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Sticking It To The Sleazeball

, , , , , | Learning | March 31, 2022

I am in a grant-funded part-time position at the high school where I graduated. My job is to manage In-School Suspension for students who need a little extra time away from class but not away from school itself. I do things like make sure they do their work and address their issues. Sometimes, this just means talking to them, or, once their classwork is complete, they fill out forms and write about their options to do better next time.

Because this is a grant-funded position, I am frequently grilled by higher-ups. This particular day, a higher-up comes from the central office to interrogate me on my methods. This sleazeball once made me cry as a student and called me “worthless” because someone dropped the ball on getting me a book for an online course I was taking; online courses were not common for our rural school in the early 2000s) Without the book, I wasn’t able to complete the coursework and was failing. Sleazeball drove to my school from his central office, brought me out of class, and upbraided me in the hallway, causing me to have a meltdown that lasted for hours. I told Sleazeball through tears that I didn’t have the book, but he somehow didn’t see that as an excuse. My teachers, knowing I was a straight-A student, were not happy. They tried to help me and offered tutoring. Since I had a job, I bought the book that night myself instead of waiting for it. The school finally received my book not long after, so I ended up with two. Once I had the book, I had perfect grades and caught up quickly, doing half a semester’s work in a week. My grades were updated and no one said anything further, but I never forgot this sleazeball making a sixteen-year-old girl cry.

Sleazeball shows up in my In-School room, and I have a difficult student — the kind who doesn’t believe in authority and will not hold back when telling you about it. He’s smart, has a tough home life, and doesn’t fall for cheap adult reasoning behind rules.

Sleazeball asks [Student] what he is doing, and what he did to land himself in my isolated classroom. [Student] gives Sleazeball the runaround for a few minutes, telling him every injustice he has seen during his infamous high school career. I watch, contentedly, as Sleazeball tries and fails, time after time, to gain the upper hand. [Student] simmers down, and Sleazeball asks to see me in another office.

Sleazeball: “Did you see how I had to keep out-maneuvering that kid? He was arguing with me, but I couldn’t let him get the upper hand. Had to show him I was the authority. That’s a tough thing for young female teachers like you to learn.”

Me: *Smiling* “Oh, yes. He can be difficult. I’ve been working with him today so he sees we have rules he shouldn’t break because we have reasons.”

Sleazeball: “He reminds me of another student here. When you were in school. Really smart, but lazy. Always breaking rules and full of reasons.”

I continue to smile. I know exactly who he is talking about, but don’t dare to say it. 

Sleazeball: “He had long, dark hair. Always kept it in front of his face. Kept his head down a lot. Boy, he was difficult. What was his name?”

Me: *Trembling* “You mean [Student]? [Student’s Full Name]?”

Sleazeball: “Yeah! Oh, gosh, he would do the same thing. Acts just the same way. Smart, but just so lazy. I mean, really sharp.”

Me: “[Student] is my husband.”

Sleazeball turned bright red and stumbled over his words before making an ungracious exit. Something about, “Well, you know how to handle it,” and, “Good luck.” 

I’ve been in a full-time, permanent position in a regular English classroom at my school for seven years now, and I haven’t seen Sleazeball since.

Double The Chicken, Double The Jerkitude

, , , , , | Working | October 28, 2021

I work at a hospital and go to the cafeteria five days a week for food. After browsing the options for the day and nothing looking really appealing to me, I finally settle and head over to the hot line.

Me: “Just a piece of chicken, please.”

The worker places the smallest piece of chicken in the pan in my container.

Me: “Actually, make it two pieces.”

I say it quickly before she shuts the container. The worker gives me a weird look but obliges and puts the second piece in the container and writes, “X2,” on the box.

I grab a ready-made salad, piling it on top of the box with the chicken in it, and grab a drink before heading to pay.

Me: “Two pieces of chicken…” *opens the box to show the cashier* “…and then just the salad and soda.”

Before the cashier has even finished ringing my food in, the employee that served me the food rushes up.

Worker: “She had two pieces of chicken! I knew you were going to try and steal!”

Both the cashier and I are surprised at this point.

Cashier: “Uhhh, yes. It says, ‘2x,’ on the container and she even opened the box to show me.”

The worker’s face turned red and she stormed off. Apparently, she had been taking it upon herself to try and catch thieves. After multiple false accusations, she either got moved or fired; I haven’t seen her since.

Thank You For Being A Friend (And An Amazing Uncle!)

, , , , , | Related | August 3, 2021

I don’t recall my exact age when this story happened, but I know that puberty came much earlier for me than my peers and that I was presumably in the very early stages of it at this point, as I’d just recently started to consider the idea of dating and romantic (or sexual) attraction.

This new attraction confused me a bit, mostly because I found myself as attracted, or perhaps more attracted, to other boys as I was to girls. I grew up in a more conservative area and so didn’t realize that there were people who weren’t heterosexual out there yet.

My parents had a close friend who visited semi-regularly. He would often take time to spend with me as well, to the point that he was almost like an uncle to me. One day, he was in the living room talking with me while my parents were busy doing something elsewhere in the house.

Friend: “So what about you? Do you have yourself a girlfriend or boyfriend yet?”

Me: “What did you say?”

Friend: “I asked if you were dating anyone.”

Me: “You said, ‘boyfriend’?”

Friend: “I said girlfriend or boyfriend, whichever you have.”

Me: “Boys can’t have boyfriends.”

Friend: “Sure, they can! Most boys prefer to date girls, but some boys end up preferring to date other boys, just like some girls end up dating other girls.”

Me: “Why do they date boys?”

Friend: “That’s just who they like to date. Everyone is different and likes different things, right? You like vanilla even though I know chocolate is much better. Same thing with dating — some just feel happier dating other boys instead of girls.”

Me: “How do they know?”

Friend: “What do you mean?”

Me: “How do they know they want to date other boys?”

Friend: “Oh, well, I’ve never been gay — that’s what they call boys that only date other boys — so I can’t really say for sure. I mean, can you explain how you knew you liked racing games more than other video games? It’s just something you figure out because it’s what you enjoy and like doing. Like, if you close your eyes right now and picture dating someone, are they a girl or a boy?”

This question was a little too on the nose for me. I panicked a little, not wanting to admit that I’d probably pick a boy, so I lied.

Me: “I don’t want to date anyone!”

Friend: “Oh, girls all have cooties, right? Well, just for the record, whenever you do decide to date someone, your parents and I would love to meet them, whether they were a girl or a boy.”

I remember thinking that day that he was staring at me like he saw through me and already knew I was lying. For years after that, whenever any topic about dating or sex came up, he seemed to make a point of saying, “girlfriend or boyfriend,” and generally making it clear that he would be supportive whichever I ended up dating. I never knew if he would have done that anyway or if he was doing it specifically because he suspected I was gay.

He was the first person to suggest to me that being attracted to the same sex could be okay, and his continuing to hint that he would be supportive of me even if I was gay was honestly a real help as I struggled to identify, and admit to myself, my own sexuality. It was good to know that at least one person would be my friend no matter what.

I ended up being somewhere between gay and bi; I’ve had relationships with both sexes but generally, I’m a bit more attracted to men. When I finally came out officially, the friend was right; my parents were fully supportive of me. As to their friend, his response basically boiled down to, “I knew it, and I’m glad you’re finally ready to come out to us.”

I don’t know how long it would have taken me to even realize that non-hetero people existed without him, or how difficult it would have been to come out if I didn’t know I had someone supporting me through it.

This story is part of our end-of-year Feel Good roundup for 2021!

Read the next Feel Good 2021 story!

Read the Feel Good 2021 roundup!

Won’t Even Give Them Credit For Trying

, , , , , , | Right | June 6, 2021

I work at customer service at a home improvement store. I am training a coworker. He and I have been processing returns and we’ve been really busy. I notice there is a problem with the return he is processing, so I stop what I am doing to find out what’s going on.

The customer and her husband paid with their store credit card. Immediately after their transaction, they paid off the bill. They want cash back for the return, which is a little over $600.

Me: “Sorry, ma’am, we can’t do that because it has to go back to the original tender.”

Customer: “I don’t understand.”

Me: “You can’t get cash for the return; it was paid with the credit card.”

She keeps repeating that she doesn’t understand.

Me: “Would you like to talk to a manager?”

Customer: “No. I don’t think that’s how it should be.”

The return is processed, and they stand off to the side and call someone. They talk for a couple of minutes and leave, thank goodness.

A couple of hours later, we’re slammed. I’m coming back to customer service when who do I see? The same lady and her husband. They are also joined by another woman and a toddler.

I don’t have the pleasure of dealing with them. The seasonal/outside supervisor gets called because he is the only available manager. It goes back and forth for a while. He calls the credit center to find out what can be done, which is nothing! All four of them finally leave after wasting time and gas because they thought they could get a manager to override it.

Don’t expect cash back on a return just because you paid off the bill. There are some things that not even managers can do.

The Lucky Last Slice

, , , , , | Working | May 7, 2021

I’m eating a pizza with a friend. When there’s only one slice left, I notice a hair baked into the crust. I go to complain.

Me: “There’s a hair baked into this pizza. I’d like a discount on our bill, please.”

Clerk: “I can get you another pizza.”

Me: “We just ate the entire pizza before we realized it was unsanitary. I don’t want another pizza; I’d like a discount.”

Clerk: “All I can offer you is another pizza.”

I take the hair in my fingers and lift. The entire slice rises. I hold it, dangling in the air by the hair for several seconds.

Clerk: “I’ll get you a discount.”