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Correlation Versus Causation

, , , , , | Learning | February 10, 2022

My psychology teacher junior year of high school had some… interesting thoughts he liked to share with the class, and we were supposed to treat them as gospel despite many of them not being the least bit true. This is one of the few times I was able to refute his “logic”.

Teacher: “You’ll notice that I’ve rearranged the classroom to have the desks in sets of four rather than seven. Please choose your seats.”

Cue the class shuffling around.

Teacher: *Smugly* “Just as I thought. See, people who are most likely to sit in the first seats are A students. Those of you who chose the seats in the back are D students at best. You might even fail. It never fails; those with the worst grades always sit in the back!”

Me: “Or we’re just tall and don’t want anyone to have to sit behind us and try to see over us?”

Teacher: “What?”

Me: “I’m over six feet tall. I’m one of the tallest kids in this room, if not this school. I’m taller than you. Of course, I picked a seat in the back.”

Fellow Tall Classmate: “Yeah, same. I’m just tall and don’t want anyone to try and see over me. We both sat in the back when the seats were arranged the other way because we’re tall, nothing else.”

Teacher: “Well… hm…”

Fellow Tall Classmate: *To me* “What’s your grade? I’ve got a high B right now.”

Teacher: *Quietly* “She has an A.”

Not only did I keep my A, but I had the highest grade out of that class and the second-highest out of all his classes, and I sat in the back all year. And my fellow tall classmate finished up the year with his B!

When You Don’t Know What To Do, Just Do What You Can

, , , , , , | Right | February 7, 2022

My father recently lost someone he cared about. He learns about their passing while we are out having lunch, and he is devastated. We try our best to get him to feel better and he seems happy with us trying to help, but it doesn’t work, and I honestly can’t blame him for that.

Something does make him feel better, though, along with the rest of us.

Employee: “Hey, guys, how are y’all doing today?”

Us: “Good, how about you?”

Employee: “Doing good. I just stopped by to let you know that the family over at the other table paid for your entire lunch, plus the tip.”

We are all pretty touched, and my father seems to be holding back tears.

Dad: “Thank you; thank you!”

We exchange some more pleasantries and leave the restaurant in higher spirits that day. I turn to address the kids we have with us.

Me: “Remember, guys: when you get older and you’re wondering if things will get any better, remember things like this.”

Not The Best Job For The Color Blind

, , , | Right | November 24, 2021

We have a table of men’s shirts in different colors at the front of the store.

Customer: “What color is this?

Coworker: “Red.”

Customer: “Are you sure?”

Helicopter Parents: Ultra Mode

, , , , , | Related | October 20, 2021

I am nineteen and have moved out of my parent’s house.

Me: “It was super late and we wanted to go home anyway.”

Dad: “Super late, huh?”

Me: “It was almost 2:00 am.”

Dad: *Suddenly irate* “WHAT?! You have no business being out that late! What were you even doing?”

Me: “We went to see the midnight release of a movie after work—”

Dad: *To Mom* “What are we going to do about this?”

Me: “Wait, what?”

Mom: “Well, obviously you broke curfew, so—”

Me: “Wait, hold up. Aren’t you two forgetting something? I don’t live here anymore.”

Dad: “You’re our daughter! You have no business being out and about at 2:00 am!”

Me: “I’m an adult that doesn’t live here or even rely on you financially. I have a job, I have a place on my own, and I pay my own bills. What I do with my time is literally none of your business.”

Mom: “You’re just a teenager! You need to listen to us!”

Dad: “As long as you live under our roof—”

Me: “I don’t, though. I have my own roof where I make my own rules. So you’re going to… do what, exactly?”

Dad: “Give me your keys.”

Me: “My car keys? The keys to the car I bought myself, that’s in my name? I don’t think so.”

Mom: “You broke the rules!”

Me: “Those rules stopped applying to me the minute I moved out. I’m leaving now.”

Dad: “You disrespectful little— Don’t you walk away from me!”

They still insisted I “broke curfew” as an adult and tried to demand that I either hand over my car keys or accept the grounding. I went home, instead. Somehow, they were shocked when I moved hundreds of miles away six months later.

This story is part of our Best Of October 2021 roundup!

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It’s A Tough Bridge To Cross, But She Did It!

, , , , , , , | Related | October 11, 2021

My mother suffered a terrible crash in the early 1990s that should have killed her but, for whatever reason, didn’t. It was off a low-water bridge and as a result, she went through a phase for over a decade of being terrified of driving over bridges. It lessened with time, but the one bridge that still terrifies her to this day is the bridge over the Mississippi River from Arkansas to Tennessee, which is unfortunate because she would have to drive over it to take me to visit my father as a child.

As I grew up, she refused to let me drive the trip because it was best for her to remain in control of the car while going over the bridge. But when my father died, we had to bring home several antiques in a moving van, which one of us had to drive, so she agreed to let me drive the trip for the first and only time.

On the way to the funeral, about a half-hour from the bridge, Mom is on her phone, reading an article about the history of the area, and she starts reading it aloud to me. I figure she’s doing this to distract and calm herself, so I tune her out and focus on driving. I get over the bridge and get to the eastern outskirts of Memphis when she finally looks up again.

Mom: “Uh… where are we?!”

Me: “We are [miles] from Nashville.”

Mom: “Did you cross the bridge?”

Me: “Kinda had to, yes. You were reading to distract yourself; I didn’t want to bother you.”

Mom: “I was just enjoying the article; I had no idea we even crossed the bridge!”

And then, on the way back, we’re trying to make the trip in one go because I have to be at work the next afternoon. Mom is driving the moving van, and we’re coordinating through our phones. About two hours east of Memphis, she calls me and asks me to pull over at the next gas station.

Mom: “You’ll have to call in to work; we need to stop for the night.”

Me: “Why?”

Mom: “The bridge is coming up and I just need a night’s rest. It’s dark and I’d rather it be daylight when we try.”

Me: “No, we’re going on, and we’re crossing tonight.”

Mom: “What?!”

Me: “It’s two in the morning. It’ll be four when we get there. There’s going to be no one driving. The bridge is lit up. We can get on the inside lane and go as slow as you need, because there will be no traffic to slow down. If you can’t see the water, you can tell yourself you’re driving on solid land. It’s going to actually be easier. If we stop, we stop in Arkansas.”

Mom: “I don’t know…”

Me: “Look, you can get a motel room for the night. I’ll see you at home.”

We cross the river, on the phone with each other the entire way, and we finally pull over at a large truck stop in West Memphis.

Mom: “I can’t believe I never thought of that before! That’s the easiest I have ever made that trip!”

Me: “Yeah, I have a lot of anxieties and phobias, and that’s how I always force myself past them.”