this one time...
grandma elaine

This one time, while I was pursuing a history degree in college, my assignment was to interview women in my family. I interviewed my mother and my Grandma Elaine. I was glad I was given this assignment, as I asked them questions that I may not have otherwise been spurred to ask.

My Grandma Elaine was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was a child during the Great Depression, and her father was an employee of the Parks Department. Her father did not make a lot of money, but unlike many others at the time, he had a steady job. Grandma Elaine’s mother was a mother/housekeeper. They lived in a small apartment building in Milwaukee, and my great-great grandfather was one of the few in the building who had a job at the time. Because they had decent access to food, my grandma’s family ate pretty well, and every day, my great-great grandmother made a big pot of soup out of whatever she had: vegetable scraps, leftovers, bones, and whatnot. Once a day at dinnertime, my grandma and her siblings would deliver bowls of her mother’s soup to everyone that lived in their building. Grandma said that she especially remembered two elderly sisters in the building; she said that she doesn’t think they ate anything during the Depression except her mother’s soup.

Grandma was a young adult during World War II, and she had many, many jobs during the war. She and her best friend would get jobs together and then—well, frankly, they would screw around. During that time, workers had to get a letter from their boss to dismiss them from a job, and bosses were hesitant to let go of workers, so the letters were hard to get. Grandma and her best friend racked up many of these letters, always being asked to leave and go somewhere else! She remembered them getting letters from a syrup factory, which made flavored syrups and put them in glass bottles. The bottles would be very hot during the manufacturing process, and she and her friend dropped and broke many. The dismissal letters materialized quickly. Eventually, Grandma found a job that stuck at a plant where she made control panels for submarines. At this job, a gentleman would often come and sell forbidden goods out of the trunk of his car to all of the female employees. She purchased all of her nylon stockings, the type with the seams up the back, from this man during the war. She said that working all of these jobs with her best friend was a lot of fun and kept their minds off of the war.

After WWII, she returned to being a homemaker, but she entered the workforce in the ’60s after her children were out of school. She was a postal carrier through the ’70s, and she was the inspiration for not only my Mr. Zip tattoo but also my career in government work. Grandma passed away in 2009, and I miss her every day.

This one time, I got into MENSA.  I’m not tryin’ to brag or nothing; it just happened.  Well, I took the test, so I guess I put that ball into motion.  I only took the test because David Sedaris took it (en français), and he gave me the idea to do it too.  The test was given in a local library.  At that time I still smoked cigarettes, and I also had a broken foot.  (I don’t know why I mention this, but for me, it places me at a certain point in my life, although I do not remember the exact year.)  I passed the test despite totally guessing all over the math section.

Membership in MENSA is a moneymaker for them, and at the time, I paid $50 for one year of membership.  For the price, I got their snobby magazine and invites to awkward local MENSA meetups.  I went to one, a monthly dinner at someone’s house.  The food was delicious, but the company was just…weird.  Everyone was very academic, and although I also got a pretty piece of paper from a university, I’m kinda more of a blue collar gal.  The evening culminated in a trivia game that was the hardest fucking trivia I’ve ever played.  I’m normally pretty good at trivia, but the game left me feeling really stupid.  A couple people dominated the trivia, which also made it extremely unfun.  I did not attend any more MENSA shit.

I also got the MENSA magazine, the title of which I am too lazy to look up right now.  The magazine was interesting, but the input of its readers was unpleasant. Asia Carrera was featured in the yearly issue about MENSA members.  The cover also featured pierced and tattooed people in MENSA.  Subsequently,  the letters to the editor section was flooded with complaints about Carrera’s inclusion and the “offensive” cover.  Around this same time, marijuana (and whether or not “smart” people use it) started being heavily debated in the same LOE section.  It seemed like every issue featured more and more debating on these two issues, until I just stopped caring and wrote off 90% of dues-paying MENSA members as pricks.

So, yeah, it was fun to pass the test and be labeled smarty-smart, but half of me thinks it’s just a ploy to flatter folks out of $50 a year.  If you want to feel like a moron while playing trivia with people that put the “strange” in “stranger,” then I guess it’s for you.  But if you just want to argue about porn stars and marijuana with people that think they’re smart, save $50 make an account at Gawker.

tellyphone shenanigans

This one time, on April Fool’s Day, I played some epic phone pranks on my friends.  I don’t usually do prank calls, but I love April Fool’s pranks, and these friends were all hundreds of miles away from me.  I mostly communicate with these friends via Internet, so they weren’t very familiar with my voice.  I put on my thinking cap, got out my phonebook, and went to work.

[One thing to note: these friends call me by the nickname of Boston, from the band Boston’s epic song “Amanda.”  I take them by surprise and make them realize.]

[Another thing to note: some names are changed to protect the not-so-innocent.]

Mary, at the time, worked at a small computer networking company that sold and maintained servers and other related stuff.  I knew her boss was incompetent, and I knew that the company worked with companies along the East Coast.  I called and identified myself as a client in Boston (WINK, WINK) and in a very panicky voice, I informed her that the server we had purchased from her company was on fire.  I freaked out on her about data loss and demanded to know what they were going to do to replace the server and the data.  Mary is a cool cucumber, but she got panicked and started stammering and freaking out too.  After several seconds of that, I said, “Hey, Mary?  Guess what.  Sometimes people who say they are from Boston…are really people named Boston.”  Two beats later, she was laughing madly.  She said that I had gotten her good, and that she wouldn’t be surprised if her boss DID sell a defective server that started on fire.  She told me that I had made her day, and I was pleased as punch.  [Ed. note: Mary later got a much better job working for someone who is not incompetent.]

Kali, a very close friend that I talk to several times a week via email, works at a pet supply company.  They make a variety of products, including a litterbox with machinery that automatically cleans it.  Some of these products, especially the litterboxes, are difficult for some people, and, unfortunately, they call Kali to bitch and moan.  This one time, she sent me an email with her work signature on it, including her direct phone line.  Luckily, I knew it would come in handy and kept it.  I called her up and, once again, identified myself as a customer from Boston (NUDGE, NUDGE).  I told her that my automatic litterbox wasn’t working, that it started operating while my cat was in it, and that my cat was, in fact, bleeding all over.  I distinctly remember saying, “There’s blood all over!!!” several times.  Like Mary, Kali also took it seriously and started freaking out.  She told me later that she was trying to figure out which coworker to transfer my call to.  Then I pulled out my “people from Boston are sometimes Boston” line, and she collapsed in laughter.  This was the first time she and I had spoken on the phone.  I should mention here that I called Kali first, and after her pranking, she gave me Mary’s number.

Helga works for a very well-known organization that sells cookies every year.  She, of course, has no hand in the cookie business.  I called her office phone and was greeted by her voicemail, because she’s all important and does big-deal stuff outside of the office.  I wasn’t prepared for that, but while I listened to her outgoing message, I got ready.  Helga is a former coworker and does know the sound of my voice, so I tried to sound like a little old lady.  I left a message complaining that I had recently purchased a box of cookies, and I bit into a cookie and broke my tooth.  I said that the cookies were too hard, and that I wanted to know what her employer was going to do about fixing my tooth.  Then paused and shouted a “gotcha, Helga!” into the phone, hung up, and gleefully received her text about it a few hours later.  I don’t remember exactly what she said, but she probably called me a dork.  

Moral of the story: don’t let me get ahold of your work phone number.

This is one of the loveliest letters I have ever been written.  My Grinch heart grew three sizes today.  Thank you, Trevor!  Happy I could spread some cheer! 
Love,
Amanda

scibbitypitten:

For @Amanjo on the Twitter:
I received a lovely piece of mail today. I get all giddy, for I never get mail. Anyways, I open it up to find this wonderful card. Thank You Very Much may be a little cliche, but I mean it. This is more dear to me than the fancy-shmancy Espresso Maker, or even the Kindle I got this year. Thank You for taking the time out of one of your days to send this; it certainly made my day today! :D I’m glad that we found one another on the Twittah, and I look forward to many more giggles and conversations about Strawberry Weiss, Gov’t Agencies, Minnesnowta, and whatever else life throws our way.
Sincerely,
Trevor White
@ScibbityPitten

This is one of the loveliest letters I have ever been written.  My Grinch heart grew three sizes today.  Thank you, Trevor!  Happy I could spread some cheer! 

Love,

Amanda

scibbitypitten:

For @Amanjo on the Twitter:

I received a lovely piece of mail today. I get all giddy, for I never get mail. Anyways, I open it up to find this wonderful card. Thank You Very Much may be a little cliche, but I mean it. This is more dear to me than the fancy-shmancy Espresso Maker, or even the Kindle I got this year. Thank You for taking the time out of one of your days to send this; it certainly made my day today! :D I’m glad that we found one another on the Twittah, and I look forward to many more giggles and conversations about Strawberry Weiss, Gov’t Agencies, Minnesnowta, and whatever else life throws our way.

Sincerely,

Trevor White

@ScibbityPitten

gay porn lolz

This one time, when I was in high school, one of my best friends was (and still is) Kyle. Kyle is gay. I pierced both of his ears with an ear-piercing kit sold at Walgreens.  He was so anxious to get his ears pierced that I did it in the parking lot of Walgreens in my dad’s Dodge Neon.  His ear piercings turned out awesome, if I do say so myself. And I do say so myself.

Another time, I bought Kyle some gay porn. He was 17; I was 18. I went to a porn store in downtown Waukesha, Wisconsin.  I selected a basic man-on-man porn magazine for him.  I held it with the cover facing my body, hoping that the other patrons of the “porn store” wouldn’t see what I was holding. But after some weird looks, I realized the cover of the magazine featured basic gay stuffs, but the back was a man receiving a facial cum shot from another man.  I was MORTIFIED. A few other people made eye contact and sniggered.

I purchased the magazine and delivered it to Kyle in my car. Never again did I agree to buy him porn.

This one time, when I was in high school, I was a total journalism geek.  I was the editor of my high school paper for three years, which was a part of my lifelong education in bossing people around.  During one of those years, I went to Washington D.C. for the Washington Journalism Conference.  It is an assembly of high school journalism geeks into teams that write and edit and publish a newspaper.  I think we published two while we were there.  They also brought in journalism peeps for us to talk to and interview and whatnot.  At this conference, I attended a small session where Helen Thomas visited and talked about her time as a White House correspondent.  She brought copies of one of her books, I can’t remember which one (possibly “Dateline: White House”).  During the Q&A, I asked if the books she had brought were for sale, and she said that yes, she’d sell them for $30 apiece.  Of course, even though I was the one that asked the question, other people grabbed up the books and I didn’t manage to snag one.  After her talk, I went up to her and asked if I could give her $30 and my address and have her send me an autographed book.  She said yes, and I gave her a travelers cheque for $30 and eagerly awaited my book.  It never came.
14 years later, I could give two shits about what she said about Israel.  I want my $30!

This one time, when I was in high school, I was a total journalism geek.  I was the editor of my high school paper for three years, which was a part of my lifelong education in bossing people around.  During one of those years, I went to Washington D.C. for the Washington Journalism Conference.  It is an assembly of high school journalism geeks into teams that write and edit and publish a newspaper.  I think we published two while we were there.  They also brought in journalism peeps for us to talk to and interview and whatnot.  At this conference, I attended a small session where Helen Thomas visited and talked about her time as a White House correspondent.  She brought copies of one of her books, I can’t remember which one (possibly “Dateline: White House”).  During the Q&A, I asked if the books she had brought were for sale, and she said that yes, she’d sell them for $30 apiece.  Of course, even though I was the one that asked the question, other people grabbed up the books and I didn’t manage to snag one.  After her talk, I went up to her and asked if I could give her $30 and my address and have her send me an autographed book.  She said yes, and I gave her a travelers cheque for $30 and eagerly awaited my book.  It never came.

14 years later, I could give two shits about what she said about Israel.  I want my $30!

defying death at 65 mph

This one time, prolly about eight or so years ago, I was driving through Wisconsin.  I was on the long trek on I-94 that bisects the state diagonally, and around Wisconsin Dells, I was cruisin’ right along in the left lane.  I was passing a string of cars that were behind a lumber truck, and all of a sudden, one of the cars shot out in front of me.  I was a bit cheesed off, but then I looked over and realized that the lumber truck, which was full of square bundles of cut 2x4s, had a couple of loose bundles and 2x4s were SHOOTING OFF THE BACK OF THE TRUCK.  I realized what was going on, saw a SUV in the right lane swerve, and slowed down and motioned for him to get in front.  We both hit the gas and got the hell out of there.  I got in front of the lumber truck in the right lane and pulled out my phone and dialed 911.

The 911 operator transfered me to State Patrol, and I told the dispatcher what was going on.  I was pretty freaky-outy at this point, but although I didn’t have the truck’s license plate, I was able to give her the mile marker and that we were westbound.  Needless to say, it wasn’t hard for them to find the “big blue lumber truck dropping 2x4s.”  I stayed a safe distance in front of the truck, and about 90 seconds after I hung up, a State Patrol car came FUCKING FLYING down the middle of the two westbound lanes.  It had its lights and sirens and maybe even extra sirens going, and it flew around in front of the lumber truck and forced the guy off the road.  It was some awesome cop shit.

I got off at the next exit and parked.  It took a few cigarettes for me to stop shaking enough to get back on the road.  

bird cooties

This one time, I was at the Milwaukee County Zoo.  My mom was donating blood and got free entry, and I tagged along as her plus-one.  While she was doing her thing, I wandered around and went to the aviary.  I was walking through, just minding my business, when a large bird (I can’t remember what) flew over me and clipped me in the back of the head with its belly and feet.  I pitched forward and yelped, stunned, and a guy asked me if I was okay.  I replied that I was but that I wanted to get out of there, and then I did.

I went home and washed my hair three times.  I will never again enter any aviary.

dumbest customer ever

This one time, I was working at a gas station in the Midwest.  A woman came in complaining about a gas pump malfunctioning.  A coworker went out to investigate, and came back in laughing.  Turns out her gas tank was full.  As she tried to pump, gas was flowing down the side of her car.

She spilled about 50¢ worth of gas in the process.  She did not pay for it.

BP wants Twitter to shut down a fake BP account that is mocking the oil company. In response, Twitter wants BP to shut down the oil leak that’s ruining the ocean.

JIMMY FALLON, Late Night

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