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Going Beyond The Borders Of Being A Helpful Pet

, , , , , , | Related | December 6, 2022

This was back when my border collie and I still lived at my parents’ house. I owned a bearded dragon who was kept in my bedroom. One night, I was downstairs focusing on college work and my mum had gone up for a shower. My dog was relaxing next to me. All of a sudden, he bolted upright, staring ahead with his head to one side. Then, he took off upstairs.

At the time, I didn’t think much of it; he sometimes liked to greet the resident humans after their traumatic time in the shower. I thought my mum had just come back out and he wanted to make sure she hadn’t drowned. But then, I heard a yell from upstairs.

Mum: “[My Name], your bedroom is full of smoke!”

I ran upstairs and found out that, indeed, the room was full of smoke. Something had gone wrong with the heat lamp in my bearded dragon’s enclosure. Perhaps the lizard had been climbing and the fitting wasn’t tight enough, but the whole thing had spun toward the back of the wooden vivarium and was slowly burning through. And yes, I do still kick myself about this. It was an eighty-watt bulb pointing at wood. You can imagine.

It turned out that my mum had come out of the bathroom to see my dog scratching at my bedroom door. She’d opened it, and that’s when she’d seen the smoke.

I immediately took the lizard out and put him in a temporary enclosure while I made sure his usual was completely free of smoke and while my dad drilled the fitting in place.

That was probably eight years ago. My border collie is now almost twelve, and my bearded dragon sadly passed away in 2021, aged thirteen. My dog still loves to check in on his little critter friends, now consisting of a hamster and guinea pigs! In fact, the hamster has moved into the four-foot-long refurbished and hamster-proofed vivarium my lizard used to live in. It still has the burn marks. I still feel terrible. But I’m eternally grateful to my pooch for that and all the times he’s tolerated and supported me through poor mental health.

Collies Without Borders
Border Collies Are Focused… On Something…
No Borders On That Guy’s Rudeness
No Borders On That Kid’s Kindness
No Borders On That Lady’s Crazy

An Explosive Response

, , , , , , , | Working | November 29, 2022

I’m outdoors when I hear a horrible ringing and grinding noise. I decide to figure out where the noise is coming from. This isn’t hard: the noise is getting louder and seems to be approaching me.

To my shock, a City Of Minneapolis vehicle drives past with a propane tank hanging from a tube connected to a piece of machinery in the back. The propane tank is dragging on the ground, producing the horrible ringing noise.

I whip out my cell phone and get a picture of the plates, the Department Of Transportation number, and the phone number to call. I call the city and attempt to explain what’s happening. When I reach the part about the propane tank dragging on the ground…

Employee: “The tank is what?!

Me: “Dragging on the ground.”

Employee: “How is it dragging?”

Me: “It was connected to a tube that was connected to something in the vehicle.”

Employee: *Slightly hysterical* “So, you’re telling me that a live propane tank is dragging behind this vehicle?”

Me: “Yes.”


Me: “Uh… hello?”


Me: “Uh… Hi, this is [My Name].”

Employee: “Yeah, we were disconnected. I was so surprised by what you told me that I accidentally hung up on you without getting some important information. What were the license number and DOT number of the truck in question again?”

They promised me that they would get in touch with the driver and handle the problem, but I still think it’s both funny and horrifying that they hung up on me mid-call because they were so surprised about the propane tank.

That’s One Hot Potato

, , , , , | Working | November 25, 2022

The logistics department forgets to unplug a forklift during a stormy night. When we arrive in the workshop; there is a smell of gas and sulphur because of the hydrocarbons. Because of the smell and the risk of explosion or fire, we have to evacuate.

[Coworker 1] has just arrived (slightly late).

Coworker #1: “Oh, it smells like tartiflette.”

Tartiflette is a dish with potatoes, pork fat, and onions, among other ingredients.

Coworker #2: “Uh, it’s a gas smell. Don’t come in.”

Coworker #1: “But it really smells like tartiflette.”

Me: “It would be nice if someone would play a joke on us and prepare a surprise tartiflette party, but that’s not the case here.”

Coworker #1: “Not a surprise tartiflette party — more like if our supervisors wanted to make a tartiflette without us.”

Coworker #3: “[Executive Secretary] has just informed us that [Boss] has called the fire department to check the security of the place. They’re on their way. If it’s just to hide the fact that they’ve been eating tartiflette on the sly, the firefighters will appreciate it.”

Coworker #1: “But—”

Coworker #2: “I know you love tartiflette, but either you stay outside and if you’re right you miss a tartiflette and if you’re wrong you stay alive, or you go back in and you’re right and you get a tartiflette or you’re wrong and you risk dying.”

Fortunately, [Coworker #1] finally decided to stay out and stay alive. When we got back to the workplace, she found that there was no tartiflette. So, remember, your life is worth more than the possibility of having tartiflette.

Don’t Just Let Them Wing It

, , , , , | Right | November 22, 2022

I worked as a lifeguard at a public pool last summer. We had a strict “No water wings” policy; those little f***ers are death traps.

A woman is putting water wings on her kid next to the pool, and I politely inform her:

Me: “Ma’am, we do not allow water wings, but we have life vests available for free.”

I point to them, literally five feet from where she’s standing.

Woman: *Infuriated* “How dare you dictate to me how I treat my child?!”

I can see this escalating, so I call my supervisor over. As he arrives and speaks to her, the kid jumps in the pool. The water wings slip up his arms, and he’s suspended underwater. I jump in and pull him out.

Woman: *Even more furious* “You have some nerve to touch my child! I’m gonna sue!”

She was banned from the pool.

They Got The Lion’s Share Of The Stupidity

, , , , , , , | Right | November 21, 2022

Back in 2011, I went to Africa to volunteer at an animal park. One of the areas I helped out with was a drive-through space with a pride of lions. People could drive their cars through to look at the lions, but there were rules. No cars with soft roofs (i.e., a cloth convertible top) or open roofs. Windows had to be closed at all times. Stick to the path. And so on.

Of course, people would try to break the rules, so a staff member would drive around in a truck to keep an eye on things, and sometimes volunteers would ride along to help look out. Most of it was fairly minor — cracking a window for a camera or trying to drive off the path to get closer to the lions. Except for this:

My volunteer coworker and I were in the backseat of the truck, looking out our respective windows, when suddenly my coworker gasped loudly. The staff member and I turned to look, and she was pointing toward a car that had stopped only a few feet away from the male lion.

They had two windows fully open: one for their camera and the other to DANGLE THEIR BABY OUT THE WINDOW so they could get a photo of the baby and the lion.

The staff member immediately jumped out of the truck and scrambled over to them. He briefly spoke to them. Then, they pulled the kid (and the camera) back inside, closed the windows, and drove off. When he came back, we asked him what he had said to them.

Staff Member: “I just told them that if they didn’t want their baby anymore, I had much kinder ways of getting rid of the kid than offering them up to the lions as food.”