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Double Standards Don’t Help Anyone Succeed

, , , , , | Learning | August 22, 2021

I was in fourth or fifth grade when this happened. I’m a girl, and at this time, I was also dealing with what would later be diagnosed as high-functioning autism. As a result, I had a really hard time interacting with my classmates. I did my best to learn what kind of behaviour was appropriate in different situations, but I found it to be very difficult, because the rules kept changing around depending on the individuals who were involved. 

One bright winter day, my classmates and I were playing King of the Hill on a big snowdrift in the schoolyard. The class bully kept winning, and I found it unfair, because he was so much bigger and stronger than the rest of us, and I thought he should give someone else a go instead of just kicking off anyone who tried to make an attempt to get to the top. This inevitably escalated into a fight between me and the bully, because I thought that the same rules applied to all children and had not yet grasped that girls were not supposed to fight. 

We ended up in an empty classroom with our teacher. It’s important to note that we were both chubby children, but [Class Bully] was tall and broad while I was short and squat. I’d been bullied for being fat for years, while no one had ever dared to say anything to [Class Bully].

Teacher: “Can you please tell me what happened?

Class Bully: “[My Name] said I was fat and to get off the hill!”

Me: “That’s not what happened! I told him he should let someone else have a chance to be King! I just said he’s as big as two people and it wasn’t fair!”

[Class Bully] started crying, which was usually what he did when he was being called out for his behaviour and there was an adult present.

Teacher: “[My Name], I’m very disappointed in you. You know bullying isn’t acceptable at this school!”

In fact, bullying was very much acceptable at this school; it just depended on who was doing the bullying.

Me: “But I wasn’t bullying him.”

Teacher: “You can’t go around calling other children fat. That sort of thing hurts. I’m going to have to call your parents about this.”

Me: “I didn’t say he was fat; I said he was big!”

Teacher: “It means the same thing, and it’s very hurtful. You need to be more considerate of others, [My Name]. See how sad you’ve made [Class Bully]?”

Me: “But the other children call me fat all the time; how is that any different? Why am I not allowed to say it?”

Teacher: “Well, we can’t always say everything we think. Now, apologize to [Class Bully] and then go home and think about what you’ve done.”

In my mind, I hadn’t done anything different than what the other kids were already doing to me without consequences, but in my little mental flowchart of human interaction, I carefully noted down, “Other children may be mean to me, but I may not be mean to them.”

This, and a hundred other little incidents like it, led to me, a few years later, being scolded by my teachers for not speaking up in class and not standing up for myself. 

It was very, very confusing until I reached my twenties and finally got a therapist who explained to me that I was not the stupid one.

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We’ll Pay You To Shut Up, But Only For Charity

, , , , , | Learning | August 12, 2021

We have been fundraising for charity. Many students take on a sponsored activity and get people to pay them. Some run and get paid per mile; others bake and sell cakes. [Student], the class voice box, decides to do a sponsored silence.

Everyone is surprised; [Student] cannot keep quiet even when saying nothing at all. But all day, she says nothing at all, not even on break.

The next day, everyone is talking about donations and collections. [Student] pipes up.

Student: “I raised £53!”

Me: “That’s really good.”

Student: “Yeah, I got my whole family to sponsor me, as well as people from school.”

Friend: “Well done.”

Student: “Yeah, I don’t know what I will spend the money on.”

Me: “You don’t get to keep the money. You realise that? It’s for charity.”

Student: “No! I did the sponsored silence; I raised the money.”

Friend: “Yeah, I don’t think you know what you’re talking about, [My Name].”

Me: “You guys know this is for charity, right? The whole day is for charity.”

Student: *Sarcastically* “Yeah, sure. Don’t forget you both owe me money for yesterday.”

I blew her off. I’m not paying when she was supposed to be donating it. Apparently, many others didn’t, either. [Student]’s mum ended up coming to the school to complain only to be told that she needed to give the money to the school. I don’t think that money ever made it to the charity.

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That’s One Super Supervisor

, , , , , , | Working | August 9, 2021

I’m a cleaner in a school and our morning shift is 5:00 to 7:45. It’s not too bad, as I live two houses away. [Cleaner #1] and I usually help out in other areas when we’re done. Normally, only one other area needs it and only in the afternoon. [Cleaner #1], on top of her own work, has to do the supervisor’s small bit as he’s really lazy.

[Cleaner #1] and I are taking out our many rubbish bags when the supervisor joins us. He’s got not even HALF of a bag of rubbish. It turns out he’s done a single toilet set. On the way back in, he’s b****ing about the area manager.

Supervisor: “Oh, yeah, I’m supposed to send you off to help out in other areas if it’s 7:40 am. But that’s ridiculous; you guys do too much already, so I’m not going to do that.”

We get inside. The majority of the coworkers are sat there together, and the only ones missing are those in the area that generates more mess. We are supposed to wait until everyone arrives, but the supervisor immediately tells us to leave. [Cleaner #1] and I usually wait, but [Cleaner #1] has to leave today. The supervisor complains that the others are taking too long but doesn’t head down to see if they’re okay. Instead, he heads down to his area. I decide to see if the others need help, and then they round the corner.

Me: “Sorry, guys. Normally, you’re all right in the mornings, so I didn’t think to head straight over there after taking the bins out.”

Cleaner #2: “You’re fine. You usually help.”

Cleaner #3: “At least you waited. Where is everyone?”

Me: “They left — places they needed to be. [Supervisor] has gone down that way.”

Cleaner #4: “Reckon he’s gone to make sure [Cleaner #1] has also done his workload?”

Cleaner #2: “Probably.”

We see he’s heading back.

Cleaner #3: “Hey, I thought people were supposed to wait and see if other areas need help when they’re finished?”

Supervisor: “Oh, I know. I told them that they needed to go help or at least wait, but they all had places to be, apparently! Not sure where [My Name] had to be; she only lives a minute away!”

Cleaner #4: “She’s here. Literally next to me.”

He clocks me and gets an “oh, crud” expression on his face.

Supervisor: “Oh. Oh, I mean [Cleaner #1]! She lives nearby, too, and you two are usually together!”

I give my fake retail-learnt smile. [Supervisor] leaves even though he’s supposed to wait until the rest of us are gone.

Cleaner #2: “So, what actually happened?”

Me: “Oh, he’s supposed to tell us to help other areas if it’s 7:40, but that’s ridiculous because we work too hard so he’s not gonna. And he told them to leave. [Cleaner #1] was gonna stay, but her grandson is being dropped off at 8:00 so she had to get back.”

Cleaner #3: “Why didn’t he just say he told them to leave? He could have just pretended he hadn’t realised we needed help rather than try to throw them under the bus”

Cleaner #4: “Because he didn’t know [My Name] was still here. Just saw a group of female cleaners and didn’t think much more other than, ‘Hey, I can paint myself in a good light!'”

Cleaner #2: “He’s a d**k!”

Cleaner #3: “Not to be crass, but d**ks have a purpose and a use. He doesn’t.”

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Stepping Up… Rather Awkwardly

, , , , , | Related | August 8, 2021

I have been dating my girlfriend for about two years. One day, we drop her six-year-old daughter off at a local school summer camp.

When it’s time to pick her up, I arrive early to see what she’s doing at the camp. I walk along the sidewalk looking over at her playing, texting her mother on the phone about the playground and how she is having fun.

Twenty minutes later, I pick her up and walk her to the car.

Me: “So, how was your day?

Child: “Okay. Some kids thought you were taking pictures or video of us.”

Me: “What?!”

I’m shocked by this claim.

Child: “Yeah, I told them I didn’t think so, but that maybe it was my stepfather. I thought you were busy so I didn’t wanna bother you.”

She’s never referred to me as her stepfather to other people before; I’ve always been the roommate or her mom’s friend. Overwhelming joy hits me hard.

Me: “Ah, I was just texting your mom to tell her about this camp.”

We soon changed the subject and headed home. I’ve never been so happy to be accused of recording children at a public school’s park in my life. She actually told the other kids I was her stepfather. I must be doing something right after all.

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The Dishonest Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree

, , , | Right | August 6, 2021

I am at the school chatting with some ladies as we are waiting to pick up our children. Another lady joins us.

Lady #1: “Do you mind if I join in with you?”

We all tell her she is welcome.

Lady #1: “You all are so nice. I made the mistake of joining [another group of mothers] today and am pretty disgusted with [Lady #3]. She’s over there telling them how she steals money from her mother-in-law.”

Lady #2: “Oh, my God, that’s horrible.”

Lady #1: “She either tells her that she didn’t give her enough money to buy something or she takes it right out of her purse. She’s a horrible piece of work.”

I have been a volunteer in the uniform shop at the school, and I had some trouble with this woman taking stock and then refusing to pay by lying about it. There wasn’t much that could be done. The principal had to set rules about how we dealt with this woman.

I also volunteered in the school canteen. On my first shift, I had the pleasure of serving the woman’s daughter. She ordered a pile of food and then dropped the money into my outstretched hand; instead of simply putting it there she did it from a height. I caught all of the coins; some were close to rolling off. Counting the coins, I found that there wasn’t enough money.

Me: “I just need two dollars more, please.”

Girl: *Glaring straight into my eyes* “You must have dropped it.”

I take a look on the counter, tipping out a box of stock that my hand had been over just in case.

Me: “There’s nothing here. I need the extra two.”

Girl: “You must have dropped it on the floor, then.”

Me: “No, I didn’t.”

The area I am in is boxed in; the only way I could drop money on the floor would be to throw it over my head. I give her the healthy part of her order and a drink, taking back two dollars’ worth of junk food.

Me: “Come back when you find the extra two dollars.”

The girl starts to object, but I talk over her.

Me: “Next, please.”

The manager of the canteen told me that they usually just give her the extra food because the coins usually scatter when she drops them. She was shocked when I told her how dishonest the girl’s mother was and that she had probably taught her the tactic. She never tried that with me again.

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