The Nut Jokes Are Too Easy

, , , , , , | Learning | October 28, 2020

I’m going to my college to use one of the engineering labs during the weekend. There is some sort of event happening on campus and a small group of people is there walking around.

My campus has a very large amount of trees. As a result of those trees, we have a large population of grey squirrels. After many generations of the students and faculty feeding them snacks and not chasing them around, the squirrels are very tame and you can feed them out of your hands.

Two mothers and their son, who appears to be eight or nine, are looking at a squirrel a few feet away from them that’s standing on her hind legs. I walk up to them because they are by the entrance to the building.

Boy: “Wow, it’s just standing there. It’s not running away.”

Me: “She is very tame; she thinks you might give her food.”

Boy: “Oh, it’s a girl? How can you tell?”

Me: “Well, how do you tell apart boy and girl humans?”

Boy: “Uh… in animals, aren’t the boys more beautiful?”

Me: “That’s birds.”

Boy: “Oh.”

He stands there looking at the squirrel, trying to figure out how I have deduced its sex.

I turn to the mothers and they are quieting their giggles, having caught on to what the boy has not.

Me: “Can I say it?”

The mothers nod.

Me: *To the boy* “You can see her vagina.”

Boy: *Suddenly realizing* “Ohhhhh!”

The mothers just laughed.

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That’s Not A Nice Thing To Say!

, , , , | Learning | October 23, 2020

My friend was born in America but his family is from Saudi Arabia. His cousin, who is visiting our school, knows English but struggles with some words.

Cousin: “Can I have a thing of paper? I forgot how to say.”

Me: “You can say, ‘a piece of paper,’ or, ‘a sheet of paper.’”

Later that day…

Cousin: “Please can I have a piece of sheet?”

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She’s On The Lowest Tier Of The Galaxy Brain Meme

, , , , | Learning | October 22, 2020

When I am working on my graduate degree in cultural anthropology, I, like many of my fellow grad students, assistant-teach introductory courses for first-year students. This year, the department has decided to assign each of us three “discussion sessions” in which we help the students understand the concepts and get them talking about them.

This is initially easier said than done. Many of the students are only taking the class to meet their social science requirement and don’t care about the material. To liven things up, I decide to start each session with a popular meme that relates to the week’s topics. Most students enjoy this. Then there’s this one girl.

During the week when we are discussing socioeconomics and how capitalism has impacted American popular culture, I show a meme that asks, “Which type of person are you?” The meme then shows popular logos, particularly of certain rival computer systems, soda companies, sneaker brands, and so on. As I usually do, I ask the class what they think about this meme. This girl is giving me the stink-eye. She raises her hand.

Girl: *Sneering* “What’s this based on?”

Me: “Well, that’s the question. How did these corporations link themselves to personality traits? Why is it important in American culture to align ourselves with brands?”

Girl: *Condescendingly* “Nooo. What’s this based on? What studies did they do to put together this data?”

Me: “I’m not sure what you mean. This is a meme. Somebody else could have put different logos on here, but these are just a few examples of rivalries—“

Girl: “I just don’t think it’s accurate.”

Me: “Okay, good. What in particular stands out to you?”

Girl: *Scoffs* “Nothing. I think it’s a lie. I think you made this up. Why are you saying that people who like [Major Soda Brand] always wear [Sneaker Brand]?”

Me: “I didn’t make this meme, and I’m not saying that. We are just looking at how these brands are being perceived—“

Girl: “If there’s no data or studies backing this up, it’s fake. It’s not scientific.” 

She folds her arms and smiles smugly, as though she’s just educated me on something. I’m wondering how she’s a millennial who apparently has never seen a meme.

Me: “Well, again, this isn’t meant to be a scientific chart. It’s a meme to stimulate discussion about why some people feel so strongly about brands.”

Girl: “It’s wrong. You don’t get it.”

She glared at me. I called on someone else and the class ended up having a lively discussion about American capitalist culture and how people respond to advertising and branding.

For the rest of the semester, many of the students got more invested in the topics, but that girl continued to be snotty and combative toward me. And even though I did show actual scientific charts at other points in the course, she continued to roll her eyes and accuse me of “lying.”

When I received my evaluations, I got a lot of positive comments about how the course was fun, engaging, etc. Then, there was one that seemed to take particular glee in tearing me apart, calling me a terrible teacher, a failure in my field, etc. Although the evaluations were anonymous, I had a pretty good idea who’d written it.

I guess she was really offended by the idea that she might drink [Major Soda Brand] or wear [Major Sneaker Brand].

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If Google Says So, It Must Be True

, , , , , | Right | October 21, 2020

It’s summer at the university where I work, which means most of the university has reduced hours because there are no students on campus and few classes. The bookstore is no exception, closing at 4:30 with the rest of the campus as opposed to 7:00. This change in hours is on both the signs on our doors and our website.

It is 4:30. My coworker and I lock the doors, shut off the lights, and put away the cash and drawers in the safe. Everything is locked up and we are out the door. I get to my car and am sitting in the driver’s seat trying to find the podcast I want to listen to on my way home. That is when I hear a knock on my car window.

Customer: “Hey, you need to open the store.”

Me: “I… What?”

I think I’ve misheard him. I don’t think a customer would knock on my car window and demand I reopen the store. But I should know better.

Customer: “You need to open the store. I need to get a gift for someone.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we are closed now. I can’t reopen the store for you.”

Customer: “I know the sign on your door says 4:30, but Google says you close at 7:00, so you need to open the store.”

Me: “7:00 is our hours during the school year. It’s the summer, so we close at 4:30. It’s on the door and our website.”

Customer: “But I need to get a gift, and online it says you close at 7:00!”

Me: “I’m not responsible for what Google says. I can’t reopen the store for you. If you need something after hours then please use our website.”

The customer finally left, clearly not happy that he didn’t get to go in and shop after hours. I was more freaked that he knew I worked there; he must have seen me leave the store. It was kind of creepy to have a complete stranger knock on my car window.

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Some People Are Wheely Stupid

, , , , , | Learning | October 17, 2020

I was diagnosed with a progressive condition as a college senior. For a while there, it got worse at a pretty extreme rate and after a couple of months, I was using my first mobility device. Suddenly showing up to school in a wheelchair got some questions, most of them repetitive and one or two truly unique.

After my last class on my first day using a wheelchair, I am out in the hall getting ready to go home.

A freshman I hardly recognize pops out of the lab a few doors down, turns, and stares at me, as if she’s sighted a rare creature. She hesitatingly approaches, stopping short lest she spook me. Her expression is a constant stare of curiosity and astonishment as she takes a moment to gather her nerve.

Freshman: “Do you have a twin?”

Me: “No.”

Freshman: “Really? Are you sure you’re not a twin? You’ve got to be!”

Me: “I’m sure.”

Freshman: “I swear I’ve seen someone around here that looks just like you! I’m sure I have. You have to be twins. If you’re not twins, that’s amazing!”

The freshman starts looking around, as if she’s considering finding this identical person.

Me: “Have you ever considered that, maybe, the person you’ve seen that looks just like me is me?”

Freshman: “No! She couldn’t be!”

Me: “Why not?”

Freshman: “You can’t be her. She’s not in a wheelchair!”

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