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    Poetry Getting A Frosty Reception

    | USA | Grandparents

    (I’m on a walk in the woods with my grandparents, and we come across a fork in the road, one of the paths clearly more often used.)

    Me: *strikes dramatic pose* “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I took the one less traveled by…”

    Grandmother: “What?”

    Me: “Oh, I was just quoting Robert Frost. You know, ‘The Road Not Taken’?”

    Grandfather: “Who’s Robert Frost? Is that from a song or something?”

    Me: “No, he was a famous poet.”

    Grandmother: “Oh. Well, you can’t expect me to keep up with all these modern celebrities.”

    Me: “…he died over fifty years ago…”

    I Like Big Words And I Cannot Lie

    | Copenhagen, Denmark | Siblings

    Me: *reading aloud from a headline* “Yelling ‘nice a**’ after a woman is never a compliment.”

    Brother: “I suppose it would be, insofar as it’s pontificating a trait the speaker considers positive.”

    (Pause.)

    Me: “All those big words for ‘nice a**’?”

    Brother: “Trust an academic to make anything into a brain twister.”

    Unsurprising Overreaction

    | FL, USA | Parents & Guardians

    (My mom and I are walking our dog, Jake, around the neighborhood.)

    Me: “Hey mom; look that’s a sign for the invisible fence we wanted to get for Jake!”

    (I look over at her pointing at the sign in someone’s yard.)

    Mom: *looks in the general direction of where I was pointing and says very surprised sounding* “OOOH!”

    Me: “Wha… what’s wrong?”

    Mom: “What? Oh. I wasn’t listening to you so I just gave you a general response and I guess I overreacted…”

    (We both start to laugh. I still tease her about it to this day.)

    Coloring In His Ignorance Gaps

    | IA, USA | Parents & Guardians

    (My dad tends to say casually racist and sexist things because he was raised on a farm in Idaho in the 1960s. I have taken to pointing this out by asking him what he means when he says something offensive and usually he realizes he is wrong. This happens after he, my mother, and I have voted in the midterm elections and are walking to the car.)

    Dad: “So, who’d you vote for?”

    Me: “Well, the obvious ones for major seats but I didn’t know any of the judges so I just voted for the women and one guy because his name was Casey Jones.”

    Dad & Me: *start singing Casey Jones by the Grateful Dead*

    Dad: “You know the funny thing is, he’s a colored man.”

    Mom: *starts walking really fast, anticipating what’s coming*

    Me: “Really? How is that funny?”

    Dad: “Well, you know, because that isn’t a name that really sounds black.”

    Me: “Really? What’s a ‘black’ name sound like?”

    Dad: “Well… ya know, most Jones’s are white guys.”

    Me: “I don’t understand.”

    Dad: “From his name you wouldn’t know he was colored.”

    Me: “I don’t understand why his skin color matters. Please explain.”

    (My dad just stands there looking confused.)

    Mom: “[Dad], drop it. Please? And don’t try to figure out anyone’s skin color by their name.”

    Dad: “I just don’t understand.”

    (The next day he apologized to me because my mother explained to him that what he said was racist and he had ‘no idea that could be offensive.’)

    Not Exactly Screaming Stealth

    | USA | Grandparents, Siblings

    (My grandmother is hard of hearing, which is compounded by the fact that she doesn’t always listen when you’re trying to talk to her. We’re out trying to catch some kittens that someone abandoned at my aunt’s house, a mission that requires some stealth, and as we’re getting out of the car it occurs to me that I have my house keys clipped to my pants and I can’t exactly be stealthy with my butt jingling, so I go to take them off.)

    Me: “Hang on, guys; I need to leave my keys here.”

    (My grandmother notices that one of the doors, mine, is still open, so she can’t lock the car.)

    Grandmother: “Come on, guys. Close that door!

    Me: *a little louder, so she can hear me* “I’ll get it in a second. I need to leave my—”

    Grandmother: “[My Name], what are you doing?!”

    Me: “I’M TRYING TO TELL YOU THAT I NEED TO LEAVE MY KEYS IN THE CAR!”

    (I finally get them off, close the door, and start following them.)

    Sister: “You didn’t really have to scream it.”

    Me: “Yes, I did. This morning I shouted something to her across the car and she yelled at me to stop mumbling…”

    A Tall Order For Your Son

    | MT, USA | Parents & Guardians, Sons & Daughters

    (My son, a second grader, is at the first soccer practice of the season. I had spoken with the coach once already and so I knew what to expect. My husband is super competitive, and is surveying the team.)

    Husband: “Wow, he isn’t the tallest this year.”

    Me: “Yeah, they combined the second and third grades, and his team only has a couple second graders.”

    Husband: *eyes narrowing* “He will crush them!”

    Me: “No, no, no! They’re a team!”

    Husband: *expression not changing* “He will crush them! …with teamwork and fair play!”


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