Big Guns. Sort Of.

, , , , | Legal | January 2, 2022

I have been getting an annoyingly frequent occurrence of spam calls claiming that if I don’t pay some kind of debt from a supposed lawsuit, I’ll be arrested. Of course, they only accept gift cards, and the only lawsuits I’ve been in ended with the other party owing me money.

I’ve tried everything; I told them I know they’re a scammer and asked nicely to be taken off the list. I’ve reported the phone numbers they’ve used. I’ve played the “world’s most annoying noise” audio at full blast. I’ve screamed incoherently. Nothing has worked to get them to leave me alone, and I am getting tired of being called five times a day.

Understandably, after a week, I am furious and underslept from the constant disruptions since they call any time between 5:00 am and 1:00 am. So, on a lark, I decided to use a meme for inspiration: the two Spider-men pointing at each other.

Scammer: “This is the State Office of Federal Bureau Consumer Affair Lawsuit Agency. There is a pending court case that demands your attention. If you fail to respond and pay the levy, there will be a warrant for your arrest…”

I put on a serious and authoritative voice.

Me: “Son, do you have any idea what number you just dialed?”

Scammer: “Huh? Yes, I’ve called you.”

Me: “This ain’t a personal phone. This phone is on a sergeant’s desk in [City].”

Scammer: “What do you mean?”

Me: “You do know that impersonating police is a federal crime, right?”

Scammer: *Genuinely shocked* “I called the police?! No, I didn’t!”

Me: “You were the one who called this line. So, where should I send the boys in blue to pick you up?”

The scammer hung up quickly.

They stopped calling! Just be careful not to actually say you are police, for obvious reasons.

Scamming The Scammers

, , , , | Legal | December 27, 2021

I keep getting a lot of scam calls. Lately, it’s been the Medicare and insurance scammers. As they are going into their monologue, I interrupt them.

Me: *In a very monotone voice* “Name, please.”

Scammer: “Oh, it’s [Scammer], and I—”

Me: “Business name, please.”

Scammer: “I’m calling from the Medicare office to make sure you—”

Me: “Account number, please.”

Scammer: “Ummm… what?”

Me: *In a more aggravated tone* “I need your account number, please.”

Scammer: “Oh, no, I’m calling to—”

Me: “I cannot assist you without your account number. You know that by now. What is it?”

Scammer: “Ummm, no, I’m—”

Me: “WHAT IS YOUR ACCOUNT NUMBER? I will not assist you without it. Do you need a moment to find it or do you need to call back?”

This is usually the point they hang up. If they don’t, I keep interrupting them, demanding an account number. I have a recording of hold music for the next one that doesn’t. I plan on telling them I will give them a moment to find their account number and putting the music on. I am curious to see how long they will stay on the line before hanging up.

All I Want For Christmas Is For You To Go Away

, , , , , | Working | December 23, 2021

It’s November and I am at a neighbor’s house, babysitting their three-year-old and four-month-old. I’m about fifteen when this occurs.

The toddler and I have just finished decorating a play Christmas tree his parents got him, and I ask him to pick out his PJs while I get the baby a bottle. 

My phone rings, and I don’t recognize the number, but their mother just got a new phone, so I answer. 

Telemarketer: “Hello! Have you heard about the new laws affecting Medicare? We can help—”

Me: “Sorry, I’m not eligible or interested. Please take me off your list.”

Telemarketer: “I promise, we can save you money!”

Me: “Sir, I’m like, fifty years away from being eligible. Please take me off your list. Thank you.”

I hang up the phone and start feeding the baby. The phone rings again, and for some reason, I answer again, putting it on speaker as my hands are full with the baby and the bottle. It’s the same telemarketer.

Telemarketer: “It seems we got disconnected! I was telling you about the—”

Me: “Sir, I told you, I’m not interested! Please remove my number! And if you could, please hang up!”

Telemarketer: “I cannot hang up on a customer, but I can help you save money!”

I hang up and once again, he calls back. I’m still not sure why I answer again, other than being fifteen and dumb.

Telemarketer: “I must have a bad connection today! We got disconnected.”

Me: “Hey, [Toddler], come here.”

Toddler: “Yes?”

I hand him the phone.

Me: “It’s Santa. He wants to know what you want for Christmas.”

I was able to get the baby fed, burped, bathed, changed, and in bed and draw a bath for [Toddler] before he finished his list.

Surprisingly, the telemarketer didn’t call back after that.

Hello, Snarky Programmer!

, , , , , , , | Learning | December 13, 2021

The first program a fledgling programmer is supposed to write is a “Hello, world” program, which literally does nothing but print out the phrase “Hello, world.” I’m not sure why it’s a thing, but all programmers know what it is.

I was going to a highly-rated college for programming and was taking the Operating Systems course, the most notoriously hard class in the entire curriculum, where we had to build our own functional operating system. We were nearing the end of when our last assignment was due, and of course, it was the hardest of all the assignments. Most of us were pulling a few all-nighters to get it done in time.

When class time rolled around for the course, we all filtered into the usual classroom to find someone had been doodling on the whiteboard in the room. In large, colorful letters, the unknown vandal had written, “HELLO, WORLD!” Underneath that, in much smaller writing, they added, “(Goodbye, social life.)”

One of my peers pointed it out, and we were all getting a bit of a chuckle out of it when our professor walked in and saw it.

Professor: “Okay, who wrote that? We have to erase it immediately! I’m not allowed to be that honest with you folks until after finals are over!”