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We Hope This Is A Long Ride

, , , , , , , | Related | April 12, 2022

I drive a taxi. In the mid- to late 2000s, I picked up a man and his five- or six-year-old son late one Saturday evening. Back then, we had small screens mounted behind the front seats. They showed news and commercials to those sitting in the back seat.

The boy asked:

Boy: “Dad, what is on those screens?”

Dad: “News.”

Boy: “That’s boring. What is it about?”

Dad: “About some people in jail.”

Boy: “Who are they?”

Dad: “Some people in Iraq.”

I then recognised the story, which was about some 24,000 Iraqis who, at that point in time, were imprisoned by the Americans. This made the last comment rather funny.

Boy: “What are their names?”

With Great Power Comes Great Literacy

, , , , , , | Related | April 11, 2022

This story was told to me by my mother. I’m an itty-bitty first-grader at the local public library with her. Even though I’ve only recently started reading with any kind of ease and my library card is brand new, I LOVE books. My only previous library experience is with my school library, which has a checkout limit of two books per child.

Me: “How many can I check out?”

Mom: “Why don’t you ask the librarian over there?”

Satisfied with being given a route to an answer, I go chase after the librarian, who has just decided to move to a nearby section. My mom stays put, wanting to give me a little independence and knowing I won’t go far.

When I return, the librarian trails behind me to make sure I get back to my mother. She, however, is focused on me — more specifically, my vaguely diabolical ear-to-ear grin.

Mom: “What did the librarian say?”

Me: *Still beaming* “She said I could check out AS MANY AS I COULD HANDLE.”

Thus began many years of checking out twenty books at a time — enough that carrying them was a test of my strength and my book bag wept for mercy — and finishing them all in a week. My mom still laughs at the thought of that giant grin on my face as I realized the power of a library card.

Oh, She’s THAT Kind Of Lawyer

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: DumpsterPuff | April 10, 2022

When I worked in retail, we had this lady who was incredibly annoying. She would be picking up meds for herself, her husband, or her daughter — who was eighteen and on [ADHD medication] — and she would always give us the biggest attitude when we asked for the full date of birth associated with the patient.

Customer: “It’s a HIPAA violation! What if someone hears it? I’m a lawyer, you know.”

Cool, except her daughter had the same name, month, and day of birth, and the same drug but different doses as another patient. We had to confirm the year so there wouldn’t be a mix-up, but she threw a fit every single time.

Sometimes the daughter would come in and pick up her or her mom’s or dad’s meds. [Daughter] was a sweetheart, which was surprising given how much of a monster her mom was. She was a no-fuss patient, gave us the information we needed, and was on her way.

One day, [Customer] and [Daughter] came in together. I asked for the daughter’s full date of birth, which in turn caused [Customer] to rampage into her “I’m a lawyer” speech. However, today, for some reason, her daughter snapped.

Daughter: “MOM, STOP TELLING EVERYONE YOU’RE A LAWYER! YOU HAVE A LIBERAL ARTS DEGREE! YOU CAN’T ARGUE YOUR WAY OUT OF A PAPER BAG! MY DATE OF BIRTH IS [FULL DATE OF BIRTH] AND I DON’T CARE WHO HEARS IT!”

My entire pharmacy team stopped what they were doing in stunned silence. [Daughter] stormed off, and [Customer] was basically speechless for the entire transaction. She snatched the drugs from me and walked out.

I still think about this four years later and it gives me so much joy.

Just What Every Shy Person Loves!

, , , , , , , | Learning | April 9, 2022

When my daughter started high school, she went through a friendless phase. All of her friends from elementary school either attended a different high school or decided not to be friends anymore. Because she was very shy and didn’t make new friends easily at the time, she usually spent her lunch breaks eating quickly in the cafeteria and then reading in the library.

One day, her teacher approached her.

Teacher: “I see you spending every lunch hour alone. It’s not right.”

Daughter: “I don’t mind…”

Teacher: “No, it’s not healthy for a young girl like you to not have any friends, so I’m going to help.”

Daughter: *Alarmed* “Please don’t! I’m fine.”

Teacher: *Not listening* “I’m happy to do it! Starting tomorrow, I’m going to introduce you to some of the other kids. You’ll come out of your shell and will be making friends in no time. All you need is a little push.”

Daughter: “…”

She was very quiet when she got home from school that day. She excused herself to her room after dinner, and I was concerned. When I heard her crying, I knocked on her door and asked what was wrong. After some hesitation, she told me.

Me: “What do you want to happen?”

Daughter: “I want him to leave me alone, but he won’t listen to me.”

Me: “He’ll listen to me. Do you want me to handle it?”

My daughter looked at me with the beginnings of a smile.

Daughter: “Do you promise not to lose your temper?”

I’ve been known to blow my stack in the past, especially when someone I love is upset.

Me: “I swear. I’ll be cool as a cucumber.”

Daughter: “Then yes, please.”

That night, I called the school’s office and left a message asking for [Teacher] to phone me. The next day:

Teacher: “Hello, Mrs. [My Last Name]! I understand that you’re [Daughter]’s mum, and you wanted to talk to me?”

Me: “That’s right. [Daughter] told me about your plans to, as you put it, ‘bring her out of her shell.’”

Teacher: *Happily* “Oh, yes! I’ve done it many times before, and—”

Me: “Let me stop you right there. My kid is fine, and she doesn’t need your help.”

Teacher: “But… she doesn’t have any friends—”

Me: “Not at the moment, no. But she’s more than capable of making them on her own.”

Teacher: “I really think—”

Me: “Mr. [Teacher], I’m sure your heart is in the right place, but your help is neither wanted nor needed. I’m going to ask you politely to back off; otherwise, I’ll escalate this to the principal.”

Teacher: “…”

Me: “Are we good?”

Teacher: “Yes.”

Me: “Awesome. Thank you so much for your understanding. Have a great day!” *Hangs up*

My daughter “came out of her shell” just fine on her own and started making friends when she was ready. That was almost fifteen years ago. Today, she works in theatre, primarily as a director, because, as she puts it, “I love bossing people around.”

Fragile Masculinity Versus The Purse

, , , , , | Right | April 8, 2022

I work for a small clinic that mostly does scheduled imaging — X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, etc. The area we’re in has an older population, so it’s not unusual for a kid or grandkid to help bring older family members in for their appointments. In this instance, a middle-aged man brings his mother in, and she asks him to hold onto her purse for her while she goes back for her scan. After twenty minutes or so, he remembers she should have a follow-up and comes up to our desk to schedule it.

Me: “Okay, I think that should be everything. We’ll make sure she’s okay with that date as soon as she’s done, and then I’ll finalize the appointment and print you a reminder. If I can have you sign this?”

He agrees and sets the purse on the counter while he takes the paperwork.

Son: “Just so you know, this isn’t my purse.”

He seems very serious about it, and I’m trying not to smile.

Me: “Okay. It would be fine if it was, though, sir.”

Son: “No, really, it’s not my purse!”

Me: “Understood. It is a very nice purse, though. Black and white is always in fashion.”

Son: “It’s not my frickin’ purse; it’s my mom’s!”

Me: “I heard you the first time. It’s very nice of you to hold onto it for her.”

Son: “IT’S NOT MY PURSE!”

He does not notice his mom coming back out from her appointment.

Mother: “For goodness’ sake, [Son], stop yelling at that nice young lady! I raised you better than that! And give me my purse back. It clashes with your shirt anyway.”

It was a struggle not to laugh at his expression as he meekly handed the purse to his mom and stood back to let her talk to me. We got her follow-up appointment scheduled with no more drama.