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Sounds Like He Wasn’t Ready To Play Ball

, , , , , | Friendly | September 12, 2021

I know when my neighbour has his grandchildren round because there is always a football in my garden. They are good kids, just playful boys around nine years old. I throw the ball back every time; it really isn’t an issue.

One day, I find a ball and throw it over. I notice a lot more noise than normal, screaming and shouting, which is odd because they are normally so quiet. I think nothing of it and go about the gardening.

The ball comes over the fence again. I throw it back. It immediately comes back over. I throw it back. The next thing I feel is the ball hitting me with some force, like someone has deliberately thrown it over the fence. I walk to the shallow bit of the fence.

Me: “Be careful, lads; that hit me.”

Boy #1: “Shut up!”

Me: “Hang on, who are you? You’re not one of [Neighbour]’s usual grandkids.”

Boy #2: “Sorry, it’s my cousin. We don’t hang around much.”

Boy #1: “Shut up, [Boy #2]! Give me my ball back, old man!”

Me: “Here. Just be more careful, please.”

I drop the ball over the fence, only for it to sail past my head, barely missing me.

Me: “Is this your ball, [Boy #2]?”

Boy #2: “No, it’s his.”

Me: “Great!”

I stab the ball with my shears.

Me: “Send your granddad round if you like. I would love to chat with him.”

[Neighbour] comes round, understandably angry, but he quickly understands why I did what I did. Turns out the other boy has always been a bit wild, but [Neighbour] didn’t think he was that bad. We talk it over and he promises to talk with him. I tell him I have several footballs and he can have one if he apologises.

I never get the apology, and the lad turns aggressive, so he gets picked up shortly after.

I peek over the fence.

Me: “Hey, [Boy #2].”

Boy #2: “Yes?”

Me: “These were my grandkids’ toys; they’ve grown out of them. Sorry for ruining your fun earlier.”

Boy #2: “Thanks! And I didn’t mind. He wasn’t letting me play with the ball, anyway. I’m glad he’s gone now.”

[Boy #2] came back several times for visits. I have to admit I was glad when the other boy didn’t show up again.

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You Break It, You… Don’t Write A Letter About It, Dummy

, , , , , | Related | September 11, 2021

My uncle has a large plot of land that is mostly left wild because he struggles to keep it maintained. I go over a few times a year to help out.

Me: “That fence in the corner is broken again.”

Uncle: “Well, you did only bodge it back together.”

Me: “No, remember, I was going to do a temporary fix. But then I found some more wood so I did it properly.”

Uncle: “Weird. Could you fix it again and see if you can reinforce it somehow?”

Me: “I can have a look, but you should really consider planting those thorny plants I suggested.”

Uncle: “I doubt anyone is breaking it on purpose; there’s nothing there. It’s a dead end. Just some bad luck.”

Me: “Okay, but buy some plants anyway.”

I fix the fence and I do a good job of it. No way can anyone accidentally break it this time. My uncle buys the plants and, to be fair to him, he actually gets some large mature ones. 

I don’t plant them right near the fence, in case someone were to cut them back. Instead, I put them just out of sight. Even with gloves and a thick jacket, I’m covered in scratches.

It takes me all day, but I get it done. I finish the day by nailing a no entry/no public access sign to the fence and call it quits.

It’s a few months until I go back, and my uncle is standing there with a smile on his face.

Uncle: “You will never guess what happened.”

Me: “What?”

Uncle: “The fence is broken again; someone must have taken a sledgehammer to it.”

Me: “Why are you smiling, then?”

Uncle: “Because they are trying to sue me for it!”

Me: “That still doesn’t explain the smile.”

He hands me the letter. In it, they admit to damaging the fence all three times, and they make note of the sign and not asking for access. They incorrectly ramble on about public access. The wording is frantic and seems to frame the writer as some sort of hero of the people. It ends with a threat of legal action and the name of a solicitor.

Uncle: “[Solicitor] already called me, and I have another phone call this afternoon. I can’t wait to go over the details with him.”

The phone call went ahead. It didn’t take long for the solicitor to understand that their client had not only broken the law but had admitted it, too. Eventually — and after several legal threats — they had to pay for all the damages, my time, and the plants for the fence. We didn’t get any more break-ins after that.

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Egg On Your Face, Bikes In The Lake

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | September 11, 2021

A couple of teenage boys have been annoying the neighbourhood, mostly doing stupid kid stuff: knocking on doors and running, shouting and being stupid in the road, hanging around the shops making stupid comments to people, etc.

All the people who’ve complained have been labeled as entitled and dismissed. The police can’t do much to minors.

As time has gone on, it seems getting away with stupid stuff long enough has made these boys feel a bit braver and untouchable. Now there are reports of the kids egging houses, letting down car tyres, and chasing other kids on their bikes, threatening to run them over. Still, no complaints can get past the Entitled barrier.

One comment on social media has stood out. A pensioner is getting constant harassment. They ring her doorbell several times throughout the night, throw stones at her window, take her milk, anything to get a reaction. Still, the ignorant don’t care. They say, “That’s what we did as kids,” and, “Don’t you have real problems to deal with?”

Then, the pensioner comments one more time, tagging her sons, two burly men.

“My sons saw two bikes, two pairs of trainers, and some keys thrown into the lake. If anyone has a concern with this, my boys will be with me for the near future. You can find my house; it’s the one covered in egg.”

The boys must have learnt their lesson, as all antisocial behaviour stopped after that.

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If You Can’t Control It, Own It

, , , , | Healthy | September 11, 2021

I am sensitive. By this, I mean that my skin is sensitive, my digestive system is sensitive, my sense of smell is sensitive, and my eyes are sensitive. A strong smell, bright lights, a change of weather, high winds, changing temperatures, pollen — all cause a reaction of some sort. It’s like hay fever, seasonal eczema, and something else all wrapped in one and antihistamines do nada.

I’ve only been working in this office for about a month and I’ve been fairly reaction-free. Then, a change in weather plus the construction site burning something acrid results in my eyes swelling and getting weepy and my skin peeling to the point of bleeding. I’m somewhat irritable due to being so uncomfortable.

Trainer: “You don’t have to tell me — it’s entirely your own business and it clearly doesn’t interfere with your working — but I’m nosy. What do you have that causes these reactions?”

Me: “LBS.”

Trainer: “What’s that?”

Me: “Little B**** Syndrome. My body just reacts to everything that isn’t basic as f***. Doctors don’t know why, so I’ve decided that my body is just an oversensitive little b****.”

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Offloaded A Couple Hundred Pounds Of Rubbish

, , , , , | Working | September 10, 2021

[Employee] works for me; that is to say, he sometimes does some work… if I can get him motivated enough. The problem is that he has a particular very specific qualification. While it’s simple to do, there are so few people that can train others, and it’s a very rare skill to employ.

[Employee] knows this and thinks himself invincible. He does what he wants when he wants, he’s rude, he’s often late, he makes mistakes, and he’s aggressive to staff. He makes my life difficult. The team resents him, and they resent me for not doing something about him.

Everyone is unhappy, but to get rid of [Employee] is to lose our biggest customer.

Me: “[Employee], can I see you for a minute?”

Employee: “What about?”

Me: “In the office, please.”

Employee: “Let’s see what this d**khead wants now.”

Me: “Sit down, please.”

Employee: “What now? You tell me off, I go back to work, and we do this again next week? Tell you what. I’ll skip to the end right now, shall I?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we have to let you go.”

Employee: “You can’t let me go; you can’t do the [Customer] contract without me!”

Me: “I have that sorted. We have an agency.”

Employee: “Yeah! And they will charge you double!”

Me: “Yes, I know. After I spoke to [Senior Director] and explained, he gave me his blessing.”

Employee: “And that’s it, is it? I’ll collect my stuff, shall I?”

Me: “The team already collected it for you. Security will help you to the car.”

Letting anyone go isn’t easy, but this one time, he did try to make it so.

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