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    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?!”


    (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!”

    A Touching Lesson

    | Norway | Parents & Guardians, Siblings

    (My younger half-brother was notorious for touching things he shouldn’t as a child. On this occasion, he is around five years old, and we are in town with our dad, waiting for the annual December parade. Looking around, he discovers a shop door where a glass pane has been broken. He immediately goes over and starts poking and picking at it.)

    Dad: “[Brother], stop that.”

    Me: “You’re gonna cut yourself, and I won’t feel sorry for you.”

    Dad: “There’s no need when he’s doing stupid things. [Brother], you should leave stuff like that alone.”

    Brother: “I’m being careful!”

    Me: “That’s not the point; you shouldn’t touch it in the first place.”

    Dad: “We’re not going back if you cut yourself. You’ll just have to wait until we’re done. Your sister has been looking forward to this.”

    Me: “My mom is in the parade with her marching band! I’ve always marched with her, so this is the first time I get to see it! I’m not going home if you start bleeding!”

    Dad: “Well, if he does cut himself, he’ll learn that he shouldn’t touch everything he thinks is interesting.”

    (Finally, my brother loses interest in the door. We’ve been waiting a few more minutes when we hear sirens.)

    Dad: “That’s probably the police.” *winks at me* “I bet they’re coming to examine the door.”

    Brother: “Really?”

    Me: “Oh, yeah. They’ll probably look for fingerprints and everything. But they’ll only find yours.”

    Dad: “That’s what happens when you can’t keep your hands to yourself.”

    Me: “They might even think you broke it.”

    Brother: *teary eyed* “But I didn’t! I don’t want to go to jail!”

    (The sirens fade.)

    Dad: “Looks like they weren’t coming here. But think about what you’re doing, next time. Actions have consequences.”

    (My brother nodded and calmed down. He didn’t learn his lesson, but it gave us something to laugh about.)

    That Logic Won’t Quite Set The World On Fire

    | USA | Cousins

    (My cousin and I are walking home from the park. I live in a small town.)

    Cousin: “You guys have really nice fire trucks.”

    Me: “Yeah, too bad they don’t get used so much.”

    Cousin: “Yeah… too bad that not more houses are burning down to the ground.”

    Tell It To You Straight

    | USA | Parents & Guardians

    (I am kayaking with both my sisters when suddenly I am having trouble keeping the kayak in a straight line. Both my sisters are bi while I am straight.)

    Older Sister: “It’s funny how you’re the one who has trouble keeping straight.”

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