That Story Was In-Tents

, , , , , | Related | April 20, 2019

(When I am a kid, my family — parents, two brothers, and me — live in an apartment. One night, we have some family friends over. The adults are in the dining room laughing and talking while the kids are all in the bedroom goofing around. From the dining room, it is a straight shot back to the bedroom, so the door is opened and the adults can mostly see everything. We have a bunk bed that one of my brothers and I share and a toddler bed for our little brother. We also have those pop-up parachute-fabric tents that you can create mazes out of. My brother decides the best thing in the world would be to flip one of the tents on its roof and jump off the top bunk into it in his stocking feet. What the adults hear:)

Brother: “Watch this!”

(They hear the bed creak, followed by a thump as he hits the ground. Then, silence.)

Me: “Um, maybe you should go show that to Mom.”

(Mom, whose back is currently to the bedroom, glances at the family friend.)

Mom: “Do I want to know?”

(My brother went running down the hall to tell her all about it. He’d ended up smacking his face on the metal on our little brother’s toddler bed and given himself a bloody nose. All in all, not the worst injury he’s had. He probably wouldn’t have had as much issue if he hadn’t decided to jump into the tent with his socks still on.)

Egg-Citing Times When Mom Is Away

, , , , , , | Related | April 17, 2019

When I was young, my mom ended up going out of town for a couple of days, leaving my dad and me to fend for ourselves. At some point during this time, we decided to hard boil some eggs to make egg salad sandwiches for lunch. Unfortunately, neither of us knew how long the eggs should boil — this was before the Internet, so we couldn’t Google it.

I remembered hearing the phrase “three-minute egg” before, so we decided to try that out. Alas, that turned out to be the correct time for a soft-boiled egg and the yolks were still liquid. We put most of the eggs back on to finish, but there was one egg that we’d already peeled before we realized this, and we weren’t sure what to do with it. We didn’t want to put a peeled egg back in the pot, but there was a microwave just sitting there…

Common wisdom states that the egg would now explode in the microwave, but that isn’t exactly what happened. After a minute or two, the egg looked fine and I guessed it was probably done, so we decided to cut it up. I put it on the egg slicer — the kind with an array of metal wires — and pushed down to slice it.  

In my memory, this is the point where things seemed to happen in slow motion. I remember that the egg seemed a bit resistant as if it was more rubbery than it should be, so I pressed down harder. I also vividly remember hearing a soft hissing noise caused by the escaping steam and the sudden realization that something was about to go very wrong. Before I could act on that feeling, however, there was a loud ka-boom!

When everything settled down, it turns out no one was injured, but it was a massive cleanup job. As the egg exploded, it exploded through the wires of the slicer and shredded itself, tossing tiny bits of egg all over the kitchen and even into the dining room next to it.

My dad and I cleaned up everything we could find, finished making our sandwiches, and decided that we didn’t really need to mention this incident to my mother when she got home. However, our secrecy was all for naught, as almost as soon as my mom walked in the door she asked, “Did something happen in the kitchen?” She was slightly shorter than my dad and me, and she was standing there looking up with a puzzled expression, trying to figure out why there were tiny bits of egg yolk stuck to the underside of the cabinets. We came clean immediately, and thankfully she got a laugh out of our culinary incompetence.

Since then, I’ve often wondered if I could standardize the process and create a weaponized egg that explodes on impact. The engineer side of me wants to try it out just for curiosity’s sake. However, the adult side of me can’t really think of a good use for such a thing that would be worth the extensive cleanup involved. I suspect I’m destined to never know more details about how to create such a unique egg explosion.

Stolen From The Amazon

, , , , , , | Right | April 16, 2019

(I work at a major cell phone retailer. We get a lot of prepaid customers that bring their own devices as we are right in front of the mall’s drop-off point for shuttles from the nearby airport. A gentleman in his 80s with a walker comes in.)

Me: “Welcome to [Store]. How can I help you today?”

Customer: “I need a prepaid account for this phone my daughter bought me.”

Me: “Great. I can help you with that. Which plan would you like?” *goes over available plans*

Customer: “I’ll take plan B.”

Me: “Okay, no problem. I’d be happy to help you with that. Before I set it up, I need to ask if the device is unlocked, because if for some reason the phone does not work on the network, I cannot refund the cost of the service for any reason and I cannot test the device beforehand.”

Customer: “Oh, no, it’s no problem. My daughter bought this phone from [Store]!”

Me: “Great. Let’s set this up. That’ll be $50.”

Customer: “Here you go.”

Me: “Sir, this phone is not activating; let me check a few things that may cause it.” *checks to see if it is reported stolen and it is* “Sir, it appears this phone is reported stolen. May I ask how you received this item?”

Customer: “I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING AT! MY DAUGHTER BOUGHT THIS FROM [STORE]! FIX THIS NOW!”

Me: “Sir, as I told you before, since you provided your own device I cannot refund any service provided, as the sim card is ready to go, but your device is reported stolen so it will not work. I can happily sell you a newer and better phone for $29.99 that will work on the service, if you wish.”

Customer: “You’re just trying to steal my money! I’m not afraid to die, you see! You’re stealing from me and I’ll take you out! I’M NOT AFRAID TO DIE!”

Me: “Sir, all I can do is offer you a solution. Please stop yelling in my store.” *while considering how hard it would be justifying hitting an eighty-year-old man, whether he threatened me or not*

Customer: “I’M NOT AFRAID TO DIE, YOU MOTHERF****** [SLUR]! YOU GET A MANAGER NOW.”

Me: *as my managers are small women and I don’t want to risk them getting them involved* “I can tell you now that they will say the same thing, but with the way you are acting, I will not get one until you calm down.”

Customer: “F*** YOU! YOU NEED TO FIX THIS RIGHT NOW!”

Me: “Sir, where did your daughter buy this phone?”

Customer: “OFF AMAZON, YOU MORON! NOW, REPLACE MY PHONE FOR FREE THIS MINUTE OR I’M NOT AFRAID TO DIE OVER THIS!”

Me: “Your daughter bought this phone from someone whole stole it and put it on Amazon. We don’t sell phones on Amazon and we aren’t responsible for your daughter’s stupidity. If you want to threaten me again, I may take it personally.”

Customer: *finally defeated, walks out*

Tea Is The Warmest Color

, , , , , , | Hopeless | April 14, 2019

(I’ve loved books from a very early age, so when I was growing up it was only natural that whenever I went to a new school, I would very quickly become quite acquainted with the school librarians and their assistants. My high school librarian, an elderly woman, has a reputation for being quite strict, but has been nothing but lovely to me since the first day of school when I eagerly sought out the library to scope out the fiction section. In the second semester of my sophomore year — my 11th year of schooling for the non-Americans — I end up with a free period at the end of the day, which I choose to make into a teaching assistant period for the librarian. One day, I come in during flu season feeling a bit under the weather and I start to check in newly-returned books like I do every day.)

Me: *grimacing as I sniffle a bit but continuing work*

Librarian: “[My Name], are you feeling all right?”

Me: “Hm? Oh… I’m feeling a little sick, yeah. I’m okay, though.”

Librarian: “Oh, well, if you’re feeling sick do you want to just sit in the back today?”

(She’s told me this before on another occasion a month or so ago, but both times I felt guilty about the idea of sitting out when there’s work to be done and I’m not really feeling TERRIBLE, per se… but I have been having a pretty annoying day.)

Me: “Uh… yeah, actually. I think that’d be good.”

Librarian: “Yeah, you can sit and read in the back!”

Librarian’s Assistant: *a woman in her 40s* “Oh, yes, take it easy.”

(I grab a graphic novel off the shelf that I’d been eyeing and head to the back room. [Librarian] follows me soon after, placing a box of tissues on the back desk.)

Librarian: *opening the cupboard* “Would you like a cup of tea?”

Me: *surprised* “Oh, uh… Yes, please!”

Librarian: “Well, we have green tea, some strawberry lemonade, earl grey… What would you like dear?”

Me: *still astonished* “Earl grey is black tea, right? That sounds good.”

Librarian: “All right, then!”

(She put a mugful of water in the microwave to heat up, then gave me the tea box and made sure I knew where the honey and stirring sticks were before going back to her duties. After a few minutes, I was sipping my tea — warm as my heart was by this point — and reading the graphic novel, and I thought about all the mean things my classmates had said about [Librarian] that they would never even dare to suggest if they knew how sweet and grandmotherly she was once you really got to know her. Not only did she and [Librarian’s Assistant] care about me and my well being, but [Librarian] always thanked me for my work when I walked out the door, despite the fact that I was obligated by the school rules to show up and do all tasks asked of me! I’m pretty busy this year, but I still stop by the library to say hi to those ladies, and whenever I hear someone saying something snippy about [Librarian] in passing, I scoff to myself and think about that cup of tea.)

Not Just Grandma Is A Hack

, , , , | Related | April 12, 2019

(I am about 13 in this story. My family and I are at a family reunion. My grandparents, who recently moved to Oregon, will also be there. I went to a cybersecurity week camp a month ago.)

Step-Grandma: “So, what did you do this summer, [My Name]?”

Me: “Mostly stayed at home, but I did go to a cybersecurity week camp a month ago.”

Step-Grandma: “What did you do at the camp?”

Me: “We coded a site, went to the aquarium, and learned about cyber-principles, some basics of hacking, and how to do it legally.”

Step-Grandma: “Good! Now you can hack the Russians back!”

Me: “…”

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