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Did You Just Dare Me To Take You To Court?

, , , , , , , | Legal | CREDIT: theb00kmancometh | November 20, 2022

This incident took place in India in the late 1980s and early ‘90s. The school where my sister and I studied was in my hometown. We knew almost all of the teachers since they were practically our neighbours.

By the time I graduated from school, the principal had retired and the vice principal had taken over as the principal.

[Vice Principal] was also from the same town, and for some unknown reason, he had some sort of grudge against my father. In local gatherings and such, he would always try to belittle my father at all chances he could get. My father would normally let it pass since he knows that getting into silly arguments with such a bully is totally unproductive.

When my sister and I joined the school, my father was required to pay a refundable deposit of 5,000 Rupees per child, which would be returned when each child graduated from the school. 10,000 Rupees was a large amount in the ‘90s and is equivalent to 95,000 Rupees now.

I graduated in 1989. My father enquired about the refund.

Vice Principal: “Since [Sister] will be graduating next year, both of the deposits will be returned together.”

When my sister graduated from school, my father requested that the school refund both of the deposits. There was no response, even after two weeks, and my father personally went to the school to demand the refund. [Vice Principal], being the egotistical bully, started arguing with my father stating that the school couldn’t refund the deposits. The argument became very heated, and he refused point-blank.

Vice Principal: “We are not returning the deposits. Do what you want. You can take us to court if you want!”

My father went silent, got up, and left the school. He came home, sat down with Mom, and went through all the school-related documents she had kept. My mom had a very meticulous documentation system; she used to save every receipt, bill, stub, etc.

He found the receipts for the deposits and took them to his lawyer friend. My dad informed his friends whose children were in the same school about the issue.

The lawyer filed the case and took the school to court. The school couldn’t provide any reason for withholding the deposits, so my dad won. The school was instructed to pay back the deposits with interest, as well as court dues.

My father’s friends who were in the PTA took up the issue in the subsequent PTA meeting, and they got the school’s trustee board to ensure that such issues wouldn’t be dealt with in the same manner. All deposits would be refunded in time. They strictly warned [Vice Principal] not to bring personal grudges into school business.

Other parents who were owed deposits but had forgotten about them started claiming them. It cost the school a lot to pay back all the deposits.

Google Is Free (Even Twenty Years Ago)

, , , , , , | Learning | November 9, 2022

I grew up in California, and we have a species of Condor called… wait for it… the California Condor! I was and still am an animal lover. In elementary school, I would read books about all kinds of snakes, lizards, vultures, and condors — basically, creatures that most little girls wanted nothing to do with. (To be fair, once I learned how spiders “ate” and then about “spider wasps”, I kind of noped the hell out of the insect/arachnid kingdoms.)

As a little girl with eclectic tastes, I spent my childhood perking up with a lot of interest upon hearing about how the California Condors had gone extinct in the wild and how conservationists were reintroducing them from captivity breeding programs. By the time I hit high school, I was ecstatic when condors began wheeling and circling in the skies around my hometown. For some odd reason, they really seemed to like our imported-long-ago eucalyptus trees.

Enter [Girl]. [Girl] went to the same school as I did, and we ended up butting heads off and on throughout my childhood. Now, for whatever reason, [Girl] believed that it was her life’s goal to out-knowledge the local animal lover. Unfortunately, [Girl]’s life’s goal coincided with absolute conviction that she was right about so very many — VERY, VERY many — wrong things.

Snakes are slimy — regardless of what the books say. All snakes are poisonous. There is no such thing as venom; that’s the incorrect and out-of-date term for poison. Constrictors are poisonous, too. Frogs and toads can give you warts — because the human papillomavirus (HPV) can be contracted from amphibians. Cows are animals, NOT mammals — because the two are mutually exclusive. Ants are NOT animals; they are insects — again, mutually exclusive.

And the crux of our story: the giant birds circling over our town were red-tailed hawks. As I watched our condor population soar (pun intended) from six to twenty-plus individuals over the years, [Girl] and I had several verbal altercations over the identity of our birds. This sums them all up.

Girl: “Oh, the hawks are back!”

Me: *Looking up* “Nope. Those are condors.”

Girl: “No, they’re hawks! Want to know how to tell the difference? The shape of their wings. The wing shape of those birds says they’re red-tailed hawks.”

Note: these birds were circling and coming down to land on our eucalyptus trees at a height of about three stories up in the air. They would land awkwardly, flaring their huge wings until they got their balance. Even from this distance, you could see that their heads were naked of feathers.

Me: “[Girl], these birds don’t have feathers on their heads. Their tails aren’t red. And their wingspan is huge.”

A condor’s wingspan is about 9.5 feet. A red-tailed hawk’s is 4.8 feet at most, y’all.

Girl: “Nope. You’re wrong. You just can’t see the red of their tails from below. This is one thing I know more about than you.”

Me: “No… No, you don’t, [Girl].”

Girl: “Yes, I do. The shape of their wings says hawk, so you’re wrong.”

She turned her back and walked away the instant I held a science book about animals anywhere near her. She wouldn’t even acknowledge anything that could possibly prove her wrong. On the plus side, this provided me with a very “cross versus vampires” way to make [Girl] shove off during my school years.

Twenty-two years later, [Girl] is a staunch anti-vaxxer. She found me after a twenty-year gap and spent far too much of the next two years yelling at me on social media to wake up, do my research, and stop injecting my body with autism before I blocked her. Yes, vaccines don’t GIVE you autism; the injections ARE autism. I just can’t even anymore.

What If You Made Tortillas… And Then Made Them Into A Lasagna?!

, , , | Learning | November 4, 2022

My husband teaches food and cookery. He’s helping a fifteen- or sixteen-year-old decide on his final project.

Student: “I could make fajitas.”

Teacher: “Sounds good. You’ll need to make tortillas; I can show you.”

Student: “Nah, sounds hard. I’ll make quesadillas.”

Teacher: “They also need tortillas.”

Student: “Nachos?”

Teacher: “What are nachos made of?”

Student: “Tort— Ah, I see what you did there, sir!”

Later that session, he’s talking to the same student.

Student: “Sir, what’s mouse-akka?”

Teacher: “Moussaka? You know lasagne?”

Student: “Yeah?”

Teacher: “Take out the pasta and use aubergine, and use lamb mince instead of beef.”

Student: “You could’ve just said Lasagne 2.0, sir!”

The Spookiest Buddies

, , , , , , | Learning | October 31, 2022

I worked as an after-school care teacher at an elementary school. For Halloween, we had a little party for the kids with snacks and a movie. This film was the terrifying thriller “Spooky Buddies,” which all but two of the kids were mindlessly watching.

The two that weren’t were five-year-old twins who were mortified by the plight of the four Labrador puppies in Halloween costumes and came to me absolutely sobbing.

Kid: “Can you turn off the movie, please? It’s too scary!”

Me: “I’m sorry, all the other kids are enjoying it. How about we go to the other side of the cafeteria and play a board game, instead?”

Kid: “That won’t work!”

Me: “Why not?”

Kid: “BECAUSE I CAN’T LOOK AWAY!”

I ended up with one crying twin on each knee, terrified but adamantly refusing to not stare at the movie.

Blessedly, their mom came to pick them up not too long after.

This Is Going To Be A Uniform Response, It Seems

, , , , , , , | Right | October 29, 2022

I attended a private Catholic high school many years ago. Most in my area required a specific, monogrammed uniform that was sold at a specific store. You could not buy them elsewhere, and the administration loved giving you detention if you wore khakis that did not have their acronym on them. Their sizing was horrible, so this happened very often. The pants had to fit a specific way as well: both baggy and skin-tight ones were not allowed.

I ended up working at this store one summer a year after graduation, and since I had personal experience with how awful those uniforms were, it was my designated area every shift. One interaction has stayed a fresh memory for ten years.

This student is an incoming freshman. Her mother is with her in crisp business attire with a Bluetooth piece in her ear and not much patience for her teenager’s attitude. She is not talkative but does pay attention when I show them the uniform options and the school’s policy.

I help the girl find three sizes likely to fit and explain that the size on the label might say five, but it really is a size two. She takes them in to try them on, and I tidy up the area while I wait for her to decide so I can pull more of the size she needs, all while she is complaining about how awful they fit her and how they don’t show off her legs at all. I check the fit with her mother, and off I go to pull the correct pairs when I hear this gem.

Mom: “You’re going there to learn, not to get a dollar in your underwear. Enough.”

I did not hear another word from her outside of yes or no until they left. She was pretty embarrassed by her mom’s admonition, but knowing how that school was, the admin’s dressing down would have been worse. I don’t miss that store and I especially don’t miss how many kids would leave in tears for how poorly those pants fit, especially on anyone not under a size seven or anyone tall.