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  • Stupid For Not Trying
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    Holy Man-child Batman!

    | Long Island, NY, USA | Children, Parents & Guardians, Top

    (I’m an avid comic book fan, in my early forties. I’m in a large chain bookstore browsing the graphic novel section. Sitting on the floor nearby is a boy about 13 or 14 years old, reading a Batman book. His mother, a woman around my age, approaches.)

    Mother: *to son* “We’re almost ready to go. Did you find a book you want?”

    Son: “I don’t know. Just a few more minutes.”

    (As the mother turns around, she sees me standing a few feet away… reading a Batman book. She stares at me for a few seconds.)

    Mother: *to me* “So what you’re telling me is, he’s not going to grow out of this?”

    Me: *grinning* “Probably not.”

    (The mother walks away, shaking her head.)

    Joining Rivers

    | Durham, NC, USA | Children, Parents & Guardians, Sons & Daughters, Top

    (I’m a graduate student, but I work nights and weekends as a children’s entertainer. I am painting a little girl’s face at a Christmas festival as her parents stand behind me.)

    Me: *to the girl* “So, what’s your name?”

    Girl: “River!”

    Me: “Oh, what a pretty name! I have one, no, two favorite TV characters named River!”

    (Her father raises his eyebrows.)

    Dad: “Which two?”

    Me: “Oh, River Tam from Firefly and River Song from Doctor Who.”

    (The father laughs and points at his daughter.)

    Dad: “That’s who she was named after, River Tam.”

    (At this point, I’ve finished the little girl’s face paint, which has glitter in it. She is admiring herself in my mirror.)

    Dad: *to the girl* “Now, what do you say?”

    Girl: “Shiny! Let’s be bad guys!”

    (Parenting, you’re doing it right!)

    Straight From The Horse’s Mouth

    | Ireland | Children, Parents & Guardians, Siblings, Top

    (We are in the car, listening to ‘The Boxer’ by Simon and Garfunkel. It includes the lyrics, ‘Just a come-on from the whores on 7th Avenue. I do declare there were times when I was so lonesome I took some comfort there.’ I am maybe eight or nine, singing along with gusto.)

    Mum: “Maybe we shouldn’t be listening to this.”

    Brother: “It’s fine. She doesn’t understand it anyway.”

    Me: *indignant* “I do, too!”

    Brother: “Oh yeah? What does it mean, then?”

    Me: “He’s sad and lonely because he moved away from his family. But he made friends with a horse who lives on 7th Avenue, and when he’s sad the horse says, ‘Come on! You can do it!’ And that comforts him.”

    Mum: “… you are 100 percent right.”

    Not Your Stereotypical Grandmother

    | Dover, DE, USA | Grandparents, LGTBQ, Top

    (I’m visiting my grandmother. I’ve just come out to her as bi. I’m a young woman dating a black man almost a year younger than me. While still talking about LGBT things, our conversation starts towards gender stereotypes.)

    Grandmother: “What I don’t get, is why a girl can like cars and guys’ll like her, but a guy can like sewing or baking and suddenly he’s a f*****.”

    (My grandmother then turns to me, and looks at me seriously for a moment.)

    Grandmother: “Now, [My Name], don’t you ever say that word. It’s nasty and mean. It’s like if I walked up to [Boyfriend’s Name] and called him a n*****.”

    Me: “I was just about to call you out on that. Were you just saying that as a ‘that’s what other people say’ type thing?”

    Grandmother: “Yeah. I wouldn’t call you or a girl you brought home that, never in a million years. Did I ever tell you about my basketball friend?”

    Me: “No?”

    Grandmother: “Well, I had a girlfriend. I guess you’d call her a gal pal, anyway. I had this girl friend that I was on a basketball team with and I spent the night at her house. Back then two girls or two guys could share a bed without it being gay. Anywho, we were lying there in bed and she started touching on my leg and trying to make moves on me!”

    Me: “Oh, my God, and you don’t swing that way.”

    Grandmother: “H*** no I don’t! But I let her down easy and we went swimmin’ the next day.”

    Me: “You’re taking this a lot better than some people. I have a friend that’s physically a girl, but psychologically he’s a boy.”

    (I pause to see her reaction to my explanation about what transgender is, but she doesn’t react. I continue…)

    Me: “When he came out to his mom, she told him that he was just a confused lesbian.”

    Grandmother: “Well, that woman’s so full of s*** they gotta hang an air freshener around her neck!”

    Confessions Of A Sith Lord

    | BC, Canada | Siblings, Top

    (My sister is usually pretty quiet and reserved, but she has a very clever wit. I am watching ‘Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,’ and she comes and joins me for part of it. While she is nerdy, she is not nearly into Star Wars as much as I am. The following occurs during the movie’s iconic scene.)

    Darth Vader: “No, I am your father!”

    Luke: “No… no, that’s not true… that’s impossible!”

    Sister: *impersonating Darth Vader* “It’s very possible. Let me tell you what I did with your mother.”

    The World Is Too Small After All

    | FL, USA | Parents & Guardians, Top

    (My father works with large machinery, such as construction and theme park motors. When he first started working one of his first jobs was at Disney World, in Orlando. The ride ‘It’s a Small World After All!’ was broken. To fix it, he had to sit in the log boats, and go through the entire ride, with the song playing in all its languages, making notes of what was wrong and pointing it out to the theme park employees. He endured this for a whole six hours. Several years later, I come home from another day in fourth grade.)

    Me: “Hey! Listen to this new song I learned! It’s a small world after all—”

    Dad: “STOP THAT THIS INSTANT! That song is banned from this house, and whoever sings it will be grounded for life and never eat Daddy’s Special Saturday pancakes ever again!”

    (We’ve been to Disney World several times over the years. Each time, he refuses to go within ten feet of the ride, and if he hears the song, starts looking for the nearest beer stand!)

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