Top Stories

People Share The Stupidest Things They Did To Try And Look Cooler As Kids

Why did we try so hard when we were younger?

It was all such a short part of our lives, but we worked so hard to make sure we felt older, looked cooler, and did things "right." Being kids shouldn't have been about that, but we were all in such a hurry to fit in and grow up.

u/MinimumPlastic asked:

What stupid things did you do when you were younger to try to look cooler?

Here were some of the answers.

The Greaser Complex


My cousin would squint his eyes all the time because he wanted to look like Danny from Grease but he ended up being taken to the eye doctor because his parents though he had a problem.


I wore two pair of knee high socks, because the Fonze did it. This was July. I complained about the heat. My dad was wondering if I was sick... then he was wondering what was wrong with me. Hooray cool kids!


I Got Hurt!

When I was in elementary school, I thought wearing a bandaid on my knee made me look cool. Having a cut or scrape wasn't necessary.


I... I may or may not have done the same thing. But not on my knee. Nor even just one. One time in third grade, I walked out the door with my entire left arm and hand COVERED in band-aids. My adoptive mom grabbed my collar and yoinked me back in the house like a cartoon and angrily took them all off; I was screaming about how she was gonna keep me from being cool the entire time, of course.


The Grapefruit Tragedy

This is probably the most embarrassing thing I've ever done.

I was in 5th grade and home alone for a couple of hours. We had a bowl of grapefruits on the counter for my mother's most recent fad diet. I was picking them up, trying to juggle, just messing around bored. I suddenly had an idea.

I got one of my mother's bras out of the dirty clothes hamper, put it on over my skinny chest, and- you guessed it- plopped a pair of grapefruits into the cups. Put my top back on and, oh wow, I look FABULOUS. I walk around, look in the mirror, dance a little hoochie-coochie dance in the living room.

Pretty soon I'm convinced that I look completely natural and super teenaged. I go out on the porch to watch my reflection strut back and forth in the front window. God, I am killing this boob thing. My bike is right there, parked by the mailbox.

I'm riding my Huffy banana seat bike around the block, enjoying the wind in my boobs, when my parents come along in our car. They wave, I wave. They pull over. A grapefruit drops to the pavement and rolls slowly under the car. I die of shame but somehow remain fixed in place for all eternity.

My mother puts her face into her open purse and begins to shake while making muffled snorting noises. My dad coolly leans across to the passenger window and, eyes a-twinkle, says, "Going for a little ride, are you? Nice day for it. We'll see you back home, then." They drive off.

I die a few more times, then slowly navigate towards home with my one remaining grapefruit sagging listlessly in defeat.



In elementary school, I thought it was so cool to lose your voice due to sickness. Some days, I'd come into class and pretend I couldn't speak. I'd even put my hand up to answer questions, but I'd answer with what I thought sign language was.


They Were Not Impressed

I ate rocks at the bus stop in order to impress a girl. Didn't chew, just picked up a handful of thick gravel and shoved it in my mouth and swallowed while making eye contact. I thought girls liked guys that did dangerous things, so this made sense in my child brain. It backfired (of course) and she never spoke to me again. I don't remember sh*tting those rocks out, so they may still be in there, for all I know.


Double O Nothin'

I told my best friend that I have another persona from another dimension. The other dimension me is a secret agent. And I told her that she will be meeting other dimension me the next day.

Then the next day I started wearing shades and basically anything that can be associated with secret agents. I would randomly use "gadgets" to perform simple tasks and parkour going to rooms and school grounds.


Not A Smart Plan

When I was in the 4th grade, I somehow got the notion that guys with scars were cool. Needless to say, to heighten my attractiveness I started running the back of my hand along the brick wall leading up to my class. After only a couple of times there was visible damage on my hand.

To be fair, I did gain the attention of some pretty neat people! Like the therapist and school counselor!


Bla Harmy Patar? Clarch!

When my best friends and I were about 10 we thought it was super cool to speak another language aside from English in front of other people, so basically like pretend we were foreigners. Problem was we knew no other language aside from English. Nevertheless, we went to McDonalds and sat there in public talking to each other in very loud gibberish (basically like the Sims) trying to get people to look at us and think we were cool.


The Cringe Factor

I was a "not like other girls" girl. I acted like I was sooo different for liking hard rock music, anime and video games even though there were plenty of other girls who were into it too. I could have been making friends with people with similar interests but instead I patted myself on the back for having mostly male friends. I stumbled upon the not like other girls subreddit and I cringed so hard because I used to be one of them.


The Ghost Of You


I thought I was mysterious by writing notes to my crush and dropping them under his desk in like 5th grade. Two problems A) He sat right next to me so he saw my hand writing constantly B) He didn't like me at all and straight up told me one day to stop leaving the notes. I am pretty sure I died that day and have been haunting my body since.


Incredibly Satisfying Revenge Stories
Photo by Luke Southern on Unsplash

Let’s face it: some people just need to be taught a lesson. They step over the line by insulting us, attacking us, or otherwise trying to ruin our lives, and all we can do in response is give them a taste of their own medicine. In fact, sometimes we just completely one-up them. These Redditors got brutal revenges on people who deserved it, and it was so, so satisfying.

1. Cheaters Never Prosper

When I got divorced—my wife of 18 years had started another affair, this time with her addictions counsellor—my lawyer and I laid a trap for them. Just in case you don't know, intimate relations between a counselor and patient are very frowned upon by the regulatory bodies. And I was more than angry after putting her through rehab ($25k, which I didn't have to do) only to have her fall back into her old behavior.

Shortly before the divorce was finalized, I filed a complaint with the State body licensing health professions. Knowing they were in some peril because of their unprofessional relationship (I had already gotten him fired from a major teaching hospital), she had backed off her exorbitant demands. I paid her a very modest settlement, kept the house, got custody of the three tweenage kids, plus got child support.

Her lawyer naturally included a clause in the divorce where I had to agree to not say anything negative about her lover and their relationship. But the lawyer messed up and never asked if I had already filed charges and thus didn't require me to rescind them. Her lawyer had assumed I was just bad mouthing them to neighbors and friends, and it never occurred to the lawyer that we were doing much more. But we were doing much more.

When the Board of Health Professions responded to my complaint shortly after the divorce was finalized, I told them that it would take a subpoena to get me to testify, since a subpoena trumps an agreement in a divorce settlement. They were happy to oblige. They stripped his license and placed him on a register of sanctioned health professionals.

He never worked again. They were broke in a handful of years and she divorced him when the money ran out. Oh, and the frosting on the cake was that his wife and I traded notes, notably hotel receipts from the time of their affair, that helped each of us in our respective divorces. In the end, justice was very much served.


2. Casa De Cheater

My boyfriend and I had met online well over six years ago through an online game by the name of RuneScape. He was 14 and I was 17, but it had felt like we had been friends forever. We both played the game very often and connected through it, eventually leading us to start a long-distance relationship. Things began to escalate as the years went on and we began seeing each other in person every few months or so.

We were about 1,500 miles apart, so one of our main priorities for the future was moving in together and closing the distance. My job had prevented us from doing that, but we had finally set a date for me to move in with him in December of this year. Our relationship never had any serious issues and I was more than happy to have him in my life as he was happy to have me.

As I got older, I began to play RuneScape less and less, as work took up most of my time. He continued to play regularly, if not more than he had when I first met him. He could never really hold down a job and barely had an income, but I supported him throughout the years and even paid his rent from across the country after he moved out of his parents' house a few years ago.

I never really minded it because he was a sweetheart, but we began to have problems. In November of last year, I couldn't help pay his monthly rent. I was short on cash after having to pay my own living expenses alongside car repairs and bills I owed to the state, and I just couldn't afford to support him at the time. When I called him one night to discuss it, he freaked out and started crying that he didn't want to live with his parents again.

I tried calming him down and even suggesting that I could help him find a temporary job until I could start providing for him again, but he wasn't having it. He claimed his parents would harm him if he returned home, which I know for a fact isn't true because him and his parents have stayed with me several times. They've given him the world.

I eventually did calm him down, but he remained passive-aggressive the entire night and we eventually hung up. Because I cared about him, I reached out to his father the next day and informed him that he would probably be moving back home after his lease expired that month. I explained how I wouldn't be able to afford paying for his living for a month or two and if there were any local jobs he could work in order to... y'know, MAKE AN INCOME.

Apparently, a friend of his father needed help managing a small warehouse for his business and was looking to potentially hire my boyfriend for the season. It paid $15/hour and was super easy (lifting boxes, sweeping the floors, and taking inventory). I brought it up with my boyfriend that same night and he was not having it. Not only did he not want to work in a "stupid warehouse," but he didn't want to work at all.

All he planned to do day in, day out was play RuneScape. I brought up a few other job listings I had found in his area and he immediately shot all of them down as well. Then it got ten times worse. He then had the audacity to comment about how he thinks I should work harder and possibly work a second job. I kept my composure and simply argued against it until we eventually hung up.

I collapsed on my bed and cried for a good hour or two afterwards because of the intense emotional stress I was under. Not only do I work eight hours a day, six days a week, I'm also an industrial meteorologist. If I remember correctly, that's a lot more work than playing RuneScape every day and using my Hulu account. I really considered breaking up with him right that moment, but I changed my mind and decided to give him another chance. Looking back on it, big mistake.

I messaged him throughout the night and we sort-of made up, but I was still a little uneasy about the entire event. He had moved back with his parents by the time December had come and I began to help him look for jobs while he wasted his life away playing video games. I eventually persuaded him to start working at a small retail store near his house and he thankfully began to make some money!

I would still buy him video games and transfer him money like normal because I spoiled him, and our relationship began to feel somewhat okay again. Last month, both him and I put our money together to fly him across the US to stay with me for four days. We hadn't seen each other in person since last summer, so we were both looking forward to it.

He arrived and we had a great time for the first few days because he could actually take me on dates for once with his new income. Everything was perfect…until I caught a glimpse of his phone's lock screen while he was taking a shower. "When are you gonna leave herrrrr," the Discord message read. I could have ran into the bathroom and snapped his neck in that moment, but I kept myself together as best as I could.

I had never felt so used, disrespected, or hated in my entire life. When he came out of the bathroom, I gave him a fake smile, but I genuinely hated him from that moment on. He could have dropped on the floor and I would have spit on him. I spent the remainder of the night watching him play RuneScape and I remained very quiet. He took notice of this and asked me if everything was okay, and I lied and told him I was fine.

When it came time to go to sleep, I let him climb into bed with me and he tried initiating intimacy because it was our final night together. I rejected as politely as I could without tearing his member completely off. He was disappointed, but went out like a light. Immediately after he went to sleep, I reached over and unplugged his phone and started digging through his messages with that girl.

I feared that I had misinterpreted the message I had seen, but I was completely right after all. Not only had he been cheating on me, he had been doing so for nearly six months, leading me to believe that he hooked up with another girl directly after I couldn't pay for his living in November. I scrolled through probably 100,000 messages and wanted to vomit my insides out by the end of it.

He had talked trash about me, claimed I was emotionally mistreating him (just as he had done with his parents), and even sent this girl my intimate photos so they could pick me apart physically. When morning came, I had slept in because of how late I was up reading his messages. I woke up to find him on my computer playing RuneScape and eating my food.

It was like all of our relationship had been wiped from my mind and he was now an evil stranger sitting in my house. I wanted to scream at him, I wanted to tear him apart and kick him out of my house onto the street, but I didn't. In fact, I gave him as much love and attention as I could muster that morning because I wanted to leave things feeling normal between us.

I dropped him off at the airport and we had a quick and somber goodbye before I left him forever, unbeknownst to him. I drove back home as calmly as I could before crying my eyes out in a mix of complete anger and emotional pain. I ended up kicking my bed frame so hard that the wood split and I had to buy another one recently. If only it were his face.

I wanted to break his heart by the time he arrived back home, but I wanted it to really hurt. I logged into our joint RuneScape account that we had made several years ago, where him and I would work on training the same account and raising it almost like our "baby." We had always joked that if we were to ever split up, he would take half of the account's bank contents and I would take the rest. So I got him back good.

I took my half and transferred it to my main account, before taking his half and giving it away to random people throughout the game. Every last bit of it. Even items I couldn't normally trade away, I used a spell to convert the items into coins, which I then gave away as well. The bank was now empty. And then another idea came to mind.

It then occurred to me that the credentials to his main account were written down in my desk, as he would frequently have me train his Farming skill every so often. I didn't hesitate at all and logged into his precious 14-year-old RuneScape account. I immediately took all of the contents of his bank and sold it all on the Grand Exchange, a marketplace in the game.

It took an extremely long time to clear out his bank, but he would still be flying home for about another four hours so I had plenty of time. By the time I had sold/destroyed everything, I had four stacks of coins totaling over 8.5 billion. Now what to spend it on, hmm...I wanted to waste his "life earnings" on the most useless, stupid thing I could think of, besides him.

I logged back into my main account to reach out to a friend of mine who collects massive stacks of burnt food. For the unaware, burnt food in RuneScape has no use. You can't "unburn" them, eat them, or even sell them on the Grand Exchange. They are, however, tradable amongst players. I've always poked fun at this guy for collecting burnt food, but I was now more thankful than ever to make his acquaintance in my revenge.

I asked him what the most obscure, unwanted item of the burnt food variety was and he replied "Burnt spider." Lo and behold, he had roughly 6,000 of the item "Spider on shaft (burnt)" in his bank that he was willing to sell me. Feeling generous with my ex-boyfriend's coins, I gave my friend a full stack of 2.147 billion coins and left a very happy customer.

I dropped the 6,083 burnt spiders in his bank, but still had about 6 billion coins left to spend. With the remaining money, I decided to treat myself. I went onto the Grand Exchange and ended up going on a shopping spree! The first thing I bought were 100 bonds. If you're not familiar, a bond in RuneScape grants you 14 days of in-game Membership. After trading all 100 bonds to my account, I now have almost four years of Membership paid for me.

I spent a majority of his coins on extremely nice armor, all of which went straight into my account. He still had about an extra billion, so I spent it on the supplies I needed to level up an expensive skill of mine. By the end of the afternoon, he was left with a measly 150,000 coins in his bank, all of which I gave away to a guy cooking pizzas outside of the Exchange.

Nothing was left, so I decided to pick up a pile of bones off the ground and leave it solely in his bank. It might sound petty, but I laughed for a while. Now, I know what you're thinking. This is so cruel, you ruined the tens of thousands of hours he had put into a game! Well, it was time he learned that I can be a witch, and a MEAN witch.

On top of spending every last coin he had ever made, I levelled his Defense skill. This may not sound bad; in fact, it sounds like a good thing! I helped his account progress, right? Well, no. Unfortunately for my ex, he had what players commonly refer to as a "pure" account: meaning he never, EVER dared to level his Defense skill from Level 1, in order to keep the lowest defense stats but have high offensive stats. Well, not anymore. Have fun with your permanent Level 6 Defense.

Cycling through hundreds of possible forms of revenge in my head, I then settled on getting rid of his house. It's quite an achievement in RuneScape to have a nice house of your own. In fact, he had one of the nicest I had ever seen in the game. In order to have built it, he must have spent well over a few billion coins. Too bad I had disassembled it all in a matter of minutes, deleting it all into cyberspace.

And there's no insurance either, he's going to have to re-buy everything with his non-existent money if he wants a new house. Bye bye, Casa de cheater. Scrolling through his friends list, I decided to act as him and pay a visit to his friends who were currently online and admit that I had cheated on my girlfriend and was fully proud of it.

If his friends hadn't removed him by that point, I removed them. All of them. Lastly, to add a beautiful little cherry to this revenge-filled cake. I changed his username. You're able to change your username once a month on RuneScape, so I changed his to let everybody know that he's a dirty cheater. I obviously won't drop his username here, but I did the best I could to embarrass him with a 12 character limit.

He should be able to reclaim his previous username in about three weeks, but if he waits too long, I'll be able to swipe it and slap it on a throwaway account of my own forever. He sent me a very hateful and aggressive message later that night, followed by pictures of him crying. I wrote him a sincere message officially ending the relationship, while also scaring him away by threatening to "take him to court" over sharing my intimate photos possibly filing a cease-and-desist if he were to contact me any time soon.

I don't plan on doing any of that, I just don't want to speak to him ever again.


3. All That Glitters

turned on pendant lamps above kitchen islandPhoto by Im3rd Media on Unsplash

I work for a construction company and we do remodeling on homes. We have a rule here that we get to keep anything we find hidden behind the walls. We hired this guy (we really needed a worker badly) who was a total jerk from day one. I’ve been working for this company for five years and this guy has only been doing construction for one year after he got fired from his accounting job.

Anyways, he would always make fun of my clothes and my accent, and one day he went too far by telling my boss about my private Instagram account pictures. He got on my phone and looked through my Instagram page and showed my boss pictures of me with weed. Joke’s on him; my boss is my friend from eight years ago and this wasn’t a surprise to him.

Still, I was so mad that he violated my privacy—so I made a plan to screw him right over. He was the kind of guy who would always come in late and complain that trains or traffic is why he was always late. One day, I overheard him saying that if he won the lottery he would quit this job for not getting the "respect" he deserves.

You know, because you have to earn your respect here. So a few days later, I bought some fake gold coins online and put them in a metal box I found at the antique store. Then I waited for a chance to hide it in a wall. Luckily, I did not have to wait long. The day he found the coins, it seemed like it was his best day ever.

The first thing he did when he opened the box was call my boss a loser and quit immediately on the spot. He said, “screw this place, I’m rich.” Little did he know, that was the best day of my life. After he quit, my boss told us that he was going to fire him anyways for always showing up late...I wish I could see the look on his face when he finds out the gold coins are fake. Best $40 I spent in my entire life.


4. Sort Out Your Priorities

I am 5'4" male who looks less muscular than I am. I was in line for priority boarding and it had just started when the woman behind me said "Excuse me, this is for priority boarding. You need to wait with everyone else." I ignored her and presented my boarding pass with my active duty ID. My only revenge was when the attendant said "thank you for your service."

I turned to the woman behind me, grinned, and said "thanks!" Before boarding.


5. Cooking With Gas

Several years ago, I lived in the northwest coast of Puerto Rico. It’s a very relaxed area, with tons of good restaurants and lots of green space. My apartment was on a cliff, not far from the water. The electric infrastructure was a bit old, so when it was rainy season, we’d lose power for a few hours at a time. Not a big deal—I had a gasoline generator.

Enter a new neighbor. He lived two doors down from me, and drove an amazing custom Chevy van from the 70s. All it needed was an epic airbrushed Wizard on the side. Sadly though, that’s where anything good about him ended. I caught him taking the gas out of an orange jug I’d leave outside in case the generator ran out. Although I saw him do it, and called him out on it, he denied it and played stupid.

So after the second time, I took all of the gas in the jug, filled the generator with it, and put the rest in my car. I then went to the nearest gas station that had diesel and filled it up with diesel. A few days later, I am woken up by a tow truck backing up to pick up his now disabled van. I looked out the window and you could see the anger on his face. He moved out the next month, and from what I gathered from talking to people in the community, he was a general piece of trash human and what happened to him was deserved.


6. You Are What You Eat

woman carrying baby while sitting on chairPhoto by Dave Clubb on Unsplash

A couple things about me that made it really suck to have a food thief: I have a lot of food allergies, so I can't just get lunch at the cafeteria or at a nearby restaurant. I have a new baby, who I'm breastfeeding, and who I pump for when I'm at work. You know how hungry pregnant people are? Yeah, the caloric requirement for breastfeeding is 100-200 calories higher. I am always hungry.

Because I have a new baby, half the time I don't manage to show up at work with a lunch. I either run out of time to pack one, or if I did remember, I leave it on the counter. My solution to all of this was to leave lots of non-perishable snacks in my office. And also a lot of candy, because I also have a three-year-old and therefore work is the only place I can shovel Skittles into my mouth without a little hand extending into my field of vision and a little voice saying "pwease?"

These were snacks that were specifically free of my allergens. Some were also specialty foods because of this. The type of specialty food that just doesn't taste as good as food that contains the allergen, and also costs twice as much. Because I'm not getting a lot of sleep right now, I deserve nice things. So, because I'm not getting a lot of sleep right now, when I first came back from maternity leave, assembled my snack hoard, and started having things go missing, I genuinely thought I was just losing my mind.

Boxes of candy were running out faster than I thought I was eating them. I'd come in in the morning and things wouldn't be where I'd left them. At one point, I brought a bag of chips to work, folded the rim of the bag down so I wasn't plunging my arm elbow-deep into a grease pit, and then put a bag clip on it when I went home. When I came in the next morning the bag was unrolled and re-clipped.

I went "Wow, I must be more tired than I thought," rolled the bag back down, and the next morning it was unrolled again. Just little things like that, almost every day, that made me go "Wow, the post-baby brain is worse than I thought!" And then. And then! Then I got the flu. I got sick, and I was out for a whole week. Left behind at the office was an almost-full box of Enjoy Life cookies, which are not enjoyable but are free of all major allergens, and are also $5 a box for, like, 12 sad little sand pies with some cinnamon on top.

I ate one row of these cookies, and then I was out of the office for a week. For one week, I was not eating any of my snack hoard. But someone else was. Because I came back to work, opened my box of cookies, and found one. There was one single, solitary cookie left. And, on further examination, the one box of candy that had been opened was nowhere to be found, and on top of that the thief had done me the courtesy of opening a new box for me, except that they actually followed the "push here to open" instructions instead of just ripping one end of the box open like I do.

The combination of these two things—the sheer freaking audacity it takes to open a new box so you can continue taking from someone, on top of the consumption of almost a whole box specialty cookies that aren't even GOOD—enraged me enough that, after going to my boss and getting some vague promises about checking if the security cameras in my wing of the building are functional or not (what??) I went straight to Amazon and ordered myself a nanny cam.

Not for my baby. For my snack hoard. Conveniently, it arrived the day before Valentine's day. I set it up on top of a file cabinet looking down at my desk. On the desk, I laid out a fantastic spread of snacks. I got all my thief's favorites, and then I took it one step further. I bought myself a Valentine heart, broke the seal to make it more inviting, and left it out on my desk.

The next morning, I came in to some very obvious snack carnage. My thief had slowly been getting more brazen (again, who OPENS a new box of something?? And opens it DIFFERENTLY than the person they are taking from??) but this was just on another level. Individually wrapped things had been dumped out of their boxes. Bits of packaging had been thrown away. And, yup; they'd eaten some of the Valentine candy.

For shame, office thief! Don't you know that's from someone who loves me?? I played back the video. All was quiet throughout most of the evening, and I was just watching the shadows lengthen as the sun slowly set through the hallway window. And then! Shortly before midnight! The night janitor arrived! And went right ahead and took a 12-minute break in my office, sitting in my chair, eating my food.

I started taking screenshots. I got him shoveling candy into his mouth with full palm-to-lips intensity. Pouring things out onto the desk to pick his favorite flavors. Not even bothering to put them back where he found them. And yes. Eating my Valentine's candy. Screenshots went directly to my boss in an email. I went directly to my boss's door to hover and grin and ask if he'd read my email.

And I got assurances of a strongly worded email to the cleaning company and the barring of this particular employee from our place of business. I was also, tactfully, asked to please take my unauthorized spy camera home, which I did. I thought this was over, but it wasn’t. One day, the girl who works the concession stand dropped by to thank me. Apparently the food thief would start his shift just as she was closing down for the night, and would try to get free coffee in that "creepy guy" way.

And then one of the reception staff came by with the same sentiments. I'd never met the guy face-to-face, but apparently, as a woman, it was not a fun experience to have. I'd shown my screenshots to a few co-workers and word had spread fast. I worked an earlier shift, so I didn't recognize him, but people whose shifts overlapped with his did.

I hadn't told my husband about what I'd done because when I came home raging about the blatant theft that had gone on while I'd been sick, his only response had been "You really shouldn't be leaving food at work, then." But, when I came home with the nanny cam and explained where and why I'd gotten it, his reaction surprised me.

"You know, I think this is the first time I've seen you stand up for yourself. I'm proud of you." Y'know what? I'm proud of me too!


7. Yeah, That’s Not How This Works

We don't own a car and live at the end of a cul-de-sac, and I have people use my driveway all the time to turn around. It's not a huge deal to me, a little annoying when they compact the snow and it's harder to shovel, but whatever. One of my neighbors had a ride service come pick up their child every day. The van would park in my spot and begin honking at like 8 am (I worked nights at the time).

Half the time he'd be half parked on my grass. I told my neighbor that I don't overly mind my spot being used, but not if the guy is going to honk like that every morning and especially not if he's going to drive over what little lawn I have every time. She spoke with him, he ignored it. I spoke with him and got "what's your problem man, it's not like you're using it."

To which I repeated that I don't mind him using it if he stays off my grass and doesn't honk every morning. Apparently suggesting he wait until the kid notices he's there or, god forbid, he have to drag his butt out of the car to knock on a door was just ridiculous and inhumane of me. So I left a recycle bin at the foot of my driveway. He just ran over it.

I called the dispatch for the ride service and was told they are sub contractors and technically self-employed but they will pass along the message. I wake up the next day to pounding on my door. Dude is ANGRY. Him: "How dare you call my boss you stupid piece of trash! What is wrong with you? Me: "Well it's quite simple, you were told not to use my driveway if you were going drive on my lawn and wake me up every morning. Now get off my doorstep."

Him: "I'll sue you if I lose my job because of you." Me: "You've been warned. Don't trespass on my driveway or property again!" Dude storms off in a huff spouting curses. So this happened on a Thursday, the kids had a PD day the next day, and it's supposed to be one of those delightful Canadian weekends where it drops to like -40 Celsius.

For my American friends, -40 is where Celsius and Fahrenheit meet up, so it's freaking cold. So that night, I grabbed one of my more beat up plastic garbage bins, made sure to plug all the holes with a generous amount of duct tape, stuck a sign on it that read, "private property, driveway not for public use" and proceeded to fill it to the brim with water.

Now, before anyone thinks I'm a jerk willing to potentially endanger the other kids in the car, I'd like to point out that my neighbor's kid is the first to be picked up, so it's just him in the car. Queue Monday morning. He sees the garbage can, backs up a bit more, and defiantly charges the can as if to teach me a lesson. He then proceeds to cause some pretty serious damage to the front end of his car. Dude gets out fuming, calls the authorities and comes pounding on my door, screaming about how I'm going to buy him a new car and that I’m about to go to the slammer.

Officer: "So let me make sure I understand this situation. He asked you not to park here if you couldn't refrain from honking, then warned you not to park here and put up a barrier. Now you expect him to be charged and pay for damages you caused yourself to your vehicle in an attempt to destroy his own personal property?" I will never forget the look on his face when the officer said, "Yeah, that's not how this works."

He then turned to me and asked if I wanted to pursue charges for him damaging my personal property. I just gave him the biggest grin I could muster and said, "Nah, I think we're good." I then went back inside to enjoy a morning coffee while watching him from my kitchen window as he paced back and forth in the cold waiting for a tow truck and having to call the company he worked for to explain why they needed to send out another driver to complete his route.


8. Dad Of The Year

So, my daughter, who was about eight at the time, was REALLY into Minecraft, as most kids are these days. She was also desperately wanting to join the YouTube/Let's Play culture, so I had installed some screen recording software that would let her make videos of the games she was playing so she could later upload them to YouTube.

Anyways, one day I'm minding my own business when I hear her quietly sniffling over on the computer. I asked her what was wrong, but she didn't want to tell me so I let it go, but decided to keep on eye on her. A few minutes later I discovered what was happening. Someone was harassing not only her, but also all the other kids playing on whatever server she was on.

This kid was saying stuff about how he was going to harm my eight-year-old daughter (she told him how old she was hoping he would stop), how he was going to hack into her IP and take her information, swearing profusely (remember, this is a game for kids), etc etc. By this time I had gotten my fiancée involved, and she was also obviously quite upset at what this kid was doing.

We then realized that our daughter had been recording the entire incident, and a plan began to form. I started by googling the kid’s username. There were several hits immediately, the most interesting of which involved a page where he was publicly applying to be a mod for a server on Minecraft. I was able to learn a lot about this little idiot.

He claimed to be 15, likes hockey, used to live in Toronto but now lives in Florida. But the bombshell was easily his Skype contact info; it was literally firstname.lastname. I know your name now, you jerk. So I head over to Facebook and search for the name. Nothing. Hmmmm. On a hunch, I searched for just the last name, while narrowing my results to only the state of Florida.

Several dozen hits. Hmmm. So I have to start combing through each one, until I find what I was looking for: A middle-aged man with the same last name, whose profile indicates he was born in Toronto and now lives in Florida. I FOUND YOUR DAD, YOU LITTLE JERK. So I sent him a message on Facebook, asking if he had a son named firstname who goes by his username on Minecraft.

Dad confirmed I had the right guy. So my fiancée begins telling the dad everything that his son was saying to my daughter, and we sent him the recorded video as proof. Radio silence for a few days. Then we got the message back. This jerk had his computer taken away from him for the entire summer. He had also been lying about his age; he was only 11, I think.

His parents were livid with him, and he surely hated the next few months of his life. No one screws with my daughter.


9. Droning On And On

shallow focus photography of quadcopterPhoto by david henrichs on Unsplash

About six or seven months ago, my neighbor got a drone. I don't mind people having hobbies, but for some reason he insisted on flying like the biggest jerk possible. He would hover in front of other houses and windows, try to "race" cars going down the road, and worst of all he had a habit of flying his drone in my fenced backyard.

He would start buzzing over my dog, diving low just over my dog’s head before circling around to do it again. My dog isn't small, he's about 70lbs and a Malamute, but the drone terrified him, and I was worried what would happen if it hit him. I asked my neighbor several times to please not fly in my yard and explained that it was scaring my dog. His answer made my blood boil.

He basically told me to get lost and laughed in my face. When it still continued, I called the authorities. Unfortunately, there wasn't much they could do other than ask him to please not fly over my house and property. Finally, in late December it happened—my dog got tired of his torments and managed to catch the drone right as it was diving towards him.

He shredded the drone, and the thing was just a jumbled mess of wires and plastic. Neighbor was ANGRY. He stormed over to my house swearing and threatening me, which I ignored. A week later, I got a summons to small claims court. He wanted $900 for the cost of his drone and an additional $300 for supposedly denying him access to his property.

See, the drone sat in my yard for a couple hours before it was retrieved. Screw that. He could have hurt my dog. I don't have kids or a girlfriend, I just have my dog who is my best friend for the past seven years. That dog has moved with me three times, was there when I graduated college, saw me buy my first house and my first new car.

I love my dog. But turns out, him suing me was the best thing to ever happen. When we got to small claims court, the judge basically laughed away his claims that I had intentionally trained my dog to attack his drone. But little did he know I was prepared. I had dozens of photos of my yard showing it was impossible for him to "accidentally" fly that low to my dog.

I also had videos of him harassing my dog in the past, and I had saved all my medical bills from taking my dog to the vet. $700 for an X-ray? Check. Another $250 to sedate him during? Why not, don't want him being uncomfortable. Full dental exam with tooth cleaning/repair? $400. Then there was the cost of anti-anxiety meds and a secondary check-up, wet food for a week in case his teeth were hurt, and extra just for good measure.

In the end, the jerk ended up owing me almost $2,000, and now is being investigated by the FAA for not having a registered drone and violating several regulations concerning drone flight, too near an airport, too close to other people, out of sight of operator, and waaay above the maximum altitude. Enjoy never being allowed to fly drones again, buddy.


10. Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out

Four years ago now, when I was 24, my mom passed from breast cancer, and as both my grandmothers had also succumbed to, it I saw a specialist for a screening. I found out I had some cells in my chest that could have turned cancerous at any given moment. I was told I had a few options: First, I could have regular screenings every three or four months until it does develop into cancer.

I was told the risk of the cells becoming cancerous was very high due to family history. However, it could also potentially never could turn so I'd just be getting these screenings for no reason. Second, I could get a single mastectomy, but they'd need to keep an eye on the other one, so I'd still need regular checkups. Or three, I could get a bilateral mastectomy and remove all of my tissue, basically eliminating the risk.

I went for the bilateral mastectomy. It was admittedly the most drastic option, but after seeing what cancer did to my mom and grandmothers I didn't want to risk it. I was warned about scarring but told it should be fairly minor. They were so, so wrong. It wasn't and I was left with two huge, pink, jagged scars on either side of my chest.

Each was about an inch long and half an inch wide, and it caused me to go into a severe depression. It got to the stage of me not even leaving my flat because I didn't want people to see me, throwing out my mirrors, and getting physically sick looking at myself. I went to a therapist, who suggested a plastic surgeon. The therapist said they'd never normally do that, but it was clearly something I was struggling with and I might never get over it, and the therapist could see why I struggled with it.

Although I'll admit the therapist did send me to ask about scar reduction, the plastic surgeon suggested a cream, a laser, or implants. The cream didn't work, and the laser was both expensive and risky, so I went with the implants. My natural chest was an F cup, so I went with a slightly smaller DD. Since then, my mental health has improved and I feel a lot better about the way I look.

My confidence has gone up, as has my self esteem. I know I shouldn't put so much into my appearance but I wasn't exaggerating about these scars. Huge, bright pink, jagged, raised, just really awful to look at and I hated seeing myself, and they are now nicely hidden away and you can barely feel them. But then came the drama.

In the present day, I'm 28 years old and working in an office. I'm doing a lot better than I was. My co-worker, Jill, found out I'd had a breast job (but not about the cancer thing), when myself and my friend from years before the mastectomy were planning a holiday and she made a joke about me going on a plane with my implants, and Jill overheard.

By the end of the day, the entire office knew I'd had implants, but not why, and half a dozen people confirmed Jill had told them. Over the next few months, Jill made many "jokes" and comments about my chest to co-workers when I was in earshot, at one point saying I had "more plastic than Barbie" and calling me "fake in two ways."

I didn't hear this one myself, but a friend in the office told me that Jill had at one point referred to me as a "sack of silicone." I don’t know what her problem was exactly but at one point she mentioned the hospital system, so I assume Jill thought that I'd got my chest done for free on taxpayer money. I asked her to stop more than once, but unfortunately the places I'd talked to her were places like the elevator and the women's bathroom, where there weren't any cameras.

Jill just kept making comments no matter how often I asked her not to. I wouldn't say it was every single day, but I heard at least three comments per week for three months. So I hit my breaking point. Me, Jill, and a few other co-workers were having lunch, and I referred to something as being shallow. Jill said, "You'd know all about being shallow" while gesturing to my chest. I snapped.

I said, "Do you know why I have these? A few years ago the doctors found potentially cancerous cells in my tissue, I was advised to get a mastectomy and was left with huge ugly scars on my chest. I went to see a therapist who sent me to a cosmetic surgeon, who advised me to get implants to hide the scars, and I did it just so I could look at myself in the mirror without crying.”

I took a breath here, then said, “So maybe next time you want to judge someone for having cosmetic surgery, you should ask them why they had it first." And feeling like that was a mic drop moment, I picked up my food and left. For the rest of the day, I had about 1/3 of my office come up to me and offer support, and the rest tell me that Jill was just joking around and I was being a witch.

I replied that Jill was being a witch long before I was. But that wasn’t the end of it. I then got an email from HR saying they wanted to talk to me the following day, and when I called for clarification, they mentioned a "hostile work environment." I knew the person who signed off the email and who I'd spoken to. Her name was Debbie, and she was Jill's friend in HR, so I was fairly confident on who had reported me.

I realized that if this was already being sent to HR, I needed as much ammo as possible, so I went about collecting my information. As Debbie had dealt with me so far, it was safe to assume she would be the person reviewing the complaint with me, and if that was true I was screwed. However, I vaguely remembered a section on complaints that was in my contract when I first signed with the company.

I flicked through the contract, and there was a part in the complaints section that said I was contractually allowed to request a change of reviewer if I felt my allocated reviewer was biased. It was called an "impartial overseer." I photocopied the page and highlighted that part. Then I messaged the people who had offered their support over Facebook.

I said basically "HR has asked to see me. Do any of you remember Jill insulting me to your face and are you willing to write and sign something saying what you heard and when?" Not everyone was willing to help as Jill is somewhat feared in the office due to her befriending HR and management, but about 20 people were willing to help me.

I guessed roughly when I'd asked Jill to stop previously and I wrote them all down, along with a rough time of when the lunchroom confrontation happened and a list of names of who was there for the lunchroom confrontation. I got to work slightly early the next morning. I went around to everyone who had messaged me and most of them managed to give me a printed and signed letter.

I wound up with about 16 letters, all from different people, and one of them was in the lunchroom for my conversation with Jill. Some even had bullet-point lists of everything Jill had said to them about me or other people, as it turns out Jill has issues with a lot of people's appearances. She apparently made comments about one co-worker's weight, and something awful about a different co-worker's nose, all of which were put in these letters.

There are about 45 people in the office so while 16 wasn't a majority, it's still a decent amount. The letters weren't hugely long, most were only a paragraph, but they had all the necessary information. I was asked to come to HR at 10 am. I took the letters from co-workers, the photocopy of the page in my contract, and my dates and times in a little folder with me. I got there and Debbie was the one overseeing the interview.

She got up from her desk, ready to lead me into another room. That’s when I put my plan into action. I immediately turned to the other HR worker that was currently there and said, "So is my meeting with you, then?" Debbie said "No, you're with me." I replied that this wouldn't sit well with me, as "My contract states I have a right to an impartial overseer."

As I said this, I took the contract page out of my folder. Debbie read it and said she could be impartial. I replied that I really didn't mean to be a pain, but I had it on good authority that the person on the other end of this complaint is her friend, and my contract does say I'm allowed an impartial overseer. So Debbie stomped off to get a supervisor.

The supervisor asks how I know she can't be impartial and I tell him that I have it on good authority that Jill, who was on the other end of this complaint, is a close friend of Debbie. He asked Debbie if this was true, to which she only replied "I can be impartial." The supervisor took a deep breath, asked the other HR rep to come with him, and the four of us all went to review the complaint.

I thanked them for being so accommodating (I was worried I'd annoyed them), Debbie took out the complaint, and all three of them went through it with me. Debbie looked homicidal the whole time the interview was happening, as she had clearly anticipated firing me or at least recommending me being fired. The interview went something like this.

It took over half an hour and they kept asking me the same questions but phrased different ways, so this is a really drastically condensed version. Q: You said outside that you think Jill Lastname reported you. Why is this? A: Jill has had an issue with me for about three months now. Q: Why didn't you come to us when you realised Jill had an issue?

A: I had no issue with her. Q: What issue does Jill have with you? A: Four years ago a specialist identified potentially cancerous cells in my tissue. I had surgery to remove my tissue, thereby removing the cells and the risk. After the surgery I was left with large scars on my chest. I went to a therapist for low self-esteem and depression.

The therapist suggested a plastic surgeon, who suggested implants to cover my scars. All of this is in my medical history which you have a copy of in my file and my full permission to review. Jill found out about my implants but didn't know about the cancer. Jill had a problem with my implants, and decided to communicate this problem to our co-workers.

Q: Why do you feel this is true? A: Here's 16 signed statements all from different co-workers, all testifying that Jill told the entire office I'd had implants on the day she found out and has since made comments about these implants frequently. They have quotes of what Jill said to them about it and rough dates and times.

Q: Rough dates and times? A: No one knew this would be escalated to such an extent so no one really took notes when it happened. Q: What event or events do you think directly led to this complaint of harassment? A: For me, harassment began when Jill told everyone about my implants without my consent, but as to the complaint placed against me, it would probably be what happened at about [time] yesterday in the lunch room.

Jill made a comment about me being shallow while gesturing to my chest and I replied by giving her an abridged version of my relevant medical history and ending with a comment about the importance of getting the full story. There are cameras in the lunch room, so I'm sure you'll be able to find that conversation. I'll admit I could have handled the situation better, but after three months I felt I had to put my foot down.

Here's a list of names of people who were also present. There were six people at the table, including myself and Jill. One of these people is also in those letters, and has written their account of the conversation and signed it. Q: Had you had a conversation or conversations with Jill prior to this regarding her comments about you?

A: Several, spaced out over the last three months. Each time, I communicated to her that I felt uncomfortable and upset with these comments she was making and would appreciate it if she were to stop. Q: To your knowledge, was Jill made aware of your former cancer at any point in this time? A: No. It wasn't mentioned in the conversation with my friend she overheard and I didn't tell her because frankly it's none of her business and I did not feel the need to detail my medical history to a co-worker in order to avoid further harassment.

Supervisor stands up and says, "Well, I think we're done here." He shakes my hand and sends me back to my desk, saying that I'd hear from them after they reviewed the evidence (letters, CCTV, medical history and anything they had already) and made a decision on the case. I got back to my desk, pulled up my CV, and prepared to start the job search again. Then something strange starts happening.

About an hour goes by, then the person who wrote the letter and was there for the lunchroom conversation gets called for a meeting with HR. They come back 10ish minutes later. The other people who were also there for the lunchroom conversation get called one by one, except Jill. All of them are gone for about 10 minutes then come back, find a co-worker, and say that HR wants to see them.

Then the people who wrote letters but weren't there yesterday are also called one by one and are each gone for about 10 minutes each, some longer, some shorter. By about 3:30, it looks like everyone who wrote a letter or was there in the lunch room has been interviewed. Then, finally, Jill gets called in. She's gone for about 30 minutes and comes back fuming.

She glares at me while I work, but I ignore her. 4:30ish, Jill gets called into HR again. 5 pm rolls around, everyone is either leaving or getting ready to leave, when Jill storms back into the office. She glares at me the whole time she packs up her desk. She then starts telling anyone who will listen that I got her fired before shoving her way onto the lift. An email comes in from HR. My case is closed.


11. Moms Gone Mad

So this happened earlier today, and it was too perfect. I work in construction as the foreman for a new house build. The location is kind of strange. The house is 250 feet up a hill via a footpath only. All of our materials have to come up this footpath by hand. It’s a pain in the butt to manually carry, quite literally, an ENTIRE HOUSE up this hill.

One of our saving graces is having the two parking spots on the street at the bottom of this hill marked with official “No Parking” signs. Unfortunately, there is an elementary school about half a block away and the parents of children seem to regularly (at least twice a day) think it’s ok to park in our spots. Now, I consider myself a reasonable person, so if someone is parked in the spots and we don’t have a delivery or a need to park a truck, I will let it go.

If we need the spots and there’s someone parked there, however, I will ask them to move nicely and most of the time they do so immediately. Until today. I get a phone call from the lumber delivery truck that is en route to our location. He says he’ll be there in about two or three minutes. I let him know I will meet him at the street and make sure he has space to park.

He’s carrying all of the material to frame the roof of our house, which is a lot of really big lumber and will take easily an hour to bring up the hill, so naturally I didn’t want him parked in the middle of the street with his hazards on for an hour, especially when we have a perfectly good parking spot for him. As I begin my trip down the hill, I notice there is a school parent sitting in her car idling.

Assuming she’s just waiting to pick up her child, I walk up to her car and politely let her know that she is parked in a no parking zone and we really need her to clear it to park a delivery truck. She scoffs at me and rudely states back, “I’ll just be a few minutes, and your truck isn’t here, take a chill pill dude.” Before I can respond, a giant lumber truck comes around the corner.

I wave to him, and then gesture towards him to the woman in the car who has now put her window back up to ignore me. I put on my best customer service smile and wave at her through the window. She put it down halfway and angrily shouts, “WHAT!” By now the truck has pulled up alongside her car and I politely ask her again, with a stronger tone of voice to move her vehicle.

I remind her that she is parked in a tow away zone. Then she gives me this wonderful idea. She says, “Can’t you guys just unload around me? Jesus, it’s not that hard.” I give her another smile and walk away, a brilliant plan forming in my head. I instruct the delivery driver to park as closely to her as possible and block her in with the porta potty that is at one end of our reserved spots and the parked car that is parked just adjacent to our spots on the other end.

He smiles because he immediately gets what I’m trying to do, and proceeds to expertly block this lady and her car into a little two parking spot cell. We unstrap the lumber and my guys begin humping material up the hill, meanwhile I call the parking enforcement to let them know the situation. At this point in time, I wasn’t trying to get her in trouble, I just wanted a record of why we were blocking part of the street so we don’t get in trouble with the city.

The very friendly traffic officer lets me know that she can be there in about 30 minutes and deal with the situation for me, wonderful! As we continue to unload lumber, the child of the parent shows up, and wouldn’t you know it, mom is just now realizing that the lumber truck is parked so close she can’t get out of her driver door to meet her kid.

She awkwardly clambers across the inside of her car and stumbles out the passenger door, shooting glaring looks at me and the truck driver in the process. She loads her kid into the back and then begins to realize that she has no way of leaving. She comes storming up to myself and the driver and states, “I’m in a big hurry, you need to move your truck right now so I can go.”

Before I can respond, the driver gets a grin on his face. He says, “Ma’am, in order to unload the lumber on the truck we had to unstrap it, and per our company policy I’m not allowed to move the truck with any unsecured load on it. Sorry.” This sends her into near aneurysm levels of blood pressure, meanwhile I can barely contain my laughter.

“Screw your policy, I have somewhere to be!” She barks back at him. At this point, with impeccably convenient timing, the parking enforcement officer shows up and parks behind the truck. The woman doesn’t see the officer arrive, and while the officer is still getting out of her vehicle I just casually say, “Can’t you just pull out around it? It’s not that hard.”

I say this with the biggest grin I’ve ever had. I watch as she realizes that I just used her line on her. “Screw you!” She yells, and storms back to her car and angrily clambers back in through the passenger door and into the driver’s seat. Now the officer is walking up to myself and the driver, and before she can even introduce herself the mom in the car slams it into reverse and stomps on the gas.

She crashes into our porta potty and knocks it over, and then throws the car into drive and tries to mount the curb and drive onto the sidewalk. The officer, driver, and I are staring in disbelief as she gets halfway over the curb and gets stuck. I can hear her screaming over the idling truck from inside her car. The officer promptly walks up to the door of the car and orders her out.

My favorite part of the entire thing is watching her face go to shock as she realized she just did all of that in front of an officer. She gets slapped in cuffs as the parking officer calls for a second unit and she is promptly sat on the very curb she tried to drive over. She sits on the curb yelling to the now two officers about how we told her she could stay there and that we never asked her to move.

The traffic officer responds that she was the one who was originally called when she first refused to move and that she already knows what’s going on. While myself and the driver are giving a report to the second officer, my guys finish moving the remainder of the lumber and the driver finishes his statement and takes off to go back to the yard.

By the end of the ordeal she was charged with Child Endangerment, (her kid was in the back of the car the whole time) Reckless Driving, Destruction of Property, (the porta potty) and Driving on a Suspended License. On top of all that, she also got her car towed; the kid went home with his grandma and she went to spend some quality time in a cell.

I never expected her to actually heed my advice to “Just pull out around it.” But I think next time she’ll probably think twice about parking in a tow away zone, if she ever gets a license again.


12. Those Who Can Do, Teach

person holding white and blue plastic blocksPhoto by Bradyn Trollip on Unsplash

Ok folks, I want you to delight in my destruction. The particular flavor of this revenge comes from the fact that everything that goes down is the result of a domino effect that leaves devastation in its wake. Dedication: This story is for anyone who has ever been screwed over in a group project, and I certainly hope you enjoy it.

My Backstory: I've been teaching for many years, but it's important to understand that in my first year of teaching, I got put on blast by an elite group of parents and their kids. Not a week went by without someone either demanding my job, trying to undermine me or just calling me a piece of trash. I nearly quit halfway through the first semester, the verbal and emotional mistreatment was so bad.

This was at a school in a tough area, so I was accused of horrific things just for asking kids to stop talking, was ripped into for giving failing grades for missing work, and even enforcing the rules in the student/parent handbook got me in hot water. My principal reprimanded me for being a negative influence on the school, and was I told that I needed to let more rules slide because he was tired of hearing from parents.

I would have parents just show up unannounced to sit in on my lessons and then tell me I was a bad educator, a bad human being, etc. I have plenty of horror stories from that school alone, but the point I want to make is that this experience defined the kind of teacher I became going forward to my next school. I needed to be that person who was untouchable, because I needed to focus on the one job that mattered: teaching kids.

My next school was in a fairly affluent area. It wasn't uncommon for me to find out that my student's parents made millions, which brought its own unique set of problems. However, my new principal was super supportive of me as long as I followed the school's handbook to the letter because, by doing so, I was in line with the school's philosophy and protected by law—we seriously had parents filing frivolous lawsuits all the darn time.

This school had long ago learned that caving to parent demands spilled blood in the water and brought the rest of the sharks in droves. My first year at this new school was successful for many reasons, but primarily because the school culture was easily adapted to. By planning ahead, I was able to head off 99% of all negative parents at the pass.

The few times a parent tried to rip into me at conferences, I ripped back so hard that I developed a reputation amongst the kids and parents as someone you couldn't mess with. Everything I did was in line with the rules, and any attempt to take me down got stone walled by my principal, who would have to say "He’s following school policy, so I'm afraid the ultimate decision is his."

No joke, I had some parents in tears because their kid could no longer get an A in my class. I wasn't the teacher who wanted to destroy kids, I just wanted them to be accountable, and sometimes that meant letting them fail. Needless to say, this job became a lot of fun, because instead of waiting to be ambushed by parents, I could work on making my class fun for my students while still teaching them something.

I made ironclad rules for the classroom that brooked little argument and would adapt the following year to make it harder for students or parents to ruin my day. I have many stories like this, but this is one of my favorites. The year this happened, I taught a high school class with grades 9-12 (that's 14 to 18 year olds for you overseas guests).

My class wasn't necessary to graduate, but did count as a core requirement. One of my beginning of the year rules was "I never want to hear 'when will we ever need this?' because you didn't have to sign up for this class." How I structure my class is that I try to make students accountable for their own actions. My class was built so that it had something to offer everybody.

If you tried your best, you were guaranteed a C. If you worked really hard, you could get a B or an A. I would bust my butt to help a student with any reasonable request. The best example of this was a student was working hard on an assignment who said, "I think I understand it now, but can't turn it in on time" to which I answered, "Then turn it in tomorrow for full credit. This is how hard work pays off."

Other than a few hard deadlines in my class, I would do whatever it took to see you learn the material. Mess around in my class? I have already found ways to run circles around the pathetic excuses you throw at your parents for your poor performance. It sounds callous, but I was the teacher who would stay for 90 minutes after school to help you catch up, to help fix your project for another class, or even to listen to you cry about your parents’ divorce.

But if I caught you goofing in class instead of doing your work (my rule was that at least 70 percent of class time was intended for homework, quizzes, etc.) I would warn you a couple times, email your parents, and then wait and see if they even cared. If they didn't, I would let you keep digging that hole until you were hip deep in water and begging for a ladder.

And then I would toss you a rope instead. You could still climb it if you tried hard enough, but a lot of kids would just cry until that hole caved in and buried them. I also utilized my school's online grading/assignment system for nearly all of my assignments, which meant I could document when a student looked at the assignment, how long it took them, etc.

All of this allowed me to see what my students were doing, when they did it, and also if they were plagiarizing. This was one of the tools that helped me make important decisions about leniency, and also allowed me to say things at conferences such as "of course the test was hard, your child didn't attempt the nine homework assignments until 11 pm the night before the test."

Being able to prove that a student wasn't trying made it impossible for blame to be laid unfairly at my feet. It also meant the worst kids avoided my class. Bonus. However, this year, something magical happened. Every other year, I would get a wave of kids who just wanted to screw around and blame everyone else for doing poorly.

At the end of the year, students would trash talk me, my class sizes would drop the following year, then I would receive high praise from those kids, so everyone would sign up, so on and so on. But this year, not only did I get a giant wave of knuckleheads, but they came with parents who loved to Make Trouble. I had already heard tales of some of these parents.

Other teachers were just dying to hear stories about our interactions, because these parents were very much Entitled. They would name drop lawyers when they didn't get their way, try to badger teachers into giving their kids extra credit, and would largely deny any wrongdoing on their kid's part. These were the parents who would get called in because their student was busted cheating, then accuse the teacher of making the class too hard, therefore validating their student's need to cheat.

So about these knuckleheads. It was a group of roughly seven senior boys who all shifted their schedules to be in the same period with each other. The other teachers could not believe that I had all of them at the same time, but I just shrugged it off. Every week, the staff lounge was dying to know how I dealt with their shenanigans, but for the most part, I had shut down most of their stuff from day one.

I actually got along very well with them, despite their constant goofing, because they had mastered the ability to appear busy and didn't distract my other kids. Then came the first group project. My class size was just right for seven groups of four to form. The idiot collective formed two groups of 4 by pulling in a kid who had been absent on the first day of the project.

These two groups crashed and burned on this project super hard for several reasons, but the biggest were that a) they screwed around during class time and b) put off a two-week assignment until the weekend before and then dumped all the work on everybody else, which resulted in everybody doing minimal effort. I handed out the bad grades and was immediately pulled into parent conferences with several of them (one at a time, obviously).

Every meeting was the same. "My kid did all the work, so he doesn't deserve a bad grade" or "My kid didn't understand the assignment" to which I handed over my hyper specific rubric (which is a checklist for how I grade things—I never wanted to be accused of grading based on not liking a kid). These exchanges largely went like this:

Patent: My kid did all the work and I don't think it's fair it should hurt his grade. Me: Here is the work your student turned in. *hands it over* Here is my rubric which I printed and emailed to your student the day the project started *hands it over* As you can see, I have itemized the grading for ease of use. I would be happy to go over the grade your student earned.

Parent: *Reads through all the evidence, looks at kid* Where are the missing parts? Student: Uh, my group members were responsible for that. Me: I can't grade what I never received, so I can't reasonably just raise your kid's grade. Sorry. Now, good news for all my students. I make assignments worth more throughout the semester with the idea that kids who screw up early on can make it up later by working hard.

I seed Extra Credit throughout the semester and all of these parents are disgruntled, but happy to hear that their entitled embryo can still get an A in my class. Now, the end result of these meetings was that it clearly wasn't my fault (remember, I had all this data to prove that I made every effort to contact everybody, etc.)…so it must be the other kids' faults.

So these parents all decide that their perfect angel is no longer allowed to work with their previous group mates. Like a cancer, this failure of friends distributes through the rest of the class. Like the genius that I am, I make my students write a group contract for every project that details who does what and when it is due. Why is this important? Because the contract provides me the documentation necessary to allow me to dismiss a bad group member and give them a zero without their parent ruining my day. So here is where the problem begins manifesting.

These seniors begin bouncing from group to group like cancerous ping pong balls, wreaking havoc. I let students choose their groups, so these seniors are desperately integrating with anybody that will have them. Because of my class size, every group has at least one coddled child to deal with, and these children just end up rotating until all of my students have worked with one of these seniors at some point.

Now I am getting constant complaints from parents of other kids about these boys. Their kid wanted a good grade, which means they ended up doing all the work while the senior slacked. This is usually after the fact, at which time I bring up "I would love to yank that leech out of your grade pool, but you have to use the contract."

Students don't want to say anything because they fear retribution from the seniors, but I can't do anything because I will be accused of harassment. The contract can provide me with the leverage I need to prove that these kids were doing no work, because these seniors have been playing their parents for years. I make my class utilize Google docs, because the changes are time stamped.

No joke, I've had students produce all the work the morning of a parent meeting to try and lie their way out and make me look like a piece of garbage, but that time stamp is a godsend. Luckily, my class is balanced. A bad group mate can make things hard, but not undoable, and parents are appeased that I have an out for their kid, but disappointed that their kid doesn't use it.

Every time I announce a group project is on the way, some of these seniors sucker up to the other kids to the point that it is expected that a spot will be made for them. I'm talking buying kids lunch, bringing them gifts, etc. Seriously, the day before a group project starts, all of the seniors now sit at separate tables from each other so that they could pull the "I'm already here, let's be in a group" card (which works most of the time).

The strain on class morale is difficult, but I am biding my time. The other students are grabbing at Extra Credit opportunities constantly so that their grade can absorb the blow, and parent complaints are completely mitigated because I am still offering every chance for success. My principal has a copy of my syllabus in his computer so that he can quote student policies that the parent signed off on.

It’s not uncommon for him to hear "I don't read that, so it doesn't apply" but he reminds them that the clause above the signature line says "My signature denotes that I have read this document in its entirety and agree to abide by all the rules" or something similar and that this should be a lesson to the parent and the student that when you sign something, you should read the fine print.

So right now I have seven slothful seniors, but I shall name the worst of these Larry, Curly, and Moe. The fallout affects all of them, but these three are the ones whose parents have a boner for Making Trouble. Every time they threaten a teacher into compliance, I imagine they sit around in a room, laughing at how they got their way yet again with a lowly teacher.

I know that anything I do will be heavily scrutinized once the grades start falling and I need to be able to shrug it off because I have other stuff to do, and I refuse to be the smiling topic of discussion in their celebratory conversation. However, a special note about Larry—since he turned 18, his parents now travel nonstop and are impossible to reach. Larry is now just a huge jerk, because his parents no longer care about what he does.

I closely monitor their grades in my class, but also in others. This may sound sketchy, but I routinely do this with any of my students who struggle with the material so that I can identify if the issue is my class or all of their classes. Students have been known to fake their grades using Inspect Element and I got tired of hearing "But they have As in their other classes." because then I look like the liar.

Anyway, after a check, I speak with the other teachers. It isn't hard to find out that these boys are doing minimal work in other classes, and I actually discover something worse about Larry. He has been finding ways to get other kids to do the work for him and then disseminating it among his friends. Other teachers have been threatened into lowering test percentages in their class, and guess what? He and his friends are enrolled in these classes.

Despite failing these tests, homework and project grades give them a comfortable cushion so that most of them are floating at low Bs. I can't prove this (they are using Snapchat) but when I bring it up with their teachers, the teachers don't feel like trying to prove it and duke it out with the parents. Now, they are gaming other classes for minimal effort.

However, their only recourse in my class is to keep rotating through groups and leeching off of their hard work to maintain Cs and Bs, and the other kids are too nervous to utilize the group contract to get them fired. Remember how I mentioned that I steadily increase the value of my assignments to keep kids working and give them a chance to fix their grades? Well, it was about to come due.

Me: *Random Day in Class* Hey everybody, I was looking in the schedule and realized that your last project before finals may stress you out unnecessarily. Would anybody mind if I dropped it? My class: *Tired of getting banged on Group Assignments* Nope, drop it, Best Teacher Ever! Me: Okay, well just so you know, I'm going to move our next project back a couple of weeks and extend the deadline by a week. Also, since I cancelled the last project, this means that the next project will now be worth roughly 20% of your final grade, so do your best. Screwing this up could ruin your grade.

My class: Whatever. So in one step, I have inflated this assignment and also moved it. I send out an email to parents and students letting them know about the change to the syllabus and the assignment. Get no responses other than happiness that I am removing stress from the end of the semester, etc. I actually did this primarily because another teacher (who was a huge jerk) plunked down a monster project that same week and I knew it would burn out my students prior to finals, so figured a break was in order.

Win-win for me, really. Now why did I move it? Well, there’s the rub. The Friday before the project started, I announced at the start of class, "Okay, I am introducing the project now so that you can get into groups today and we can do it first thing Monday morning without delay, since this project is so important." This announcement elicits a room full of grins. Why? It was Senior Ditch Day.

Our school didn't condone a ditch day, so the kids tried their best to keep it a secret, but I found out a month in advance. All seven of these kids were absent from class, which meant that I had just given the entire room freedom from these weights. Immediately, groups are formed, and even better, I had a couple kids transfer out of my class, which meant, numbers wise, these knuckleheads will have to work on this last group project together (in two groups).

I emphasized that everyone needed to get to class as soon as possible so that they could start as soon as attendance was called. My original intention was to light a giant fire under all seven of these chumps, to get them to actually put in the effort they had neglected to do all year. Most of them had grades in the low C range (except for one in the low Bs).

As a bonus to all my students, I put an extra credit portion on this project so that they could recoup their early semester losses, but also allow these seniors to do very well if they put in the effort. This wasn't meant to be a revenge tale, but an attempt to give them one last lesson in responsibility. Before the end of the day, I send out a parent/student notification that the project had been started and that any absent students needed to contact their classmates to establish groups before Monday morning. I'm sure you can guess what happened next.

The next Monday, the seniors come traipsing in seconds before the bell to discover that there are only two tables to sit at. Whatever, they take their seats. Me: *After attendance* Okay, everybody has a copy of the rubric, so go ahead and get started. Rest of Class: *Immediately pulls out rubric* Seniors: *looking around frantically*

The seniors quickly realized that they have been played, and the arguing starts. First thing that happens is that Larry, Curly, and Moe decide that they now belong with whoever they happen to be sitting with and scoot their chairs over to sit with different tables. I catch this right away and tell them that the groups are already at maximum size (4 people per group).

The other four seniors are already fighting with each other because they know that none of them will actually do any work. Larry (who thinks he's God's gift to everybody) tries to sweet talk me and his group into special privileges and allowing a group of 5. Now, I see some of the other kids wavering and I know that Larry is putting pressure on them to argue his case.

I designed this project for specifically four people and had a job for each one, but I extended a separate offer. "I will let you join, but since there will be five of you, I expect double the work." Literally, I told them they would have to do the project twice. Larry tries to argue, but I point out the roles I have established and inform him that if four people could do it once, having five should make it easier to do it twice.

Sounds like a jerk move on my part, but I have now intimidated the other kids into saying HECK NO and even have them put it to a vote. Unsurprisingly, Larry is the only one who votes that this is a good idea, and when the other kids catch wind of my offer, they physically shoo off the other seniors trying to pull this deal as well.

You will all be delighted to hear that the rest of the period for my seniors is spent arguing over who will work with who. They end up forming three groups and I nod my head, make sure they have the rubric, and then wish them the best of luck. Being the smart teacher that I am, I email Curly's parents and Moe's mommy that they have chosen to work with each other.

Moe's mommy shows up to argue with me all the time, but has quickly learned I won't take her baggage. At a previous meeting, she even laid into Moe and told him "I'm tired of fighting all these battles with your teachers and I'm starting to think that you're the problem," but I suspect this is for show. Curly's parents email me back and say they will make sure Curly writes a group contract.

You see, Curly has sold himself as the best student ever, and clearly he will do the work and fire his classmates. Moe's mommy immediately requests a meeting with me. Per school policy, I do not have to respond to an email for 48 hours. I wait until hour 47 and email a noncommittal, "I would love to meet, when are you available?" and wait for a response. I then wait another 48 hours to inform her of a time the following week that works for me.

Now, some of the other senior parents have emailed me angrily demanding why I let their kids choose to work with "the bad kids" again. I had to inform them that I didn't expect all of them to be absent. Immediately, some of my seniors get burned at home because they ditched and their parents tell me "Just try to help them pass," which I agree to.

Some of them need this class for graduation, after all. Moe's mommy, on the other hand, shows up ready to wage battle. She starts by demanding that I put Moe in a different group. I decline, because the project has now been going on for a week and it wouldn't be fair. She demands that I add him to another group. They're all full and students have already done the lion's share of the work.

She demands that I let him work by himself with an extension. I gladly offer him an extension and slide a copy of the rubric over to him…and he goes white. At this point, he knows that he is never planning to do any of the work. In fact, I know that his group hasn't even started. I have a copy of their group contract, which was hastily scribbled in pencil with no due dates on it. He starts arguing with his mom that he would rather work with his friends and that he is upset that he got stuck in this situation.

Contemplating this, she accuses me of deliberately waiting until that day to screw the seniors over. After all, it was a school-sanctioned event and I'm being a jerk about it and she'll go to the board with her story. Wrong. The joy I get from all of my prep work is shutting down stuff like this. All seven of the seniors hung out on ditch day at her house and told her that the principal had given them the day off.

Even better, they called in and pretended to be their own parents so that it was an excused absence. He is immediately busted and his mom flips her switch and jumps all over him. You see, she can keep pressing me on this issue, but I now have evidence that he pretended to be his own dad, and this is a suspendible offense. I buy myself into her graces by telling her that I had no idea that Senior Ditch Day was that Friday, but I gave her kid a free extension on the homework that was due because I thought seniors deserved their own traditions, blah blah blah. She buys it.

Also, I can prove that I emailed him (and her) and gave them plenty of notice before Monday morning that they needed to pick groups before something like this happened. Obviously, once I found out about Ditch Day I tried to give her precious treasure a heads up, but I don't know why he didn't take it. So she makes him open his email. When I saw it, I nearly burst into laughter.

My email is sitting there, unopened, and I have won this battle. She thanks me and takes him home. Class morale is now super high, unless you are one of the seniors. A week before the project is due, neither group has actually started and the H.M.S. Class Average is about to hit an Iceberg. Then the project comes due, oohhh boy.

It comes as no surprise that my enterprising seniors have turned in easily some of the worst work ever. One group got into a text argument the weekend before it was due and made one of the kids do all the work. Moe and Curly are in this group. The other group (with Larry) has also turned in a steaming pile. I make sure to grade these two projects first because I know the fallout is going to be big.

All the seniors dropped at least one letter grade. A couple drop two. This is four weeks before graduation. Larry appears to take his F minus in stride (they got something like a ten percent on it), so I know he's plotting something. Curly's parents demand a meeting and so does Moe's mommy. Curly's parents are super upset that they got a bad grade and demanded to know why.

What they didn't know was that I had already met with the student who did the entire project (poorly) and his parents. I informed Curly's parents that I had seen the text exchange between the seniors that pretty much ended up with "You freaking do it." Curly refused to turn over his phone to his parents for confirmation. I also show them Curly's project and hand over the rubric.

Mom and Dad are not happy. You see, Curly has been blaming everyone else for his mistakes since the dawn of time and his parents have bought in completely. Until today. Dad pointedly asks "Which part did you do?" and this causes Curly to spout actual tears. I then pull up a spreadsheet of all of the group project scores from the year and have highlighted his scores, which are among the worst.

The purpose of this was to use data to prove that their son, frankly, never does the work. Curly is absolutely destroyed by this. His parents kick him out of the conference because they are tired of his excuses and ask me what they can do. I tell them I would be happy to offer one-on-one tutoring and that he can still pass the class if he does his homework and gets a B on the next exam. They agree to this, we all shake hands, and they leave.

Curly's story largely ends here. He never shows up to tutoring, and I email his parents. After three emails, his dad finally responds with, "His mom and I have decided that he needs to learn to be an adult and are leaving him to his own devices. Thank you for your efforts." Curly will spend the rest of the semester doing little to no work.

Because he is grounded at home, he is now just watching YouTube videos on his phone during school. The ripple effect is glorious. Because now Curly is doing this in all of his classes. I speak with his teachers and they all email that he has quit doing work in class and get the same reply I did rather than the vehement responses they are used to.

When Curly fails his classes, he still graduates, but his parents have informed him that they are no longer paying for his college and it's time to get a job. Moe's mommy, however, flips her lid and demands answers. Unfortunately, Moe is in the same group as Curly and she gets the same answers from me. Strangely enough, once she's exhausted every effort and attempt to somehow blame me for this, she admits that she knew Moe was part of threatening the lone senior and that he should be ashamed of himself.

She deliberately tried to play me but outed herself once she knew that I already knew everything. Super annoying, but I agree to help tutor him one-on-one too, which makes her happy. So Moe's mommy is emailing me every few days now. "Is my son doing his work, did he get help with his homework, etc." Non-stop, but she knows better than to fight with me. And then there was Larry.

Larry is unusually chipper, and is no longer doing his work. I find out that Larry is supposedly going to a college where he just needs to maintain his GPA over a super low number. He claims an F in my class won't change anything, so I make sure he doesn't distract the others. Moe shows up only occasionally, but strangely enough, Larry pops in "just to say hi" whenever Moe is getting help.

I can't fathom why he does this, but suspect he is up to something and already have a backup plan in place. You see, Moe's mommy is nuts, and I make sure that there's always another person in the room with me when I tutor him. Anyway, Moe's mommy is constantly checking in. I start waiting 48 hours between emails (cause I can) and she starts dropping by in person unannounced to check on him (me).

She's been acting cagey lately and I'm starting to suspect something. It’s freaking Larry. Larry is a friend of Moe's, so he's been in her home feeding her made-up stories to convince her that I have been emotionally mistreating Moe when other students aren't around. Stuff like I was calling him names after school, etc. and then telling her, "you can even have the school check the cameras to see that I'm there."

This starts a whole thing where she is now demanding answers from admin. BUT! I’m smart. Admin asks me about details regarding my interactions with Moe and I end up sitting down with my Principal, Moe, and Moe's mommy. She details that Moe is struggling, might not graduate, and that she believes that I have singled her kid out and wants his grade raised.

You see, Moe is dumb and lazy, and his mom is just as bad. When Larry went to her with his story, she never bothered talking about it with her own son. He just agreed and went along with it, so I asked Moe point blank to please describe what has been said during our sessions and then offer to leave the room so that he can tell the principal without me there.

She tells me to stay because she wants me to hear from her son what I've done to him. What neither of them knew was that I was a mentor teacher. That meant I had a first year teacher as my mentee and I had her working on grades and such in my room after school on the days I agreed to meet Moe. She was young, so Moe thought she was another student and never questioned it, and couldn't even remember that she was in there.

My Principal already had statements from her detailing my interactions with Moe, and Moe was unable to give any actual details and suddenly forgot what had been said to him. This lands Moe’s mommy in hot water with admin, and she blames the whole thing on Larry and becomes visibly upset that she fell for such a stupid ruse. This results in an email cautioning teachers from being alone in a room with either student.

Suddenly, after school help evaporates for both, but hey, I always have someone in my room, so whatever. After that meeting, Larry is now suddenly super concerned about his grade. I rationalize that he was hoping to burn me out of my job and then use the fallout to get a free passing grade. Obviously it doesn't work, so screw Larry.

I have kids who actually want to succeed. My free days are now on days I know he works, and he never shows up for tutoring anyway. Now that other teachers are hesitant to meet with him, he is unable to cut deals to raise those grades either. Moe's mom makes a last ditch effort and tries to convince me that the parents of the seniors have scheduled a meeting with my boss to have me fired for giving their kids a bad grade and that she would be willing to put in a good word for me if I meet with her first.

I'm sitting next to the principal when I get this email, and he has no idea what she's talking about. I tell her I'd be happy to meet everybody but that I would probably eat my lunch during such a meeting and that I hoped people didn't mind the smell of fish. I got a "No, seriously, they are threatening to sue you," but I had the perfect response. I feigned stupidity and informed her that I couldn't be sued for eating fish during a meeting.

She now realizes I don’t care about anything and can't be threatened. Again, there's nothing she can do because I am simply following policy. The last few weeks are frantic for these seniors. One by one they fall, because they've done little to no work for a couple years now and they have no idea how to apply themselves. Other teachers are emboldened by how hard I shut them down and finally hold them accountable.

A few of them just barely manage Ds in my class, and the rest fail. I get a few last second squeaks of "What can I do to raise my grade?" but have now documented that none of them attempted the extra credit assignments and that was their chance. It's hard for a parent to get angry at you when you can prove you actually tried to give their student extra credit, and can then prove they never opened the assignment online.

These guys are now failing some of their other classes, too. A couple have breakdowns in my class and leave crying. Their friendships are fracturing with each other because they now all hate each other for what happened (which they will get over during the summer). My last test came and I made it an online multiple choice test.

It was easy enough to have the questions and answers shuffled in random order, meaning they couldn't cheat off each other. You see, I knew for a long time that they would sit next to each other to try and cheat on the exam, and Larry had blown a ton of money on a tutor to try and carry his friends. This throws them all off, and when Moe's mommy accuses me (again) of trying to trick her kid with a much harder test, it was easy enough to shoo her away with a simple email.

Larry passes the exam, but his grade moves up to a meager D minus. Here are the final results. Of these seven seniors, one didn't graduate and had to transfer schools. His parents were embarrassed that they paid to fly the whole family out for a graduation that he didn't get to take part in. Two of the seniors lost all of their scholarships and could no longer attend the schools they wanted.

Their fallback plan was to attend the same school together and become roommates, which they did with three of the other seniors, including Moe. Larry's college was not happy with his final GPA. I'm not sure what his long game was, but it sucked. The college kicked him out before he could even start, and I found out his huge web of lies extended to his parents too.

He toured Europe over the summer and tried to surprise his parents by coming home instead of going to school. Apparently, they kicked him out immediately after because they were selling their house to get a condo somewhere else (remember, they travel for work all the time now so wanted to downgrade). Last I heard, he made up a story that he joined the military but got released due to sickness.

Curly's parents relented and decided to pay for Curly to go to college after all. Curly got kicked out halfway through the year (he got busted more than once for underage consumption) and then they kicked him to the curb after living at home for a year and refusing to get a job. Last I heard, he works in a vape shop. Moe went to school and used his book smarts to try and pay other kids to do his work for him, since his mommy is rich.

When that failed, he faked his grades to get his mom to keep footing the bill. Eventually, the school kicked him out and he moved back home. The story his mommy told a friend of hers (who I ran into at a school function) was that he decided that he would rather be an entrepreneur than go to college and that he bought a drone to film weddings with.

Last I heard, he was acting as a distributor for his weed dealer but had moved up to selling acid on the side. His mommy thinks he is working weddings. But there was one happy ending. One senior went to college with his friends and immediately realized he needed to change. He quit hanging with his friends and, last I heard, graduated with honors in a lucrative field.

He emailed me once to thank me for challenging him in high school, because it prepared him for college, so that was nice.


13. Playing The Long Game

In the late 90s, my wife and I were just married, just getting started, and we decided to DINK (“double income, no kids”) it for a few years to save up for a down payment on a house. The dotcom bubble was still rising and I was a newly minted software developer. I had an entry-level job for a while and then got recruited to a new city and a new job that paid three times what I was making before.

It was an offer too good to pass up. I ran the numbers and it was a no-brainer: By living frugally and saving my entire salary, living off just her income, we would easily have enough in a year to put a 20% down payment on a new house. We rented an apartment in the new city that was listed for $950/month. The landlord was a real estate agent who owned a two-bedroom condo as an investment property.

Let’s call him "Hank Wazowski." Hank was a thin, gray, no-nonsense guy. He was pleasant enough, but perfunctory, dry, and had no sense of humor. He made a point of explaining that under no circumstances was he responsible for maintaining the garbage disposal and that it was NOT included in the rental agreement and he would not be responsible for fixing it if it were it to break. Um, ok.

He seemed slightly amused by us, a clueless, young, newlywed couple, but I could tell he wanted to rent to us because we were very obviously a safe choice as renters. We filled out the rental agreement and the credit check, and this is where my troubles began. Hank looked hard at the credit application where I listed my job title, “Software Developer,” and my income, $75k.

For a 23-year-old in his second year out of college, in the late 1990s, this is a small fortune. Throw in my wife’s salary and we were over six figures in income, renting an apartment far beneath our means. Like I said, DINK is the way to go when starting out. “I can’t believe how much money you make,” Hank must have said half a dozen times, muttering under his breath.

I explained we were saving to buy a house and that we were only going to stay in the apartment a year. “We might stay a few months after the term is over, would month-to-month be ok after a year?” Hank assured us that would be fine. We saw Hank only once during the year and he again mentioned my salary and how he couldn’t believe that’s what software developers were making.

It was awkward and I gave a vague reply. Anyway, a year later we had found a house to buy, signed all the papers, and were making plans to move. The new house wasn’t going to be ready until two months after our rental lease was up, so I called Hank to ask if we could, as discussed, simply extend the lease by two months before moving out.

Hank assured me on the phone it would be no problem and he would send over an extension for us to sign. The extension arrived in the mail. When I read it, my heart stopped. It included a month-to-month clause and a $500 increasein the rent. I flipped out and called him. “Hank, why are you increasing the rent over 50%? That’s too much! That’s more than my new mortgage is going to be!”

He was super condescending to me, “It’s what the apartment goes for now. I would be losing money by renting it for less.” I tried to reason with him, but it was very clear he knew we could afford the $500, had no choice in the matter, and he was going to screw us over as best he could. He got angry with me for arguing my point, and I’ll never forget his parting words: “You don’t have to like it, you just have to pay it.”

My wife and I tried to figure out a way to move out early by putting our furniture in storage for a couple months and crashing with friends, but it just wasn’t going to work out. I swallowed my pride and wrote out the check for $1,450 for the extra month. A month later, I wrote a similar check, and then we moved out. I made sure the apartment was spotless before moving, but still Hank withheld $300 from our security deposit for stupid things that were just a way for him to squeeze a few more dollars from the kids who made too much money.

$100 for cleaning, sure? But $300 was obscene. In my mind, he had screwed me over for $1200 and there was nothing I could do about it. What made it even more infuriating is that I saw the ad Hank put in the paper after we moved out and he listed the apartment for rent at only $150 more than we had been paying originally, not the grossly-inflated $500 increase.

And it didn't rent. A month later, I saw the same ad and he had lowered the price to $75 more than we had been paying, and I assume it got rented since the ads stopped appearing. Fast-forward about five years. Life is good, the house is good, we have a baby, and even though the dotcom bubble has burst, I’m still employed. One day, out of the blue, I overhear one of my co-workers, Phil, a senior developer, talking to the guy working the reception desk.

“Hey, Mike, I’m expecting someone to drop off some paperwork for me. If a Hank Wazowski asks for me, tell him I’ll be right out.” I freeze and get a taste of bile in my mouth. I’m remembering how I had to write out that name on those checks all those years ago. There’s no way it’s the same guy, right? I walk over to Phil, who is still by the reception desk.

“Phil,” I say, “How do you know that name, Hank Wazowski?” Phil explains that Hank is his real estate agent. “I bought my condo through him several years ago. I’m selling my condo now so I can buy a house. So I’m going to ask him to be my agent again. Do you know him?” I tell Phil that I used to rent an apartment from Hank and described what he looks like.

Phil confirms the description: It’s the same guy, wow small world, right? And on cue, right then the front door to the office opens and in walks Hank Wazowski. I stare in disbelief. He’s carrying a folder of papers and doesn’t recognize me. Phil and Hank shake hands and they talk for a few moments. I stand there silently, wondering what to do.

Phil finally says, “Hank, this is my friend. I think you may have already met?” “Yes, hello Hank. Good to see you again. My wife and I were your tenants a few years ago. Remember, the software developer who rented for a year saving to buy a house? Well, this is where I work. Here. With Phil.” Hanks eyes indicate he now remembers me, and he’s starting to put it all together.

We shake hands and he says yes, of course he remembers and asks how we are doing. “Oh we’re just fine, thanks for asking. Phil says that you’re his real estate agent. Small world, isn’t it?” Hanks nods pleasantly. He still doesn’t remember the details of our last conversation. I do some quick math in my head. This is the early/mid 2000s, the real estate market is very strong and easy money for any agent.

The crash of 2008 is still a few years in the future. I start to think out loud. “Selling the condo for around $150 to 200 thousand, and you’re looking at houses in the $500 thousand range, so that’s $650 to 700 thousand in total transactions. An agent getting 3% on the sale AND the purchase is getting around $20k for his trouble. That’s a good commission for the agent, isn’t it?”

Hanks eyes flash and I can tell he remembers everything about me now. Phil is surprised at my passive-aggressive tone. I am enjoying the uncomfortable silence. Hank deflects my question, saying it’s complicated, and tells Phil to send back the papers as soon as possible. He shakes hands with Phil, looks at me, nods, and goes to leave. “It was really good to see you again, Hank.” I call behind him.

He exits the building. As the door is still shutting, I say a bit too loudly, so that Hank can hear, “Phil, don’t sign anything just yet, I have a story to tell you.” Phil looks at me and says, “What the heck was that all about?!” He looks angry and confused at my behavior. I tell Phil the whole story, the rent, the $500 increase, the security deposit, "you don't have to like it, you just have to pay it," everything.

“Phil, you can’t use this guy to sell your condo and buy a house. I hate him. He’s evil. I’ll help you find another real estate agent, just use ANYONE BUT HANK!” So the great thing about Phil is that, well, he’s a great guy. He says he’s a little surprised at my story and has always known Hank as a straightforward guy. “But I totally see him doing that to you,” he admits.

“There’s no way I could use him now. What a jerk!” Then Phil’s eyes lit up a bit. “What do you want me to say when I fire him?” (I have special feelings for Phil now.) We came up with a plan and I made sure there were some key phrases in Phil’s repertoire. We planned it all out together in advance. My only regret is that I didn’t get to see Hank’s reaction in person a day later when Phil made the following phone call while I stood behind him listening:

“Hi, Hank? It’s Phil calling. Yeah, about that. I’ve decided to get some other quotes from other agents. I’m not going to sign up with you … [pause] “No no, you shouldn’t give a discount. You’d be losing money if you did that . . . [pause] “No, this is just a decision I’ve made . . . no, it has nothing to do with anyone else . . . [pause]

“Well, you don’t have to like it, Hank. You just have to accept it. Good bye.” CLICK And it was the greatest revenge I could have ever imagined: Through a chance meeting years later, Hank got screwed out of 20 thousand dollars in easy commissions. And the best part is Hank absolutely KNEW it had EVERYTHING to do with me!


14. You Go, Grandma

My grandmother was a member of a large conservative "Bible Believing" church for her entire adult life. This church, which I'll call BigWhiteChurch, was a member of a large Evangelical denomination. BigWhiteChurch was located in a prosperous suburb of a large city in the Bible Belt of the Deep South of the USA. Grandma was very active in BigWhiteChurch.

She worked in the nursery every Sunday morning, helped cook hundreds of church fellowship breakfasts and dinners, accompanied her children and grandchildren on dozens of church retreats and choir tours, taught Youth Bible Study on Sunday nights and was very active in supporting Home Missions, as well as helping with other youth programs.

She always tithed, and often gave extra for missions and special offerings. Grandma's greatest talent was making other people feel important. I've seen this firsthand many times. Although I belonged to a different church, I often visited with Grandma, and when I did, I usually went to BigWhiteChurch functions with her. I've seen her single-handedly cook breakfast for dozens of BigWhiteChurch Youth, a task that took over two hours, even in the church's large kitchen.

Then, after the meal, she asked the group for a round of applause for the high school student leader for, "Doing such a great job of organizing the Prayer Breakfast." I remember that, on a BigWhiteChurch youth retreat at a rural Church Camp, she drove most of the night to go back to the city and retrieve a big box of evangelistic materials that one of the Assistant Pastors (whom I'll call JerkPastor) had forgotten and asked her to get, in time for our morning program the next day.

His boss, the Senior Pastor (I'll call him PompousPastor), never found out that JerkPastor had screwed up or that Grandma had fixed it for him. JerkPastor never even thanked Grandma. Even though I was a child, this bothered me so much that I asked her about it. Her reply broke my heart. She said that she didn't mind at all; she told me her reward would be that those materials "Would help children find Jesus".

Grandma's service to her church ended abruptly at the age of 73, when she broke her back in a car accident. Afterwards, for the last 10 years of her life, she was homebound and could not go to church because of this injury and declining health due to old age. Her mind was just as sharp as ever, and her faith remained sincere, but her body wore out a little more every day.

During those 10 years, she made many efforts to reach out to her church, its leadership and her church friends, inviting them to visit her at her home, etc., without success. Every one of these invitations was declined or simply ignored. Near the end, when she was in home hospice care, she decided to plan her own funeral. She and my Grandpa called her church and asked for the Senior Pastor, PompousPastor, whom she had known for over 30 years, to visit her so that they could plan her memorial service, which she and Grandpa wanted to be held at the church.

PompousPastor was too busy, but JerkPastor stopped by a few days later. According to my Grandpa, here's what happened at that meeting, with my Grandma literally on her deathbed: Grandma, Grandpa and JerkPastor discussed her funeral for a couple of minutes. Then JerkPastor started pressuring her to, "Lay up your treasure in Heaven" by "Remembering your church in your will".

Grandpa told him firmly that, "This is neither the time nor the place to discuss her will." They went back to discussing the funeral for a few minutes. Then JerkPastor steered the conversation back to Grandma's will, with liberal injections of how badly "her" church needed "her support." Grandpa told him several times that it was inappropriate to talk to Grandma about her will or the church's financial needs, because she was terminally ill and in an enormous amount of physical pain.

JerkPastor would agree and briefly talk about the funeral, but would then go back to talking about the church's financial needs, heavenly rewards, "Where your treasure is your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21, Luke 12:34), etc. My Grandma started crying. To put this into context, Grandma was more than a "Steel Magnolia.” She was "Titanium Coated With Diamond Wrapped In Kevlar."

She rarely ever cried, and never EVER cried about herself. Not one tear when the doctor told her that her back was broken so badly that she would never walk again, nor during the following six months in futile rehab. She would shed sincere but well-managed tears at funerals and while visiting family members in the hospital when they received bad news.

She would cry to console others, "Weep with those who weep." But nobody—not Grandpa, not her daughter (my mom), nor any of my uncles or Grandma's siblings—ever remembered her crying for herself. My Grandma was sobbing uncontrollably. Grandpa, a retired steelworker, former Marine Sergeant and Korean combat veteran, physically grabbed JerkPastor and "escorted" him out of their house, not too gently.

Contrary to everyone's expectations, Grandma lived another six months, mostly because of sheer force of will. Eventually, though, Grandma passed and we held her memorial service at the funeral home, not BigWhiteChurch. PompousPastor and JerkPastor were conspicuously absent. In fact, there were no "Professional Christians" from BigWhiteChurch at the service at all, not even in the audience.

To start the service, Grandpa stood up at the podium in front of the crowd and said, "Some of you may have heard that I dis-invited PompousPastor and JerkPastor from this funeral service. This service is not an appropriate place for me to give you my reasons for doing this, although you all know me and so you know that my reasons are good ones. Also, my wife asked me to exclude them."

"This funeral service may be different from other funerals that you have attended. It is going to be an ‘open microphone’ funeral. Everyone who wants to say something is invited to come up here and describe your friendship with my wife, tell a story about her that is worth remembering, or anything else that you want to say that will honor her memory and bring comfort to everyone here today. I have asked several family members to prepare statements, but you don't have to have anything prepared. Please, if you want to say something, come up here and do so."

There were about a hundred people at the funeral service; at least a third of them eventually stepped up to the microphone. The service, which we had planned to last about 30 minutes, lasted for over two hours and, as best I can tell, not one person left early. There was laughing, crying and hugging, three of her grandchildren played some of her favorite songs on the piano and guitar, and we all joined hands and sang her favorite hymns.

Afterwards, dozens of people told my Grandpa that it was one of the most comforting and uplifting funerals they had ever attended. More than a few remarked that, "Funerals are better without preachers anyway" or something similar. But the thing is, my grandma also had a great revenge from beyond the grave. A couple of weeks later, it was time to start distributing the bequests in Grandma's will.

Although Grandma and Grandpa dearly loved each other, they had separate wills because, she told my Mom, “That makes it easier for us to respect each other's turf” and because their lawyer had recommended it. Nobody thought that my grandparents were wealthy. They had lived in the same small but charming house in a prosperous, well-maintained suburban neighborhood for the past 50+ years, and had worked hard and lived modestly.

But it was rumored that they had a very nice nest egg. Of course, there is no requirement for anyone to attend "The Reading Of The Will" or to even have a "Reading." Modern telecommunications and near-universal literacy have made this quaint custom practically extinct. But "The Reading Of The Will" was a tradition in our family because it was one of those events that gave our close-knit, extended family an excuse to get together.

We never had "Family Reunions." They were too difficult to schedule for our large family. But we got together at birthdays, holidays, funerals, baptisms, etc., so that if you attended several of these, you would see just about every one of your cousins, aunts, uncles, and even great aunts and uncles who were Grandma's and Grandpa's siblings and in-laws.

With this family tradition in mind, many of our family members' wills often contained very personal bequests of items that had little cash value, but were the departed family member's way of telling their loved ones that they wanted to share a cherished memory with them one last time. As an added incentive to attend, the family rumor mill had been buzzing with speculation, encouraged by Grandpa, that Grandma's will contained some "surprises." And oh, there were surprises aplenty.

The "Reading" was held in a conference room at a lawyer's office. The attendees included my mom, as well as aunts, uncles, great aunts, great uncles and many of the grandchildren. We were all surprised, however, to see PompousPastor and JerkPastor from BigWhiteChurch. They informed us that Grandma's lawyer had told them that Grandma's will had bequests not only for BigWhiteChurch, but also for them personally.

Maybe it was just our imagination, but my siblings, cousins, and I couldn't help noticing that these preachers appeared to be actively salivating over their good fortune at Grandma's generosity. Grandma had a large family, so a sizeable number of beneficiaries were named in her will. The lawyer's conference room was a bit smaller than an average middle-class living room.

Extra chairs had been brought in, every seat was filled and people were standing in every remaining space. There was barely space for all of us. Grandma's lawyer suggested that PompousPastor and JerkPastor sit in chairs that were in the front of the room, next to himself. Since there was a large table in the room, this meant that the lawyer and these two preachers were the only ones who were directly facing everyone else.

Although the preachers were gratified to be physically next to the center of attention, they did not notice, as all of the rest of us quickly noticed, that these seats made it easy for everyone else in the room to watch them closely, and practically impossible for them to leave the packed-to-more-than-overflowing room before the entire meeting was over, because they were farthest from the room's single door, and there were almost two dozen people standing or sitting between them and their only path to escape.

The bequests were quite generous, but pretty much what we had expected. Grandpa kept their house, its contents, their retirement accounts and everything that remained after all of the bequests had been satisfied. Children, grandchildren and several local charities received nice, but not extravagant, amounts of money. Several sentimental items were named and given to various friends and relatives.

Grandpa was first beneficiary listed in the will. But, after him, all of the other bequests were arranged in order of increasing worth. They started with sentimental items, which had very small cash value. Then each grandchild received several thousand dollars, then each son, daughter, brother, sister, niece and nephew received a little more, then several local non-profits received very nice amounts, etc.

Bequests to BigWhiteChurch, PompousPastor and JerkPastor were (almost) the last ones listed in the will. They listened politely to the other bequests, but with steadily growing anticipation, as they noticed the exponential upward trend in Grandma's largess. When Grandma's lawyer got to the BigWhiteChurch and preachers' part of the will, he said, "This is a bit unusual, but before I announce these bequests to BigWhiteChurch, PompousPastor and JerkPastor, Ms [Grandma's name] requested that I read the following statement to everyone present."

He opened a letter that was written in Grandma's own handwriting. It shocked the room into silence. "For the past 10 years, NOT ONE person from BigWhiteChurch has ever called me, come to visit me, or sent me a note to tell me that they cared about me. Not one minister, not one deacon, not one of the church women, not one of the church members who I worked with for all of those years, loved dearly and thought were my friends. I worked very hard for you when you needed me, for many, many years. But when I needed you and your church, you all pretended that I didn't exist."

"I only got one visit. When I was dying and I invited PompousPastor to come to my house and help me plan my funeral. This was my last attempt, after many attempts that I had made over the past 10 years, to reach out to my church and pastor, whom I still loved dearly even though they had made it clear that they did not love me. If only I could have my funeral at my church, maybe some of my church friends, whom I had not seen in a decade, would come to the service to see me one last time.

And I know they loved to hear PompousPastor preach, so if he preached at my funeral, maybe they would come to my funeral to hear him, even if they would not have come to see me. But PompousPastor couldn't find the time to visit me, or even call me to tell me whether or not he was willing to preach at my funeral. JerkPastor came by my house, but he didn't want to talk about my funeral. He just wanted me to, 'Remember his church in my will.'

That's all. Just, 'Remember his church in my will.' It was then that I realized that I had allowed my church to break my heart for one last time. But that was the last time. The VERY last time. JerkPastor did not know it when he visited me, but Grandpa and I had already prepared my will, long before his visit, which did include a double tithe. TWENTY PERCENT of my ENTIRE ESTATE, for what was now my former ... FORMER ... church ... BigWhiteChurch.

This amount was [named the amount—an enormous load of money generating muffled ‘wows’ from many of her heirs, including me]. But I got to feeling badly that we had not personally remembered such nice people as PompousPastor and JerkPastor. So I changed my will to include them by name. While I was at it, I changed the amount of money that I left to BigWhiteChurch to match all of the love that they have showed to me during the last 10 years of my life, when I was suffering and lonely, and no longer able to work for them, for free, like I had done for almost half a century."

"That is her entire written statement," the lawyer said. "Now let's get back to the bequests in the will." "Bequest to JerkPastor: One Cent." "Bequest to PompousPastor: One Cent." "Bequest to BigWhiteChurch: One Cent." The PompousPastor and JerkPastor sat there looking like someone had just injected a gallon of novocaine into their jaws.

Every one of Grandma's family and friends felt an overwhelming urge to laugh out loud. But we kept quiet because we knew Grandma. We knew she wasn't finished yet. Grandma was simply setting them up for a one-two punch. The best was yet to come, and we didn't want to miss it. "There is one last bequest," the lawyer continued, "For a charity called ..." which he named and I'll call "BlackCharity," then he paused before naming the amount.

Most of us had no idea what BlackCharity was. But, by the looks on their faces, we could tell that PompousPastor and JerkPastor knew BlackCharity very well. Their faces displayed the same expressions of shock, dread, and horror that they would have if the lawyer had said, "This bequest goes to The Demonic Baby Eaters to buy extra large rotisserie barbecue grills and tons of charcoal."

Every eye in the room was now fixated on PompousPastor and JerkPastor. The lawyer, who happened to be my uncle, one of Grandma's and Grandpa's sons, let the silence continue a few seconds more....If we had been able to read PompousPastor's and JerkPastor's minds, we would have known the history behind the looks on their faces.

BlackCharity was sponsored by a large Black church just a few miles from BigWhiteChurch. They ran a free food/clothing bank, assistance programs for foster children, home delivery of pre-cooked meals for homebound seniors, and other social services. A long time ago, BigWhiteChurch, which was (and still is) 100% Caucasian, had provided a few years of financial and other support to BlackCharity.

Then there was a very bitter, acrimonious breakup, allegedly because BlackCharity was practicing "The Social Gospel" while BigWhiteChurch was preaching "The True Gospel." BigWhiteChurch even sued to try to get some of their money back, although the suit was eventually settled and very little money actually changed hands. But, this being The Deep South, everyone knew the real reason why BigWhiteChurch, or any white church, would stop supporting a Black charity:

"They were getting uppity and not staying in their place." Grandma and Grandpa had seriously considered leaving BigWhiteChurch at that time. But they had reasoned that it was better to stay there and teach tolerance by their words and example. They knew they would never persuade everyone, but maybe they could reach some of the youth at their white church and break the generational cycle.

Grandma used to tell us, "My church is my Mission Field." We did not learn the true depth of her statement until after she passed. Since then, Grandma and Grandpa had secretly sent a portion of their "Tithe" to BlackCharity every month. Most of Grandma's family, including me, didn't find out about any of this until after the meeting had ended.

But PompousPastor and JerkPastor obviously understood what Grandma, by her actions which are more powerful than words, was saying to them. If you had grown up as a white person in the Deep South, as Grandma, Grandpa, PompousPastor and JerkPastor had, you would understand. To many white Southerners, this was one of the most personally insulting things you could do to them.

It simultaneously labeled them as racists, condemned them, and crushed their delusions of white superiority by saying, "These Black human beings, whom you hate, disrespect and have mistreated, are better people than you are. So they deserve my money more than you do". Having allowed time for everyone to observe PompousPastor and JerkPastor while they thought about how their white church had treated this Black charity, and how they AND their church had treated our Grandma...

The lawyer said, "The amount is...." Then he named the EXACT SAME AMOUNT that Grandma had named in her handwritten letter, the huge amount of money that would have gone to BigWhiteChurch if she had not changed her will.


15. Scorched Earth

a family of four on a beachPhoto by Patricia Prudente on Unsplash

This all happened to me a few years ago. I told a friend the story of my divorce, and I was told to share. I thought we were happy. We were your usual suburban professional couple. Financially secure, healthy, good bedroom life, two kids—a 14-year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy at the time. I thought we had a healthy social life, too.

We were going through one of your typical married couple rough patches. Both of us were working long hours, not spending enough time together, and we were going through some developmental problems with my son and tensions in the house were running a little high. I noticed that she was spending a lot more time on her phone texting with her "girlfriends."

I didn't think much of it, though now I wish I had. I started making a much more concerted effort to get out of work when I could, help around the house and be more emotionally available, but over the course of a few weeks the gulf just kept getting wider. I ended up accidentally finding some messages when I charged up an old IPad for my son to use.

Her FB messenger was still logged in and there were a lot of highly questionable messages with a guy from her hometown who I will call JimBobCooter or JBC for short. The messages weren't completely inappropriate, but I could tell there were quite a few missing based on the times and context of the messages. I made a mental note to keep an eye on this and went about trying to fix things up.

The next day, I took the day off to knock out some projects that I thought would make her happy, and left her some sweet notes reminding her how much I appreciated her. Still, she was once again in the corner of the living room "texting her girlfriends." I took the boy’s iPad to the office opened up FB messenger…and watched in real time as my wife tore me down.

Her and JBC were making fun of me. All of my flaws, insecurities and secrets I entrusted to my partner were now fodder for her and JBC. Not only that, but while there wasn't outright innuendo, there was an undertone to the whole conversation, especially when she was bashing my performance in the sack. I managed to take some screenshots, but missed a good bit of the messages, because as the conversation was unfolding she was deleting them.

I wasn't emotionally capable of confronting her. I stayed in the office until she was asleep and had a couple drinks. I took off the next day and spent some time soul searching, drinking, and trying to figure out what to do. The wife came home and wanted to know what was wrong and I just copped out and told her I had a bad day. A couple minutes later I was watching the iPad again. The train wreck kept unfolding.

So began a couple solid weeks of taking screenshots, drinking and detaching myself from the relationship. I knew there was no going back from this. The messages were now overtly intimate with my wife completely into it, and JBC was sprinkling in "I love yous.” I consulted a lawyer and got my options, and started moving forward. Here's where everything got absolutely surreal.

Watching the messages, I found out JBC was coming to town to spend a weekend of quality time with my wife in a pretty nice hotel. I was missing a good bit of the info, as they must have had a phone conversation about it at some point, but I was able to infer enough to get the when and where. Sure as heck, the next day the wife is buttering me up and wanting to take a spa weekend with the girls to relax and when she gets back we can really focus on our marriage.

I go with it all the way. It's the greatest idea she's ever had, and I'll do anything to get us back on track. I get with the lawyer and have him draft a strong separation agreement stating that she would move out, she would get weekend visitation, no child support in the interim until the divorce is final. Then I sit through the most agonizing two weeks of my life.

After all this, most of my feelings for her are completely gone, and I'm just seething with anger like I've never felt before. D-day arrives. I take the day off work. I withdraw half of any money in any accounts we are joint on, leave her half alone. I had already redirected my pay check to a new bank. I close our money market account and get a cashiers check for her half and deposit my half in my new account.

I stop at office max and print out about 75 pages of FB messenger screenshots, and I waste time because I don't want to be at home. She texts me that she's taking off and that she loves me. I tell her to have fun. I show up to the hotel at about 8:30 and call the wife's phone from the lobby. It goes straight to voicemail. They are probably already at it, whatever.

I walk up to the front desk and ask if I can use the phone to be connected to JBCs room. It rings three times and he picks up. JBC: Hello? Me: JBC, can you send my wife down to the lobby please? JBC: I don't know what you're talking about, bro. Me: Ok then. I guess I'll have to call Mrs. JBC and get her down here. (Totally a bluff. I knew he was married, and I knew her first name, but that was it.)

JBC: (Inaudible, shuffling, panic) Me: You got five minutes. Click Not even two minutes later, my wife comes walking out of the elevator looking a little flustered. I sit her down in the corner of the lobby. Her: Starts spewing garbage saying it's not what it seems etc., etc. Me: I'm not here to argue. The things that are said in this pile of papers are what's going on. The only way I'm not giving a copy of this to our daughter, your parents, and emailing it to everyone we know is if you move out immediately.

See, my wife was very prideful. Our daughter was going through a rebellious teen phase and her knowing probably would have forever ruined their relationship. My wife was also her parents’ golden child and she always worried about what they thought of her. I didn't have much leverage, and shame was my only card to play. Also her professional life is built up around her image, so I knew she would protect that at all costs.

Her: Sniffle, mumble, inaudible Me: This is a check for half of the money market account. I've withdrawn my half of the money from all the other joint accounts. You should have more than enough to get a place. She starts to cry a little. I could almost see the different thoughts and waves of emotions going through her, but now was the time to keep pressing.

Me: Here is a separation agreement that I think is more than fair considering what's going on. I'm going to need you to look this over, sign it, and leave it at the house when you get your stuff. Do you want to look through these screenshots? Her: No. Me: Ok. Go have fun with JBC. Do not come back to the house or I'm going to send this (holds up ream of screenshots) to everyone.

I bounce out of the lobby, and I can hear her start to have a breakdown. I get to the car drive off to a parking lot and have my own crying rage fit. Previously I would have cried in front of her and yelled and whatnot but I managed to get my stuff together enough to pull it off. I don't know what she did that night or over the weekend. She texted and called over and over, wanting to talk.

I just turned the phone off and by the time Monday afternoon rolled around there were movers getting her stuff and she delivered the agreement. I let her have a talk with the kiddos basically saying mommy and daddy need some time apart, we still love you, etc., etc. Standard divorce talk. After a week she wants to have a real talk for the first time.

I oblige her because I've already got my stuff together and I've got an idea of what I want, but I should hear her out. She's so sorry. She wants another chance. She wants her family back. She'll do anything. She's on her knees crying into my lap. I have no intention of ever taking her back. I tell her she needs to set up marriage counseling on her own at a time that works for me.

I tell her that I can't live with her, but she should be around the children to try to maintain a relationship with them. So starts our new normal of her coming over the house, cooking and having dinner with the kids three nights a week (she always saved me a plate, I made myself scarce), her cleaning the house and doing the kids’ laundry then heading back to her place.

We went to counseling. It consisted of her working through her issues with the therapist trying to figure out why she did it, her begging for forgiveness, and me stoically playing the victim. I was never going to give her another chance. All I wanted to do was waste time, establish myself as the primary caregiver to the kids, and establish her as not having residency in the house.

After a few months, I go to my own therapist and get diagnosed with depression and PTSD. I ask my work if it's possible to go to part time for the foreseeable future to deal with personal issues, and it's no big deal. After six months of therapy, I told her that I couldn't forgive her right now and that I wanted an amicable divorce, but she is still the love of my life and maybe someday we could give it another try.

She was devastated, but agreed to the divorce if I promised to try again someday. Once the divorce was filed I needed the kids to want to stay with me. I left a Google search for "how to survive your wife's infidelity" up on the shared PC at home, and I left some printed out infidelity articles not so hidden in the kitchen. My daughter found them and came to me crying.

I told her she wasn't supposed to find those, that mom made a mistake, that mom still loves her, and that I would always be here for her. My daughter who used to hold my wife in such high regard now wouldn't talk to her without screaming, and it crushed her. Not surprisingly when the court needed statements from the kids a few months later, little brother followed big sister’s lead and they both wanted to stay with Dad in the house they grew up in.

When the divorce was finalized I got the house (had to buy out some of her equity, but that's ok). I got primary custody of the kids. I got awarded generous child support due to the difference in our incomes due to me working part time. Now for the last two years, I've gotten to live in the house with my kids, work part time, get the now-ex to subsidize it for me, and when she takes the kids over the weekends I get to have my fun with tinderellas and some FWBs I've cultivated.

In the eyes of my kids I'm the patron saint of fatherhood for taking the high road and always being there. In the eyes of my ex I'm the one that got away that she will always pine for, and I get the bonus of having her come over for intimacy whenever I want it by dangling that carrot of maybe getting back together. But that is never going to happen.


16. Let’s Go To The Tape

This story is widely known amongst my family and is constantly brought up and joked upon in my group of friends even years later. Backstory: I was a senior in high school at the time and I had never been the brightest student. Still, I was a solid C student and I had never received a detention or had any kind of bad student record.

This is important because to this day, I still have no idea why the teacher treated me this way. The teacher, who we will name Mrs. Frank, had been a teacher there for more than a decade and was widely known for being a petty heartless witch who the administrators saw as the golden child. Mrs. Frank taught algebra, which is my worst subject, so naturally I had issues understanding the lessons and would ask questions frequently.

To some, these questions are easily answered but to me it was rocket science. Usually when someone asks a dumb question, no one should address it. However, in Mrs. Frank’s case, she would belittle me in front of everyone by saying things such as, "And here comes the slow boy again," "Wow, surprise, surprise you don't understand it again." "Really? We have to go extra slow for you today don't we?" etc.

I tried going to the administration about it, but again she was considered the golden child. They would send someone in to examine her during class, she would act respectful and normal for one day, and go back to being a witch the next. This goes on for about half the year, until I had enough. I went to the local Radio Shack, bought a recorder, and secretly recorded every insult she would throw at me.

I would sometimes instigate to make up for the lost time. Go ahead, feed the fire. Fast forward to the end of the year, and I’m sitting in Mrs. Frank’s class when I ask a question. Her response is burned into my brain. "I've been teaching here for over 10 years, and that was the single dumbest question I’ve ever heard come from anyone’s mouth."

She continued the lesson without answering me. I calmly stood up, packed up my stuff, and headed to the nurse’s office to dismiss myself from school. I went home, compiled all of the brutal tapes into one glorious masterpiece, and headed back the next day to show the administrators. I sat down with the principal and we listened to a couple of the insults before he stopped me.

He wanted more witnesses present as well as Mrs. Frank. He told me we would meet the next day where I could show him and the rest of the administrators the full tape. I walk into school the next morning being the most nervous I’ve ever been for anything. I was called down to the office where I met with some board directors, the local school officer, the principal, the vice principal and Mrs. Frank. What follows was some of the greatest minutes of my life.

I watched as the administrators went from fed up with being in another useless meeting, to furious and speechless, with some of them keeping their mouths open for the duration of the tape. I also watched Mrs. Frank go from confident and stuck up, to her realizing that she had screwed up beyond repair. She was publicly roasting herself in front of the most important people from the district.

The tape ended, and without hesitation, the administrators looked around in astonishment and the principal turns to me and says, "I think we have heard everything we need to, thank you." And I was quietly dismissed from the room. The final time I saw Mrs. Frank was leaving that room. I looked back and we made eye contact through her tear-filled eyes as I gave the biggest, most evil smile.

I returned to class the next week and Mrs. Frank was nowhere to be found. The story spread quickly throughout the school and I was seen as a saint. I had successfully gotten her fired and made it almost impossible for Mrs. Frank to return to her teaching career, as well as cut off most of her connections she had with other teachers in the school.

I had ruined her financially because no school district in the area would hire this walking piece of garbage. If you're reading this Mrs. Frank, I'd like to take this moment to tell you to go screw yourself.


17. Playing With Fire

It’s been about four years since this happened. I was about 18 at the time, working for a security company. There were constant call offs and no shows, have no idea why. But being so young and naive, I was constantly working 16 hour shifts and not coming home until 8 am. Also, I lived with my father at the time. The time frame of this was around the 4th of July.

I finally had a day off and my best friend was back in town for vacation. We decided to get together and chip in on some good ol’ American fireworks. To be fair, I have had nothing but bad experiences with fireworks so I had no idea how I thought this would be any different. We got home with the fireworks and we laid them all out on the floor.

There were Sparklers, Bottle Rockets, Cakes, and Roman Candles. I say, “Why don’t we mess around with some sparklers since it’s still not dark yet?” Great idea! We go into my backyard, where it hasn’t rained in well over two months and it is extremely dry. You see the problem here? One of the little sparkies from mine and my friend’s sparkler made contact with the ground and made two small fires that quickly spread to a large area.

I ran as fast as I could to grab the garden hose and quickly started spraying down the fire. It was no use, it was spreading faster than I could spray it. I handed my friend the hose and called 9-1-1. What felt like hours was only four minutes and the fire was spreading to the neighbor’s fence. The neighbor came outside to grab their hose and spray down the fence, along with the burning grass in her yard.

The fire department shows up finally and I tell my friend “Only one of us needs to get in trouble, you should leave.” He was reluctant to leave because he felt equally responsible, but I convinced him. I didn’t want him to get in trouble. My neighbor was super chill about the entire situation at first. I told her that we could talk about replacing the fence and get some quotes to repair it.

She was just super grateful that everyone was okay. About two hours after the fire, the fire investigator came to question me about the fire. I told him the “truth.” I said I was in the backyard by myself playing with fireworks and accidentally lit the ground on fire. I had gotten off that day without being hit by any charges and was commended for being honest. Here is where it goes down hill very fast.

About a week later, I get a knock on the door from the neighbor. I opened the door and she handed me two pieces of paper for me to look at. There was a quote for the fence valued at around $4,000 and an estimate for lawn-care valued around $6,000. These were really shady and just typed out on a Microsoft word document with no logo or company name.

She then adds, “I will also be having you pay my water bill for three months because the new yard will need lots of water.” Now, the fence this woman had before was raggedy, and falling apart. Her yard? Weeds everywhere, and she never mowed it. Now looking at this paper, she wants a mahogany fence, and a brand new back yard with flowers and trimmed hedges?

I said “I need to get an estimate myself, this doesn’t feel right.” She says “Remember, you agreed to replace my fence, and a real man keeps promises.” I shut the door and called my dad to tell him about what just happened. He flipped out and told me “Son, don’t you give that woman single dime.” He gives me the number to his handyman and tells me to take care of it.

The next day, I had the guy come out for an estimate and the neighbor ran outside flailing her arms. “I did not give you permission to get an estimate on my fence.” Technically, it separates the property line, so it’s both of our fences. She calls the authorities on me for having a contractor, and they ultimately can’t do a single thing because I’m on my property.

He quickly finishes the estimate off at $1,200. I also knew a guy who did lawn care from my time working at the grocery store. He estimated the lawn re-seeding while she was away from the house to be about $800. After I get these estimates, I give copies to the woman and she is having none of it. “I don’t know these people. I don’t want them near my house, they’re probably really bad contractors.”

I said, “No, I know them personally. They are really nice people and do great work.” She shut the door in my face and I went on my way. I ended up working a 16 hour shift that night and got home at 8 am, and this woman comes knocking on my door at 9 am and demanded I speak to her. I explained, “I would really love to do this, but I just got home and I have to be back at work in less than 5 hours. I need to sleep.”

She goes, “What kind of lazy idiot sleeps in until 2 pm?” At this point, I had about lost it, and told her, “You can either accept my $2,000 for my quotes or kiss my butt and get nothing.” She stood there for a while with her mouth gaped open, but she accepted my offer and planned to meet down at the notary the next morning. I spent that night after I got off work writing a contract and gathering the $2,000 in cash.

The next morning I wake up and grab this contract to meet down at the notary. I was thrilled to finally be done with this broad, and never speak to her again. But it wasn’t over yet. I waited for her for over three hours and she didn’t show up. I get a call from her saying “I’m sorry the 2,000 isn’t enough, I’m having my guys start work on this project, and you will be paying me full price.”

Oh really? After that I did not say a single word to her, and I watched for a few months as these guys turned her backyard into an oasis, complete with a small pond, brand new sod and flowers, the whole nine yards. Come to find out she had plans to remodel these things for a long time, and was just waiting for the opportunity to go through with it.

Also in this time, she used her remodel funds to go on a trip to Hawaii. You know how I found out about this? She was bragging about it on the neighborhood Facebook group, and didn’t know I was in it. I have a different Facebook name than my real name. Are you ready for the revenge? Now four months after the fire and all the remodels, I get served papers to go to court for $10,300.

At 18 years old, I’m having to hire a lawyer to work my case. When we finally do get into court, I lay everything out. The quotes, being harassed multiple times, not showing up after agreeing to a deal, not wanting me to get my own quotes (required by law by the way), and her bragging about screwing me out of money—and I have proof of all of this.

The judge looked at her and said, “Ma’am with all due respect ,you’re out of your dagum mind. Not only did this young man tell the truth of what happened, he offered to pay you more than he was supposed to. Your lawn was already gone before the fire occurred, therefore he is only responsible for the fence of $1,200. I will also deduct from this his lawyer fees” So I burned this woman’s fence down and all I’m having to give her is $400? Cool.

She took a huge financial loss from this. I’m not sure how much the Hawaii trip cost her, but she was in serious debt. She ended up having to sell the house because of it and moved into a smaller house. Haven’t heard anything from her since. Now, I am not saying that I do not feel bad for burning down my neighbor’s fence. I felt really bad about it and wish we could've handled it more civilly.

I would've been happy to meet in the middle or get multiple quotes. To this day, I still do not use fireworks, because we could've really hurt someone.


18. I Take Umbridge

File:DoloresUmbridgeCostume.jpg - Wikimedia

In high school (10+ years ago), I was quiet and attentive in class. Teachers liked me. I wasn't popular, but I had good friends. I say all this to explain that high school was relatively calm for me. I played sports, was on the student newspaper, and got decent grades. However, that all changed my second semester junior year.

I've always been a voracious reader. My freshman English teacher recommended I move up to the honors English track, so I did for freshman, sophomore, and the first half of junior year. Then I was put into Classical Literature my second semester junior year. I've always loved Greek and Roman stories, and had already read your typical high school classical reading list on my own.

I didn't mind reading them again…until I met Ms. Umbridge. She put on a sweet facade, but she was downright evil. She also decided she hated me. I still do not know why, or what transgression I committed, but she HATED me. I assume it was my habit of sometimes nodding off in classes. At the time, I had undiagnosed thyroid issues, and was getting up at 5 am for swim practice.

I say sometimes, because it happened maybe twice a month total between all eight classes. I don't remember nodding off in her class, but it could have happened. Anyways, her class was 50% essays/written reports. The rest were random quizzes and a couple of tests. I was on the student newspaper, and I was a decent writer.

I wasn't worried about maintaining a B or up. We wrote our first paper, and I got a D. I was shocked. The only class I struggled in was Chemistry and still my lowest assignment grade was a C. After class, I asked Ms. Umbridge what I did wrong, because her notes were minimal. She told me my assessment of the material was "uninspired."

Okay....Can you direct me to an example of an inspired assessment? "Come back during study hall." Thinking she'd have some example materials for me to review, I got a pass to see her during study hall. Nope. She spent the full hour basically telling me I was an idiot. I remember leaving and crying, because she didn't tell me anything constructive.

My friend (the eventual valedictorian) offered to help me on my next paper. My friend and I spent hours on this next paper. She never got below an A- on anything…I got another D. My friend was furious. She took it to her AP English teacher and asked him to review it. She said she was entering a writing competition and wanted advice. His response proved everything.

He said it was great. Her typical A+ work. My friend, quicker on the uptake, asked me for a copy of my original, first assignment. She asked her AP English teacher to look it over too…and he said she should enter the first one. The second one was still good. He'd probably give it an A-, but the other paper was better. By this point, my friend was convinced Ms. Umbridge was treating me unfairly for some reason, and she must not like me.

My friend wanted me to tell my parents or my school counselor. A teacher didn't like me? That had never happened. Sure they didn't all love me, but none had actively disliked me. I decided I'd try one more time, but this time get Ms. Umbridge to help me. Despite the previous horrors of spending study hall with Ms. Umbridge, I went to her office during study hall three times before the next paper was due.

She reviewed the paper and gave me tips on revising it each time. She did this in red pen. I took notes. By the time the next paper was due, I had three revised versions with her notes in red ink on each one. I got a D+. She smirked and congratulated me on my improvement. Witch. I was done. My friend was right. This witch had it out for me and was giving me bad grades on purpose.

I'm a laid-back person, but I was so angry. Never before been this angry. So I started to get my revenge. I took my paper to my newspaper teacher. Sure, he didn't teach English, but our student paper constantly won awards because of his work. I told him I was having trouble in English, and could he please look over my paper and give me advice.

He was a little confused as to why I didn't ask my English teacher, but he did it. He also told me it was great, but gave me a few minor changes to make. I asked him if he thought it was a B or better. He said he'd give it an A, not 100%, but a solid A. I went to my friend, and we brainstormed. I couldn't request a drop/add. This wasn't college.

You just don't switch classes at my high school, unless the teacher recommends an honor placement. That's not true, said my friend. The football and basketball guys get moved to easier classes all the time to keep their grades up so they are eligible for games. The athletics director was a friend of my dad, so I requested a meeting with him and my swim coach after school one day.

I told them I was in danger of losing my eligibility to swim, because I was pulling a D in a class. I wanted to move classes, but I knew I'd need approval from administration, which I wouldn't get without a good reason. They asked if I had requested help. I explained I had asked for help from multiple people, but my grade wasn't improving.

I didn't know what to do. They asked to see my papers. I sat while they read them. They both looked at me confused. Neither of them could understand how those papers were worth only a D. The student Vice Principal was brought in. He asked who helped me. I explained my friend (he knew who she was, again future valedictorian), and she had even asked her AP English teacher to look it over for advice.

I had also asked my newspaper teacher to help me. Student VP asked if I had ever actually asked my teacher for help. I smiled and handed him the three revised versions of paper number three with Ms. Umbridge's red ink all over them. He frowned. AP English teacher and my newspaper teacher were pulled into the meeting. They were each asked to grade the papers.

All three papers got an A- or better. While this was going on, my dad was called in by the athletics director. My dad was angry too. He demanded I be moved to another class, and that Ms. Umbridge be put under review. Clearly, she wasn't grading students on their work but on her own personal opinions. The school administration obviously bristled at the accusation that a teacher was treating students unfairly.

A lot of arguing that I wasn't allowed to sit on occurred in the VP's office. I could hear plenty of yelling as six adult men argued over the appropriate next steps. It was decided that myself, my dad, VP, and athletics director would have a meeting with Ms. Umbridge. The following morning before school we all met. This is where it ramped up.

Ms. Umbridge seemed to think she was going to get to tell everyone why I was so stupid. VP explained that if I maintained a D in her class, I would lose my extracurricular eligibility, and we were all meeting to discuss what to do. She smirked and said I should be moved to the non-honors English track, and that I had no business being in honors English.

Apparently, I didn't have the aptitude to understand the complex classical literature they were studying, and I probably would need a tutor to even get through basic English. I've never seen my father so red, and I half expected to see steam come out of his ears. VP asked why she didn't try to help me improve. She said it was up to students to put in the initiative to get better.

VP asked if that meant I had never asked her for help. She said I had not. Oh, but we got her good. VP then pulled out the three revised versions of paper number three and handed them to Ms. Umbridge. Now it was her turn to be red. She called me a liar and said those notes weren't hers. Things got heated, and I was asked to leave again.

I sat outside the office. This time the secretary was there, and we both heard the shouting. School was set to start in 30 minutes, and they were all just shouting. Then AP English teacher and newspaper teacher were called in again. More shouting. About 5 minutes to the start of classes, the teachers left and I was called back in.

Ms. Umbridge then walked out of VP's office, shooting daggers at me. I was being moved to basic English effective immediately. My current grade would not carry over. I would not need to make up any past assignments, and the new teacher would be instructed to grade me only on the assignments going forward. My new English teacher, Ms. Honey, ended up being the English department head.

She was at least 65, and had been doing this for decades. After 2.5 years of honors English, this class was easier than PE. I barely had to try to get an A, but I refused to let Ms. Honey think Ms. Umbridge had been right. I tried harder in that class than any other class that semester. I finished projects so quickly that I was asked to tutor a girl struggling in the class.

I spent half the class period just helping this girl understand the material. I helped her go from a C- to a B+. I got something like 104% in the class. At the end of the semester, Ms. Honey called me into her office during study hall. Then she told me something that shocked me—and terrified me. She was recommending I return to honors English for senior year.

I must have looked panicked, because she immediately assured me that Ms. Umbridge would not be my teacher. In fact, she would not be anyone's teacher. She was leaving at the end of the school year. Ms. Umbridge was only in her late 20s and unmarried. Too early to retire. And my high school was in one of the best paying school districts in the state.

I knew what leaving meant, and then Ms. Honey explained that I was put in her class on purpose. The school administration trusted Ms. Honey to determine the truth of Ms. Umbridge's claim that I was basically a lying idiot. Ms. Honey stated I very clearly belonged in honors English. She apologized if her class had not been challenging enough for me.

I cried. I mean full on ugly, snot cried. I didn't realize it, but part of me had actually believed Ms. Umbridge up until that moment. Ms. Honey hugged me and consoled me. I spent senior year in honors English and spent my study hall tutoring Ms. Honey's struggling students. To this day, I think about that awful woman fairly regularly.

My career is strongly writing-based, and I still worry obsessively over my writing. I hope she never taught again, because she wreaked havoc on my self-confidence. I'm sorry to anyone who has ever had their own Ms. Umbridge story. It's sad so many exist out there wreaking havoc on self-conscious teens. Don't let your Umbridge keep you down! You are better than Umbridge. Go out and do exactly what your Umbridge said you shouldn't do.


19. The High Road

I was visiting my friend at his dad’s house in an area where the land is so steep that all the driveways have to switchback up from the main road to the houses. A straight driveway is not an option because it would be steeper than the building code allows. A few doors down the road, there lived a nice old couple who until recently had had a vacant lot next door to them, but the lot had sold and the new owner had started construction on a new house.

Unfortunately the lot was so steep that the new owner built his driveway partly on the old couple’s land (it was carved out of the hillside with an excavator). This probably wouldn’t have been a big deal if the new owner had approached the old couple first and asked nicely, but did he? Would I be telling this story if he had? In fact, the old couple had no idea what was happening until they came home one day to see a huge scar in the hillside snaking up from the road in front of their house.

It went across the corner of their property, winding upwards to where an excavator was working to prepare the land for their new neighbor’s house. They were pretty upset, but being nice, reasonable people, they figured it was an honest mistake, so they went over to talk to the machine operator. He didn’t know anything useful, but he was happy to give them the phone number of the new property owner.

The old guy gave him a call and politely explained the situation, but his new neighbor, whom he’d never even met, was having none of it. He flat out denied that the driveway crossed the property line, and he was rude enough that the old guy was pretty upset. At this point, the old couple weren’t sure what to do. They double-checked the property pins to make sure they were right, and of course they were, but after further conversations with the new owner it was clear he was an unreasonable guy who wasn’t going to come to the negotiating table willingly.

The old couple didn’t want to take court action because that would have been expensive and, frankly, the damage to their yard was already done. At the same time, they couldn’t just let someone walk all over them like that, especially if they were going to be living next door for the foreseeable future. So the situation stewed for a while as construction continued on the new house, until one day when my friend’s dad saw the old couple in the neighborhood and they started chatting.

Of course they told him the story about the jerk new neighbor. Now, my friend’s dad really likes the old couple, who don’t have a mean bone in their bodies, so he was pretty angry about the situation, and when he went home he couldn’t get it out of his head. That evening, after a few drinks, he had a brilliant idea. He called up the old couple, explained his plan, and asked for their permission to carry it out.

They chuckled and gave him the go-ahead, so he hopped into the rusty old full-size pickup he kept as a second vehicle and drove it over to the old couple’s place, where he parked it across the encroaching driveway, making sure it was entirely on their property. The next morning, the work crew arrived bright and early to find that they couldn’t drive to the house they were building because some jerk had parked an old F-150 across the driveway.

They saw a note in the window with my friend’s dad’s phone number on it, so they called him to ask what the heck was going on. He explained that he had permission from the owners to park there and that, no, he would not move his truck so they could get to work. Furthermore, if anyone attempted to tow the truck, they would be charged with trespassing and theft.

There was no way the construction guys were going to haul all their tools up the hill by hand, and they didn’t want to get in the middle of a court battle, so they just called the new owner to let him know they’d be taking the day off and that they’d continue to take days off until the property boundary dispute was resolved. The new owner called the old couple in a fury, but the old couple told them the same thing my friend’s dad told the construction workers.

Basically, the vehicle was parked on their own property, so if he had a problem with that he could go screw himself. To make an already long story shorter, the new neighbor ranted a while, but eventually he wanted his house to be built, so the nice old couple ended up with a significant sum of money in exchange for an easement allowing the driveway to pass across the corner of their property, and my friend’s dad got several thank-you cases of drinks and the satisfaction that comes from putting an jerk in his place.


20. Greed Is Bad

This is about a job where I and about 200 other guys were promised, and earned, bonuses. The company was a financial services firm known for paying well, but one year they decided they'd withhold bonuses. This is how I handled it. So I was working for a financial firm: 1,800 employees, with a sales force of 200. I was one of the salesmen.

We had our annual meeting in April. It was a big affair. Most of the employees attended, and the CEO gave a big speech about how the previous year was the best in the company's history, blah blah blah. The next month, May, we each submitted memos basically justifying why we qualified for—or should qualify for—bonuses at the end of June. I wrote mine out and explained the sales growth in my territory over the course of the previous 12 months, and what percentage my sales were out of last year's total sales.

Coming off the company's best year ever, it should have been a slam dunk, right? All of us were excited about how much we'd have coming in June. June rolls around and my bonus is zero. ZERO. But it's not just me. It's all over the sales floor. Less than 20% of the sales force got bonuses, and everyone was ANGRY. All the supervisors were dealing with angry subordinates, the sales manager was too, and even the VP and director above him.

Everyone was furious and insubordinate, angry accusatory emails were flying, and the company was facing a mutiny. It got worse when it came out that the supervisors were offered bonuses that they could determine for themselves. Most of them took them, but a couple—knowing their subordinates wouldn't be getting anything—refused. My supervisor took his.

When it came out, he tried to explain to his sales team about how he felt it was justified and how hard he worked. He ended up with people screaming at him about how they felt the same but they didn't get jack. So for a week or so, things on the floor came to a stop. A lot of people just didn't show up and the ones that did were angry.

I came in and started reading ads at my desk. I also stopped selling anything, or answering my phone. When confronted by my boss, I told him that as soon as I got the bonus my sales justified, I'd start working again. Until then I'd be coming in late, reading and responding to want ads, and leaving early. He could expect me to keep that up until I found another job or was fired.

The following day, I was sent to the regional sales manager's office. She said she'd heard about my work stoppage and asked me to explain myself. I told her that if she heard about it from my supervisor, than she already knew why I wasn't working and I didn't need to explain it again. She tried buddying up to me, being friendly, then being stern, then being angry.

I kept my composure and told her that the longer the company held out on my bonus, the longer it was going to miss out on sales from my territory. I then gave her my average daily amount of sales from the previous year, quantified what the total loss would be for a week of me not selling, and how much cheaper it would be just to pay me the money I was owed and get me back to selling.

Then I thanked her for her time and told her I'd be leaving work as soon as I left her office. And I did. The following day I came in, checked my emails—some of which were farewell emails from co-workers who quit over their bonuses—and sat on until I was told to go to the office of the national sales manager. He's the gatekeeper; he's in charge of all 200 of us.

He told me he understood that I was upset, and could see why. I asked him if withholding the bonuses from 80% of his sales force was his idea or someone else's. He didn't answer. He did tell me that I would be getting a check on Monday, and could I please go back to work now? I told him I'd be going back to my desk, but work wouldn't start until the check was in my hand.

When I went back and checked my emails—yup, more defections. The next day, an email went out to the entire sales force: Management had taken a look at the numbers, re-evaluated the financials, and determined that June bonuses would be issued shortly. The email also apologized for the delay, and reminded us that as salesmen, we were the core of the company and our hard work was appreciated.

I also received another email, this time from the national sales manager, who told me while bonuses were scheduled for Monday, he'd be walking my check to my desk the following day. The following day I showed up, sat down, and shortly afterwards the national sales manager walked on up and handed me my bonus check. That’s when I completed my revenge.

I thanked him, and handed him my resignation effective immediately. In my resignation letter, I requested that a check for my unused vacation time please be cut and given to me before I left the building. When he finished reading it, I told him I'd clean out my desk while I waited for the vacation check. While I was doing that, one of my co-workers also resigned effective immediately.

We were walked out at the same time and ended up drinking at the bar across the street. I learned later from co=workers that remained that even though the company issued the bonuses, they lost about 20% of the sales force in the following two months. Gotta love corporate greed. The company had been around over 30 years by then and was known for generous compensation and had never before played games with bonuses or payments.


21. The Notebook

man wearing white Champion crew-neck tee shirt and gray fitted capPhoto by Brooke Winters on Unsplash

A while ago I worked at a baseball store called Bal-Mart (or a general goods store that sounded like that) not so long after the Great Recession of 2008, and management was trying to cut costs because of falling profit. One of the first things management did was fire two of the three full-time maintenance and cleaning guys. The one guy they kept, I’ll call him MG for maintenance guy, was amazing at his job.

Everything in the store ran well because of him and his willingness to go beyond what was required to help people. A genuinely nice guy. For six months, management tried to make having one third of a maintenance staff work, and it failed miserably. MG could not do everything, and over time management increasingly asked him to “coordinate” some part-timers that were supposed to do the cleaning and carts. He spent so much time “coordinating” that he had no time for maintenance.

The night crew was also cut, so they couldn't pick up the slack. Then two things happened within the space of a week. These events told management how important he was to the store running well. First, some cleaning machines broke down. Turns out they have to be properly cleaned weekly, and if left alone they gum up real bad and parts wear out quickly. A several thousand dollar repair bill because he was told to prioritize coordinating part-timers over “tinkering” with machines.

A few days later, the deli lady nearly quit after the blade on the deli slicer went flying off and could have cut her face badly. Turns out that the bolt that held it in place was loose, and MG had tightened it weekly for her. When he didn’t have time to do that anymore he told management it had to be replaced for safety. Well, management didn’t do that because it cost money, but they told people it was fixed.

That could have been a lawsuit; they and deli lady got lucky. So management sat down with him and asked him why things were going wrong. MG told them point-blank he needed enough time for maintenance, and someone else had to coordinate the part-time cleaners and check up on them (they were rather lazy). Management called him a liar; they said maintenance should be easy and done quickly.

MG got mad because that insulted his professionalism, and he pulled out his notebook from his back pocket. It turns out that over his 15 years, he had filled the book with charts, schedules, and diagrams of how to do his job and keep things running. There were over one hundred things he checked weekly or monthly. There were a lot of machines he kept in running order, some had certain things that were half-broken and had to be wiggled in a certain way, etc.

To be honest, a lot of these things were minor or major safety hazards, but over the years management was fine with not replacing multi-thousand dollar machines if MG knew how to keep them working. As well, he did things that he should not have done, like calibrating machines for departments that should have done it themselves or contracted it out, etc, but he was a nice guy and he liked helping people.

He told me that he spent about a half-hour telling management about what he did, and he suspected that until then nobody had ever known how much he did. Well, he may have said a few swear words and derogatory things while telling management why he needed time to do stuff, it was not a good moment for him and he was angry. At the end, he put his notebook back in his pocket and offered to take a week to write up everything he knew so that management would have written proof of why his job mattered in case a higher-up asked why they increased maintenance costs when corporate was demanding they cut costs.

The multiple managers in the room looked at each other, and asked him to leave so they could talk in private. He told me (several years later, when I ran in to him somewhere and had lunch with him) that he had a premonition as he walked out of the room. So he went to the backroom and tossed his notebook in the garbage compactor. For good measure, he then went around the store and emptied all the garbage cans and tossed those bags in so his notebook was properly buried.

He was fine with it, all that information was in his head. After a few minutes, management called him back. They told him that they could not allow him to keep working there because of the level of insubordination he had showed. They said as soon as he surrendered his badge, box cutter, and notebook he would be escorted out of the building by security. He handed over his badge and box cutter, and then they asked for the notebook.

He said he threw it in the compactor. Their eyes went wide and they asked why he threw it out. He said he thought he was going to write everything up nicely on the computer from memory so he thought he was done with the notebook. At this point, management starts looking at each other, worried, because they had intended to take his book, fire him, and have a less subordinate part-timer (who doesn’t get expensive benefits like a full-timer) do his job.

Now they couldn’t. One of the managers suggested that he be allowed to write up the info before being escorted out, the others agreed. He was given the chance to be unfired just long enough to give them the info. How kind. He laughed and walked out, head held high, and management followed him to his car to make sure he left. I don’t have exact numbers, but I guesstimate the store had to spend at least twenty or thirty thousand bucks to replace stuff that MG had kept working beyond the equipment’s lifespan, and the new guy they hired had a heck of a time figuring out how things worked.

To be honest, in a few cases MG had gone too far, like creating fire hazards by taping broken chargers together after rewiring them instead of tossing them, but management had never complained when he saved them money. There were also a lot of things that should have been done by the health and safety team or the departments, but they also never complained about having less work.

I asked him if throwing out that notebook was illegal but he said it was personal property to help him remember things; it was not a work-provided notebook. He was proud of what he did, and his pride clearly showed in how he told the story. He said that nobody is allowed to question his professional judgment by implying he is lazy. I agree.


22. Get Rich Quick

About 6 or 7 years ago, I was trying to enlist in the military. I ended up not joining, but that's a story for another time. At this point, I was led to believe I was about four months away from leaving for Boot Camp. I was running out of savings, and needing a part time job for some spending cash while I waited around. So I did what any enterprising 20-something would do and searched Craigslist for jobs.

I normally hate sales jobs, especially those based on commissions, but figured it would be a great way to earn some extra cash short term. Found a few job listings that looked promising, and put out some applications. A few days later I received a call from David. He was opening up a new store and needed associates. He liked my resume and asked if I'd be available for an interview on Friday morning.

I was very up front with him, and let him know that the distance was a bit more than I'd normally drive for a retail job, and asked what he was offering for an hourly rate, to see if it was worth the drive. He told me that they were planning on offering an hourly rate in the mid teens, along with commission. Seemed like an ok deal, so I agreed to be there Friday at 8 am.

Friday arrives as a cold rainy day. I wear a nice shirt and tie, and drive in heavy traffic to the address David provided. I knew the area from a previous job, and eventually found the strip mall I was looking for. However, I'm not seeing any signage for the company name that was listed. There is, however, one empty space with no signage and two people inside.

Ok, maybe they haven’t gotten the store set up yet. No big deal. I had arrived early, knowing how bad traffic can be in that area. While in my car, I witnessed a young lady in business casual dress remove a sign from the window stating "Retail Space for Rent! Call 1800-Blah-blah." Ok, a little weird but maybe it's the first day in the space. I walk in about five minutes early, and immediately my BS meter goes from Yellow to the highest level, "Black Watch Plaid."

The tables are all simple plastic folding tables. The kind college kids would buy while on a shopping trip to target. The walls are plastered with laminated charts featuring tons of dollar signs, smiling faces from stock photos, and an organizational chart showing an all to familiar shape: A Pyramid. Darn. Alright, might as well have fun for a while to wait out traffic going home.

The young lady in the dress approaches me, introducing herself as Cindy. She welcomed me to Company Name, and asked me to have a seat. She sat at her "desk" (another plastic table), and pretended to go through paperwork. However, she was really just shuffling papers around. We get to chatting, and I ask her how long she's worked for David. She says she's been his secretary for about six months and that I'm going to love it here.

Eventually, a guy walks out of the back office. Early 30s, clean cut, wearing an ill-fitting suit from JCPenney. As he is walking over, all smiles, Cindy says, "Oh, Dennis! Our newest recruit is here!" The guy stops in his tracks and gives her a cold stare. "It's David, Cindy. We've been over this." He turns back to me and gives me his brightest "Hard to find good help these days" smile.

David sits me down and welcomes me, saying they are going to start with a group interview and has me sit down in a circle of chairs. Eventually, more people come in and sit down. David gets up and begins to thank us all for coming. He tells us about an exciting new opportunity from Cutco! He pulls out a set of knives, and explains how with his company we can make as much money as we want, all while setting our own hours.

He even pulls out a textbook, saying about how this company’s "revolutionary tactics" have even been featured in college textbooks! He opened to a page, his hand covering parts of it, making sure we can all clearly see the words "CUTCO!" in large letters on the page. Sad to say, a lot of the other interviewees were very impressed by this. One pregnant girl seemed very excited that she could work around her pregnancy and upcoming birth.

David was going on and on about how much money he's made and how "hard workers will rise to the top quickly." At this point, David said he needed to take a quick phone call, and gave us five minutes to have some coffee, chit chat, whatever. As he stepped away, he left his college textbook behind. Oops. So I pick it up, find the earmarked page, and read. What I found made me almost burst out laughing.

As I thought, it was all about pyramid schemes, and it had Cutco as one of the largest examples. It goes on to talk about how these are scams, not economically viable, etc., etc. So I decide to share this all with the group. I explain how pyramid schemes work, and how he's just scamming us. They seemed incredulous, so I said when David gets back, to ask them about what we need to pay to get started.

That finally got everyone to realize what was going on. David walks in a few minutes later, and one of the girls in the group asked David what we need to get started. "Well, all you need is your first set of knives to demonstrate! You can sell that on directly or have them order one and keep that as your demo kit. Doesn't matter. Just have to pay the start up fees for it." And that's when all hell broke loose.

One kid started to get up and tell him to go screw himself, saying he's wasting our time and he's a jerk for trying to pull this. The pregnant girl is crying because she thought she found a place that would allow her to work despite being pregnant. David is clearly confused and flustered, and asking who told them all this. When it becomes apparent I'm the wrench in the machine, David gets upset and starts telling me to leave.

People are yelling at David, David is yelling at me, Cindy is trying to tell everyone she never met David before today and didn't know what this was. Eventually we all walk out, leaving David behind. As I'm walking to the door, I see, leaning against the wall, the sign that was in the window before "Retail Space for Rent! Call 1800-Blah-Blah." As I get into my car, I dial the number.

Eventually I get through to a person, and ask about the property for rent at the location of David's company. The nice lady on the phone apologized, saying they had just leased that property out. I asked if she knew how long the lease was for, as I was really interested in the property. She said she wasn’t sure, they hadn't done the official paperwork yet. They were on their way to the space to sign everything with the lease holder in a few hours.

I told her everything that had just happened to me, and about David using the space for a pyramid scheme. She got extremely upset, saying that this stuff happens all the time in the industry. They will go to sign and last minute the lease holder will decide to opt out, after using it for some fly-by-night operation. She thanked me for the info, and I thought that was the end of that. Or so I thought.

A few weeks later, I received an email from David telling me how I ruined his life. About how the property management found out what was going on, and weren't refunding his down payment on the space. Saying he violated a clause in the paperwork he signed to hold the property. How he knew I was the one who called because I'm a terrible human being.

Now he was out thousands for the space and supplies, how he only wanted to give us jobs and help us. It was a long, very angry email, with several things said about me and my mother. So I called 1800-blah-blah again, spoke with the same lady I did before, and she was VERY interested in an email from David where he essentially admitted to what he was trying to do. Said it would help them all in the proceedings. And don't you know, I was more than happy to send that email along to her.

Her lawyer said it should be an open and shut case at that point. I like to think I'm a helper.


23. Music To My Ears

Flashback to 2014... or so. I moved out on my own in 2013 and moved into an old house converted into a two-floor apartment, directly across from my future in-laws. The downstairs neighbors were loud. BLARING music at all hours (yes, all of the hours), wouldn't cut the grass or take out the trash on our shared schedule. Crappy neighbors, but never bothered me directly.

The guy was pretty chill when sober and would turn the music down a little when I texted him. He was okay until his girlfriend moved in. Now add shouting matches to the mix, and all of the sudden my requests to turn down the music makes him turn it up. I can barely walk on my super-thin floor without her banging on the ceiling with a broom. I was okay since I am heavy sleeper and could sleep through anything.

My wife moved in, and I quickly found out that she is quite the opposite. Fan on turned at a certain angle in the doorway of the bathroom, door closed half way, blackout curtains with them taped to the wall so zero light comes through, zero sounds other than the fan, you get the idea. I told her that we can't expect them to remain silent when she's ready for bed, we need to be reasonable, but the wall rattling music needs to stop during the night.

She hated it during the day, but I told her there's nothing we can do then, so she would go to her parent's house a lot during the day. I talked to neighbor-guy, and he said "yeah man that's cool," but it turns out the girlfriend wasn't having it and his attitude then changed to, "Yeah well it's our house so you can go screw yourself if you think you can tell us what to do and you can move out if you don't like it."

Something definitely had to change at some point. So I did the only thing I could do. I fought fire with fire, and maliciously complied with the law to the T. I could only report them for noise after 11:00 PM. I now forget the morning hour when the noise could start, but I believe it was 9:00 AM. My dad has these huge old concert speakers in his garage.

Professional grade, black leather bound, 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide, and a pretty nice, vintage stereo/amp. He has two, but my apartment was so small I sadly only had room for one. We replaced our coffee table with this thing, laid face down onto our thin, office carpet. Tired of his tunes, I tested this Geneva Convention-breaking device when they weren't home. Holy cow.

I had to take everything down from tables, counters and shelves because they would shake off. I prepared audio files to feed the stereo. I was giddy like a kid with a new Christmas toy. I turned it on when I left for work and got my wife up to send her to her parents. I came home from work and hung out at her parents until it was close to bed time.

They resisted for three days. On day two, I found a pile of manure on my doorstep, but it didn't faze me. I cycled between sine/saw/square waves in clashing chords, marching music (Washington Post March on loop), preaching clips (they weren't just atheist, but outspoken anti-Christian, so it was a must), the most stupid songs you could think of (Captain Planet theme song, Chicken dance, etc).

This poor old house rattled in ways I didn't think possible. The vibrations from the sine wave would make your vision blur. I eventually got a text from him that read, "sorry man you can stop now." I did not. He needed a few more days to let it sink in. Plus I had so much fun putting it together. They complained to the authorities and the landlord.

There was nothing they could do since I wasn't doing anything wrong. I didn't even hear music during the time of peace to follow. It was so quiet. They would build up their courage and try again every few weeks when I wasn't home, but my wife was. I then showed her how to tame the beast so she could let it loose while I was away. I had to give them a spanking every now and then, but they learned. They were so happy when we moved out.


24. Park It

cars parked in parking lotPhoto by Michael Fousert on Unsplash

I live in an apartment building that has end-to-end parking for two spaces per apartment, and access to the parking levels (1-5) are done via a locked automatic roller door, which people can only get through if they have a remote for it (or sneak through behind someone else). I only have a single car, and sometimes I let my friends park in the space in front of my car if they give me notice, so I generally park at the back of the double space.

Earlier this year, a random car began parking in front of mine on Friday afternoons, meaning I couldn't go out with my car on Friday nights. Annoying, but not the biggest issue when you live super close to the city. This continued nearly every week over about five weeks when I didn't park my car at the front of the bay (which I began doing), but times I planned to leave the space free for friends coming over or whatever, the car appeared again.

I made repeated attempts to stop this behavior by leaving notes, which escalated into leaving print outs of a photo of the car with the license plate clearly visible and an explanation that if it happened again I'd press charges and/or have the vehicle towed. Well, it happened again, and this time it was still there Saturday afternoon when I had been planning on going away with a group of my friends.

My guess is, someone went out on Friday and decided to pick up the car "later,," not concerning themselves with the inconvenience it caused anyone else. It clearly hadn't moved, as my aggressive note telling them to screw off was still there sitting limply under their wiper blades. I figured enough was enough, it was time to have the vehicle towed.

I called building management and eventually calling a towing company, who refused to help because the space was on the third floor, and they can't get any trucks up to that level because of the height and space restrictions. Ordinarily, most people would be pretty much screwed at this point, and I will admit I briefly considered sitting on the hood of the car until the jerk came to pick it up while sending my friends on their way without me, but they would have had to work out a new arrangement for transport as one car wouldn't have cut it.

Fortunately for me however, my parents only live 30 minutes away, and have a garage where I work on one of my cars that's getting at the tail end of a minor restoration. One of the things I use pretty often is a set of Vehicle Positioning Jacks, to jam my project car right up against the wall of the garage to minimize the space it takes up. For anyone that doesn't know, Vehicle Positioning Jacks are basically devices that slot under each wheel, then lift the car up on hydraulics so you can free wheel it in any direction.

While I hadn't originally gone to retrieve them, when I had to take my project car off them, a bright idea came to my head. None of my friends minded spending an extra hour to screw someone over that had interfered with us, so we grabbed the jacks, and went back, propped the car up, and wheeled it out. Six guys can easily move around a small hatchback, so we pushed across the level slowly and carefully, to an area where there isn't parking, but is a load-supporting pillar with space enough for a car behind it, in a little section of the garage where it isn't lit, and is completely out of the way.

Typically there's a guy on my level that parks a motor bike there, but he isn't meant to, and I doubted he minded. We dumped it between the pillar and the wall, with the nose pointing towards the wall, I took back my angry note, the jacks, and we left to enjoy our weekend. When he came back Monday afternoon after the long weekend, the car was still there, which was no real surprise considering there was only about a foot of space for movement between the pillar and car, and another foot or so between the car and the wall.

From the fact the front wheels had changed, we're guessing they did try to get it out, unsuccessfully. It eventually went later in the week, though I'm not exactly sure how they managed it. I never saw that car again.


25. Just Desserts

About three years ago, I was working in a pretty big factory. They hired through five different temp services, so the place was pretty much like a revolving door. People came and left without any warning, and sometimes it was hard just to find a familiar face. So when someone started taking my lunches, everyone became a suspect. I fell victim to the Lunch Box Bandit for a week straight, I'm talking about six 12-hour days with no lunch.

Needless to say, the frustration spawned several evil plans, but I felt the Carolina Reaper would give me the fastest and most effective results. All I know was people where gonna think twice before taking lunches. I spent all night making the best steak fajitas for lunch the next day. I finally minced the Reaper peppers into a nice pico de gallo, and topped my devil fajitas off.

I carefully placed my fajitas into a Tupperware bowl, garnished them with cilantro and limes, then covered them with a clear lid to display their beauty. The next morning, about an hour after I placed them in the fridge, a woman started screaming for help. I ran to the lunchroom to find the Lunch Box Bandit laying on the floor gasping for air.

The Reaper peppers triggered an asthma attack, and he had to be rushed to the hospital. He never said anything, and neither did I, until now.


26. Animal Instincts

Years ago, shortly after I graduated high school, I got a new job to support myself during college. The new gig was in a pet store and I was working in the department that sold the fish, aquariums, reptiles, and birds. The store manager was an awesome guy who I will call Kurt. Kurt was an old school guy. He went to work, worked hard, and went home. That’s all he expected out of you as well.

My immediate manager over my department was this large snaggletooth witch of a woman. I’ll call her Stephanie. We got off to a bad start because she quickly found out that I knew more about reptiles than her (she preferred the fish, whereas I had kept snakes for the past 4-5 years). Her ego couldn’t handle a fresh employee not needing her guidance. From then on, she was terrible to me. She singled me out to clean the goldfish tanks, and had the other employees cover sales EVERY day I worked.

She would say rude things to me such as, “you are the weak link in my team, you are the reason I’m having problems in this department.” Fast forward about a year, my hours had been cut by about 25%, and I asked the store manager what the deal was. He told me that our department had lost too much money between lack of sales and broken merchandise, etc.

This puzzled me but I didn’t think much of it because everybody’s hours were cut. Simultaneously, myself and a few co-workers had noticed something strange. Stephanie had recently taken much more interest in the customers. She insisted on helping certain customers and sending us to do busy work while they were there. A customer came in one evening and was talking to us about “how nice Stephanie is...”

Turns out, Stephanie was breeding mice and selling them to customers outside of the store. We actually found out she was breeding all of her animals (her dogs, turtles, mice) and selling them to customers she met through our store. Not only was this taking business from us, our store had a couple of corporate policies, for example we did not feed nor sell mice as live food for snakes, we donated a lot of time and money to shelters, and we condemned breeding dogs and cats for sales.

Stephanie was making money by selling animals to the customers, and all the while her department had hours cut for all of its employees. It didn’t quite make sense, how this was costing us so much money, until one evening I thought I had figured it out. Stephanie was an otherwise lazy woman, but when one of “her” customers came in, she was by their side the whole time.

I watched closely as she followed a customer around, helping them pick out a cart full of expensive aquarium decorations and terrarium supplies like lights and bulbs. I followed and wrote down every item she grabbed. I wanted to see where this went. She directed the customer to a register and went to check them out (she’s lazy, and would never do this for any other customers).

I noted the time and went back to work. I later spoke to other cashiers about Stephanie checking customers out, and they said that she only ever rang up certain customers and she acted weird when they did it. They suspected she was misusing coupons for them or applying hefty discounts. I got my co-workers to corroborate my story about the under the table animal sales and suspicious behavior, and I went to talk to Kurt.

I handed him a paper with about 20 items and the time written on it, and I said, “I think if you look up a transaction from register 2 at this time last night, you will find a large discount applied to it. These are the items I would expect you to find on that transaction.” He was a bit puzzled and I explained everything to him. I told him I didn’t want to make any accusations before because I wasn’t sure, but after seeing her in action I was pretty sure something was going on.

He thanked me and assured me he would look into it. A couple weeks later, I was at work and I noticed Kurt was standing near the door and watching closely. It just so happens Stephanie was coming in for her shift right about that time. The second she walked through the door, he called her over to his office. Apparently waiting in his office was a regional manager from corporate.

He had looked at the list I gave him and looked up transactions from the night before. He found one at the exact time I wrote but it only had about half of the items I listed, but every item that was on the receipt was on the list I gave him. This prompted him to watch her for a few weeks, and in that time frame they found her to be taking “her customers” around shopping, personally taking them up to the register, and scanning every other item.

Then she would put the expensive stuff into the cart without ringing it up. In that time span, she had given away over $1,500 in merchandise. He also looked back at the logs we keep for broken merchandise that is written off and found an excessive amount of aquarium supplies and decorations that were signed off by her. It was something like 1000% more written-off broken merchandise than was found at the same time last quarter.

All in all, she was charged with defrauding the store in over $3,500 in merchandise, and it just so happened that Kurt had already arranged for officers to meet them after firing her to escort her out. I don’t know if it went any further, but I did watch her get walked out in cuffs with about 20 employees staring, I wish I could have said something, but I had to settle for her making eye contact with me as she walked out, to which I gave her a quick wink.


27. The Sins Of The Father

white and black computer towerPhoto by John Cameron on Unsplash

When I was 15, my mom started dating a man she met on a dating website. I didn't like him the first time I met him, and two months later he moved into the house. About three weeks after he moved in, he took my skateboards, self-built half pipe, ramps, BMX bike, ice hockey gear, and many other things to the dump one day while I was at school.

He said he did this because he didn't want all of my stuff cluttering up "his" garage. Maybe two months later, he punched me in the stomach for the first time because I got up from the dinner table without asking to be excused. From there, it escalated into full-fledged beat-downs for the smallest perceived slight to his authority. One day, he decided to take my extensive Pokémon card collection, even more extensive comic book collection, My Game Boy, and PS2 with all the assorted games, and my fantasy and sci-fi book collection and got rid of it all because "15 year old boys should be playing football and baseball, not being a nerd playing with Pokémon cards and reading comics and books."

I would like to add that he was a middle school teacher, and in his off time refereed and umpired local middle and high school sports games. My mom never intervened, and in fact acquiesced when he demanded that she stop giving me lunch money, because "the little jerk will just spend it on comics and other gay stuff.” One day, I took maybe $3 and change out of his change jar so that I could buy a slice of pizza and some fruit punch during lunch at school, because I was tired of being hungry.

My twin sister was always a bit of a jerk, and frequently blackmailed me into doing her chores from a young age. I was fed up and refused to do something, so she told him what I had done. His retaliation was breathtaking. This man actually called the authorities and pressed a larceny charge against me, and once the officers had left, he proceeded to beat me senseless.

At that point, I ran away. When officers found me and returned me to my home, I found out that he had been trying to talk my mom into sending me away to military school or something of that nature. I ran away again, and between having run away several times and the larceny charge, I ended up turning 16 in juvenile detention. I spent the next couple years miserable and afraid, frequently contemplating ending things.

Once I was out on my own, I didn't speak to my mom for several years. We eventually reconciled, and by that point they had married. I was a lot bigger than I had been as a young teenager, and had gotten into weightlifting, so he no longer acted like he was going to punch me to make me flinch, much less actually hit me. We basically avoided each other for the most part.

Then my mother found out that she had stage 4 cancer, and no longer wanted to waste any of the time she had left with him. She had a lawyer draft up a separation agreement whereby he would receive a set amount of money upon separation, and would have 45 days to retrieve his belongings from the house. A while ago, he had spent his entire inheritance in six months and then had to sell his mother's house that he grew up in in order to settle his debts shortly before they started dating.

My mother bought the house back from the bank before they married. She allowed him to keep the house and he moved back into his mother's house. My mother passed about nine months after their separation, and despite the agreement she had been allowing him to come and get his stuff piecemeal. I put an immediate end to that. He was past the deadline to remove his personal effects and they were now mine to dispose of as I saw fit. So I got sweet, sweet justice.

I sold his baseball card collection (around $14k) and his autographed sports memorabilia (roughly $11k) and also sold all of his woodworking equipment, along with several finished pieces of furniture that he had made ($6,500 I think). I kept his mother's engagement ring (platinum band, three diamonds, roughly two carats), wedding band, his coin collection (I also collect coins) and some tools and other odds and ends. Now comes the real fun.

Around a month ago, I finally saw him at the grocery store. As he was leaving, I approached him. I told him I had sold his collections as he was pushing his cart out towards his car. He reacted exactly as I expected. He took a swing at me multiple times. I already had my phone ready to dial 9-1-1. Several of these punches missed and the ones that did connect didn't have much effect because he's nowhere near as strong as he was 20 years ago in his forties, and I am no longer a skinny little 15 year old.

He continued to try to punch me as I spoke to the 9-1-1 operator, and was actively ramming his grocery cart into my new Toyota as the officers pulled into the parking lot. He was charged with assault, communicating threats, and destruction of property. As a result he lost his job (and pension) at the local middle school, and because he had never learned how to save money while married to my somewhat wealthy mother, he ended up having to sell his mother's house.

My nephew, who was on the football team, made it well known to his friends that he not only had just been convicted of assault as well as other charges, but that he had also beat me as a child, causing several parents to call for him to resign from refereeing and umpiring for local sports games. My niece and my girlfriend's much younger sister are enrolled at the middle school where he worked, and say that he was not only universally disliked, but when he came up to the school to get his belongings, he made a big scene and ended up crying as he was leaving.

At least that's what they've heard from the kids who were attending summer school at the time. His son, who he was equally abusive towards as a child, refused to take him in or help him out, so he ended up having to take a job as a cashier at Wal-Mart so that he could afford the rent on his little trailer in an absolutely awful neighborhood.

Even though that Wal-Mart is not the closest Wal-Mart to my house, that is now the only place where I go grocery shopping or to purchase anything that I need. I purposely stand in line longer than I need to just so that he can be the one who has the pleasure of ringing up my purchases. The first time I went through his line, he attempted to ring up multiple items more than one time to overcharge me.

When I called him on it, he said that I was mistaken. I asked for a manager, and the manager believed him that it was an accident, but he learned that he can't get away with that. The second time, I made sure to be as nice as possible and had to ask for a manager because he was overwhelmingly rude. The people in line behind me backed me up and he got in some trouble for that.

Every time I go there and step into line, I see him die a little bit inside, and it gives me such satisfaction. Sometimes I'll say that I'm paying with exact change, and as I'm about to hand him the money I'll say "Oh! I didn't realize I had (rare coin from his collection) in my pocket! I guess I'll use my credit card." I just sold his expensive ratcheting wrench set, and so on Monday when he works again I'm going to go buy my daughter one of their better above ground pools, and as he's ringing it out tell him, "I know that (daughter) is just going to love this pool. It's not like I would have ever used those expensive ratcheting wrenches anyway."


28. Harsh But Fair

My mother was a really awful person. I have four other siblings. One older sister, three way younger, with three different dads. Before I was born (I’m a boy by the way), my oldest sister was taken away from my mother when she was a few months old because she tried to stab the father of my sister WHILE HE WAS HOLDING HER. She lost custody and the dude left her.

My older sister goes to live with her father’s family in a different city. CUE LIL OL ME COMING INTO THIS WORLD. My dad went to jail 2-3 years after I was born for a while, and I rarely saw him. He's an alcoholic if that matters. My mom was a single mother but she made it work and she worked hard. One of the bigger problems was that she took out all her aggression and hatred of my father on me, as well as work stress, etc.

She dealt with abuse growing up, which I'm sure definitely affected her relationships and how she treated me as well. Anyways...Cue me being mistreated from the age of 4-5 to about 17. Every day was horrible. She was extremely strict and her perspective was warped. She was also pretty big in stature and had a lot of strength. Examples of her being awful: I got beaten up badly once because HER room was dirty.

The dishes weren't washed and I got beaten as soon as I got home, even if there weren’t dishes when I left to go to school. If I walked too loud, I’d get my butt beat. She broke my nose for looking at her the wrong way on my 10th birthday when she brought me a cake I was allergic to. It had peanuts’ she knows I’m slightly allergic but feigned ignorance.

It was more or less every day or every other day. She used her fists/elbows/extension cords/hangers/chairs/canes/bats/etc. Whatever she could find, I was getting beaten with. I couldn't ever escape to my room for long because she would always call me every few minutes to get her things or to yell at me. She never drank or anything. Whenever she was upset and I happened to be in front of her, she'd kick me down the stairs to make me hurry up.

She's put a knife to my neck before and had to be forcibly stopped by her boyfriend at the time. Burned my Christmas presents from other people (she didn’t get me anything that year) and just other really horrific things. The only thing I will say, she tried really hard to make up for it with video games and electronics and etc. It didn't make a difference to me though, it never helped.

She controlled most aspects of my life. I got by with little petty revenges. Peeing in the Lipton iced tea she drank. Rubbing her forks and spoons between my butt cheeks before I served her dinner. Ignoring her screams for help when she had kidney stones. But by the time I got to high school I turned to drinking. I resented her, and the negative atmosphere affected who I was as a person.

I started to be cold and uncaring. Calculated. She started kicking me out every few months, telling me to find somewhere else to live by age 15. She sent me away to a different country for a year and tried to keep my passport but I made it back to the US with the help of the embassy and my stepfather. I came back senior year with no credits for the prior grade, which ended with me getting a GED.

I spent most of the time I could with my best friend and started working bad jobs. I was terrible at saving, as I had accumulated loads of bad habits while growing up, so it didn’t make much difference. My mother eventually told me that if I went to college, I would ALWAYS have a place to live until I finished. Cue my first two semesters at a two-year college.

I maintained a 3.7ish GPA. My teachers loved me, and it was my escape. Towards the end of my second semester during finals, I came home late one night around 10 pm and my mother yanks the door open, screaming in my face and asking when I'll move out. I'm slightly tipsy and decide to completely ignore her and walk to my room. If I opened my mouth, that day would be the day I blew up and cursed her out.

I've rarely ever raised my voice at her because it never ended well. Now at this point, I’m 19 and I've been doing school full time with no savings. I’m also fairly fit and could easily take my mom at this point (never laid a hand on her or any woman, though). I get to my room and she rips my door open and starts yelling. I say nothing and stare at her.

She walks away and called the authorities on me, saying she thought I’d harm her and my younger siblings. I don't know where the heck she got that idea from as she's the one who's nearly ruined me many times. I packed everything into a duffle bag and left five minutes afterwards. I failed all of my finals because I couldn’t make it to my school.

Things kind of spiralled, and the next 2-3 years were me on and off homeless. I survived the best I could in a big city with no college degree and made a lot of bad choices due to my bad habits. Eventually, I found a profitable hobby that gave me meaning, and through that I started to work my way up. Got my own apartment, had a full time job, and did my hobby on the side.

I hadn't kept up contact with my mother at all, but my younger sister who was old enough to have a phone found me on social media so I saw photos and such. She didn't have it anywhere near as bad but she did get beaten occasionally. My mother reached out via email, all smiles and asking how I've been. Now guys, I’ve always been envious of the relationship most people have with their moms, so I gave her a chance and gave her a call.

We talked for a few minutes and everything was civil. It seemed like things would go okay. I was so very, very wrong. She asked me what I've been up to the last few years and I told her honestly that I was homeless for a while and struggled a lot after what she did to me. Nonetheless, I worked my way out of it. SHE LITERALLY LAUGHS. She laughed for a few seconds in a very condescending kind of chuckle.

Then she said, "I never did a thing to you so you don't know what you’re talking about! It’s your own fault you were homeless. So how about yo—" but by that point I hung up. I was speechless and fuming. I’VE SPENT TOO LONG LETTING YOU DESTROY MY SANITY. NOW IS THE TIME. See, there were a few things my mother didn't know. One, I knew for a fact that the current well-paying job she had was gotten on lies, as she never got her college degree and lied about it on her resume.

Two, I had access to all of her email accounts and cloud storage accounts since I was the one that set them up when I was younger, and she never changes her passwords. Lastly, she DEFINITELY wasn't aware that from 13 years old and onto the last time she hit me, I took photos of ALL my bruises/marks/wounds/bloody noses, saving them to my computer.

ON TOP OF THAT, my little sister had been sending me photos via social media of the bruises she got from my mom. The first thing I did was compile ALL of those photos/videos into one folder. I then reached out to CPS in my city and explained that my siblings were being mistreated, how I was mistreated in the past, and that I had mountains of proof.

Since I’ve called the authorities on my mother before, there was immediately a home visit. They arrived almost a day later with the authorities and coincidentally my mother was literally in the process of beating my younger sister when they were knocking. Cue an emergency removal of all my siblings from the house and my mother getting arrested, although she was released hours later.

I sent CPS all the evidence and there's a legit case against my mother now. The next day, I emailed and then called up her job to inform them that she had lied about having a very necessary college degree as well current events in her life, which sparked a background check. She was fired days later. Say adios to 75L and a blacklist in the only industry you know how to work.

I then spitefully deleted every cloud account and email address I ever made for her, which was all of them. I’m sure this will make keeping up with a lot bills nearly impossible. I then anonymously reported her to the IRS because of the tax fraud she committed for years by claiming people's children that weren't hers with A LOT of detailed information, since I lived with her while she did it.

So now, my mother lost all her kids and her job. I’m meeting with a caseworker from CPS next week to talk more about what happens moving forward but I do know they're NOT going back. I don’t know how she's going to pay her mortgage now and survive. I'm sure she's going to get a call from the IRS soon, who'll be looking for a few thousand dollars she owes them.

She also has to go back to court in a few months. I’m not exactly sure what she was charged with yet. Side Note: She isn't aware that I’m the cause of any of this. I plan on keeping tabs on her and waiting until it seems like she's close to her end before I tell her it was all me…and that I peed in her Lipton tea. Sorry not sorry, mom.


29. Dear John

In late May 2016, I asked my crush (Kate) of three years out on a coffee date. Three dates later, we made things official. For the next seven months, our relationship felt too good to be true. We clicked on so many interests, so we hardly ever disagreed on anything. We were very open with each other, which lead to an incredible bedroom life. We both had good jobs, so we had money to spoil one-another, and our families were both enthusiastic about our relationship.

In January 2017, I was accepted into my country's Armed Forces Reserve program as a Combat Engineer. I underwent basic training from February to late April, and it was up-until-then the hardest thing I had ever done. There were several times I thought I wouldn't graduate, and the only thing that kept me going was Kate's words of encouragement over texts and calls.

She was there when I received my BTC Certificate, and never let me forget how proud she was of me. As part of my job in the Reserves, I would have to go away in the summer for advanced training between early June to late August. Kate fully supported me going 400 km away to the training centre and spending almost our entire summer break on work to further my career. This is where it all started to go wrong.

The summer was brutal on me; I was a social outcast from every clique that formed on our course, and was the butt of several jokes. My self-esteem plummeted through the floor, but Kate's belief in me was what made me prevail. I passed as 5th best on course, and I owed it all to her. Except…things between us started to sour after returning home.

According to her, I wasn't as spontaneous and outgoing as before I went away. I was dismissive, took small jabs and jokes as personal insults, and would rather stay in and watch movies, instead of going out. Unbeknownst to both of us, I had developed some nasty social anxiety due to the events of the summer, and it started affecting our relationship.

Nearing our two-year anniversary in 2018, we got into a heated argument over a small misunderstanding, and subsequently broke up. I was incredibly distraught before she texted me three days later and said she wanted to try and fix things. I didn't see her for three weeks, but we kept in touch every day, slowly mending things. When we officially got back together, nothing felt the same.

Every time I talked with her, it was if I was walking on eggshells, and it only worsened my anxiety, which in turn hurt our already damaged relationship. Then things finally came to a head at the end of July. While in school, Kate had met a dude named John. She saw in John what she used to see in me, and they quickly became very close friends.

He consoled her through our breakup and every little time I messed up afterwards. For the record, I knew of John, but never thought Kate would ever do anything with him. One night after work, we had planned for me to stay the night at Kate's place. I arrived to see the two of them chilling on the living room couch. Kate said that John had dropped by for a spontaneous visit, and he was just leaving.

After John left, she became cold and distant. I slowly accepted that our relationship was gone, and asked her how things were between us. She echoed my thoughts, and we agreed to break up the next day. She said I could stay the night one last time, seeing how it was late and she was still worried about me. From there on until she fell asleep, Kate became uncharacteristically glued to and protective of her phone.

In the past, she wouldn't care if I had glanced over to catch her and her friends texting about whatever, but now she did her best to hide the screen from me. I asked her about it, and she said it was private stuff, which only raised more questions. After she fell asleep, curiosity got the better of me. I unlocked her phone, and my heart dropped.

I found hundreds of messages between her and John. Messages about how she was now single, how exciting it was that they could now be a couple in public, and laughing at me about every little thing I did. I quietly sobbed as I read through each hurtful text. My crying wasn't as quiet as I thought. Kate stirred, and once she realized what I was doing, she threw a fit.

I couldn't find the anger or words to fight her, so I just grabbed my stuff and left, with Kate shouting and yelling at me the whole time. It was late in the morning when I got home; I just broke down and ugly cried all night. I called in sick from work the next day, and spent it sulking in my bed. The day after, I got several angry texts from Kate's friends and family.

In a bid to save her image and denounce anything I might say about her, she told anyone she knew that I had forced myself upon her that night in one last attempt to "get some" before we broke up, and left after the deed was done. Though what I had done was "scarring," she refused to press charges because she "didn't want to make a circus of her life in court" and was "the bigger person by doing so."

I spent the next few months in fear that her allegations would have me discharged from the Army and my image forever tarnished, but nothing ever happened. Five months afterward, Kate DM'ed me. After pleasantries, she basically apologized for the whole thing, and actually admitted to faking it, though she would never publicly admit it to save her own reputation. This angered me, but I kept cool.

I just screenshot the texts and continued talking with her. Over the next three months, she entered into a cycle of events as follows: Complain about a current life situation, usually about John screwing up in their relationship in one way or another, and asking for advice. Lamenting our relationship, how I never screwed up like John did, how she wished we could go back to the way things were, blah blah blah.

Ignoring me because John finally pulled his head out of his butt, did some huge romantic gesture, and saved their relationship. Going on a smear campaign on social media about our relationship, employing her friends for help, knowing in full that I would see it all, and trying to bait me into an argument. It would work, she would try to turn the argument around and paint me as the bad guy, and then block me for about a month, before repeating the cycle.

This happened 3 timeslike clockwork, and always left me burnt out and broken, but a part of me wanted it to happen. Each time it did, I took screenshots of everything she said. I had a full SD card of everything I compiled, before I finally decided it was time. Making several picture copies of the worst of the worst text messages I caught, I bought several manila envelopes and mailed them to everyone I thought would matter to Kate.

Her parents, grandparents, extended family she was super close with, best friends, work boss, co-workers, teachers; whoever I could find a mailing address for. I made sure that anyone getting the envelope would know that the texts were between me and Kate, and sent them off. Within three weeks, I got results. Some of the people who messaged me to shame and insult me before now apologized for their words.

My favorite was from her own parents, who went on to say that they were deeply sorry about their daughter's behavior, how they raised her to be better than how she acted, and to please not pursue any legal actions. The thought had crossed my mind, but I didn't have the money nor the mental fortitude to fight a battle. I told them I'd think about it, and that they'd be the first to know besides Kate if I did.

Kate sent me some texts as well, with things like "how could you betray my trust like that" or "you ruined my life.” I didn't reply, I just read every angry text that flew in with a satisfied grin and then blocked her when they stopped. I never fully found out how badly her life was affected by my revenge, but I do know that she dropped out of school and no longer has a job. I hope John was worth it.


30. Man Down, Somebody Call An Ambulance

man in white dress shirt wearing black framed eyeglassesPhoto by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash

My uncle is an Indian doctor. In the 90s, there was a massive doctor shortage in Australia, so the government gave him citizenship. Unfortunately, you still had to sit three expensive exams to work as a doctor in Australia. These exams cost thousands of dollars, only happened twice a year, had limited sitting spots/times and had arbitrary pass/fail marks.

So many Indian doctors ended up becoming taxi drivers/small businessmen, etc. My uncle decided instead he would reapply and go through Australian medical school. Sure enough, being a doctor for 10+years makes medical school easy and my uncle was top of his class. He decided since he was already pushing 40 and had a family, he would apply to become family physician instead of applying to be a surgeon like most of his teachers had suggested.

At the time, many desperate foreign doctors where applying for general practitioner residency. They would essentially get treated like garbage. They would be forced to work unpaid overtime. They would not be given proper study time or leave to sit mandatory exams. They would pocket the meals/accommodation/study/leave allowances that you were supposed to be paid by the training college.

They would roster you to work every Saturday/Sunday shift and if you refused, they would give you a bad review and your training would be jeopardized. This mostly happened to foreign doctors, as most of them would be in bad debt and highly desperate for any sort of work. When my uncle graduated, he applied for GP training in a practice that is located within an Indian ethnic enclave so that he would have access to religious food/schools for his kids.

Sure enough, this practice engaged in all of the above issues. My uncle would work every single Saturday shift. During his dedicated “study” time, he would have to come into work. He got reprimanded for not overcharging patients in line with their framework. Worst of all, when my aunt was really sick and hospitalised, they wouldn’t give him any time off to look after her and the kids.

The owner of the clinic was a white GP who was openly prejudiced against Indians, Asians and Aboriginal people (who were a large percentage of the clientele of this clinic). My uncle bided his three years and as soon as his documentation came through, making him a GP, he quit that instant. He went down to the local bank and got a loan to open up his own practice.

All his old patients quickly moved with him to the new practice. The first year he struggled, but his practice quickly became known and word spread. Surprise, surprise, foreign trained doctors actually work well and care about their patients. More patients and more doctors looked to work with my uncle. Within two years, my uncle had a GP practice that had four doctors, two nurses, two trainees and a manager.

His practice easily rivaled his original teachers. He then started two more GP practices with the money he was pulling in. These practices trapped his old teacher’s clinic in a two km triangle. He would advertise heavily and make sure he could take as much business from his old teacher as he could. Within five years, his old teacher’s practice went from hiring six doctors, four nurses and six trainees to just one doctor (his old teacher) and no one else.

His old teacher tried to sell up his practice to other doctors, but no one would purchase it given how successful my uncle's three surrounding practices were. He then tried to sell it to my uncle, who refused to buy even at a ridiculously low sale price. Instead, he waited for the bank to repossess his old teacher’s clinic…and then purchased it for a bit more money from the bank.

My uncle then re-purposed the building into his main offices from where he runs his other three practices. He made sure to redevelop his old boss’s room into a staff toilets just as one final tribute to the human trash that was his old boss.


31. No Such Thing As A Free Ride

I work the night shift as a receptionist at a hotel in Norway, and most nights are spent watching Netflix and playing games. Last summer was really slow and I also worked a lot extra, so I ran out of stuff to watch and games to play. One night, I got an email from "Scooter." He wanted to book a room for almost 20 days. I just had to send him the price and confirmation that we had rooms available, and he would then send me his credit card info for me to pre-charge.

Normally we just delete these kinds of mail, but I was bored out of my mind, so I responded with an offer for around $2k for the entire stay. I also made sure to inform him that he could cancel for free up until the day of arrival. For your information, this is probably the most common fraud attempt in the Hotel/travel industry.

Unlike most businesses, we are able to charge credit and debit cards with only the card number and expiry date. No need for a pin code or other authorizations methods. Our software also allows us deposit money directly to local and international bank accounts by using the card number. Because of this, people like Scooter will try to prepay with stolen cards, but then cancel the booking and ask us to refund the amount to a different card.

A couple of hours after sending him the offer, he responded with a Visa number and told me to charge him as soon as possible. I checked the card with our validation software, and to my big surprise it did not belong to Scooter. If validation succeeds, it will return with the card owner’s name 90% of the time. I sent him a new mail stating that the card was declined because of insufficient funds.

He quickly replied and gave me a new card to try. Guess what, this one didn't belong to Scooter either. It wasn't even the same person as the first card. By checking the Bin codes, (6 first digits) I found which banks had issued the cards. Not even issued in the same country...My plan was to just call the banks and inform them of the attempted scam, but there were still several hours before I could go home, so I decided to screw with Scooter a bit more.

I sent him a reply that the second card went through, and also the "reference number" for his stay at our hotel. As expected, a couple of hours later, Scooter sent an email cancelling the order and asked if we could refund the money to a different card, as he had lost his wallet and deactivated the card he paid with. This card was issued from a Polish bank.

Not sure why, but Polish bank accounts are often used by people who want to launder money from bitcoins and drugs. You can buy a legit card for around $500 that is registered to some guy or girl in Poland from darknet. At this point, Scooter was probably pretty happy about the $2k he soon would receive. I replied that it was no problem for me to transfer the money to a different card, as long as it was valid.

How fun would it be to also cancel his "own" card, so that he had to spend $500 for a new one? Not. Fun. Enough. In the last mail I wrote that he could send me the card number, but that our e-mail server would go down for maintenance in a few minutes, so my boss would do it on Monday. It was now Saturday morning, so enough time for the "charged" bank to call us and reverse the transfer.

If he needed the money right away, I told him to call the hotel before I ended my shift at 7 am. He called almost immediately, and I wrote down the card number and his phone number. I told him I transferred the money, and that it would be in his account by noon. My shift ended, and I went home with all the information Scooter had provided.

I wanted to see if I could find out who he was, and of course this idiot had an open Facebook profile that I found using his phone number. He even listed his address and employer. He lived somewhere outside of London, in an area I would describe as a British trailer park. Houses that where nice at some point, but where the owners had spent no money on maintenance since it was built.

Trash everywhere, and broken windows that were boarded up or "fixed" by sealing holes with garbage. Now to the fun part. According to his FB profile, Scooter worked at a hotel! This meant that he would have access to card information from guests that booked through sites like I called the manager of the hotel and told him there was reason to believe that one of his employees was trying to commit credit card fraud, and that the card numbers could belong to their guests.

I gave him the name of the people who owned the cards Scooter tried to pay with, and to no surprise both had stayed at the hotel. I told him it was Scooter, and the manager just exploded in anger. Not 100% sure what he said because he was screaming so loud, but I think Scooter wasn't a normal employee. He worked there through some kind of government training program or something.

After talking to the manager, I called both Visa and MasterCard international and told them about Scooter’s little business venture. Apparently it's pretty easy to check if there are more cards that have been involved. The authorities also called me later to get a statement regarding the whole situation, so I know that the manager reported it. Not sure what happened to Scooter, but according to his Facebook profile, he no longer works at the hotel.


32. Make Like A Tree

We live in an old and big manor that has been split into three attached houses. The houses are about 150 years old and were built around five huge giant sequoias, which were about 200 years old. In the UK, giant sequoias are very rare and the two in our garden upped the house price by about £60,000. We lived next to two really nice neighbors, one young couple and one old couple.

The story: unfortunately, our old neighbors passed, so their child and her family moved in (let’s call her Joe). Joe was instantly a pain in the butt. We had been sharing chickens with the previous neighbors and Joe agreed to keep sharing them, however, on her nights she would constantly forget to put them away so we would have to check them every night anyway.

One night, her little brats thought it would be funny to open our personal duck pen in the night, which leads to a mass slaughter. Later, the chickens went the same way. About two years ago, there was a storm and one of her sequoias somehow fell over. They were distraught (understandably) but from then on, the jealousy started. She would constantly complain about how lucky we were to have two sequoias in our garden, but also how our sequoia was making too much shade in their garden.

Anyway, we just thought it was Joe being a pain. There were a few dry threats like they will chop it down or maybe the next storm will blow it down. Until we came back from a holiday to France to find a huge six-meter stump and nothing else! I mean how the heck do you get rid of a 100ft tree in like two weeks? Two of our old British oak trees had been crushed as well.

My mom and sisters where crying, my dad was red in the face, and we had no evidence Joe had done it. She claimed that there had been a storm and she had to get rid of it. We had a security camera at the front of the house, but you can get in the back undetected if you go through a few fields. We then were given an £8000 bill for damages to her property and to have the tree chopped up and removed.

The wood alone would have been worth a small fortune. We had lost all hope, and two weeks had passed when my dad came running in from the garden. See, we had put up a wildlife camera a few months ago. It had caught everything. We got a lawyer on the phone and started our revenge. We got a tree surgeon out who said it was an original specimen brought into the UK in 1860.

He also told us to call out an engineer because the roots might be in the foundation, so when they rot it could damage the house and it turns out we would need to redo the foundations. Then we took Joe to court and sued them for damage to property, trespassing, and lots of other smaller claims. It went to about £500,000 ($700,000). They had to move out.

And we have now paid off the mortgage, done a lovely loft and kitchen conversion, and have basically done up the house and garden. We have also planted a 60-year-old sequoia tree in the back garden, and had our kitchen counter and table made from the old sequoia. We now have a new lovely family living next to us who we share chickens, ducks, and pygmy goats with. They are very nice and I make a fortune babysitting their kids.


33. Homecoming King

white and gray concrete churchPhoto by Gene Gallin on Unsplash

As a background, I grew up in a conservative little town in a conservative rural area heavily dominated by religion. This makes people put great stock on moral purity and appearances. Keeping up the facade is the most important thing. Everyone must go to church weekly, and people are heavily judged for appearing sinful. This was a bad thing for me as the cards were heavily stacked against me from birth.

You see, I'm a rape baby. My mother lost her parents when she was young and was taken in by her uncle and aunt. The uncle had an important position in the local religious hierarchy. So when he and a couple of his friends started mistreating my mom, it was ignored by everyone. When she got pregnant, it was painted as showing that she's a harlot running around seducing married men. She was cast out.

Why she didn't move out of town, I don't know, but yeah. Then I came into the picture, born out of wedlock and with no father, branded as a sinful outcast. My childhood was horrible. I won't go into details, but enough to say that by the time I started going to school, I was quite damaged. School made it worse. I was teased relentlessly.

Teachers were part of it, since they were all part of the religious community, which saw me as stained. So yeah, in school I became that “trench coat kid” or its local cultural equivalent. I became weird and hostile on purpose to turn people off. People were casting me into the mold of being damaged and stained, so yeah, I took it and turned it into something to protect myself with.

Despite all this opposition, I managed to graduate with decent grades. A distant aunt, my only decent relative, helped me get into a college in an actual city. She was the black sheep of the family and saw herself in me, maybe? Around this time, my mother drank herself silly and soon passed. Can't blame her for it. She had a life insurance policy that helped me study, and city life liberated me.

I went into therapy and managed to treat the wounds that town had sliced into me. I thought I got rid of that town, but I guess some part of it never left me. Years went by. I became a kind of analytical consultant. I work for an international company that does out-of-the-box analysis for other companies. I won't go into details to protect my identity, but we assist in solving all kinds of situations.

Well, in my line of work, I'm sometimes called in to help downsizing operations. This sucks, I feel for the people who get fired, but if I wouldn't do it, someone else would. A couple of years ago, I got an assignment to go into three different factories and assess them wholesale, then come with a suggestion on which of them to move abroad. When I saw the list, a mix of emotions hit me.

My hometown was among those three factories. You see, the town I grew up in was one of those "one smoke-stack towns" like we say in my country. There was one factory and some agriculture. Everyone worked in those jobs, like 60% of people in the factory. The rest of the economy revolved around supporting the factory and the people working there.

Most of the people were looking forward at nothing but a job at the factory after getting out of school. The religious community running the town ran the factory as well, and the big shots in the community tended to be bosses in the factory. This meant that the factory wasn't run that well; promotions were based on "holiness," not on merit or skill.

The trip back to the hometown was glorious. Most people didn't recognize me at first. The chubby outcast had become outwardly just another corporate drone. I inspected all the paperwork, listened to all their speeches and lies, and audited the processes. In the process, I dropped hints and finally they got who I was. The factory people threw a party for me then for the old time’s sake.

Many of my old school "buddies" were there. We remembered fake good times together. I threw shade on every party by pulling up some certain event of teasing I had endured, just to see the atmosphere turn awkward. Then I laughed at it like it was always a joke and I had grown out of it. Inside, I was seething with hatred and enjoying this all.

I really loved seeing their faces, seeing what they had become, because I was going to take it all away from them. In the end they seemed relieved, believing that they were lucky it was me doing the audit, that the hometown boy would protect them. After my visit—lasting a couple of days—was over, I cruised around the town in my rented car, just to see how the people lived and to remember what it was like.

My state of mind was something close to arousal. I had never understood why people pursue positions of power, but yeah, now I understood. The rest is, as they say, history. I wrote a really scathing report, documenting every little flaw and mistake ever done in the town plant. I didn't need to lie or fabricate. I simply took things that existed and polished them until they looked even worse than they were.

The factory was shut down and in the following three years, the town dried up. No business venture ever came to replace it. Drug use spiked, as did crime. Lives fell apart, families fell apart. They still haven't recovered, save for a few brighter souls who moved away. I still stalk them on social media sometimes, enjoying how bad their lives are, and how they all finally got to pay for what they did to me and my mom.

I don't feel a slight bit of remorse. If I could do it all again, I would—only I'd first make it so I could be present to watch when they received the news about the factory being shut down. Heck, in my fantasy version of the events, I'd stay in town for a year just to see everyone fall apart. In reality, I will only go there back once: When my uncle finally passes, I'm going to go and pee on his grave.


34. Neighborly Behavior

I lived across the street from a very bored stay-at-home mom whose excess idle time turned her into an insufferable busybody. One day, her husband backed out of the driveway and slammed into my roommate's car parked on the curb. He apologized, gave us his insurance info, and took care of it. He was never a problem, because he accepted responsibility for what he did.

His wife, however, demanded that we never ever park any cars at the curb again, because "we can't get out of our driveway otherwise." The street was very wide, she was just completely unable to accept that the accident was her husband's fault, and figured we were somehow responsible for it, ergo we were responsible for preventing it in the future.

We told her that we would avoid parking there whenever possible, but that we still had the right to park on the street, and that if necessary we would still do so, and that it was her and her husband's responsibility to avoid hitting other people's parked cars when backing out of the driveway. She wasn't happy with that answer, but just told us we better stay out of her family's way, and stormed off.

One day, she came storming over, banging on the front door, cussing us out. We got her on our security camera saying, "If you don't move that car in the next 10 minutes, I am going to total it with my truck. It'll be your fault, and you'll have to pay for the damage to my vehicle." To this, I simply responded: "I don't know whose car that is, but I didn't park it there. I have you on camera, so if you do anything to that car, I'll have to call the authorities and hand over this tape."

She then threatened to sue me for invasion of privacy for recording her, and still insisted that we move the car, even though it wasn't our property. We just ignored her, and she did not do anything to the car. We did keep the recording, though. A few weeks later, I had a friend visit from out of town. He parked his car on the curb, and then started unloading some stuff from his trunk.

She came storming out, screaming and cussing at him. "I have told you repeatedly never park your car on this curb. If you don't move it, I am going to total it, and you can pay for a new car, as well as the damage you do to mine!" He tried to calm her down, and asked if there was somewhere else he could park, and she replied "You can park it in Hell, because that's where you'll be after I ruin you!" But there was something crucial she didn’t know.

Unfortunately for her, he had his dash cam running the whole time, and it captured everything. He called the authorities and she was detained for threatening to commit vandalism. A few days later, she left a long-winded hate-letter in our mailbox. It was written as if it were an open letter from the entire neighborhood, and it basically said that "Nobody knows who you are," and "Everyone wishes you would move away," and "Nobody wants you living in our neighborhood."

Thing is, she forgot about the security cameras. I took the video of her opening my mailbox, which included her taking all our letters out of the mailbox and rifling through them, and I gave them to the post office. This led to her getting detained a second time that week. After that, we used her two arrests, our collection of security and dash cam footage, and her letter to get a restraining order against her that actually prohibited her from entering her own home. But we didn’t stop there.

We called the authorities every time we saw her because she was in violation of the order. She ended up having to live in a hotel room, and her husband came over, apologized to us, and asked if we would drop the restraining order so his wife could come home. I told him I would do it, but only if she wrote me, my wife, our roommates, and the friend of mine she threatened a one-page apology for her harassment, and that she would promise to never, ever contact us again for any reason whatsoever moving forward.

I received no apology, and the house went on the market a week later. Some people…


35. Holier Than Thou

My parents were both killed a hit and run car accident when I was 10. My dad was only 39 and my mom 35, and neither of them had relatives who could take me in. We lived in a really small, church-going town where everyone knew one another. My dad had been the heir to a small fortune and so didn't really have to work. He didn't like the big city, so him and my mom decided to move to a small town where he could have an antique store.

My mom was into collecting antiques. I would have had to go the orphanage route when they passed, but this couple from the church, who I will call Mr. and Mrs. Banks, made this big to-do in church about how "a little girl needs a loving home, and God has given us this joyous task of bringing her up in our home and hearts." It's been a long time and I don't remember if those were Mrs. Banks' exact words, but they were something cringe-worthy like that.

The Banks had their own daughter "Kitty" who was a year older than me. That should have meant we would be super good friends, but Kitty had her own thing going and practically ignored me. She was a holier than thou type. The Banks received a stipend from the state to take care of me, but they also received checks every month from my dad's estate, which was supposed to take care of me until I was 18. When I did turn 18, I would receive full control of my inheritance.

The Banks weren't exactly cruel to me, but in private it was clear they were just using me to build up their reputation in town. In front of other people, they'd fawn over me in a sick, cotton candy fashion that made me uncomfortable. They'd also make Kitty be nice to me in public, which she resented. The Banks would also put on a big show whenever social workers came to check up on me.

They'd coach me before the lady would come, and tell me to praise how godly and wonderful they were. After the social worker left, they'd go right back to ignoring me and spending my dad's money on the Internet or on trips. It was clear to me even as a tween and teen that the Banks were only using some of my endowment, both from the state and from my trust, to take care of me.

The rest they spent on themselves. As I grew older, I could see that my foster parents would pretend as though they had great business acumen and that's why they had more money and could buy a new Volvo (where I'm from, a new Volvo is an event) and take a trip to New York and buy fancy clothes for Kitty. When I was 17, I noticed that my foster parents were stockpiling away my trust fund money to pay for Kitty's tuition to college.

Throughout this time, the Banks would never outright say so, but would heavily imply that I "owed them" and that once I got control of my inheritance, that I should be Godly and generous and give them some material compensation for "all the work" they did to raise me. I think they already got lots of material, especially since Mrs. Banks practically took all of my mom's antiques from her store and kept them for herself, gave them to Kitty, or to her other relatives.

One thing my mom never kept at her store, however, was an extremely expensive, Baroque-era fine china set, absolutely complete and worth tens of thousands of dollars. Not a replica, but the real deal. So real, Napoleon Bonaparte himself might well have eaten a steak off those plates. Probably not, but you get the point. It was my china set of course, but Mrs. Banks thought I was an idiot and didn't know that.

She would always talk about how "this china set will go to Kitty on her wedding day." Mrs. Banks assumed that since I always dressed like a tomboy and didn't care about all my mom's antiques that Mrs. Banks gave away, that I just didn't care about the china set. When I was a kid, my mom told me that things were things, and not to obsess over them.

So, having the frou frou china set for myself wasn't an issue. What WAS an issue was Mrs. Banks acting like it was hers to give away. Wrong, lady. So, once Kitty went off to college thanks to MY biological mom and dad's money, I had to make my own plans. I had always done well in school and had actually gotten a partial scholarship to attend school out of state.

The rest I could easily pay for with my inheritance, which I would very soon have control of. Per usual, Mr. and Mrs. Banks were haranguing me about how I owed them compensation and since I was going to be rich soon, I ought to share the wealth. I figured that over the past seven years they probably misappropriated more than two hundred thousand dollars of my parents' money, to say nothing of the state money they misused.

I think they more than shared the wealth. I never promised anything, I just smiled and kept a tally of every single bank statement (I got them quarterly) that my trust issued over the years. The Banks family never shared them with me, of course, but when I asked the actual bank for a rundown, they were more than happy to oblige. I also wrote down every single major purchase my foster parents clearly made over the past seven years with money that was clearly beyond their means as a housewife and an insurance salesman.

Things such as a $40,000 car for cash, a used $20,000 car for cash that they gave to Kitty, trips to Hawaii, New York, cash gifts to the church that made them look super generous at my deceased parents' expense. I kept it all in a nice, three-ring binder. I already arranged my travel to my new campus. I didn't have much stuff at the Banks' house anyway, and had zero intention of coming back, at least to their home.

The Banks knew I was leaving but didn't bother seeing me off, because they assumed I'd come back to "give them their due." I waited for our church's yearly antique sale extravaganza, set to begin in three days. Per usual, the Banks donated all sorts of random stuff, many of it knick knacks that used to belong to my mom and technically belonged to me.

They weren't shy about giving away my stuff and taking credit for it. While Mr. and Mrs. Banks were on one of their shopping sprees with my parents' money and away from their house, I boxed up the china set and brought it to church. I told the rummage sale committee that Mrs. Banks wanted to donate the priceless antiques for sale, all benefits to go to the church.

"This donation is made in the name of Mr. and Mrs. Banks." I was being fair. If Mrs. Banks was really so godly, she would be delighted that such a wonderful donation be made in her name. Sadly, I knew she'd go the other way. The ladies were flabbergasted, especially when I told them the appraisal of the set's value. I also told them that if they needed proof of ownership and right to sell, to contact the number of a certain attorney in New York.

They thanked me profusely and praised the Lord Jesus for Mrs. Banks' generosity. This would be the most expensive item in their sale’s history. Everyone knew no one could afford to buy the set outright, but everyone would love to buy the pieces piecemeal. Like, "I got a cup and saucer," or "I got one of the chargers," "I got an egg cup..."

The Banks were supposed to work the sale the second day and I wasn't there. What I did hear was that my foster mom went ballistic when she saw "her" china set for sale, and that it was a huge hit, and ladies from all over the county had bought pieces of it, and it raised SO much money for the church! My foster mom threw a tantrum, and said that I had taken the set from her house.

The ladies at the church explained that I had made the donation in HER name, and she was getting credit for the donation to the church. My foster mom was practically yanking her hair out, according to what I heard later. She was trying to track down who had bought pieces, and trying to get them back. Of course, she was unsuccessful.

What she WAS successful in was looking like a Grade-A douchebag. The entire church thought she was selfish and materialistic and acting very ungodly, especially the way she cursed her foster daughter. A week later, my foster parents received a package by registered mail from me and my attorney. It contained my binder where I showed my bank statements and also a list of all their spending extravagances.

It also contained a warning from my attorney that should they ever try to contact me again for money, that they will receive a BILL and a court date. That was that. 10 years later, I work as a third-grade teacher. I'm married to an accountant, and we have a three-year-old son and one-year-old daughter. Kitty ended up working through college, and as we've gotten older, we've reconnected.

She apologized for the way she acted when we were kids. We're friends now, and see each other multiple times a year, often just for lunch. She's an elementary school teacher, too, and married to an engineer. She has a four-year-old daughter. Both of our older kids play together when our families meet. We both have our OWN wedding china.

She has gone to a lot of therapy due to her toxic parents, she tells me. As for her parents? They still live in their small town because they're too broke to move. Their reputation is of being "that couple who drove both their children away and took money from that poor little girl.” I sure hope that your brand-new Volvo was worth it, you jerks.


36. Finding A Loophole

man in blue suit jacket smilingPhoto by Wells Chan on Unsplash

First, you have to appreciate the kind of guy Nathan is. Brilliant engineer/crazy person. Because Nathan likes rules and Nathan doesn't give up when he knows how things should work. I like to get him to tell the story whenever we're together because he doesn't even see why it's funny—it's just how he deals with all problems. Nathan was like if you saw Sisyphus and you thought, maybe I should try to stop him.

But then one day, the boulder was on top of the hill. And you go and ask Sisyphus how he did it and he replies, "It was simple...I just kept pushing it forever and ever, and eventually...the mountain gave up." A real Grade 19 Bureaucrat. He just works systems through problems no matter how daunting they should seem. Until one day, when Nathan's unstoppable force met an immovable object.

I came into work and saw checks and envelopes spread all over his desk. And Nathan filling them out with the kind of grin Steve Buscemi might have crossing names off a list with a tube of lipstick. I ask him about it and he calmly starts explaining that he's "having trouble with the IRS." I probe a little deeper since that in no way explains more than one check or envelope, and he starts telling me about how last year during tax season he was about to be in China for work so he started filling his taxes out early while at his parents' house.

He owed a little but left before he could mail it in. But he remembered while in China and (after breaking through the firewall) paid it online. But then his parents, thinking he forgot, also wrote a check for him and mailed his taxes in too. So now his taxes would be paid twice. So they said don't worry about it, we'll cancel the check. Well, it turns out that IRS has a cancelled check fee of something like $40.

And they sent Nathan a bill and penalty for the $40...That was it. That was the whole story. A $40 fee. Nathan, why do you have 20 checks on your desk? "Oh, well after I explained to them what was wrong with the fee, they didn't get it." So Nathan spent the next four weeks escalating the issue to the point that he got a case officer—a real, live human agent on the phone with a case number.

Nathan started by asking for the agent to spell his name and politely to demonstrate that he was where he said he was by asking how the weather was and how the "drive in" had been that day. He then asked for his agent's manager. He got their name and exchanged some pleasantries. He explained that his parents wrote the check but that he was the one being charged the fee.

The agent explained that this was the policy of the IRS: "All cancelled checks will result in a $40 fee." The agent and Nathan went in rigorously compliant circles for hours exploring the rules. Nathan then calmly confirmed that: It is the policy of the IRS to allow just anyone to write a check on behalf of anyone else: "Yes sir, that is fine. You just need to indicate the name and zip code of the account."

Second: It is the policy of the IRS to charge a $40 cancellation fee to the person whose account is indicated on the check: "Yes sir, that is the policy.” This means that—and I swear to God he actually asked the agent this hypothetical on the phone—"I (Nathan) could write a $10 check and indicate it's for you (Mr. "Agent" at 1234567 Schenectady, NY) and cancel it, resulting in a $40 fee for you with absolutely no penalty or recourse to me?"

The equally compliant and rule-minded agent replied, "Yes sir, I guess you could." So, that's what Nathan did. And that's what he was doing with 20 checks on his desk and what he meant by "IRS trouble." He was following through... sending checks to the IRS addressed to pay the taxes of the agent and the agent's manager, all so Nathan could cancel them, causing the agent and his manager to owe the IRS a fee for each cancelled check.

He was exploiting the same flaw in the system in which he was caught to essentially extort the IRS agents. I laughed about this for weeks after. But then came the best part. Three or so weeks later, I'll be darned if he didn't receive a letter from the IRS: "Sir, we understand the point you've made. Please consider your fee waived and I hope we can put this behind us."


37. Not Their Lucky Day

My first car was a 1984 Jeep CJ7, a pretty sweet ride for a dirt-poor teenager in the 90s. I was working midnights at a gas station and loaned it to my brother, who was taking a date to a party. I got a call around 1 am from my brother, who told me he left the keys in the Jeep and it was taken. I was devastated…but I was still on the phone with my brother when the thieves pulled my Jeep into my gas station to fill up on gas.

As luck would have it, the gas gauge on my Jeep was broken and always read "empty," and I worked at the only 24-hour gas station in the area. I pressed the silent alarm and...proceeded to fill up my Jeep (it was a full-serve station). When the thieves were out of the Jeep, I saw an opportunity to slip the key out of the ignition and into my pocket.

They paid for the gas and argued amongst each other about who had the keys last. The delay was enough for the authorities to arrive. I had to explain the story to the officer half a dozen times before he understood. The thieves had this stunned look of disbelief on their faces I'll never forget. The officers were belly-laughing telling the story to dispatch, all the while the thieves sat in cuffs in the back of the squad car.

The story made most of the major newspapers the following day.


38. Nepotism Doesn’t Always Work

This happened several years ago. I was working for a small medical supply company as the IT manager. Business was bad, and eventually the IT department had to downsize to just me. During this time, they brought in a new CFO that I had to report directly to. Let’s call her Pam. Pam had zero knowledge of IT and how things worked. Her motto was if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

PC/server lifecycles didn’t exist. We don’t have to pay for licensing to keep our firewall updated, it’s working just fine now. I went from having an annual budget to a “wish list” where she would deny everything I asked for. The couple that owned the company were real pieces of garbage too. One time we had a quarterly meeting and people were asking about how secure their jobs were.

The owners said that nobody was getting laid off and that our jobs were all secure. This was at 5:00 pm on a Wednesday. The very next morning at 9:00 am, they laid off six people. At noon, one of the owners showed up to show off the Escalade that he had just purchased that morning. During the first six months that Pam was there, she started firing everyone that worked for the old CFO and replaced them with her friends and family.

Honestly, three of her bridesmaids from her wedding a few years prior got hired to replace those that she fired. I knew I was on borrowed time. After she had been there for nine months, I was the only one left out of what was about a dozen people that worked for the old CFO. I knew my time was running out. I had been looking for work, but the 2008 crash just happened and the job market in my area went south quickly.

Sure enough, she called me into HR and blindsided me with an entirely trumped up charge that she claimed happened the day before. I was working with the VP of sales on a project that entire day, so I had a witness. I asked to bring him in since my boss was lying and was told, “this is not about him, this is about you.” Remember kids: HR is there to protect the business, not do what is right.

The next morning, I get introduced to an IT “expert” who just so happens to be Pam’s 21-year-old nephew. He was to shadow me and evaluate everything that I did to see if we could streamline any processes. In other words, they wanted me to train him to do my job. I quickly learned that this kid had absolutely no knowledge of IT. He’s the kid people think is an IT expert because he can hook up a Playstation to a TV.

He didn’t even know how to join a PC to a domain. So I knew what had to be done. The inventory, billing, and shipping and receiving were all run by scripts that I created on the server. They were all run using the domain admin account. I raised quite a fuss about giving him the domain admin account in front of Pam. I then loudly proclaimed that I was going to change the password to it since you can’t have people who don’t work for the company to have admin access to our network.

I was overruled and was told to give it to him. I complied, but I also showed him multiple times how to change passwords on the domain. I even had him write it down to make sure that he could do it. I really stressed the importance of changing the admin password and deleting his local account the second he is no longer “consulting” with us to him. I showed him a few things (but nothing in regards to what really made the company run) that day.

There wasn’t enough time in a year to bring this kid up to speed on how to run that place due to his complete ignorance of IT. I come into work the next day and sure enough I was let go because her nephew had found “my skills lacking in many areas.” I collect my last pay check and head home. The next morning, I get a call from the CFO and owners.

Apparently, her nephew wasn’t quite up to speed on everything we did there and she was graciously offering to pay me my regular salary to come in as a consultant and get her nephew up to speed on the IT infrastructure. I told her that I was now an independent contractor, and if she wanted my services I was going to charge her $200 per hour with a 250 hour minimum.

At that point, she told me that she was going to call the authorities for what I did if I didn’t come in and fix everything. My response was “Just so we’re clear, you fired me, replaced me with a completely unqualified idiot, and now you’re threatening to call the authorities on me if I don’t come in and fix what he did? I’ll hold, please call them and let me know what they said.”

She started cursing at me and hung up the phone. Turns out, her nephew did actually learn something from me: He changed the admin password after I had left. The one that ran all the scripts for inventory, billing, shipping, and ordering. According to some of my co-workers, the place was dead in the water for several days until they could get a real consultant in to go through the documentation that I had created and fix the issue.

The nephew was immediately fired and Pam was gone within a month.


39. Not Passive-Aggressive, Aggressive-Aggressive

woman in black and red long sleeve dressPhoto by Lazaro Rodriguez on Unsplash

I'm a senior at a large state university. This happened in the first semester of my freshman year. I was selected for an honors-type program that placed me in a co-ed dorm building with every other student in the program. As a dumb freshman, I rushed into a relationship with a freshman girl who lived right above me. We'll call her Megan.

It was convenient for me to date someone who lived so close, but everyone else in our building hated Megan because she talked a lot, and almost exclusively about herself. She bragged often about being a "fairly aggressive" person, but somehow I overlooked that mile-wide red flag. Right after Thanksgiving break, at the end of an evening class, I got a call from my mom, who noticed some unusual activity on my checking account.

Back then I had no credit card, so this account/debit card was my only access to my savings while I lived on campus. I rarely needed to buy anything during the semester, so I was puzzled to find that $104.29 had left my bank account over two weeks—in the form of six Grubhub food orders. At this point, I trusted Megan, but I decided to ask her about the money right away.

She denied any involvement and suggested that I cancel my debit card. After a really long phone call to the bank, I did just that. Next, I reached out to Grubhub customer service on Twitter: "Hey, my card was stolen and used for food orders on these dates. Can I have the receipts?" They sent me the first and last receipts, but they had to "redact" the personal info of the account holder.

I say "redact" in quotes because they just used the Snapchat draw tool, and Megan's name was still clearly visible on both receipts. What's more: The most recent receipt was only two hours old. She was probably still eating when I chopped up my debit card! It's worth noting that she and I both had unlimited dining plans—paid for by our respective parents—and we lived 500 feet from the nearest dining hall.

She didn't need to order food, and she definitely didn't need my money to do it. So I texted her again: "I have the receipts from Grubhub. Are you sure you didn't make those orders?" Her reply: “SCREW YOU FOR SUSPECTING ME!" ("Fairly aggressive," wouldn't you say?) I hatched a plan. I was going to collect security camera footage of her picking up the order from that evening.

However, by midnight, Megan arrived at my door in tears and confessed to everything, plus she admitted to being a serial shoplifter. Exhausted, I sent her away and decided to deal with everything in the morning. By the next day, everyone in our building seemed to know what was going down, probably because Megan had already begun broadcasting her version of the story.

I sent Megan a breakup text and decided that the $104.29 was a loss. At least I escaped unscathed, right? Well, less than two days later, she entered my room when I wasn't looking. I was sitting at my desk when I noticed her standing silently behind me. Megan: "Give me my stuff. Where's my stuff?" Me: "What stuff?" Megan: "YOU KNOW."

I did not know. She tore through the room, looking for something that she refused to identify. Just as quick as she came, she was gone, and I locked the door because obviously this wasn't over yet. Within a minute, she was back. She stood outside my door, knocking and demanding I let her back inside.

The knocking quickly got more violent. She started shouting "I KNOW YOU'RE IN THERE!" and "OPEN THE DOOR!" Mind that we lived in this building with students in our program who all know each other, and all of them could hear her. Pretty quickly, Megan was rattling the handle of my door. Next, she began throwing herself at it, shoulder-first, trying to break it down.

I lived next door to my RA, but judging by the lack of any intervention, he was elsewhere. So I whipped out my phone and texted him to send backup. Meanwhile, I saw my heavy wooden door bending and buckling. I even heard it crack a bit. My RA was on duty in another building, so he sent three of his colleagues to de-escalate the situation. They brought Megan downstairs, where she revealed that the "stuff" she wanted was just the T-shirt and keychain that she gave me for my birthday.

Whatever; I let her have those. I still just wanted this to be over. However, once I shared my story with the resident life staff, they filed university paperwork to place a no-contact order between me and Megan. They also recommended I contact the campus authorities, who then told me I should get my money back in small-claims court. Um, I couldn't even get there without a car or money to pay for an Uber. Sorry, Judge Judy.

At the request of the campus officers, I also contacted the Title IX office at my school, sending them the story of everything you've read so far. They were interested—to say the least—although I didn't want any trouble. I just wanted a clean breakup and a fresh start, but a Title IX representative informed me that they were bringing three misconduct charges against Megan: Theft, threatening/violent behavior, and inciting an intervention by university staff.

The representative asked me to serve as a witness in Megan's disciplinary hearing the next semester. I tentatively agreed, right before the representative set the hearing date for February 14th. Valentine's Day. I thought it was a joke, but they really did that. When the day of the hearing finally arrived, the no-contact order was still in effect, but a few of my friends had kept tabs on Megan.

For starters, she failed all of her classes in the fall. Someone in my math course confessed that Megan had tried to sleep with him while she was dating me, and he had to repeatedly tell her no. Even worse, Megan kept telling a twisted version of the whole story to try and turn my friends against me. So when I found out that she had found a new boyfriend, it felt good to know that the V-Day disciplinary hearing ruined whatever evening plans they might've made.

I arrived alone at the disciplinary board office, unsure what to expect. The board consisted of grad students, and the hearing was expected to run into the night. Unlike me, Megan did not come alone. She brought both of her parents as "character witnesses" (that wasn't even a thing here; this wasn't a real courtroom, as you'll soon see). And that's not all. Megan's parents also paid a lawyer to defend her against the charges.

The board knew that was unnecessary, but Megan's parents believed so strongly in their daughter's innocence that they had already paid this three-piece suit make her case. In the name of fairness, the board members offered me pro-bono representation: A junior economics major, who we'll call Jimmy. Jimmy had already read my account of the events from the fall, and thanks to my screenshots of Grubhub receipts, he said there was an okay shot of the charges sticking. Then I told him something I'd kept secret for months.

When Megan tried to break down my door and I whipped out my phone to text my RA, I also filmed the whole thing. Jimmy couldn't get enough of the video. There was Megan, kicking and screaming and clearly trying to break into my dorm room. It was all the evidence I needed, and no one saw it coming. In the hearing, when the time came for me to make the case against Megan, Jimmy played the video on a big screen in front of everyone.

The room went insane. In that instant, I realized that Megan really had convinced everyone I was the liar. In her version of the story, I gave her permission to buy food using my account. She told her parents that she'd asked me politely for her belongings, which I'd rudely hidden from her in my dorm room. In Megan's story, I was the sociopath trying to ruin her reputation.

Before I unveiled the video, it was her word against mine. I still didn't want revenge...Even after finding out that Megan tried to cheat on me. But when I saw her parents flipping out at the video: "WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL US YOU DID THIS?!" and her lawyer yelling, "THIS EVIDENCE WAS NOT PROVIDED IN PRE-TRIAL DISCLOSURE!" and a board member standing over him: "SIR, THIS IS NOT A COURT OF LAW. PLEASE RETURN TO YOUR SEAT" and him shouting "OBJECTION!" and her replying: "WE DON'T HAVE OBJECTIONS, THIS ISN'T A COURT OF LAW" and Jimmy, my new best friend, just trying not to laugh out loud... That's when I realized how good revenge can feel when it's fair and deserved.

The board found Megan responsible on all three charges. My side of the bench recommended the university terminate her housing contract and force her to pay restitution. Her side recommended only restitution and a reprimand. The board compromised. Her family paid back most of the money she took ("most" because two of the six orders had the same price and the lawyer convinced the board I had duplicated an order), and Megan was forced to move into a different dorm building.

This probably would've helped her anyway because every student in our program's building knew everything she'd done and lied about. They wouldn't speak to her, and no one wanted to be her roommate. By the time she had to move buildings, she'd already failed all of her courses again. Having paid for her tuition, her unused dining plan, her lawyer, and her restitution, Megan's parents finally pulled her out of school.

Where are they now? Last I heard, Megan returned as a part-time student, but I never saw her again because the no-contact order still stands. I'm now Facebook friends with the guy Megan tried to seduce. Oh, and Jimmy and I connected on LinkedIn. As for me, well...I no longer date "fairly aggressive" people. It’s better that way.


40. The Bill Comes Due

If revenge is best served cold, then my revenge was many years in the freezer, and, this week, it was finally pulled out and had whipped cream and a cherry put on top put before finally served. So I worked for Company A for almost a decade. We had a small team consisting of 10 people doing commissioned work for businesses in my city.

The owner treated us like family, knowing that we worked long and hard days, sometimes up to 60 hours in a week. He paid us better than expected, bonuses and perks he negotiated with businesses that commissioned our work, and even gave the whole company a week off paid when his son was getting married so we could attend it. We had our squabbles like any other family, and things weren't always bright and perfect, but this is to show how nice the owner treated his employees. And didn't screw me over.

After working there for years, the manager position came open. Since by then I was one of the most senior workers with Company A, I thought I would apply. I didn't get the position, mainly because, despite my experience at Company A, I didn't have a Business Administration degree. Someone who worked for Owner did, so he got it. Realizing the education I would have to get, and the demand of this job, I thought long and hard and concluded that, if I wanted to go anywhere in life, I would have to get that degree.

Coming right out of high school to work for Company A was great, but if I wanted to do something more, I would have to go to university. I talked to the Owner and gave my two weeks’ notice. When I explained what I wanted to do and why, he understood that I was trying to make something of myself. This all becomes relevant later, I promise.

Going to university, I found that I had tuition covered through government grants but not things like food, rent, etc. So I looked around and eventually found work at Company B. Company B was a retail store, with a bigger staff than I had been used to, somewhere around 50 employees, but had such a huge employee turnaround that it was scary at times.

They dealt with a wide arrange of goods from groceries to very expensive items. They had a certain niche clientele that they could order items for and catered to. I ended up working part-time in their warehouse and answered to the Warehouse Supervisor, who answered to the Manager. There were other supervisors for other parts of the store, but for this only the Sales Supervisor is relevant.

Skip forward seven years. In that time, I got my BA degree and worked at Company B the whole time, going from part time to full, and I eventually applied for the Warehouse Supervisor position. I was interviewed, got the job, and had been supervisor for months when the Manager and I hired K as a warehouse clerk. K isn't the one to get the revenge, but she played a crucial part in the revenge. Then Witch gets hired.

With started out as a cashier, working quickly up the chain and brown-nosing as many co-workers as possible, including the Manager. When a sales rep went on maternity leave, Witch jumped at the chance to work in sales and ended up permanently being a part of that team, then the Sales Supervisor soon after. Me and Witch got along like oil and water.

We butted heads over things constantly; she would tell the Manager all the small things that I did, but called me a snitch when I reported the issues she was causing. She would badmouth me and my warehouse staff, talk over me at meetings, and try to take credit for my ideas. She openly told co-workers that I was the cause of many issues and couldn't wait for me to leave. ‘

Oh, and she was NEVER at fault. It would be the customers fault, my fault, the delivery driver’s fault, another co-worker’s fault, etc. There were times when we got together well, but far and few between. So one day, a very, and I mean VERY, expensive ring set (over $5,000 I found out later), ordered by one of our customers, comes in.

Years ago, I set up a procedure for any type of jewelry so that it will not get lost. The last step is, once we have done everything with it in the warehouse, we take it to the office and have someone put it in the safe immediately. This particular time, I was the one who received the rings so, once going through the procedure, I told K that I was taking it to the office.

The only one available who had the combination to the safe was Witch. I asked her if she could open the safe. She looked at me, looked at the jewelry box in my hand, then said, “Put it down here on my desk, I'll put it away once I'm done this email.” Keep in mind that me and Witch had just had a serious spat over something earlier that day, and I generally didn't feel like being close to her if I could help it.

So I never saw her put it in the safe myself. The next day, I get a call from the Manager to come to the office. I head there to find Manager, Witch, and the HR consultant they pull in when some real stuff hits the fan. Manager tells me that the ring set has disappeared. I tell them the procedure I followed and last I saw them was with Witch.

Manager tells me that Witch checked the box and said that the box was empty. Manager then pulls the box out. Sure enough, the box the rings were in was indeed empty. I swear to Manager that the rings were inside when I checked them before giving them to Witch. At this point, it's my word against hers; by a stroke of bad luck, the in-store video recorder had broken down days before the incident so there was no way to verify what happened.

We all know someone has to take the blame for this, and that's when Witch strikes. She’s saying that it was my fault, since it was last seen in my hands. Manager asks if this is true, then I realize that, yes, I was indeed the last person to touch the thing, and I never actually saw Witch pick up the box. Witch gives me a look that screamed “Gotcha!”

Manager and the HR consultant ask us both to leave. After what seemed like forever, I get called in. Manager tells me that, since I was responsible for the rings at the time and now they are lost, they would be firing me. But, since they had no proof as to whether I took the rings or not, they wouldn't press charges (this scared the heck out of me as this was the first time I heard of them thinking this).

I go back to the warehouse, tell K and the other warehouse clerks just what happened, grabbed my personal belongings, and left that day. After a couple weeks of trying to get my head around what happened and weighing my options, I decide my first priority is to try to get some sort of job, and consider it lucky if I get a job flipping burgers with the bad reputation I have when they ask Company B.

So I call the Owner of Company A to get a good reference from them and explain what happened and why I was calling, only to get the shock of a lifetime. The manager position was about to be open; the guy who I lost the position to was retiring soon, due to complicated health reasons. Owner had kept tabs on me while at university and understood when I didn't immediately come back to him, but with a golden opportunity like this, he wanted me back and I wasn't going to say no.

I dive into my new job I originally wanted with an Owner I enjoyed working for. I thought, then and there, everything would be behind me, not knowing it would come back, not to bite me, but to pay dividends. See, after I was fired, K knew she had to do something about Witch. K knew that I wouldn't lose something like the rings. But also knew that, without proof, Witch would deny that she did it and have K in her cross-hairs to attack next.

So, after talking with her husband, she hatched a plan. She started hanging out with Witch, telling her things like “I'm SO glad he's gone!” or “Wish he had been fired MUCH earlier!” Witch, feeling high from getting rid of one of her thorns in her side, soaked it all in, and after a couple weeks, she invited K and K's Husband (from now on KH) for drinks at her place.

Months pass, K and KH do things regularly together with Witch and her husband, including drinking on weekends and couple-related events. When together, K would occasionally bad-mouth me, and Witch would agree. Finally, after over a year of playing nice, when K and KH were over at Witch’s for one of their drinking parties, K randomly bad-mouthed me, mentioning the rings in passing. Then Witch says something that K was waiting for.

“I wanted those rings, so I stole time.” K, hearing this, asks for more details. KH looks at her and tries to wave her off with one hand, then gives up when Witch keeps talking. That day so long ago, Witch had stopped writing her email and was going to put the rings in the safe. The safe was open and she was about to put the rings away when she had an idea.

See, as mentioned above, Witch wanted me gone from Company B. She also wanted those rings. She also knew that the cameras weren't working. She figured that she could pocket the rings, tell the Manager they were missing, and spin it so I would take the blame. K then asks where are the rings now, and Witch, being tipsy and not seeing a reason not to brag, not only tells her, but shows her where they are in her room.

All while KH had been RECORDING THE WHOLE CONVERSATION on his phone. See, the hand waving was him saying he started recording. K gives a copy of the recording to Manager the very next work day. The authorities are called immediately. They find the rings, and K and KH give the recording and testimonies the authorities. The reckoning has begun.

I then get a call from the prosecutor's office after Witch is charged with theft over $5,000, among other things. He wants me to testify about what she did to me. I didn't skip a beat in saying yes. Fast track to the trial, prosecutor has me, K, and KH testify and plays the recording of Witch admitting that she took them. Her attorney tries to throw out the case, saying that K got Witch deliberately tipsy, but judge didn't buy it, since there was proof she drank all the time.

Judge was lenient and gave her five years, which she yelled was unfair, but I personally thought she got off easy. Meanwhile, as the trial was happening, I was talking with a lawyer to sue Witch for setting me up like she did. We were also going to sue Company B for wrongful termination, but they settled the day they got notice of the lawsuit and knew they would lose. Witch wasn’t so lucky.

They tried some trickery by having her husband divorce her and he received everything in the divorce, but my lawyer added him into the lawsuit as well. My lawyer asked over all for $3,500 for emotional distress, back pay from when I was fired until I started up with Company A again, and lawyer fees. And now, you are wondering where the metaphoric cherry is on this story?

Well, recently we had someone leave Company A, so we were hiring someone to replace them. Owner was going over the resumes and set up interviews for the job this week. Lo and behold, Witch was one of the people to apply, but he didn't know that. I looked at the resume, was about to trash it, but then smiled. Owner set up the interview. She came in at her slotted time, looking to brown-nose her way through. Then she saw me.

I smiled an evil smile, and she went white. All I said was, “Ah, Witch, how are you? Remember me?' A deer in the headlight look from her. I look at her resume and say, “I'm sorry, I don’t think you will be a good fit for our company. Thank you for applying.” She said not one word and left.


41. Who’s Your Daddy?

10 years ago, a friend of mine prank called me several times in my office over the course of a day. I decided in that moment that 1) this would not stand and 2) rather than entering into a long, protracted quagmire of a prank battle, I would use the nuclear option and end it immediately. My friend, “Mike,” was a well-known local bartender (I worked at the same bar as a bouncer) and he was very much enjoying single life at the time, facts that I knew I could take advantage of.

Soon a plan began to form: I would have him served with a fake paternity suit while he was working at the bar. So, I compiled a ton of free online legal documents—not just for the "paternity suit" but also income disclosure forms, statements of parental rights, and suggested visitation schedules pending "demonstrable proof of sobriety."

I filled out all the forms, then smeared what looked like date-received stamps as proof they had been filed and ran copies to make those stamps even more illegible. From there, I crafted a backstory to be included in a cover letter from the fictional mother's fake law firm on letterhead and all. The mother was an Irish exchange student visiting the area the previous summer.

She had only been with Mike so she knew the baby ("Eliza") was his. The cover letter encouraged Mike to call during regular office hours to discuss arranging a DNA test to affirm paternity. I set up a generic voicemail for the number listed as the office on the letterhead. By the end, the paperwork was somewhere between 20-25 pages.

I enlisted another friend not known by Mike to serve the documents and instructed him to do so around 10 pm on a Saturday evening. I told him to keep the interaction very simple. I wasn't able to be by the back bar because I knew I would be laughing too hard, but based on eyewitness reports it played out like this: FRIEND: Are you Mike [last name]? MIKE: Yes
FRIEND: Michael [middle name, last name]? MIKE: Yes FRIEND: [drops folder on bar] MIKE: What's that? FRIEND: Paternity suit. You've been served [turns around and immediately walks out of the bar] MIKE: Yeah, that sounds about right. Mike read through the packet, shakily poured himself several drinks, and then ran over to the bar owner (who was aware of the prank), to ask what to do.

He also called the number on the letterhead but sadly did not leave a voicemail. After a solid 10 minutes of intense psychological revenge, the owner finally told Mike he should closely read the last page of the packet. On it, in size 2 font, it read: "Go screw yourself, Mike." At which point, Mike ran to the front door and punched me in the chest. And there was a cherry on top.

Several months later, Mike was on a trip across the country. He had left his car at home with his mom, who generously had it washed for him. Mike for some reason kept the paternity suit paperwork in his driver's side door. During the course of the car wash, his mother found it and read the entire thing, then called him sobbing in the middle of the night asking why he hadn't told her about her illegitimate Irish granddaughter.


42. Don’t Mess With My Friends

man in blue dress shirt at daytimePhoto by Anastasia Bondareva on Unsplash

Ooh boy, do I have a story for you guys. I'm still proud of this to this day. A few years ago, I was working in a job I really enjoyed with a team I really gelled well with. There were about five of us working on the same portfolio of projects in different roles, and every single team member was just cream-of-the-crop, incredibly good at what they do.

I can't overemphasize how satisfying it was to work with such an incredibly competent, likable group of people. In this job, instead of getting the Sunday night blues, I would get excited thinking about the work I would be doing the next day and planning how we would solve the complex problems together. It was like a series of logic puzzles.

Yes, I realize I'm a huge nerd. I promise I also had a life outside of work. The one downside (there's always a downside) to this job was Steve. Steve was not in the supervisory line for me or any of my team members, but he was about three levels above us and very senior. He'd been there for years and was tight with senior leadership.

Steve was also a mega-creep. He said extremely inappropriate things to young women in the office, and he apparently wasn't averse to being handsy, though as far as anyone knew, that was as bad as it had gotten. The women in the office all knew to steer clear of him. My first week on the job, the whisper network made sure I knew: never be alone with Steve.

Harassment is difficult to document, and no one wanted to risk their career and put a target on their back going after a big guy like Steve, so he just got away with it for years. So for a couple of years, I followed this advice. There were a few instances of Steve saying incredibly uncomfortable things to me in passing, but for the most part, I managed to avoid him. Then I found out that my teammate Rob had gotten on Steve's radar.

For context, Rob is non-neurotypical and has some minor tic-ish behavior. He's also shy and easily spirals into social anxiety when put in uncomfortable situations. So one evening at our team's informal weekly happy hour after work, Rob lets it slip that Steve's been giving him a hard time. The rest of us are like, "whoa, wait, what?" because Steve never interacts with staff at our level, except to creep on women, and we make Rob tell us everything.

Basically for the last few weeks, Steve has been teasing Rob, making fun of his tics, and mimicking his way of speaking back to him. He's also been asking Rob how he can possibly be competent to do his job and implying he's a pity hire. It's clear Steve is seeking out Rob for this, because, again, there's really no reason for him to interact with our team.

Rob has been having horrible anxiety over this situation, and has had bad insomnia and stomach issues since Steve started targeting him. And not that it bears repeating, but just to reiterate, Rob is a freaking beast at his job. And a genuinely good guy. At this point, I'm seeing red. (We all were.) We tell Rob to go to HR, that his neurological issues put him in a protected ADA class, and that he could get Steve in big trouble.

Rob panics and says he can't do that, begs us not to tell anyone at work, and says he wishes he hadn't said anything. We assure him we won't say anything if that's what he wants, but we're all very distressed. I leave the bar fuming just thinking, OK, that's it. Screw you, Steve. You're going down. I can't tell anyone about what's happening to Rob, because I promised him as much, so I start my own paper trail.

I start baiting Steve. And I don't mean I behave in any suggestive manner or lead him on: I just stop avoiding him, and I even initiate contact myself. I IM him through the company's IM system very professionally/politely, asking if a big client will be staying on through the next project cycle…and the floodgates open. He starts sending me outrageously dirty IMs.

I mostly don't respond, but I occasionally keep him going by sending extremely literal responses to his innuendo-laden questions or pretending not to understand something suggestive he's saying. Sometimes when he clarifies, I'll outright say, "This isn't appropriate" or "This is making me uncomfortable," or "Please don't say things like that, Steve," but he steamrolls right over me.

During this time, I've also been seeing him more in person around the office, and he often says gross stuff to me in person as well, a lot of it not just inappropriate, but bizarre and nonsensical. Every time this happens, I immediately go back to my desk and write down what he said, the date and time, and the names of any witnesses. After about a month and change of this, I compile my creep journal with printouts of the IM conversations and take them to my HR rep.

I ask to file a harassment complaint against Steve. As soon as the words “harassment” leave my mouth, my rep instantly gets the head of HR and two other reps, and they go through my evidence with me, and ask me a ton of questions. The head of HR assures me they'll take my complaints very seriously, and asks if I know of any women around the office who have had similar issues with Steve.

I'm able to give them several names. They send me on my way, and two weeks later, my rep formally reaches out to me and lets me know Steve has been let go. Much jubilation is had around the office! It took a couple of months for me to piece together the whole story, but basically after my complaint, HR started following up with the names I gave them, both the witnesses to my in-person encounters with Steve, and the other women he'd harassed.

They corroborated what I'd told HR, and then through them, word started spreading around the office that HR was conducting a harassment investigation against Steve. This emboldened at least 15 different women who'd been biting their tongues about Steve for ages to come forward and tell their own Steve stories. The worst story was from a junior staff member who Steve had come onto at a company party the year prior.

During all of this, IT had been asked to go through Steve's emails and IMs, and this had not only been used to validate my print outs as legitimate, but IT had found a ton of additional incriminating stuff in Steve's correspondences. Somewhat frustrating: Steve received an extremely generous severance package as part of his termination.

But on the bright side, word got around the industry quickly, and Steve was poison at that point. No company would touch him with a 10-foot pole. The last time I thought to snoop on his public social media pages, he was listing himself as an "independent consultant" in our industry, which I seriously doubt he's actually doing, and based on his public Facebook page, he's doing a couple of MLMs, so that should deplete whatever savings he has in short order.

I don't work with Rob anymore, but I did recently attend his wedding! He's extremely happy with his new wife (who is a sweet and lovely woman) and he's doing really well in his career.


43. Throwing The Book At Him

I ruined an entire tow company with one phone call. Several years back, I went to work for a towing company. It’s about all I know how to do other than paint cars, which is drastically affecting my health. The pay was pretty decent, but we had to share trucks and the boss felt that he knew where we needed to sit in order to get the best calls. This is important for later.

Several months in, I realized that I was not making the type of money that I should be making. So I took the opportunity while I was sitting in a parking lot one evening to start researching the laws pertaining to employees in similar positions. He was kind of a jerk and the trucks had transponders so that he could see if we had them idling with the air conditioner on and a hot day, or idling with the heat on on a cold day.

He was always calling complaining about something if the wheels were not turning. During my research, I discovered that if he was requiring us to sit in a certain parking lot, street, or any location of his choosing, then we were entitled to be paid an hourly wage, not just our commission. The technical term was “engaged to wait.” However, if he allowed us to freely roam about while we waited for calls, we were not entitled to hourly wages and we were therefore be considered “waiting to be engaged.”

I never mentioned this to him, but I did start taking note of my time. Another month or so goes by and he decided to start coming down on me for tiny little things, things that ordinarily wouldn’t even matter, such as I forgot a pop can in the cup holder. He actually had a screaming fit about that. At this point, I was tired of working there and had already found another job, so I decided it was time to put my plan into motion.

I called him up, told him that we needed to have a conversation about my final wages and that we could meet at his convenience. Upon entering the office, I laid out my argument, explained the state law, and told him I expected to be paid for the hours that I was on the clock but not freely allowed to roam looking for work or able to do things of my choosing.

He told me in no uncertain terms that I would not be paid for that time, as that was agreed to upon my employment. I did not bother to argue, as I already had my next step planned, so I took my final check and I left. The following Monday, I made a phone call to the state labor board, where I laid out my case to them. Needless to say, they were very interested in what was going on.

In the end, they came to review his employment records and speak to the drivers still working. When he got the bill of what he had to pay us al , it was too much for him to afford, so he sold the trucks, his boat, and lot, and went out of business. I never got the money owed to me in full, only a fraction . But the satisfaction of knowing the law just a little bit better than he did and watching it all burn was pure bliss....


44. Cruising For Revenge

This happened shortly after college. My mom is a retired, disabled woman who now owns her house on a quiet residential cul-de-sac. She has lived there longer than anyone else. Her neighborhood has designated parking spaces at the end of the cul-de-sac, all with the addresses of each house painted in the parking space. My mom doesn't get out much, so I use her designated parking space.

At the time, we lived in the same city and I visited her weekly to bring groceries, fix broken things, cook for her, etc. My mom parked her car in the backyard of her house, since she went out so little. Mom kept busy by gardening or baking/buying cookies for the children on the street. Mom's neighbor, Ivy, never parked well. Whenever I stopped by, her car was always parked so close to my car that I had to park on the curb.

I wouldn't have cared about Ivy’s poor parking but for two things: 1) She had four or five kids and had parties almost every weekend, leaving trash in Mom's yards; 2) I loved my car, a 2016 metallic ice blue Dodge Challenger Hellcat, the first car I had ever purchased brand new. I washed that car once a week, detailed the interior, and had rules against eating, drinking, or even leaving trash in my car.

It was my pride and joy. Mom had called the authorities throughout Ivy's residence because of the parties. Ivy's guests would fill up the cul-de-sac with their cars, obstructing traffic, and get into loud fights at and after midnight. I often found empty bottles, etc. on the fence between the properties, mostly on Ivy's side of the fence. This is all important information.

One Saturday while having dinner at Mom's house, I heard a loud crash and my car alarm went off. I ran outside to see Ivy's older model Honda Accord back out of her parking space and speed down the street. Ivy's Accord had a dent from the front bumper to the door and the headlight had popped out. I approached my Challenger with trepidation and screamed in anguish at what I saw.

My car, my beautiful three-week old car with less than 500 miles on it, had a dent stretching from the passenger's door to the front bumper, and the right front wheel was tilted at a 30-degree angle. I was livid and in anguish as I called the authorities, filed an online claim with my insurance, and arranged for a tow truck to take my damaged car to the dealership.

The estimated cost of repairs came out to 3400 USD (total cost of repairs was eventually 6,500 USD). I had a low insurance deductible but my car was parked and Ivy owed for the damages. For two weeks, I knocked on Ivy's door or waited for her to come home. She stopped driving her damaged Accord and either rented or borrowed a Ford Fusion.

When she was home, she didn't answer the door. When she wasn't, she stayed away until my rental car left Mom's parking space. I left a note on Ivy's door for her to call me, but only received harassing calls from restricted phone numbers or people blaring air horns in my ear when I answered. Then came my revenge. About two weeks after the accident, Ivy's children came to Mom's house for some cookies.

I noticed that two of them had bruises around their eyes. So if Ivy hadn't hit my car, I still would have done what I did but maybe not as underhandedly. I had Mom take pictures with and of the children but waited until the next party to strike. Ivy had a party that night or the night after. Mom called me to let me know and I installed an app onto my phone that gave me a fake phone number.

I called 9-1-1 reported the party. "There's a loud party at 1007 Mountain Drive, and I'm worried because the children are around all these adults. Please, hurry!" Mom called to let me know officers had arrived. I drove to her house (stopping by the grocery store first so that appeared to be the reason), and saw Ivy and her boyfriend Bane already sitting in the back of a squad car.

From a news broadcast that night, I found out that Bane had warrants out for his arrest. Initially, the charges were disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. However, Mom turned over the photos of the children (anonymously mailing them through the post office with Ivy's address and name as the return address). Less than a week later, Ivy and Bane were charged with child endangerment charges.


45. Not Smart Enough

person writing on white paperPhoto by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu on Unsplash

I took the final for an engineering class this morning. Usually one or two people will go to the bathroom during class, however for totally unknown reasons, about half of the class needed to use the restroom during the exam. Obviously a vast majority of them were looking up the answers on their phones. This irritated me, but I just stayed focused and barely finished since it was a hard exam.

I remembered that there was one particular problem that was only barely related to the stuff we went over in class where part A was fairly easy but I had no idea how to do part B. I didn't fret over it too much though, since that part was only 5 points out of 100. Well, our professor, who is on the older side and I would have thought was somewhat ignorant of technology, sent us an email just now explaining his diabolical plan to catch cheaters.

Many of the students in this class use Chegg (a website that has answers to lots of homework questions if you're not familiar). To be fair, I have an account, too, though I only used it for studying and checking homework solutions. Anyway, he explained that he was tired of people going to the bathroom and looking up answers on their phones, so he made the question I mentioned earlier as a trap.

He purposely made part B impossible to solve and about a month before the final, he got a TA with a Chegg account to ask the exact question, which was distinctly worded to be unique. He then created his own Chegg account and answered the question with a wrong solution that seems right at first glance but is actually fundamentally flawed and very unlikely that someone would make the same assumptions and mistakes independently.

He said that out of 99 exams, 14 of them fell for the trap and that everyone who had his wrong solution on their exam was given a 0 and reported to the university for violating the academic honor pledge they signed on the front. He also sent an email to all the other professors in our department giving them the list of cheaters. Meanwhile, he gave full credit on part B of the question to everyone else.


46. Domestic Bliss

Blockhead and Sarah have been like family to my wife and I for several years, practically ever since we moved in across the street from them. The four of us were extremely tight. Our kids are the same age as theirs and are all good friends. We were one big family unit. We did dinner together a few times a week. We went on vacations together. I truly saw Blockhead as a brother, and my wife and Sarah were very close too.

Five months ago, I was completely blindsided by the discovery of an affair between my wife and Blockhead. My wife had left her email open on our computer, and I saw an email from her to her long-time therapist saying that Blockhead would be joining her at an upcoming session "again." Uh, WHAT?? My mind started racing. Why in the world would Blockhead be going to her therapy sessions without my knowledge?

I did a search and found some other emails to and from the therapist, proving that Blockhead had been going to sessions together with her for about six weeks. I checked our mobile phone account and discovered that, since late summer, they had been exchanging hundreds of texts every day, peaking at nearly 500/day by the holidays.

Speaking of the holidays, my wife and I hosted both of our families (parents, siblings, etc.) for both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, and Blockhead and Sarah joined us either for dinner or after dinner on both holidays. Text records showed that the entire time that they were at our house celebrating with our families, my wife and Blockhead were texting each other across the room.

They were doing that pretty much every time the four of us hung out, for months. And, you know, all day, every day just in general. But what bothers me the most is that they were doing it with Sarah and I right there. I confronted my wife with the evidence and she admitted that yes, she and Blockhead had fallen in love. "It just happened! I don't know how! But I love him and I just don't feel anything for you anymore, I'm sorry!"

They had gone on a school district trip together, something had happened in her hotel room, and things had moved quickly from there. She explained, as I lay face-down on the couch, unable to look at her, that they had already made plans to move out and divorce me and Sarah, and while they didn't plan to move in together immediately because of the kids, they'd probably do so eventually.

The meetings with the therapist were supposedly mostly for the purpose of finding a way to break this to me and Sarah as gently as possible, because they were so very concerned for our well-being. Sarah and I are fairly certain that they weren't planning on telling us about the affair at all, and were simply going to "discover" their feelings for one another several months down the line, after they'd come up with some other reason to divorce the two of us.

My wife moved out two months ago. I was, and still am, utterly destroyed. I cry every day. I cried writing the first few paragraphs of this story just now. I worry non-stop about the impact on our kids. But I am also not exactly a shrinking violet when I feel that I've been wronged. And in this case I was, objectively, very very wronged. So, a couple of years ago, Blockhead ran for a Board of Education seat as a pretty extreme underdog.

I helped him with his campaign materials and debate prep, and my wife, a well-known school district employee (this becomes important later), got the word out as best she could. Much to our surprise, he actually won in a squeaker, by just a few dozen votes. Being on the Board became the center of Blockhead's world. He joined every committee that he could.

This turned into the foundation of his affair with my wife, as they were constantly going to school events and meetings together on evenings and weekends. Once I discovered the affair, my thoughts turned pretty quickly to revenge, and it occurred to me that an extramarital affair between a member of the Board of Education and an employee of the school district was at least bad politics and possibly violated district policy.

Making things far worse for them was that my wife was in the running for an open administrative position, and everyone knew that she was more or less guaranteed the job and the major pay raise that came with it. She had just finished her master's degree in school administration, at the urging of her principal and the superintendent, so that she could be promoted to this specific position.

I had plenty of evidence of the affair. Texts from both of them admitting to it, text records showing that they were texting hundreds of times a day, emails to and from the therapist, etc. I considered simply emailing all of the evidence to the Board and the superintendent, but felt like I, as the grieving, betrayed spouse, might not be seen as a credible source.

So instead, I invented a fictitious "furious friend" who was planning on showing up to the next Board meeting and publicly shaming the two of them for their affair. I told my wife that I'd tried to talk this person down but couldn't guarantee that they wouldn't show up and humiliate them publicly. As I expected, this led Blockhead to conclude that the only option was for him to pre-emptively admit the affair to the Board.

The superintendent subsequently recommended that Blockhead resign, which he did. Sarah said that he was utterly humiliated and crushed, and barely got out of bed for a few days afterward. Once word of the affair and Blockhead’s resignation started getting around, the superintendent (a long-time friend of both my wife and Blockhead) contacted my wife and tearfully informed her that it was no longer politically appropriate for her to be promoted to an administrative position within the district.

The position that had been lined up for her was later filled by an outside candidate. This sent waves of confusion and rumor throughout the district, as it was pretty well-known that my wife was getting the job. The day after she was informed that she wasn't getting the promotion, my wife and I, despite our crumbling marriage, took our son out to breakfast together on his birthday, and a parent stopped by our table to congratulate her on her new role.

She said thanks, then excused herself to go cry in the bathroom for a while. I let the dust settle for a couple of weeks, and then, right before my wife moved out, let them in on my little secret. There was never a "furious friend" threatening to expose them in the first place. Just me. Word of all of this has gotten around our fairly small town, which Blockhead grew up in and my wife has worked in for nearly 20 years.

My wife refuses to talk to me about how things are at work now, but I've heard from some people I know in the district that her formerly spotless reputation has taken a major hit. Blockhead, formerly a gregarious social presence in our neighborhood and at events and pubs in town, has completely gone underground and barely emerges to mow his lawn.

He's moving out soon, to a ugly little townhouse which is all he can afford due to all the child support he's going to have to pay his wife. My wife and Blockhead claim that they plan on trying to make things work together, despite all the public humiliation. I wish them lots of luck with that. I'm sure it will be a lot of fun to show their faces together in town.

Sarah and I are still friends. We've been incredibly important to each other since this all started and have certainly gotten a lot closer, but not in the way some think. This would all be so much harder to deal with if I didn't have her to lean on, and she says she feels the same way about me; we're going through basically the exact same situation with the same players, after all.

Blockhead hasn't moved out yet; once he does, we plan to go back to getting the kids together more often like they used to. It'll never be the same, of course. She already does come over with the kids from time to time, but it's just tough with Blockhead’s constant presence across the street.


47. Family Feud

This happened about five years ago. My Grandma was getting old, late 80s/early 90s. She had one wish, to not pass in a senior home. Easily done as my Grandpa sold some assets way back when, then invested the money and let it ride for 30+ years; he never touched it and collected a pension. Way back when my Grandpa passed (about 10 years before this), my Grandma appointed my dad, this awful aunt and my uncle as the Trustees of the trust.

Basically the trusted advisors for her and her care for the foreseeable future. All was well in the beginning, then my dad (Willy) moved further away and couldn't take care of the day-to-day upkeep as the Trustee and to see that my grandma was ok. My aunt (Rebecca) told her that she and my uncle (Fred, who lived in Arizona) could take over and all would be fine. It was fine for a while.

A few times my dad went back to visit and noticed my Grandma didn’t always have overnight care, or that her mail wasn’t picked up and the driveway wasn’t plowed. She also lost her cable TV and newspaper subscription. My dad figured it just lapsed, so he had the services put back on. My dad also noticed my Grandma was eating moldy food at times because her truck was sold and she had no transportation.

She basically just chilled at the house alone and did crossword puzzles. The craziest part of this is that my aunt only lived two miles from my Grandma, but my Grandma told my dad she saw Aunt Rebecca once a week on Saturday for about one hour. As with the elderly and age, my Grandma eventually passed. She did get her wish and was able to go in her own home.

Upon her passing, things started to get real interesting. Once the probate lawyer got her children (my dad, aunt, uncle and another estranged aunt, Becky) around the table, some shady business started to come out. My Aunt Rebecca asked that everyone just forgo any audit or paperwork and they just sell the house (for around $400K), and divide up the remaining account balance of roughly $400K.

So just signing on the line, each sibling was to get a check for $200K, not too bad of an inheritance. My dad, however, thought that was somewhat a little rushed. He said at the time that he wanted to wait because my Grandma’s house was easily in the $600K range based on size and location. My aunt exploded in his face, cursing at him and calling him all kinds of names because he was unwilling to sign the assets then and there.

She basically wanted a quick close while everyone looked the other way. My dad ended up leaving the room after the screaming and the deal wasn’t signed that day. It took nearly six months before another appointment and they were all back at the table. The thing is though, when you are a Trustee and the person passes, the funds and access to financial accounts are all under heavy scrutiny until all beneficiaries are made aware and sign the final papers.

At the next meeting, my dad went in there with no intention to sign the deal. He got his brother (my uncle Fred) to agree that they audit the entire account(s) going back five years. When they demanded this again at the meeting with the lawyer, my aunt ended up arguing that a forensic audit would cost $5K and it’s a waste, like what difference does it make?

Two beneficiaries requested it, though, so it was what was going to happen. The audit report showed up about three months later. Here is where it gets really good. My dad began looking over the audit report and saw it was full of holes, like excessive monthly food costs for a 90-year-old lady. Payments made for car services for a car my grandma no longer had.

Many different things in there that just didn’t add up. My dad asked me to give the audit a second look, so I spent a Saturday night going over it, and here is some crazy stuff I found (and alerted my dad about): Costco monthly food costs of $1,100-$2,000 for the last four years. Telephone bills for sixe cell phones (Grandma had a home phone only).

Gasoline for a truck my grandma didn’t have for like four years, and easily $400/month. House repairs paid to my aunt’s husband who owned a construction business. Some of the house repairs were like $16K for a new roof, new garage doors, home security system which she didn’t have, etc., and all a inflated prices. Grandma paid for my aunt to go to Europe twice on vacation.

My grandma was paying my estranged Aunt Becky a stipend of $2K a month for the last five years, as well as her deadbeat son for $2,500. Every month they were paid. All grandkids were to be paid a lump sum of $10K upon their 30th birthday as that is when the $50 check from Grandma stopped for all grandkids. Guess who was paid out? Rebecca’s kids and my estranged aunt’s kids, but not me or my siblings.

My grandma gave loans to my Aunt Rebecca for her husband’s construction business in return for equity in the company, which amounted to nothing. These loans totaled about $200K over three years, right around when the housing bust happened. They also sold her assets like jewelry and what not for cash, because some big ticket items simply vanished from her house.

Armed with all this, the next probate meeting was interesting. In the time between my Grandma’s passing and the third probate meeting, my aunt’s construction business filed for bankruptcy so that $200K in equity grandma had simply vanished. The probate lawyer was also somewhat concerned and makes it obvious that this was a breach of fiduciary duty, where my aunt could actually get real prison time.

After this, the negotiations were much more favorable. My aunt got nothing, literally zero, my other aunt only received $25K after all the stipend payments. My father and uncle shared the rest after all grandkids received the $10K payout. The house sold to the first offer for $520K. That was the regular revenge for the treacherous witch who ripped off Grandma and had her eating moldy food. Here is the professional revenge.

My aunt probably felt pretty bad that she couldn’t supplement her lifestyle with Grandma’s money anymore, but that was the least of her worries. Since she tried to rip me off for $10K, I took it personally. I don’t care how tough you are, the IRS is the scariest thing that can happen to a person. Nobody wants to have their money forcibly removed.

I did a little research, photocopied my documents, had them notarized and sent off the info to the IRS. I felt like it went nowhere, then maybe 18 months later I was notified and asked to come to the IRS building for an appointment in my city. The agent went over all the details. Basically, what they found in their research, and then they asked for a sworn statement.

It turns out my aunt didn’t declare something like $1.2M in additional income over five years, and as such she owed the IRS around $420K plus penalties. There was no way she was going to pay that on a teachers’ pension and after her husband bankrupted his business. Her house was sold, her vehicles sold, and they left the state. Now my aunt and uncle live in a depressing desert town.

The IRS then paid me around $60K about three months after the appointment. She should have paid that $10K.


48. The Party Pooper

Incheon Airport, KoreaPhoto by Hanson Lu on Unsplash

While walking to my gate at LAX, I noticed a woman whose dog was in the middle of the waiting area doing its business. The woman was loudly face-timing with her back to the dog, so I assumed she didn’t notice. That was likely the thought shared by the gentleman who tried to get her attention. “Excuse me, miss?” he said, in a polite tone.

The woman glared at him. “Your dog,” he sheepishly continued, pointing to the mid-poop pup. The woman rolled her eyes and went back to face time as the man slinked away, seemingly embarrassed. “Some people,” she bellowed to her face-time companion with no hint of irony, “are just so rude.” When her dog finished, the woman started walking away, leaving everything right on the airport floor. Another woman tried to stop her.

“You’re not going to clean that up?” she asked, as shocked as the rest of us were. “They have people for that,” the offender replied, disappearing into the crowd, as much as someone yelling into their phone can disappear into a crowd. I stood near the pile and warned people to walk around it while someone else got a maintenance worker’s attention.

No one said anything—we were so shocked that anyone could be that horrible. When I got to my gate, the woman was there, too. Great, we were both going to Tokyo. When I travel abroad, I get embarrassed by other Americans doing things one hundred times less embarrassing than leaving animal poop on the floor of an airport. To make it worse, her dog was now barking at everyone who walked by.

I have nothing against people flying with their dogs. I do it often. But it is a privilege I take seriously. My dog is well-trained and behaves better than most people. He certainly behaves better than that jerk. Speaking of jerks, there is a pet relief area inside LAX, past security, just two gates away from where The Party Pooper let her dog go to town.

It didn’t matter. She was the type of person to litter three feet from an empty garbage can. While her dog barked at the world, the woman had moved from face-timing with no headphones to listening to music with no headphones. I don’t like to throw around the word “sociopath,” but I don’t know how else I could explain just how selfish and terrible of a person she was.

I’d bet her car was somewhere in long-term parking, parked across three spots with paint on the bumper from the child's bike she hit without leaving a note. Everyone else tried to ignore her, sitting as far away from her as they could. I am not everyone else. I sat down right next to the horrible woman. “Are you going to London on business?” I said.

“I’m going to Tokyo,” she responded gruffly, annoyed that I interrupted her DJing. “Oh, I said. Then you better hurry. That flight got moved to gate 53C. This is the flight to London.” I figured I could give her a little moment of panic as payback for how terribly she was treating everyone. I didn’t predict what would happen next. She grabbed her bags and her dog in a huff, and stormed out of the gate without even checking.

She was so self-involved, she didn’t notice that the monitor at our gate still said Tokyo and almost everyone at the gate was Japanese. Based on her actions, she believed me that the fight had been moved, so she’s also a jerk for not thanking me. “Some people,” I thought as I watched her rush away from the gate without stopping her, “are just so rude.”

The flight to Tokyo was at gate 69A, so the 53 gates were on the other side of the next terminal. And I felt guilty knowing she probably berated some poor clerk who had to explain to her that there was no gate 53C. I don’t know if she made it back to this flight before we took off or not, but I didn’t see her board and I didn’t hear her dog.

Her missing her flight was not my original intention, but it would be a fine punishment for her being so rude to everyone and making a low-paid stranger clean poop off the floor. What makes me wonder if I went too far is the knowledge that Delta only has one flight to Tokyo each day. Whoops. Maybe she can re-book on another airline. I hear they have people for that.


49. The Cost Of Cheating

We dated for four years and had what I thought was a great relationship. We were both well-established professionals who both owned homes in the same neighborhood and both had daughters in the home. Her daughter was 11, and mine was 16 when we met. We had actually planned to get married, build a house, and raise the two together.

We planned the house build because she had recently been diagnosed with a neurological illness that would eventually put her in a wheelchair, and needed something disability-friendly. During the planning stages, I began doing landscape and construction projects on her home to increase the resale value. All in, I invested roughly $30K into the home, running everything through my side construction business for tax, permitting, and resale purposes.

We had a contract that "payment" would be made upon the sale of the home. I produced invoices for each and every project, but never pushed for payment because of the prior agreement. Fast forward six months, we're looking at property to develop and finalizing drawings on the home when I began feeling ill. I couldn't eat, constantly vomiting and passing blood.

I began noticing that my abdomen looked swollen, which was odd because we were both very clean eaters and were in the gym every day. So I went to the doctor and began having tests done. During this time, she began having small cognitive issues, and the stress of her current position was exacerbating her condition, so she took a $20K per anum cut in pay along with a lesser position inside the company.

After a month or so of different tests, and a biopsy, it came back that I had a golf ball-sized tumor in my stomach, and would need to begin chemotherapy. So I began chemo and radiation treatments, which made me, expectedly so, extremely ill. She was spending time helping around my place on the weekends and staying over more, to the point that both her and her daughter were at my home more than theirs.

At this point, I suggested that we go ahead and put one of our houses on the market, and move in together until the new house was built. I have great supplemental insurance as well as a long-term health plan, so using that coupled with the sale of one of our houses would push us through comfortably, and help ease the financial stress on her. This backfired on me horribly.

Shortly after this discussion, she became extremely distant. Her daughter wasn't coming down and hanging out with mine anymore, and she had excuses for not getting together. She quit driving me to treatments and stopped staying over. She then dropped the truth. A sentence that will forever be burned into my psyche: "I love you, but I can't see myself taking care of someone this sick in the long-term, and I don't think we should see each other any longer."

A. TEXT. It broke me. I won't lie. This was the first woman I had ever opened up to and planned a life with since my wife passed when my children were 1 and 3. However, I tried to be mature about it. I forced myself to understand her position and to accept what I could not change. I calmly, the next day, gathered all of her things, packed them neatly, loaded them in my truck, and took them to her house to leave on the back porch while she was at work, in order to avoid any awkward exchanges.

Walking around the back and under the porch cover, I sat down on a box, and saw her in her back living room. I wish I could unsee what came next. She was there getting it on with a man that she had introduced to me as a life-long friend. I had once had dinner and drinks with this man and his girlfriend. We had gone on vacation with them as well.

I never spoke of the incident with her, and simply sent her a text later, explaining that I would leave her things on my side porch to pick up at her convenience. I discovered eight or nine months later from his now ex-girlfriend that they had broken up due to him confessing that he had been sleeping with my partner, dating back to about the time we were finishing drawings on the new home.

Now I’m angry. Revenge time. At this point, I had finished chemo and radiation for the time being and was feeling healthier. I was going through some much-neglected paperwork when I ran across the file that contained $32,680.00 in unpaid, long overdue invoices, which were promptly sent to my attorney to begin lien proceedings on the home.

It turns out that I couldn't have done this a moment too soon because she was set to put her house on the market. Coupled with interest over the course of, what was then, 19 months overdue, the invoices were hefty. That, along with the agreement of settling them when the house was sold and attorney fees, left her with roughly $10K after the sale of the home and settling her current mortgage.

She promptly had to back out of the purchase of another home and moved in with her oldest daughter and two grandchildren. She also had to leave her job and begin receiving disability. I ran into her a little over a year ago, and she looked as if she had aged 20 years, and was in the wheelchair we had talked about. We chatted cordially but briefly and I excused myself and went on with my day.

A few days later, her younger daughter called me and spoke of my running into her mom, and could we hang out sometime. I gave a vague answer, thanked her for calling and again, went on with my day. The ex then called me a week or so later, and began apologizing for leaving me as she did. Again, cordial but short, I thanked her for calling and hung up.

She began texting, and this went on for several weeks until once she asked if I could ever see us rekindling what we had, to which I replied: "I can't see myself taking care of someone so sick in the long-term. Remember the box on your back porch? Did you think that (life-long friend) brought that over to you from my house? Good luck to you. Goodbye."


50. The Bride Wore Blue

Last summer I was at a cousin's wedding. His bride and her family had been close with ours since before I was born, and the couple had known each other since they were toddlers, so it was a particularly exciting event for both sides of the family. However, after the ceremony was over and the party had only just started, one of the bridesmaids decided to announce her own engagement.

The attention was immediately taken away from the newlyweds and brought to the bridesmaid (who I'll call Sarah) and her equally-smug fiancé. My cousin's wife (I'll call her Emma) didn't make a scene or utter a single negative word about Sarah. She looked like she was on the verge of tears, but she kept grinning and acted very happy for the other couple.

This was unusual, as Emma is typically quite confrontational and speaks her mind no matter the consequences. This was a warning sign. Sarah later picked Emma to be the maid of honor at her own wedding, which took place last weekend. I wasn't there for it, but my cousin sent me some of the best bits on snapchat and explained the whole situation. This is where the fun begins.

Emma's two much-younger sisters were the flower girls at Sarah's wedding. At the very last moment, Emma switched out the white petals in their baskets to blue ones she had secretly brought with her. She told her sisters not to say anything about it or let the bride see them until it was time to scatter them down the aisle. Sarah looked very confused upon seeing the blue petals (which didn't coordinate whatsoever with her theme), but of course she didn't say anything about it in the moment.

Most of Sarah's other bridesmaids were also Emma's friends, had attended Emma's wedding, and were in on Emma's scheme. At the reception, Emma's sisters and the other bridesmaids were tight-lipped when Sarah began demanding to know why there were blue petals. The wedding planner ended up getting a lot of flack for not checking the flower girls' baskets before they walked down the aisle.

Finally, it was time for the speeches. The speeches took place in front of a massive screen, displaying a loop of photos with Sarah and her husband, which had been compiled by Emma. Emma took the remote that controlled the presentation screen and at first she showed some pre-approved humorous photos of Sarah with Emma and other friends to facilitate a couple of light-hearted jokes.

Then, at the very end, Emma said to Sarah that she must be wondering why there were blue petals instead of the white ones originally planned. That was when Emma displayed the last slide from her presentation, and jaws dropped. Emma announced in front of everyone that she was five months pregnant, and that she'd just discovered the baby was a boy, hence the blue petals. The last slide? Her ultrasound picture.

There were shocked yells and gasps, Sarah had a fit, but those involved in the scheme cheered so loudly that I sincerely regret watching the snapchat recordings with headphones. Apparently Sarah had been very nasty to her bridesmaids before, driving several of them away and forcing the others to pay ridiculous amounts of money for dresses.

Emma and my cousin were eventually thrown out of the party, but they were all smiles. Sarah's fuming mother went to confront her outside, and Emma retorted with, "Gentle, gentle! I'm pregnant!" I reckon Sarah doesn't speak to the majority of those bridesmaids anymore.


Bizarre Historical Facts They Never Taught Us In School
Photo by Austin Lowman on Unsplash

We can't learn everything in school, and maybe that's a good thing—because these bizarre historical facts are too weird for a textbook. Like Abraham Lincoln's other assassination, Thomas Edison's little-known dark side, or Mozart's obsession with butts...and that's just naming a few. Strap in for this VERY strange ride.

1. Queen Elizabeth Had A Nasty Mouth

Although dental hygiene was not necessarily at its peak in Tudor England, Queen Elizabeth I’s fondness for sweets gave her pearly whites an even darker fact, her chompers were probably very black. More than that, since sugar was a luxury, some women then blackened their teeth both to emulate their queen and show off their wealth.

2. Thomas Edison Was Evil

The famous inventor Thomas Edison had a huge dark side not many people know about. For example, he used electricity to publicly kill animals. He wanted to show how alternating current was more dangerous than the "direct" current that he used. On one occasion, he used A/C to execute a rogue circus elephant named "Topsy" in front of thousands of people.

3. Alexander The Great's Mother Was Scary

File:Cassandre et Olympia-Jean Joseph Taillasson mg 8223.jpg

Queen Olympias was Alexander the Great's mother, and she was even more ruthless than her son. On one occasion, she sent a captive enemy queen a cup of poison, a noose, and a sword...then told her to choose how she would die. According to history, the woman chose to hang herself, though she cursed Olympias to the very end of her life.

4. Napoleon Used His Wife As A "Womb"

Napoleon Bonaparte famously adored his wife Josephine, but few people remember the dark end of their love affair. Tragically, Josephine couldn't have children, so Napoleon made a hard choice: He divorced Josephine and took up with Marie-Louise of Austria. Napoleon reportedly told his blushing bride straight off, “It is a womb that I am marrying.”

5. Ernest Hemingway Almost Died In Back-To-Back Plane Crashes

In 1954, the macho writer Ernest Hemingway got into a plane crash. He miraculously survived, but that was just the start of the nightmare. When he tried to take another plane to get medical help, that plane exploded upon taking off. Hemingway managed to survive again. Talk about bad luck. Or wait a minute...actually, is that good luck?

6. King Edward VIII Was A Colossal Jerk

King Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson on holiday in Yugoslavia,… |

King Edward VIII lost his brother Prince John at a young age from a severe seizure. The boy had suffered from epilepsy and other ailments for years, but Edward’s response was so disturbing, it’s impossible to forget. He referred to John’s passing as “little more than a regrettable nuisance.”

7. The FBI Knew About Pearl Harbor

The FBI ignored compelling evidence about the attack on Pearl Harbor because they didn’t trust the Serbian double agent Dusan Popov, who was apparently a gambling, lustful lush. Dusan's nickname around town was "tricycle" because of his infamous love of threesomes. Unsurprisingly, he was one of the inspirations for Ian Fleming’s James Bond.

8. There Were Original "Siamese Twins"

Two Siam natives, Chang and Eng Bunker, were American twins joined at the sternum. During the American Civil War in 1865, Eng’s name was drawn in a draft lottery, but not Chang's. There was little the conscription officials could do: The brothers were not only joined at the sternum, but their livers were also fused. Neither twin served in the conflict.

9. Ben Franklin Had Bodies In His Basement

File:Joseph Siffrein Duplessis - Benjamin Franklin - Google Art

While renovating his home into a museum, researchers made a horrific discovery at Ben Franklin's house. They found 10 bodies in the founding father's basement. This led to speculation he may have been a serial killer. However, the bodies were more likely cadavers used for the anatomical studies of one of Franklin’s friends.

10. You Can Use Honey For Some Messed-Up Activities

King Herod, the tyrant king of Judea, had his wife, Mariamne I, preserved in honey after her death. Herod ordered her execution, but found her too beautiful to bury and so kept and preserved her body for seven years. Herod suffered from paranoid delusions, rage, and arteriosclerosis, but his death in 4 BCE came at the hands of a mysterious and agonizing illness that modern doctors are still not able to identify.

At one point, the pain was so excruciating, the king attempted to take his own life. The illness came to be known, among the Judean people, as “Herod’s Evil.”

11. Abraham Lincoln Cheated Death Once

Abraham Lincoln was almost killed two years before he was assassinated. Late one August evening in 1863, Lincoln rode alone by horse to his family’s summer residence. A private at the gate heard a shot ring out and, moments later, a bareheaded Lincoln clinging to his steed galloped into the yard. Lincoln explained that gunfire at the foot of the hill had sent his horse into a frenzied gallop, running so fast that it knocked his hat off.

The two men retrieved Lincoln’s hat, which had a bullet hole in it. Lincoln asked the guards to keep the incident quiet because he didn’t want to worry his wife...

12. Public Beddings Were A Thing

File:Catherine de Médicis - entourage de François Clouet.jpg

Catherine de Medici was only 14 when she married Henri, the son of King Francis. And although she was young, the King and other older men insisted on watching the consummation of the marriage.

13. The Most Ruthless French Queen

The Tour de Nesle affair was a scandal in the French royal family in 1314. In it, Queen Isabella of England accused her sisters-in-law of adultery. The scandal led to the imprisonment of the women and the execution of their lovers. The lovers were then executed. Most histories agree that they were first castrated and then drawn and quartered.

14. Marie Curie Slowly Killed Herself

Marie Curie, the chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity, was completely in the dark when it came to the dangers of radioactive materials. Though she and her husband both suffered from chronic pain, neither considered that it was their radioactive substance-handling that was the cause. It was. Some of their original lab equipment is still so radioactive that we cannot safely view or study them.

15. George Bush Coined An Unfortunate Word

File:George H. W. Bush presidential portrait (cropped 2) (a).jpg

After George Bush Sr. vomited on the Japanese Prime Minister, the Japanese invented a new word: Bushusuru. This means to “do the Bush thing” or to “publicly vomit.”

16. Gandhi Liked To Tempt Himself With Young Women

Today we see Gandhi as a figure of peaceful protest and understanding. But there's a side of him no one knows. At the age of 36, while married, Gandhi became more and more obsessed with lust. In order to train and “perfect” his control over his desires, Gandhi would sleep undressed with young women. But one night, he committed an act so heinous that it made his own staff member quit on him forever.

Gandhi had performed this sleeping act with his own grand-niece named Manu. His stenographer left in disgust.

17. The Most Notorious Hollywood Eccentric

Howard Hughes was one of the most successful men of his time, producing many famous movies and dating Hollywood's most beautiful women. However, later in life, he became a complete hermit. Hughes spent his days in hotels, refusing to make eye contact with his aides. He also stopped bathing completely. Even more gross? He only cut his hair and nails cut once a year.

18. Nero Hated His Mother

File:15-07-05-Schloß-Caputh-RalfR-N3S 1528.jpg - Wikimedia

According to one ancient historian, the mad Emperor Nero tried and failed several times to kill his mother Agrippina the Younger, each time trying to up the ante. First, he tried to poison her on several occasions, but she always took an antidote each time. Then, he constructed a machine that would collapse her bedroom ceiling on her while she slept, but she caught wind of the plot and escaped.

Finally, he—seriously—invented a collapsible boat that would drown her while she was on a pleasure cruise. Reader, SHE STILL SURVIVED.

19. Grace Kelly Was A Homewrecker

Grace Kelly has a pristine, princess-like reputation in Hollywood, but nothing could be further from the truth. She had affairs with, and I quote, "everybody." She fell for so many of her older male co-stars that multiple biographers have wondered if Kelly had some daddy issues. There was Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, and Ray Milland, just to name a few. Milland's wife even called Kelly a "home-wrecker."

20. Victorians Had Impossible Beauty Standards

Although the hourglass figure has always held a special appeal across Western cultures, the Victorians took their obsession to a whole new level in their use of corsets. These waist-cinching devices, while successful in achieving a "wasp waist," had some major health repercussions. Besides causing fainting spells, which the era’s ladies unsurprisingly became famous for, the restriction on women’s lungs likely worsened potentially deadly ailments like pneumonia and tuberculosis.

21. Sweden Wasn't Always Peaceful

File:Verwilt - Erik XiV DSC6824.jpg - Wikimedia

Erik XIV of Sweden was super paranoid. It wasn’t unusual for people caught laughing, smiling, or whispering within Erik’s earshot to find themselves on trial for treason. Somewhat ironically, he passed in 1577 when someone poisoned his pea soup. We guess just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

22. Mary Shelley Kept Her Husband's Heart

Frankenstein author Mary Shelley had a pretty gross secret hidden away in her desk: her dead husband’s heart. When her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, drowned in a boating accident, he was cremated, but his heart remained intact. Mary eventually took possession of it, and researchers discovered it in her desk when she passed a few years later.

23. King Henry VIII Had Royal Bottom Wipers

The infamous King Henry VIII employed four Grooms of the Stool, men whose job it was to wipe the royal bottom and attend to his other private needs. It was a position of great honor, but also—as one Groom soon discovered—incredibly grave danger. Henry VIII executed one of his bathroom staff, Sir Henry Norris, on trumped-up charges that he was sleeping with Henry's second wife Anne Boleyn.

24. Versailles Wasn't As Glamorous As We Think

Château de Versailles (Yvelines) | Le château vue depuis le … |

The legendary Palace of Versailles had everything—except enough toilets for everybody. Despite the villa’s luxury, Versailles simply didn’t have enough public water closets to accommodate Louis XIV’s huge court. It wasn’t uncommon for courtiers to pay each other for access to those precious commodes…or else, they simply went in the corner.

25. Mozart Loved Poop

Mozart was surprisingly obsessed with bathroom humor. Two of his songs actually talk about analingus. He also wrote letters to his family where he described his bowel movements in great detail.

26. King George IV Got A Brutal Revenge

King George IV hated his wife Caroline of Brunswick. When their only daughter perished in childbirth, George didn't even tell Caroline. She had to find out by accident through a courier.

27. Joan Crawford Once Gave Her Crush A Disturbing "Gift"

File:Joan Crawford in Humoresque, 1946 (cropped).png - Wikimedia

Actress Joan Crawford once came on to her co-star Henry Fonda by making him a red sequined jockstrap.

28. A King Of Egypt Had A Disgusting Appetite

While many of Egypt’s citizens starved, King Farouk of Egypt reportedly ate 600 oysters a week. Not content with this, he also bought a candy red Bentley, then demanded that no one else paint their own cars red.

29. Jack The Ripper Might Have Been A Royal

For a long time, people thought Queen Victoria's grandson Prince Albert Victor was Jack the Ripper.

30. A Famous Comedian Hated One Color

File:Peter Sellers at home in Belgravia, London, 1973.jpg -

Comedian Peter Sellers hated the color green. He claimed it gave him “strange vibrations.” He not only refused to wear the hue, but he also refused to act opposite of anyone who did.

31. Russian Tsarinas Had A Naughty Addiction

Foot tickling was used in the Muscovite palaces and courts for centuries as a means of arousal. Many of the Czarinas (Catherine the Great, Anna Ivanovna, and others) loved it. It was so popular that eunuchs and women were employed as full-time foot ticklers.

32. The Royal Mistress Who Was A Dominatrix

Dancer and royal mistress Lola Montez carried a whip around wherever she went and lashed it out on anyone who displeased her, including members of the public, bored theatre-goers, and critics who gave her bad reviews.

33. Dracula Had A Dirty Little Secret

File:Bela Lugosi as Dracula.jpg - Wikimedia

Dracula actor Bela Lugosi once had an affair with starlet Clara Bow, and commissioned an undressed portrait of the actress. He then displayed the large painting prominently in all of his homes from 1929 until his passing—including in the houses he shared with his last two wives.

34. Einstein Was Stupid In One Way

Albert Einstein's secretary once got an anonymous call asking where Einstein lived. The secretary declined to respond. The caller then admitted he was Einstein himself, and that he had forgotten his address.

35. Isaac Newton May Have Been A Virgin

Though Isaac Newton lived to be 84, he never married. Some even believe he never lost his virginity.

36. This Medieval Queen Was A Grave-Robber

File:Joanna of castile with her children.jpg - Wikimedia

Shortly after her beloved husband's passing, Queen Joanna of Castile ordered his body exhumed, had the casket opened, jumped to his side once again, and kissed his dearly departed feet. She then carried his casket everywhere with her.

37. Cleopatra Had Wild Parties

Cleopatra wasn’t just a powerful queen; she was also a party girl. She created a drinking club known as the “Inimitable Livers” with her husband Marc Antony. The club would feast and drink heavily and then go out to play pranks on unsuspecting citizens.

38. People Actually Slept In Coffins

Actress Sarah Bernhardt had a peculiar obsession with death, and from the tender age of 15 onward, she sometimes slept in a custom-made, satin-lined rosewood coffin.

39. Caligula Loved His Horse WAY Too Much

File:Antonio Tempesta (1555-1630) (after) - Caligula (AD 12–41

The Roman Emperor Gaius Caligula made his horse a senator.

40. The Prince Who Was Raised Like A Girl

Philippe, Duke of Orleans was the brother of King Louis XIV. To prevent Philippe from threatening his famous brother, Philippe's mother Queen Anne of Austria raised him to be very feminine, calling him “my little girl” and even urging him to dress up in frilly, feminine clothing as a child.

41. History's Most Shocking Sideshow

Tarrare was an 18th-century French showman. His party trick? He obsessively ate everything, and lots of it. His circus act had him eating, among other things, whole live animals, a basket of apples, and even rocks.

42. A "Huge" Claim To Fame

File:Porfirio Rubirosa, circa 1954.jpg - Wikimedia

1950s international playboy Porfirio Rubirosa had such an infamously large "package," Parisian waiters used to call their 16-inch pepper mills "Rubirosas."

43. Tsar Ivan Really Was Terrible

When Tsar Ivan the Terrible saw his pregnant daughter-in-law walking around in clothing that he didn't approve of, he absolutely snapped. He viciously attacked her, causing her to miscarry. When his son came into the room, Ivan also ended up killing him in a fit of rage.

44. But He Wasn't The Only Mad Russian

Anna, the "Mad Tsarina" of Russia, once tormented one of her hated courtiers by locking him up in an ice palace for the night. Before that, she made him pretend to be a chicken, sitting in her ante-chamber and "laying" eggs.

45. King Tut Was The Product Of The Siblings

File:King Tut Burial Mask (23785641449).jpg - Wikimedia

King Tutankhamun passed at the tender age of 18. Some researchers believe he died from genetic disease, due to the fact his parents were brother and sister.

A group of friends sit with their arms around one another's shoulders while looking out into the sea
Photo by Duy Pham

Some friendships aren't meant to last forever.

That's a hard truth to swallow.

It's easy when you're younger to hold onto everybody and promise forever.

But then LIFE happens, hard and fast.

And then distance grows.

And maybe you realize that those friendships were never what you thought they were.

But often times, the healthiest thing we can do is let them go.

Just follow the signs to the bitter end.

Keep reading...Show less
Therapist offering advice to client
Photo by Mark Williams on Unsplash

Whether it's in a traditional therapy session or not, we all need advice from time to time.

But sometimes during therapy, some truly profound statements may be made that the client will never forget.

Keep reading...Show less