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People Break Down The Kindest Thing A Stranger Has Ever Done For Them Without Asking For Anything In Return

It's comforting to know that there is still some good in the world. There are so many genuinely kind people that exist, and with the way the world is now, it can be easy to lose sight of that. A lot of people have really big hearts, and are willing to help another person in need- even if they're a stranger. Here are a few stories of encounters with kind strangers.

u/keepcalmandbecalm asked: What's the kindest thing a stranger has ever done for you, without asking for anything in return?

What a kind soul.

I was totally down on my luck living out of a hotel, I did have a job but not enough money to stay there until my check came.

A friend of mine bought me lunch and was telling that they couldn't help with much but this is what they had, which was $300 short.

I guess we had talked about it but I don't remember. The next thing I know this guy at the next table is leaving and he tells me not to go until he comes back.

His girlfriend / wife stayed behind even though they had paid the bill. He was back in a few minutes and he hands me $300.

I asked him for his contact info and said he didn't want it back and to keep working to stay off the streets. The man literally stopped my mom and I from becoming homeless.

I still have a job and I am in a nice apartment now but I will always remember that man's generosity. I have tried to help other people as much as I can to pay him back in some way.

Thanks for the question. It reminded me of one man's generosity of spirit and kindness and I think we all need that right now.


Happy Valentine's Day.


A stranger bought myself and my ex dinner on Valentine's Day and the waitress said he was so happy to do it. I guess he was a widower, and doing a kind thing was enough to keep him happy through tough times. Thank you stranger.


That's so heartwarming!


It really makes a difference.

I was 18 and living away from home for the first time (from the UK, moved to Canada). I couldn't afford much so I'd walked two miles through the snow to buy bedding in a discount shop and was having a miserable day. The woman in front of me in the cashier queue put $50 on a store voucher card, handed it to me and walked away before I had a chance to react.

In the middle of a tough day, it really made a difference. Definitely the most memorable random act of kindness I've ever experienced.


That was kind of her.

When I was in Middle School, I crashed my bike in front of the supermarket. It wasn't bad, but I was shaken up. An older lady pulled over and picked me up and took me back to my home. I don't remember her name. It was so sweet.


I'd cry too.


I was struggling through college, had maybe $30 in my account and REALLY needed gas (I commuted 25 miles to campus every day). I pull in and it's full, but a guy waves me down to pull in behind him. He says "hey I bought more than I needed so there's about $10 of gas still on there."

I almost started crying, because that got me almost four gallons of gas. It really helped me out in a bad time, and I'm forever grateful.


50K tickets.

Some old couple gave my son 50k tickets at the arcade.

The husband was dying, this was their last trip, and had been collecting tickets for over 10 years.


That's a beautiful gesture.

Last year, we had to take our dog of 17 years to the vet to be put to sleep. It is a small office, so I am sure our bawling was easily heard from our room as we sat with her in final moments. As we were leaving, we had a nice conversation with a lady that happened to be picking up her dog. She offered her condolences, and the vet said I could just come back tomorrow to pay our bill.

I called the next day to find out how much I owed and found out that nice lady had paid our bill for us. That is easily the nicest thing a stranger has done for me.


Very sweet.


When I was homeless and living in my truck my truck broke down.

There was a guy who lived in a house across the street from where my truck broke down and he came out and helped me figure out that the alternator had died, took me to the auto parts store paid for my new alternator and they said that it would be the next day before it would get in.

He offered to let me spend the night at his house with his family and I got to shower and a good meal and a place to sleep and the next day he took me back to the auto parts store to pick up the alternator helped me install it and gave me a little bit of cash to send me on my way.

He's a good dude and I hope everything's still going great for him.


Pay it forward.

When I was 19, had a flat tire and a kind stranger and his daughter were walking past and the dad stopped to changed my flat without any hesitation. After that, I asked my dad to teach me and have helped people change their tire.


Thanks Connie!

An old lady I met on an Amtrak train when I was ten years old found out I was interested in coins. She asked me for my address and promised to send me "a couple books."

A few weeks later, a big package arrived on my doorstep. Inside was her entire coin collection, most of it carefully cataloged and arranged in coin books.

Thanks, Connie, I still think of this!


Not all mistakes are made equal. Some mistakes, you can get over pretty quickly. Some will stick with you all week—and some will haunt you forever. These Redditors have revealed the HUGE mistakes they'll never live down.

The Fine Print

white wooden door near white bedPhoto by Helen Shi on Unsplash

The overhead fan in our bedroom uses one of those compact halogen light bulbs. Six years ago, the bulb burned out and got really dim, just barely a glow. I bought a replacement bulb, but when I put that one in it was also barely lighting up so I realized the unit was bad. The fan still worked GREAT, it literally is the best fan I’ve ever had because it moves a ton of air and is super quiet.

The fan had also been a gift when we moved into our house. The unit cost over $400 so I didn’t really want to replace it even though our bedroom doesn’t get much natural light so it is pretty dark. So since then, over the years my wife and I have had to make do with no overhead light. We open the windows during the day, and at night use a combination of bedside lamps and the bathroom light.

It’s never really as good at lighting as an overhead light so I keep some flashlights up there for when we are cleaning or looking for something, etc. After six years of living in the dark, this winter I just decided I would replace the darn thing. But before I did, I decided to try one last time with another bulb because, however unlikely, it’s possible BOTH bulbs I had tried were bad. This is when I finally came to the worst realization.

I’m up there installing the new bulb, grab the remote (the fan has a remote), and as I’m turning the light on, I realize: The goddarn thing is dimmable. For six freaking years, we lived with the inconvenience of no overhead light, and the whole time it was just because the darn thing was set to “dim.”

No Laughing Matter

On April 1st this year, I got a group text from my wife Sarah’s side of the family stating there was an emergency family meeting happening that night over dinner at my mother-in-law Barb’s house. I immediately had April Fools spidey senses starting to tingle, but we haven't all got together since Christmas so I overlooked it and said my wife and I were in.

We were the last to arrive and it was pretty somber when we walked in. We all sat down at the table and my wife’s brother Tim informed the family that his wife Ashley had been having an affair and they are divorcing. The affair was with a long-time close family friend, Chris, who lived a block away. Chris' wife Jen had caught them when she came home early one day last week and broke the news to my brother-in-law.

Both families have been friends for years. Like I said, they live less than a block from each other, they each have been married for 15+ years, and they have four kids right around the same age. Honestly, I have always thought both of them were picture-perfect families. Heck all four of them and their kids were at our house two weeks ago for a BBQ.

Anyways, after airing a lot of dirty laundry and their plans to divorce, talking about how it could affect future family functions, and opening it up to the group for any questions...there was silence. Then I screwed up so colossally I can’t believe it. I broke the silence with laughter and a slow clap. I said this was the best April Fool’s gag I've ever seen, but I wasn't falling for it.

I told Ashley and especially Tim they need to consider going into theater, since their performances were top-notch and their tears seemed genuine. Being the newest member of the family (my wife and I married six months ago) this was probably not the best thing to say in hindsight. I probably should not have said anything. Everyone in the room looked horrified.

My mother-in-law, who had been crying the entire time, lost all composure. She left the room in hysterics and did not return before we left. Tim just shook his head, and his cheating wife actually let out a brief chuckle before calling me out for being an idiot for thinking this was a ruse, then she berated me for being so insensitive.

The rest of the family sat in silence shaking their heads as my wife lectured me for trying to make a joke out of a serious situation. I am still dumbfounded at my idiocy. Note to self: Not a joke.

Child’s Play

My wife is working out of town for a couple weeks. Sometime over the weekend, I noticed my son playing with this little silicone cup that kind of looked like a tulip. I asked him what it did and he proceeded to show me its versatility. Over the next few days, it helped the Paw Patrol save the town, it was a treasure chest holding tiny pebbles guarded by pirates, and a force field protecting a space ship.

It came with us to the park, grocery shopping, and even out to dinner one night. I loved that it had its own little satchel and assumed it just went with a playset. Fast forward to this morning and as we’re getting ready for school, Alexa reminds us that it’s show and tell today at school. So my son grabs his little silicone cup and off to school he goes.

I pick him up after school and his teacher asks to speak with me. My son looks happy so I figure he’s not in trouble, or if he is in trouble he did something cheeky that he’s proud of. When I found out what happened that day, I went bright red. Our conversation went something like this. Teacher: “Ben’s show and tell was...interesting.”

Me: “Yeah! It’s cool right? We’ve been playing with that thing for days.” Teacher: “Uh, Mr. Scott, do you know what that is?” I start to panic—oh God, it’s not a toy... Teacher: “...that is a, uh, menstrual cup.” I get confused. Teacher notes my confusion: “It’s um, used to collect menstrual blood...” I’m still confused. Teacher: “It uh, goes inside, and uh...collects blood.”

Me: “It just...stays in there?” She nods. Me: “Are you sure? I don’t think that would, uh, fit...too, uh...comfortably...there.” Teacher: “Oh, it folds in half then springs open inside....” Now we’re both clearly uncomfortable. Me: “Alright where do I get a replacement, because my wife will probably not be too pleased when she returns home and will not want to continue using this one.”

My wife laughed SO HARD when I told her. My son is none the wiser and is having a tea party with the cup right now.

Get That Paper

black sony ps 4 game controllerPhoto by Igor Karimov 🇺🇦 on Unsplash

When I was young, my brothers and I snuck a copy of GTA: San Andreas into the house. We spent days holed up in our basement taking turns playing, and down there my parents didn’t bother us too much. In order to get tons of money for guns (we had yet to figure out my parents’ dialup password so cheats weren’t a thing for us yet), we would go to a seedy club and stand on the stage, absorbing the money dudes threw at the women and just let the game sit for 10-20 minutes.

We had to be careful, though, because sometimes the girls would do a move and bump into the main player CJ and the bouncers would shoot the place up. One day while I was playing, my mom yelled down at us to get ready, saying we’re going to Pizza Hut. In a stroke of genius, I drove to the GTA club got on the stage, and then turned the TV off and we left.

It was to be the heist of the century. My dad, however, was at church at this time, practicing for a gospel concert he was singing in. He always filmed the practices so he could take notes at home upon playback, and this time was no different. While my mom and brothers and I were still at the Hut, he arrived at home and plugged his camcorder into the VCR.

We had just one VCR, and it was connected to the basement TV. Back at the Hut, my mom gets a phone call that makes her face turn white. She puts her napkin down and slowly looks around the table at us and says “Ooookay” a few times into the phone in this really calculating, specific way that she always did when she knew us kids were in trouble before we did.

Naturally, it was at this point that we kids knew we were in trouble. For what, though, we didn’t know. After a very quiet minivan ride, we get home and my mom says, “Boys, why don’t we go down to the basement. Your dad wants to show you his gospel practice downstairs.” It was at THIS point we knew why we were in trouble. So we drag our feet down the stairs.

Lo and behold, my dad is sitting on the couch, TV on, a girl’s bare polygonal body swaying stiffly back and forth on screen to En Vogue’s “My Lovin’,” with CJ standing mere inches away, collecting money. My dad starts in. “Boys, I don’t even know where to begin. This PlayStation was a blessing to you for Christmas and this is how you repay us? By breaking our trust??”

He is holding the controller up now, gesticulating with it. “Here I am, practicing to bring glory to God, and—” but he was cut off, as he inadvertently squeezed the controller, causing CJ to punch the girl. My entire family stands in silence, watching together as the bouncers in the club shoot the place up for what seems like an eternity.

After the shooting stops and CJ appears in front of the hospital, I look back and see my mom silently weeping into her hand. I look at my dad as a single tear rolls down his cheek and he prays under his breath. After another eternity of silence, without a word, my dad bends down, disconnects the PlayStation, walks back to the family computer, disconnects it, goes to his car, and drives away.

For the next four months, he kept the PS2 and PC locked in his office at work. It’s one of my favorite memories of growing up. I miss my brothers.

Fashion Faux-Pas

Minor background: I am a pretty affectionate, and at times effeminate, dude. I'm 6'2” and have a pretty "tough-guy" background in that I was in special forces a while ago, and my roommates all served as well, but I also have thin wrists and sit on my friends' laps and blow kisses to them and stuff. I'm not gay for what it’s worth, I just am me.

So while I was in a shop with a roommate a few weeks ago, he saw these really cool shawls that we both couldn't get out of our heads. So he returned last weekend to buy them and now we have these shawls. Mine makes me look like a Star Wars character and his looks like the Outlaw Josey Wales, these are seriously awesome shawls.

The first night we wore them, everybody at the dive bar we went to (re: dudes) thought they were awesome as well. Then this girl and her friend arrive on an invite from Shawlbro, and it all goes wrong. They are seriously turned off by our sweet shawls. Like, acting pretty weird about them and making comments. Whatever. Around this time, I get a call from my girlfriend.

She's tired and wants to hang out at my place, so I bid these mean girls and Shawlbro adieu and head home. I'm still wearing the shawl when my girlfriend arrives. Well, she's also really taken aback—she won't even kiss me until I take it off. After, we get do the deed and go to sleep…and the next morning she starts asking me if I'm gay.

And she's really serious and aggressive about it. I tell her I'm not, and that if I was I'd definitely know it by now, and she counters with her major evidence of the fact that I own a shawl. Anyway, she gets weird and leaves, and then sends me a text later about how she's sorry and that she "needs to think about what kind of man" she wants, and then doesn't contact me for days.

So yesterday I invite her out, and it all comes crashing down. She's stumbling over her words and talking about how she likes tough guys and how she grew up in the south and needs to get used to The Big City, but that she doesn't know this or that, and eventually I just tell her very politely to get screwed because I'm pretty insulted by this point.

On the way back, now that I'm not directly in front of her, I get this long apologetic text from her but the crux of it is that yeah, she's just not that into me anymore because I wore a shawl. Later on, I tell Shawlbro about this, and apparently he also had a blowout with the girl he was seeing over his shawl that very same night we went out.

We are both going to keep wearing the shawls though, they are warm.

Mistaken Identity

This happened a little over a year ago. So, I work for the TSA, and have for a few years now. It's a good job overall. I'm underpaid, but the benefits are nice, and I get overtime when I want it. A little over a year ago, during the week leading up to Christmas, we had some really bad weather that delayed all the flights. I volunteered to stay late so that my co-workers could go home to their families.

Most of the work was done anyway, so it was mostly just standing around waiting for the odd latecomer. I was working when three passengers came up together: a middle-aged man, a middle-aged woman, and a teenage boy. I figure it's a family traveling together for the holidays, and go about my work. Mom goes through, all is fine. Dad goes through, all is fine.

Kid comes up, and I get a good look at him. Hoodie, sweatpants, shortish hair, smooth face. I figure he's about 13, maybe 14. I hit the button, direct him to wait with me for a moment, and then gesture to the screen, which lit up on his chest area. I tell him that I have to pat that area down. He's a little nervous, but I figure that because he's so young.

This is probably his first time getting a pat-down, but he says okay, and I start the pat-down. I do the left side of the chest, and feel some moob, which catches me off guard because he didn't look chubby at all. I move to the right side of the chest, read what's on the hoodie, and it all clicks at once.

The hoodie has the name of the local college on it. This is an adult, not a child. He's not wearing sweatpants, she is wearing yoga pants. She doesn't even know the couple that just came through. I look at her face, which is bright red, my hand is still on her boob, and I pull it back like I just got bit by a snake. I immediately call for my supervisor, who comes over and asks what's wrong, and I explain the situation to her.

My supervisor covers her mouth, and at first I thought she was absolutely mortified, but then I realized she's trying not to laugh. She takes a minute to pull herself together, tells me to go take a break, and finishes screening the passenger herself. Once that was done, I apologize to the passenger. She tells me it's fine, and that it wasn't the first time she was mistaken for a boy and she probably should have said something before I started touching her. But I wasn’t out of the woods yet.

I leave her alone, and go talk to my supervisor to figure out exactly how fired I am. She tells me to calm down, that it was just an honest mistake, and that she has my back if the passenger files an official complaint, but that probably won't happen and I shouldn't be worried. That reassured me a little, but I still groped a woman and ruined Christmas, so I feel like an absolute monster.

I swallow my shame and finish my shift, then I go into the airport proper to find some food, because I just finished a 12-hour shift and there's no way I have the energy to cook dinner. There, I see my hapless victim sitting at her gate, waiting for her flight. I went up to her to apologize again, and saw that the flight had been delayed until morning; it was about 11 at night now.

I apologize again, she says it's fine, and I ask her if she's planning to stay the whole night. She says she has to, since all the hotels in the area are booked up. I tell her that I'm getting some dinner, and offer to get her some food as well. After all, I already got to second base, I think it's only fair that I buy her dinner. She agrees, and we go to one of the restaurants that is open late, get some food, and start eating.

She said she gets mistaken for a boy a lot, and it's not a big deal. I told her about how I had long hair and no beard in college, and at the gym people would frequently walk into the men's bathroom, see me, and do a double-take to make sure they didn't walk into the ladies' room. She laughed, and we ended up talking for a few hours, before I finally told her that I had to get home, and apologized again. Then came the true twist.

She said that all is forgiven…if I promise to take her on a real date when she gets back. I agreed, she gave me her phone number, and I went home and immediately started texting her. We kept talking until her flight finally left, and when she got back I picked her up at the airport, and a few days later took her on that date that I promised her. We just celebrated our one-year anniversary. She has long hair now.

That’s Nuts

an ambulance driving down a street next to tall buildingsPhoto by Lalithmalhaar Gudi on Unsplash

I got out of a bad relationship a few months ago and only recently felt good enough to get out of the house again. This was my first-ever boyfriend and he turned out to be a piece of trash, so I was obviously a bit hesitant. But some old friends from high school were visiting my town and asked if I wanted to go on a bar crawl with them and I figured screw it, it's not like anything will happen, so why not?

At the first bar, we run into a group of guys from my university. I had seen some of them around but never spoke to them before. One of my friends decides she's going to force me to "get out of my shell" and drags our group over to talk with them. I'm EXTREMELY quiet (like...weirdly quiet to most people) so I end up sitting in the corner of our booth and not saying anything, just drinking and feeling awkward.

Well, one of the guys in the other group, let's call him Adam, is also being weirdly quiet. So my friends and his friends, who are already tipsy, decide to make things as awkward as possible by making us play truth or dare—except we have to drink when we don't want to answer something. There are a lot of personal questions neither of us want to answer, so we end up drinking quite a bit.

By the time we're done the first bar, Adam and I are on a whole different plane of existence from everyone else. It actually turned out that we had a lot in common, and he was pretty cute, and we're goofing around and laughing the whole time. I started to get butterflies in my stomach, and not just from the drinks. Adam has my exact sense of humor and is really sweet and kind.

We wander off and start having deep conversations about feeling left out of things and how annoying it is when people say stuff like, "Can they speak?" I tell him I'm walking home and he offers to walk with me. I know where this is going but I don't feel nervous, plus I feel like I have a genuine connection with this guy. Our friends are wolf-whistling as we leave and instead of being embarrassed, I feel weirdly proud.

So we get to my place, talk for a bit, and do the deed. I wake up earlier than him and decide I'm going to make a nice breakfast. I want to impress him and show him I like him, and everyone likes a good breakfast when they have a hangover, right? So I sneak out of bed and make scrambled eggs, French toast, and sausage. I prefer almond milk so I use that for the eggs and French toast.

He wakes up and tells me I look just as cute sober. At this point, I'm convinced he's the love of my life. He sees the breakfast and gets excited and I'm like yes! My plan worked! I'm going to get to his heart through his stomach! We eat and everything's going great for a few bites. Then he makes a weird face and clears his throat. His eyes start to widen and he asks me if there were nuts in the bread or something.

I say no, but I used almond milk. He jumps out of his chair and says, "CALL AN AMBULANCE RIGHT. NOW." I'm freaking the heck out. He's wheezing and stuff and looks absolutely panicked. I ask if he has an EpiPen and he shakes his head no. So I call an ambulance and tell them he's having an allergic reaction and paramedics come and haul him off.

This happened last weekend. I have not heard back from him since. I found his buddy and confirmed he is OK. I guess accidentally triggering a severe allergic reaction does not lead to romance.

The Mother Of All Punishments

My son was not doing his homework so I confiscated his GameBoy Advance. I told him he would get it back next week. Well, he’s a pretty clever dude and knew all my hiding places, so I put it someplace he would never look. There was one not so little problem. I suffered a traumatic brain injury a few years earlier and I often forget stuff.

So when he did his homework and asked for it back after a week, I…could not find it. Aargh. I looked everywhere. (Narrator: Obviously not everywhere...) Then we moved houses. And I still didn’t find it. SpongeBob: 18 YEARS LATER...I was donating some coats I had not worn in a long time, and in the pocket of a Viennese trench coat from the 1930s, I found...his GameBoy Advance.

I turned it on. And it WORKED. Pokémon appeared. I put fresh batteries into it and handed it to my 28-year-old son, who proceeded to laugh for a good five minutes, then played it for a few hours. Then proceeded to tell my wife and other adult children how silly I was.

The King Of The Shadow Realms

I messed up by jumping into a lake in my bra and panties to save a man…who turned out to be an elite military scuba diver in training. So, I’m couch-surfing with my sister and her boyfriend. I work for him at the lakeside bar, trying to pay for college. While I’m not thrilled, I need both the job and my sofa accommodations to make it work.

To give them their space, I take a run by the lake in the mornings. This lake is incredible and draws scuba divers to the flooded town at the bottom. Today, I was in my own head running when a dark mass floated to the surface 40 feet away. I was on the craggy side of the lake and this dude looked D.E.A.D. Facing away from me, his head was tipped back, eyes closed, bobbing like a fishing lure. No one else was around.

I thought he was quantum crazy out here scuba diving alone at the crack of dawn, giving himself the bends or some nonsense. Like an idiot, I didn’t yell at him to check in. Instead, I toed off my shoes and stripped to my skivvies to save the imbecile. The movie trailer in my head had me taking three glorious steps and launching into the deep blue water, black widow style. Instead, my tender feet hit the sharp rocks and I contorted under the pain like a slinky as I uncoordinatedly pitched myself into the water, doing a side-flop.

I was also wearing my contacts so I swam hard in his direction with my eyes closed. When I open them, I saw I horrifying sight. He was just staring at me like I’d lost my ever-lovin’ mind, so I blurted, “Are you okay?” He removed the regulator and incredulously said, “...Yes?” My brain blue-screened while I tread water. The lake felt infinitely deep.

Before I could terrify myself by hearing the Jaws theme song, I turned to nope the heck out of there, yelling over my shoulder, “I thought you needed saving” to explain my idiocy. As I pivoted, another dude cleared his throat from 30 feet away on the other side. I never heard a sound from him so I freaked out, flailing and belting an ear-wounding scream at him.

Both of them laughed as a few more heads surfaced around us. I was surrounded by divers, all wildly entertained by my ridiculous high-octane mess up. After pointing to me and the beach, the merman who was my original target cautiously swam toward me after I nodded and "took" me to the shore. The beach was much further than I had anticipated, so I was trying to low-key breathe, hiding my need to suck all of the O2 from the air.

Also, the comedy of the situation consumed me and I started to giggle. Finally, I joked, “Dude, you are lucky you weren’t actually dying because it would have taken everything I have to drag your sorry butt this far.” He chuckled before offering me a “tow.” “Heck no! Not gonna happen.” Even if I had to dog paddle, I wouldn’t openly accept that defeat.

He quietly mocked me the rest of the way to the shore. I’m a secret sap for it. They were cadets or recent graduates from a military college, here for the summer. They’ve been training in pools and were doing some “open water” exercises; they had been out there at least part of the night. I’m sure I blew up whatever drill they were running.

He’s training for pre-dive school (?) and since I am an expert googler, I’m guessing that means combat diving. At the shore, I did my best to throw my shoulders back and march out of the water in my sports bra and undies in front of what I can only imagine are some pretty tough men. I did invite him and his clandestine crew for an absurdly overpriced drink at the bar before shame-jogging back into the woods for my clothes.

At this point, I’ll admit there is a part of me that is attracted to his mysterious appearance from the shadow realm, and I’m definitely imaging that he’s constructed from some kind of aluminium steel alloy, but he was also funny and kind. I was vibing his proclivity for witty and sarcastic comments and have a million questions I want to ask him.

So, the night comes. I went full cute in a sundress and Jesus sandals. My sister's boyfriend blabbed the whole thing and all of the staff was in full-on ribbing mode. Kinda great actually. It took forever, but he finally showed. Yes, I was as dorky as you would have imagined. He’s handsome and funny and he smells great. Yes, I hugged him.

I’m southern…it's what we do…not the smelling, the hugging. He’s nice and smart and keeps defending me from my jerk friends at the bar, who have almost called him “merman” to his face. I think he low-key likes that everyone knew who he was. I’ve learned a lot about him, but it wouldn’t be fair to share without his permission.

His whole crew did not come—only one and his buddy immediately started flirting with my co-worker. That’s a good sign. I think. He also shared some of the stuff he's been taking today from his friends for being “saved.” He has the same self-deprecating sense of humor as me. I think we are vibing. Now, feels different to talk about him now that we've spent some time together.

I like him. There’s chemistry and similar interest. The merman, the frog prince, the dashing man from depths, the king of the shadow realm is still very much in my life. He’s better than I can describe with my mortal words. I hope something amazing and magical happens to each of you, and if it happens to be shamefully funny, I hope you will share because we all need as many laughs as we can get.

Polite Dinner Conversation

a close up of a double strand of gold glitterPhoto by ANIRUDH on Unsplash

This happened about a year ago. I was 18 years old at the time and I was dating a boy named Jacob, who was also my age. His father was a mechanic, and his mom was a homemaker. They were a pretty typical white suburban family in the south and had asked Jacob if they could meet me even though we had only been dating for a month.

At the dinner, I met his mom, dad, older brother, older sister, and her newborn daughter. The dinner went well and I was chatting about my volunteer work at my college's blood drive, to which his father explains that his doctor told him he was O negative and a universal blood donor. My boyfriend mentions he is also O, but his siblings casually mention they are both AB.

I don’t think anything of it because my boyfriend had mentioned that his mom was married once before and was widowed. The following conversation went like this: Me: “Oh that's really cool. You're a really rare blood type. If you don't mind me asking, is your mom's blood type A and your dad's B, or your dad's A and mom's B?”

Older sister: “What do you mean? He's O.” She gestures to my boyfriend’s father here. Me: “Oh I know. I was just asking about your biological father, but of course, you don't have to answer if you don't want to.” I notice his mom get really pale, and it was in that moment I realized I screwed up. Older brother: “What do you mean biological father?”

Me: “I'm sorry. I didn't mean anything by it.” At this point, Jacob's dad got real quiet and was looking at his wife's face. He knew instantly. I look over to Jacob who I think was starting to put the full picture of what was happening together. Dad: “Are you saying they're not my biological kids? Because my wife swore up and down in marriage counseling (by "marriage counseling" he means with a pastor) that they were my kids and she would never cheat on me.”

At this point, I’m putting together that she never had any kids from her previous marriage. Mom: “I would never cheat on you. They are your kids.” The dad turns to me and says, “So why do you think they're not my kids?” I tried to excuse myself because it was very clear the cat was out of the bag, and with a quick Google search from my boyfriend, he starts cussing out his mom.

She starts to sob and apologizes over and over again, and I am forced to explain 9th-grade biology to his father about the fact that the only kids he could have produced were with the blood type: O, A or, B, but absolutely not AB. Jacob was the only one with the possibility of being his son. They all start screaming at one another, and the older sister eventually leaves because her newborn is screaming too.

His mom goes and locks herself in the bedroom. His older brother follows her, screaming and asking who his real father is. My boyfriend is trying to figure out if his dad still wants to be their father. I eventually have a friend come pick me up. Yeah...we broke up shortly after, but not before figuring out through paternity tests that none of the kids produced from the marriage were the dad’s. They divorced soon after.

Pay It Forward

My buddy and I ordered a pizza last night. Unaware that I already paid with my debit card, I walk to my door with $30 and gave him a 20% tip on top of that which had been paid online. The driver was about in his mid-30s, barely spoke English, and he was driving a beat-up car. He said, "Thank you!" very enthusiastically, which made me realize in about two seconds that I just gave him double the money for the order, which he would obviously receive as a tip.

I was about to admit my mistake and ask for the money back...before I saw his reaction while he was walking to his car. He had a smile from ear to ear like he struck gold or something. He even did this little mini jump before he hopped into his car. I'm not exactly Bill Gates, I still have debts to pay, but I'm glad I messed up to help someone who needed the money more than I did.

Anyways, I felt pretty dumb after, but the joy I saw in that man made my week. It was pretty cool for me, as my dad moved to Canada from across the world with only a bike and a few hundred bucks.

Let Me Rephrase

My son has autism—level 1, what was previously called Asperger’s. Due to that, he also has a psychiatrist, multiple psychologists, and many doctors. We decided to get a new primary doctor who works closely with his other providers to better coordinate his care this past summer. I brought my son in for a standard "well child" visit, and spent nearly an hour with this new doctor going over his issues, medications, history, etc.

Toward the end of the visit she says to me, "Well, he can get the gardasil vaccine today," to which I reply, joking, "Oh, no he can't have that, I don't want him to get autism." I should maybe note here that I am an aspie too, and while I think my sarcasm is on point, I must have been a little too serious looking because she just stared at me.

The silence lasted an eternity while I imagine she was deciding how to proceed. Eventually, I laughed and tried to assure her I was only kidding, but she only returned a nervous-sounding chuckle and left the room. As my son and I were discussing whether I was offensive (he thought I was hilarious) in walked the nurse with a stack of information about vaccines.

He started his lecture about vaccine safety and potential risks, etc. and no amount of my assurances that we are not in fact anti-vax would stop him. He just kept saying, "Okay, well I have to tell you this," in a way that suggested that the doctor told him to give me the full spiel. For what it’s worth, of course we took the gardasil that day.

Shout out to Nurse Pete for being the first nurse to ever give my kid a vaccine without him crying or fist-fighting everyone. I wish everyone could have a Nurse Pete.

Karma’s A Witch

a woman covers her mouth with her handsPhoto by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

My wife has a history of startling and scaring me easily due to me being deaf in one ear from tinnitus, which has dramatically decreased my situational awareness. She finds it hilarious and I’ve grown to tolerate it because of love and all. Still, I decided my time for revenge had come. Cut to dinner time, and I’m about to boil a box of rigatoni pasta when the inspiration hits me from a video on social media I saw.

I hide a piece of that rigatoni between my teeth and make my way into the living room where my wife was relaxing on the couch after a long day of being a nurse. “Hey sweetheart, do you mind rubbing my neck? I feel like I have a kink in it or something,” I ask her. At this point, I can barely contain my excitement for this amazing prank as she happily begins massaging my neck for me.

After 30-45 seconds, I then bite down hard on that piece of uncooked rigatoni, which released a sickening yet satisfying crunch sound. I give a little “ow” sound and immediately go limp, falling face first into the couch. Now my wife is mostly a calm, non-emotional type person, but her visceral reaction of terror and worry and panic that came flooding out of her while she started to shake my limp body and began to check my vitals made me feel guilt like I’ve never felt before.

After only a short time, I give up on the ruse and show her it was just pasta. To say she was livid is an understatement. I’ve been sleeping on the couch ever since. Worth it.

Couples Therapy

Recently, I finally managed to convince my fiancée to smoke weed with me. She's always been anti it, but now that we're just a few weeks away from getting married and being all grown up, she's gone full YOLO. This turned into a total nightmare. She became extremely relaxed and talkative. It was cute at first, listening to her go on and on about life and love. But then it got kind of specific.

She mentioned how she never expected to be with someone like me. I didn't even have to encourage her to explain because the floodgates were already wide open. All those details spilled out without any filter. This is what I learned from my fiancée that I never knew before: Most of her past relationships ended because she was notoriously promiscuous.

One of those relationships came to an end after she cheated on her boyfriend by hooking up with his younger brother, while also cheating on the darn brother, with his best friend, who just so happened to be a girl. I'm the first guy she's had to do the "faking it" thing with. Apparently, all her exes pushed all the right buttons whereas I don't.

My asthma is a turn-off when it comes to intimacy because she feels like she needs to hold back, so that I don't get too excited. All her exes were well-endowed (of course they were!). I'm her first average. Those were some of the key points. I was too traumatized to register whatever else she said afterward. I don't think I blinked for the rest of the evening. But it got so much worse.

Even though I knew what my fiancée said would haunt me forever, I was willing to bury it in the back of my mind and pretend like it never even happened. However, the day after, my fiancée wanted to talk. So we did. It was brutal. She said my mom was right about her being wrong for me. Long story short, all of this was building up to her admitting she'd been sending private photos to one of her well-endowed exes.

I'm emotionally destroyed. It doesn't feel real yet, so I have trouble accepting it's over. But it is. Guess I'm returning that ring and getting a PS5.

Baring It All

I recently started a new job about 5-6 months ago doing some tech work. With that being said, I’m a pretty young girl, just 24, and definitely the youngest person who works there by far. I also mostly work with men, 30-40. We have a GroupMe for the store I work at, which includes the owner, the manager, and about 5-6 other employees.

The previous night I had been feeling a little frisky and took some pictures and videos for the guy that I was with at the time. No biggie right? The next morning I had work, go in as normal, pretty busy day actually. Noon rolls around and I needed to post a picture to the GroupMe about a issue I was having with a computer I was working on.

I typed what I needed to say and clicked the camera roll icon. Just as I clicked the picture, a customer came up and started asking me a question. I hit send without thinking and go on about my day. I should also probably say that by this time I was working alone and closing so no one else was around. The customer who came in kept me pretty busy for 30-45 mins.

When they finally left, I went to check my phone and saw I had a bunch of missed calls from my first I thought he was just calling me about the question I had. While the phone was ringing, I went back to look at the GroupMe. My heart dropped instantly when I realized what happened. To my horror I CLICKED NOT JUST A PICTURE FROM THE NIGHT BEFORE, BUT THE WHOLE VIDEO.

My boss picked up the phone and he began questioning me about what my “intentions” were with the video and that he’s never had anyone do such a disrespectful act in the company before. I tried to explain, but needless to say that was my last day working there. On the bright side, the co-worker I had a crush on...I finally got his attention.

Standing Up For Yourself

girl standing near plantsPhoto by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

My son was born with a condition called Pectus Excavatum. In layman’s terms, his chest is sunken in. His condition was so bad that he only had two and a half inches between his sternum and his spine, and his heart and lungs were bruised because of it. In December, he had surgery to correct it and they put two nickel bars in his chest to give it space and train his bones to grow correctly.

About three weeks after his surgery, a kid punched him and dislodged the top bar and he had to have another surgery to put the bar back in place. The kid has been through a lot. Well, the doctor cleared him for most activity last week, just no skateboarding or bike riding, but he could now lift his backpack and go hang out with friends and play pick-up, or non-contact sports.

Unbeknownst to me, a kid in his class had been teasing him all semester. And because my son was afraid of getting hit again, he just took it. Well, the evening he was cleared he came to me and said, “Dad, I’m cleared now. A kid has been hitting me for months. Can I kick his butt?” Well, my son isn’t really a fighter. He’s fought with his brothers but never anyone else, and he’s always gotten his butt kicked.

So I just figured he was just talking. But this is the first I had heard about the kid and I was concerned. I could tell he was distressed about the situation, so I told him to knock the guy out. He just nodded and went to his room. Now, his older brother is a tough guy. He had a traumatic brain injury two years ago and he missed a year of school so he’s in the same grade and coincidentally takes the same class.

I talked to him about it and told him to handle it but don’t get in trouble. He told me that the kid walks in every day and punches my son in the head. I asked him why he allowed that to happen and he said he wanted his brother to get tough and once he was tired of getting hit, he would do something about it. While I kind of agree with his thinking, I instructed him to handle it without getting in trouble.

The next morning I took them both to school, then drove back home to get my younger daughter who goes to a different school that starts later. On the way to take her to school, my wife calls me. “Have you taken her to school yet? Well, after you do, go pick up your son. He got in a fight.” I just assumed it was my oldest son. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the school office to see my younger son with a grin from ear to ear!

He was beaming! He pointed to another kid sitting in a chair holding an ice pack on his face. “I warned him,” he said. I was so proud. He had walked into class, sat down, and the kid popped him in the head like always. My older son got up to intervene and before he could, my younger son decked the kid with one punch.

He said the kid was bawling on the floor and that it was the best day of his life. He got suspended for three days. So yeah, I gave my son permission to beat up his tormenter because I didn’t think he would…and he did it. My son has some social anxiety and since the fight he has made a LOT of new friends. He used to hate going to school but now he’s disappointed that school is out for summer. Crazy!

In The Pocket

I was at a party and saw a girl across the room. She was wearing a skirt, holding a drink in one hand, and had the other hand in her pocket. I saw her skirt, thought to myself how cool that skirt is having pockets. A lot of women I know complain about not having pockets, so this is a very progressive thing. A bit later, I got around to talking to her.

I complimented her skirt, and how having pockets in a skirt is great. She looked very confused, then said, “My skirt doesn’t have pockets, why would you think that?” I mentioned that I had seen her earlier with her hand in her pocket. Her face went bright red. Then she revealed that her hand was amputated. What I thought was her hand in her pocket was her stump resting against her hip.

I apologized immediately, but luckily she thought it was funny because she’d never heard that comment before. I’m still crying inside though.

Every Dog Gets His Day

I hope people appreciate how much I'm laughing but also how many horrible regrets I have over this situation. Let me start by saying it's important to note that whenever I cook hotdogs, I slice the package, take out a few, roll the rest back up in the plastic packaging, and fasten it all with some good old-fashioned elastic bands. Today…I did not.

I couldn't tell you why my dumb brain decided to just fold the plastic over a few times and place it back on the shelf, but here we are. So my spouse comes running down in their few minutes between endless meetings to make their lunch quickly. We are the only two in our house, plus our little rescue dog who was a stray and an absolute MOOCH.

I mean, this dog will weave between your feet, eyes GLUED to the floor, hoping for even a single speck of crumb because woe is him, he's never been fed a day in his life. So we're all in the kitchen, I hear the fridge open, and it suddenly dawns on me in horror that my spouse is MOST DEFINITELY going to go for those hotdogs I wrapped like an idiot.

I quickly turn around to say something, and in slow motion, my spouse wide-eyed stares at me as the hotdog package unrolls like a fruit-by-the-foot commercial and DOUSES my dog's entire skull in too-much-to-be-reasonable-in-one-freaking-package of hotdog water. My dog lost his MIND. Like a Christian grandma with the second coming of Christ, my dog just tears across the entire apartment with the worst case of the zoomies I think we've ever seen him have.

He proceeds to spend the next 15 minutes singing our praises as the greatest humans alive as he rolls across every piece of furniture we own. I'm talking every. Piece. Of. Furniture. Now I don't hate hotdogs but the smell is weirdly overpowering, and every time I sit down on something now all I can smell is godforsaken hotdogs. My dog loves it though.

And now I'm figuring out how to shampoo out hotdog water from my life. I have so many regrets.

Make Yourself At Home

architectural photography of brown and white housePhoto by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

My friend Jenna moved into a nice, new condo last month and I finally got a chance to check it out for the first time today. I ended up arriving before she got home from work so she told me to let myself in with the spare key under the potted plant and to make myself comfortable. I made myself a sandwich and was meandering around eating and checking out her swanky new place when the front door opened and a really large and unfamiliar man with a duffel bag came in.

This dude was intimidating and I'm a 4'11" woman, so I was immediately scared. He looked shocked to see me. I'm looking at his duffel bag and realizing that I surprised some piece of trash burglar! I panicked and threw my sandwich at his face and then locked myself in the bedroom. I'm shaking and he pounds on the door yelling at me to get the heck out.

I start screaming at HIM to get the heck out and that I'm calling the authorities (total bluff because I didn't have my phone). His response made me stop in my tracks. He then yells back that HE is calling the authorities on ME. This gives me pause. At this point, I look around and realize the bedroom I'm in definitely appears to be of the male persuasion.

I ask him through the door if he knows Jenna (last name). He tells me yes, she is his next-door neighbor. WELL. Apparently, Jenna's neighbor ALSO keeps a spare key under a potted plant. So, today I messed up by letting myself into my friend's neighbor's place, smacking him in the face with his own sandwich, and then screaming at him to get the heck out of his house.

Clean Up Crew

The other night my wife and I were getting ready for bed and being kind of flirty. I had to use the restroom, so stayed downstairs while she went up to bed. While I was sitting on the toilet I got a text: "Bring a bucket and a mop." Oh darn, I think, one of my kids must have thrown up. I finished my toilet business and went down to the basement to check the cleaning supplies.

I found a bucket, but couldn't find a mop. I found one of those squeezy sponge things, but the sponge was missing. Figuring the vomit was probably congealing by this point, I just grabbed the bucket and a bunch of paper towels and ran upstairs. I got to the upstairs bathroom…and found no mess. I carried the cleaning supplies down to my kids’ rooms, but found no vomit.

I went to our bedroom and found my wife lying on the bed. She asked what had taken me so long, and I said I couldn't find a mop, and where was the mess? She started rolling around on the bed laughing. Suddenly I realized "Bring a bucket and a mop" was a line from "WAP.” My wife had been in the mood, and I had spent 15 minutes looking for a mop.

She was laughing so much that the mood was basically gone.

For All To See

So, anyone that has an Apple device may have noticed they do these “memory videos” for 2020. Anyways, I had just discovered this feature and was watching it with my girlfriend. Slowly, other immediate family members joined around us after having heard the “chill” music that played along with the montage. We saw some cute pictures of our pets, museum visits, my girlfriend and I spotting deer, us decorating our new apartment, time spent at my mom’s house, visits to forest preserves, and other activities.

Then it happened.

About three minutes into the montage, it shifted from a picture to a short clip of me doing something very intimate to my girlfriend. Time froze. Someone said, “Oh my” in the tone of an antebellum-age southern lady, and I whipped my phone down. People walked away, but a proverbial fly on the wall would have collided with the amount of tension in the air, which would require more than a knife to cut.

I’m now home laying in bed typing this and thinking about how 30 years from now, this is going to be one of those embarrassing memories that keep me up at night.

Not Today, Satan

man lying on grass fieldPhoto by Karim Mansour on Unsplash

I get sleep paralysis, and I have for the past few years off and on. Usually every couple of months, I’ll get a sleep paralysis dream. I’ve talked to my parents about it before, and the mess-up is not that they know, the screw-up is that I decided to try drawing what I saw over my bed last night, and then sent a picture to my mom. Now, my parents are very Catholic.

Like, homeschooled for six years and went to church every day Catholic. Like, when things go bad in life, my dad wholeheartedly believes it’s the devil actively attacking us so we lose our faith. Which explains their reaction when I showed them the picture, which to be fair looked like a scary demon. Cue the panicked phone call from my parents, who now believe the devil visits me in my sleep.

I spent 30 minutes on the phone with them trying to find a Bible or a rosary so my mom could sleep without worrying my soul would be taken. They now want me to talk to a priest and get my house blessed and use holy water every time I enter it. The next time I visit them, I may end up in an impromptu exorcism. Wish me luck.

Whoever Smelt It, Dealt It

One day I woke up and had really painful cramps due to the awful woman’s monthly cycle, mixed with some spiced chicken that hadn’t sat right in my belly all night. I go to the toilet about three times before work that morning, but it eased off a bit so I take tablets, grin and bear it, then leave for work. Now, my job is within the Prison System, accompanying inmates to certain places, including courts. This is where it all went downhill.

I had to take this inmate over to the witness box and stand next to her in open court. So I do my usual but my tummy has started to really hurt again. I’m trying my absolute best to put off a toot which I know is brewing but can’t hold it much longer. So I do a really silent one and pat myself on the back thinking I had got away with it...

That is until the inmate starts coughing and retching and shouting, “What the heck is that?!” I quickly realize what it must be but can’t admit to such a foul, putrid smell so start crinkling my nose as well and gagging. The administrative clerk walks slightly closer and retches so hard she had to swiftly put her head in the bin.

By this point, it’s getting loud and chaos is starting to ensue. Not what you want in court, in front of the district judge. The judge quickly tells me to take the prisoner back over to the closed dock and states it must be the pipes. He stands down the whole of court and makes maintenance come in to check all pipes for any leaks, cracks, ANYTHING that could have made that smell happen.

All’s Well That Ends Well

Two months ago, I screwed up. I was infatuated with this super cute guy who came in and guest lectured for one of my classes. I ended up realizing, not in a way that I wanted to at all, that he actually works three labs down from the lab I work at. Basically, one day most of the floor was on holiday and my close friend and I were hanging around the hallway joking about my crush on this guy.

I kept saying all the dirty things I would let him do to me. Well, he overheard, came out and told me and my friend to be quiet, then winked at me. I was so mortified. I didn't come back to the lab until winter break was over, hoping that the large influx of people would somehow prevent me from ever seeing him again. That didn't happen.

On my first day back, I was in the break room making some toast when he walks in. “Oh God,” I thought. Knowing that a confrontation was probably inevitable, I knew I ought to apologize for my crass comment. But instead, I frantically looked away and focused on putting peanut butter on my toast because if I do that, he can't see me right?

That didn't happen again. Instead, he came up right next to me, smiled, and said, "Hey, how was your break?" I looked up awkwardly and told him it was fine, and that I mainly just stayed on campus and worked at the lab. He told me that he basically did the same but went to see his family for a couple of days. He didn't bring up what happened either, thank God.

Then he said something along the lines of, "Is that all you’re having for lunch?" and I was like, "Uh yeah, I was in a rush and forgot to pack something." Then he said, "Oh, I was gonna go grab something to eat at the sandwich place, do you wanna come with?" I was like what the heck, that smooth operator. I tried not reading into it and brushed it off as him being nice so I said sure and we went.

Well. We ended up having a great lunch, and tomorrow is our one-month anniversary.

The Master Snooper

a woman making a funny face with her mouth openPhoto by Alexander Krivitskiy on Unsplash

About three weeks ago, I began preparations to get a nice gift for my boyfriend, who I'll call "Ray," to celebrate four years of dating. We live in a terribly humid place, and all summer he's been complaining about how sweaty his butt and balls get whenever he goes outside. He's been buying the same brand of cotton boxer-briefs since we started dating.

I thought it would be a nice homage to our great relationship, and a great way to take care of the butt I get to squeeze on the regular, to splurge on a mail subscription service to some silky micromodal underwear. They are pricey but known for being wicking, cooling, and overall very nice on the buns and balls. I ordered the first pair to present to him on the day of, and set up for a pair to be delivered monthly thereafter.

I used his email on the sign-up so that I could simply pass on the account to him after the first pair came. That way, he'd have full power to pick his colors and style every month, and easily return any if there were unexpected problems. One small problem: The receipt for this whole transaction is now resting in his email where he can find it and spoil my surprise.

So I sneakily hacked into his computer while he was out, by which I mean I entered the password he's shared with me, because he foolishly trusted me not to wreck his stuff, and opened up his email. I simply archived the existing emails and set it up so that future emails from the company would be auto-marked as read and then archived as well.

I know how to do this because I'm a brilliant hacker (I Googled it). While carefully double-checking my devious work just to ensure nothing slipped through the cracks, a new email pinged on arrival and caught my attention. A SHIPPING CONFIRMATION FOR AN ENGAGEMENT RING. I immediately noped off his computer, and of course, I didn't open the email, but the damage is done.

Secret's out! My heart fell right through my butt, you guys. I probably should have pretended I never saw that, and taken the secret to my grave, but I was too pumped and couldn't keep it in. Within the hour, I broke down and called Ray to sheepishly confess what I had done. He wasn't angry, but sadly disappointed that I spoiled the surprise.

Here's the kicker: he hasn’t actually proposed yet, and still intends to make a thing out of it. My punishment for snooping is that the suspense is RUINING ME. I've been forbidden from telling anyone that we're getting engaged until it's official. Every time we go out, the suspense that this may be the night drives me crazy! A romantic date at the beach the other evening ended with me saying, “Darn, I thought for sure we were getting engaged tonight."

"Why would you think that I'm going to propose to you?" He said. "That sounds like something you wouldn't know about because I'd keep it secret IN MY PERSONAL EMAIL!" Now he's started intermittently faking me out. The other day, he walked into the kitchen and presented me with a little hinged box, which turned out to contain a tie pin from his work.

He keeps getting down on one knee...Looking up at me...And saying, "Gotta tie this shoe!" The emotional stress of keeping this exciting secret within me, not sharing it with co-workers or family or anyone, is MADDENING. Every false start sends my heart right back into my butt. One more thing: I somehow messed up the email settings anyway.

The shipping confirmation for the underwear didn't get archived on arrival, and he saw it within a few hours. So that surprise got spoiled, too. Turns out I'm not a master hacker, and my attempts have only brought woe into this house. I guess it's not all bad: He reports that the pair of boxer-briefs that arrived are very nice to wear, and I do indeed enjoy squeezing his buns in them.

If we ever do actually get married it'll be nice to be hitched to a guy with sweet, silky buns and balls.

The Honey Trap

My family—my wife, kids, in-laws, and I—had just returned from a pontoon cruise for the evening. It was later than usual so I sent the wife up on the golf cart with the kids and in-laws to get them some dinner while I covered up the boat. About halfway through covering up the boat, I notice someone halfway across the cove in the water all on their own, and she appeared to maybe be in distress.

She wasn’t making progress swimming one way or the other and was occasionally going underwater. There were people on the opposite shoreline yelling at her, but I couldn’t tell what they were saying. I yell asking if she needs help and she says yes. I call my wife and tell her to come down on the cart, someone is in the water and needs help, and I’m going in.

I say I might need help getting the person out. I put on a life jacket and grab the throw cushion from the boat. I swim out to the person and pass off the throw cushion. She appears out of breath. First thing she says to me is, “I don’t have a top on.” I respond with, “Umm ok, but are you okay?” I also immediately think to myself: First, my friends are never going to believe this, and second, what is my wife going to think with a half-dressed woman swimming to shore with me?

She then says she’s running from her boyfriend who is “messed up.” She also asks if it’s shallow enough to touch yet. It wasn’t going to be. I help her to the dock where my wife meets us. She tells my wife, “I’m sorry but I don’t have a shirt on.” Again, my wife just asks if she’s okay and she tells us the boyfriend story again. Sure enough, as she gets out of the water she isn’t wearing a shirt.

However, she is carrying a white t-shirt that she quickly throws on. She then immediately begins running to shore. At the same time, we notice a pontoon cruising towards our dock and yelling at us. At first I think this must be her boyfriend chasing her and we are in the middle of some domestic dispute. They quickly get closer and I realize it’s two sheriff deputies who flagged a pontoon down to carry them across the lake.

As they are jumping onto the dock we notice the girl had just jumped into our golf cart and was riding away on it. Apparently, she was allegedly involved in a string of burglaries and the “boyfriend” she was running away from was….the authorities. I had unknowingly aided her to swim across the lake to escape and she used our golf cart as a getaway.

The officers chased her for a while through the night, tracking her down once more but she escaped again.

What A Scream

This was a few years ago. I took the family to Ginnie Springs, a beautiful Florida water spot, for a day of swimming and a little picnic. So as I was swimming in the crystal clear water, watching my son floundering around in his water wings and just having a good ol time, my son suddenly stopped, pointed at the water and said, "Look daddy, a lizard!" I looked over and my jaw dropped.

I saw that no, it was NOT a lizard that was swimming over to us, it was a snake. After a quick examination, I realized that this was a Water Moccasin, and a large one at that, heading right for us. So yelling for my son to back away, I waded out to grab him and dragged him back to shore. The snake was making a beeline for us, which is weird because most of the time they avoid human contact.

I started to splash water at it, trying to slow it down enough so I could reach the shore before it got too close. So as I was backing up, slapping water at a poisonous snake with one hand and dragging a laughing child (who had no idea what was going on) with the other, I reached close enough to the shoreline to grab a branch that had fallen from a tree.

It was long and pretty sturdy. It was perfect for what needed to be done. As the snake got in close, I went all caveman on it and bashed it a dozen times with the branch. It worked. The snake started to float away. I then realized that all the people swimming around in this water would not take too kindly to bumping into a four-foot Moccasin corpse.

So using the branch, I launched the snake into a stretch of woods off to my right. Well, I guess the snake was not balanced right on the branch, and I was full of adrenaline, so instead of the woods, the snake flew high into the air, drifting off to the right where PLOP. It landed square on a picnic table. To make matters worse, it landed on a pile of shoes that a girl scout troop had left when they went wading in the water.

"Oh God!” was all I could think, as I began to quickly swim across the spring to remove the snake from the table. But as I was swimming, I heard them…the giggles and laughter of little 12-year-old girls returning to get their shoes. I stopped cold. I was too late. I began to swim away, trying to hide myself as I saw the first curly-haired head approach the table.

There was laughing, there was chatting and talking...then there was a pause. And that is when the screaming started. If you have never heard a dozen 12-year-old girls scream in horror as they saw a large, bloody snake draped across their shoes, I cannot even begin to explain the sound. Even as I dove underwater, I heard the screaming. night...I still hear the screams.

That’s So Karen

woman covering her ears photoPhoto by William Krause on Unsplash

My family loves to overshare. This lack of filter sometimes has the tendency to get people into trouble because not all the information is provided, even when it's meant harmlessly. My parents are a bit older—like prime "Ok, Boomer" age. I was talking to my dad the other day on the phone because his birthday dinner was in a few days.

I asked how mom was doing and he goes on to tell me a story about how my mom and Aunt Karen were at the store and the cashier made a mistake. My aunt went off on the cashier and asked to see the manager. My mom was mortified and tried to calm her down but she wasn't having it. I then mentioned to my dad, "That's such a Karen thing."

He goes on to say, "Yeah, your aunt does that a lot." I tell him, "That's the funny part, the Karen meme is a real thing. It's when an entitled, typically white woman gets angry at the smallest mistake and asks for the manager." My dad found this hilarious and I explained in more detail. I also send him a few links to sites explaining it online.

He finds all of this even more hilarious, as my aunt even has the Karen hairstyle. This sends him down the Google Images rabbit hole and the next few days, he sends me random memes of "Karens" doing Karen stuff, adding, "your aunt did this last week" or "I think this one is about your aunt." This leads up to his birthday dinner with extended family.

My dad's birthday dinner is going well. Everyone is having a good time, good food, and drinks, etc. Suddenly my aunt, who was sitting a few seats down from me, leans forward and loudly shouts down the table "Hey [my name], what's this whole thing about making a meme about me?" I respond "Huh?" She then tells me my dad sent her all these memes about things she's done.

He didn't even give her the context that it's a generic meme from the Internet and what it's about. Now, my aunt thinks I made all these memes about her real-life events. At this point, the entire family thinks I created this meme on the Internet about my aunt's antics in public, and there is a back and forth discussion about it being really rude of me.

Basically, she's pulling a Karen and starts chewing me out. Meanwhile, I am looking at my dad like what the heck, back me up here. My dad finally steps in to say that this is just a random viral Internet thing and that I didn't make these up behind my aunt's back. Even after explaining, though, she's a bit irritated. It is apparent she is embarrassed that she is so much like a "Karen" that she couldn't tell the difference between the stories online and her own encounters.

You Went Too Far

My girlfriend and I were laying down on our bed and watching funny videos on YouTube. She was laughing really hard, so much so that it caused her to let a fart rip more than once. This was obviously not intentional, which made it both hilarious and adorable. After the third time it happened she said, “I’m really gassy.”

I took this as an opportunity to quickly press down on her stomach, which then almost immediately triggered an enormous one. I lost it! It was so funny and I could feel the vibration as the pressure caused her to do it again and again. I couldn’t help myself and kept doing it. This is how I screwed up. After a few successful attempts I tried for a final push.

I wanted to end it on a huge one. It was so funny and she was laughing so much! I pushed down, and nothing. So…I pushed again, but this time MUCH harder...Now this is where I should note that she was wearing nothing but one of my t-shirts. Hence, she had no underwear on. Well, my girlfriend sharted. And then she had a SEVERE follow-through all over our bed.

She was mortified. It went from pure joy to absolute chaos and horror. She was just staring at me blankly. I didn’t know what to do as she went quiet. I stared right back, gently held her hands, and we walked together to the shower without looking back at the bed or down at my legs, which were covered in poop. We didn’t say a word.

I cleaned up my legs before leaving her to clean herself up. She made me promise not to go into the bedroom. I adore her completely. She looked so scared when I left her in the shower and wouldn’t let me clean up despite my offering to do so. Eventually, I walked in the bedroom to help. She was so apologetic although I assured her that it’s completely fine.

The Cry Of The Banshee

It was on the eighth floor of place my employment, inside the men’s toilet. I'm sitting there, doing my sit-down business because boss makes a dollar, I make a dime. I've just finished the dirty work and I'm about to perform my ablutions, but I delay it because I’m just flipping around on my phone. At this point, I feel something jump onto my balls.

This was something I had never hoped I would ever experience, let alone talk about on the Internet. I shriek. Not a barbarian shriek. Not a Viking shriek. Psycho-Shower-Scene shriek. A huntsman spider has crawled out of the toilet bowl and jumped onto my low-hanging fruit. I bat the spider off, smacking myself in the nuts, and keel over in pain.

The spider is now a corpse. Good news. My banshee wail has not gone unanswered. Bad news. Someone comes into the bathroom and knocks on the stall door. "Hey, are you alright? Have you fallen over? I'll call an ambulance." "NO. I’M FINE. EVERYTHING. IS. GOOD. JUST SLIPPED. FINE. NO NEED TO CALL AN AMBULANCE. YOU CAN LEAVE NOW PLEASE."

I flush the world's smallest predator to try and retain some of my inner pride, wash my hands, and make the very, VERY long walk back to my desk. My manager's desk isn't too far from the bathrooms, and he comes up to me afterward. "What happened in there, is everyone alright?" "Yeah... Everyone's... FINE." And then I make the dumbest decision of my life.

I explain to him what had happened. The audacity of the man: He LAUGHS. He laughs so hard he has to sit down so he doesn't hurt himself. His hyena/kookaburra hybrid laughter has gotten the attention of some of the other members of my team. They're looking to get in on the funny, funny joke. Bossman wheezes, "GET...GET HIM TO... TELL THEM!"

Because I'm incredibly susceptible to peer pressure, I tell them. Like a moron. I'm going to skip past most of the laughter because it went on for what felt like forever. I come back from lunch, and my boss and two other members of my team come up to me as I'm sitting back down at my desk getting ready to get back to work. My boss is holding a piece of paper.

"Look. We need to have a chat about something. I've brought two of your friends in the team as support since this is obviously not something that's easy to talk about." I am confused. "I have a blank HR report here. I'll need you to fill this out. You confided into me that you were harassed in the workplace and it's my duty of care to make sure the 'POOPITRATOR' is brought to justice.”

Laugh Attack

man and woman sitting in front of silver macbookPhoto by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

So there's this girl I like at work, and we're really good friends. We're having lunch and we're making those ironic depression meme jokes as most friends do. For some reason I got the idea to say "Well hey, you know what's just one letter away from sad? DAB!" and promptly did the deed. Also, I have the ability to cry on demand so I just stared stone-cold at her and let two tears fall down.

She finds it funny. Extremely funny. So funny she drops to the floor and starts laughing her butt off. After a good 30 seconds, she starts grabbing her chest and coughing. I asked if she was okay when she starts wheezing and begins to convulse a bit. Freaking the heck out and thinking she's having a seizure, I start to reach for my phone.

In that exact second, my manager randomly decides to come in and sees this big guy towering over this poor little girl on the floor. I only manage to cut off her impending rage by saying I think she's having a seizure and I'm calling 9-1-1. Fortunately, I was able to explain to her what happened after the ambulance came. Turns out she has asthma, and my joke caused a flare-up, and she was waving her arms to try to tell me to get her inhaler. Whoops.

A Swing And A Miss

Recently, I downloaded a dating app. I find a girl I'm really into and we connect on many things. She loves Star Wars, some games, and she even likes football although she completely chose the wrong team to support. Anyhow, I'm a bit wary she might be a catfish cause she's hot as heck. At least a 10, maybe more. Meanwhile, I'm a 5 on my best days.

At this point, I ask her for a picture of her. She's understanding and we exchange some pictures. Nothing special, but on one of the pictures I spot a prosthetic leg. Well heck, she's probably a bit insecure about the whole thing, so I decide I must tell her I noticed but don't care about it. Yeah, I think most of you probably think I'm an idiot already but don't put the popcorn away just yet…it's about to get worse.

I haven't mentioned the prosthetic yet but I'm looking for an opportunity. We're just throwing cheesy pick-up lines at each other as it is something we've been doing for a couple of days now. I ask if she's ever been in trouble for stealing hearts. She responds to that with a "Do you think I'm a thief?" to which I respond, "I was thinking more about a pirate." I haven't had a response in 10 minutes.

What A Babe

This happened when my boyfriend and I first started dating. His mobile used to ping and light up when someone texted him, and once I saw that someone had texted him with the name "Babe." I didn't think much of it at the time, thinking I just hadn’t read the name correctly, but in the next coming weeks I saw her texting him many times.

He would also get really happy when the person texted, used to smile really big and all. I started thinking I was being cheated on, and the last straw for me was when the person texted, "Love you, too." I confronted him about it and he stared at me for some time before he started laughing. I cried because what the heck? So he calmed me down and explained everything.

He told me that Babe is his grandmother. Her name is Baberuth and everyone in the family calls her Babe. She recently had gotten her first smartphone and he had taught her to text, so when she texted it was exciting for him to see her using emojis and stuff. I’ve never felt so embarrassed in my life. A few months later, he took me to meet her and I kid you not, for an 85-year-old Babe is a sport. We are best friends now.

Christmas Is Saved

gift boxesPhoto by freestocks on Unsplash

Earlier this year, AncestryDNA had a sale on their kit. I thought it would be a great gift idea, so I bought six of them for Christmas presents. Today, my family got together to exchange presents for our Christmas Eve tradition, and I gave my mom, dad, brother, and two sisters each a kit. It turned into an utter disaster. As soon as everyone opened their gift at the same time, my mom started freaking out.

She told us how she didn’t want us taking them because they had unsafe chemicals. We explained to her how there were actually no chemicals, but we could tell she was still flustered. Later, she started trying to convince us that only one of us kids needed to take it since we will all have the same results and we could resell extra kits to save money.

Obviously, something was up, and my mom finally confessed everything. Turns out one of my sisters' fathers passed shortly after she was born. A good friend of my mom’s was able to help her through the darkest time in her life, and they went on to fall in love and create the rest of our family. They never told us because of how hard it was for my mom.

Last night she was strong enough to share stories and photos with us for the first time, and it truly brought us even closer together as a family. Suddenly, my mess up turned into a Christmas miracle. This is a Christmas we will never forget. And yes, we are all excited to get our test results. Merry Christmas everyone!

A Hairy Situation

I am committing one of the greatest societal taboos and revealing a secret that heretofore has been zealously guarded throughout the ages. It is a correlate to childbirth in that just as post-menopausal women wouldn't dare tell an expectant mother how truly agonizing childbirth is, no man in his 50s would traumatize a man in his youthful prime with fears of the anatomical horror that is to come.

But times have changed and new technology places men in grave danger, so now you must know of this biological atrocity, in order that you might avoid my disastrous screw-up: Sometime around midlife, men's hair follicles undergo a revolting mutation. While the hair atop one's head thins and drops, new hair grows in places you never imagined.

Bristle-stiff tufts sprout outside and inside of ears, and up nostrils. Eyebrows become bushy, unruly, and coarse. Hair down there turns gray and scraggly, I kid you not. All these hairs grow alarmingly fast and require constant attention, lest you become that guy with a bunny paw sticking out of his ear. Their eradication is a battle men wage stoically and silently throughout the second half of their lives.

And, as with any battle, there are casualties. So one day, I found a great nose hair trimmer in the As Advertised On TV aisle at CVS. It looks like and operates like a miniature hedge trimmer. It's virtually impossible to cut yourself but mows down the hair. Yesterday I was trimming ear, nose, and eyebrow hairs after a shower.

I was so happy with the results that I decided to try it on my nether regions too. It worked great! Soon I had gone a bit overboard and pretty much shaved everything. I liked the new look, but there was a little spot in the most sensitive area. I positioned a make-up mirror on the bathroom floor and laid down spread eagle, knees up, so I could see and trim everything well.

Where once just a few wispy hairs prevailed, unbeknownst to me a virtual forest had arisen! Trusty new nose hair trimmer in hand, I prepared for battle. Suddenly, my butt hairs wrapped around the trimmer blade like Rapunzel using a superheated curling iron, pulling the device tight against my skin and jamming the blade. The hairs were being ripped from my flesh and the pain was excruciating.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't remove the trimmer. Wiggling it tugged the hairs more; restarting it was a double down that I lost—the hairs were wound even tighter against the blade. I frog walked to my bedroom, one hand holding the trimmer tied between my butt cheeks, and searched for my cuticle scissors. No luck. I did, however, find a carpet knife.

Unbearable pain breeds desperation. Back on the bathroom floor, I tried in vain to cut myself free, nicking the tenderest of flesh twice and drawing the first blood of battle. I was making little progress, and it was time to make the ultimate sacrifice. After a suitable prayer, I gripped tight on the trimmer and committed reverse hara-kiri, Brazilian wax style, ripping off the trimmer blade along with its hair trap.

Blinding pain left me curled fetal, hyperventilating, while blood slowly trickled down my butt. I decided to share this and expose life's cruel secret in the best interest of mankind, that others may avoid falling prey to the technological wonders of As Seen on TV hair removal tools. Young men, I beg of you to heed my warning. Do not go gentle into that good night.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

We've all been seeing the recent craze of DNA testing and whatnot, so my dad and I decided to jump on the bandwagon and we bought two from 23andme. We got our results back a few days ago and I went into the DNA relatives section to check out my matches. At the top it listed my dad as only sharing 29.2% DNA with me and being predicted to be a half-brother, which is impossible.

This didn't make sense to me since we just look so alike, so he was definitely my father. My cousin also had taken the test a while back and she shared 24.6% with me, also predicted to be my half-sibling. We're supposed to share around 12%, being first cousins. I couldn't think of a genetic relationship that would explain what I was seeing and I had doubts in the accuracy of the percentages, so I asked the company for help.

Basically, the shared percentages are extremely accurate and highly unlikely to be false. The only realistic explanation for what I was seeing was that my uncle, my cousin's father and my dad's brother, is my father. Reality hit me in the face like a flying bag of bricks. All the dots lined up and I felt a sense of loss. I sat in my room for an hour just in shock, and then I had a feeling of anger come over me.

I needed some freaking answers. Without even thinking, I rushed out of my room and confronted my mother downstairs. My mom is a businesswoman and is often away on business trips. She had no idea my dad and I had done one of these tests since she was away on a trip and just got back. My mother and I never had a traditional relationship.

She was always focused on her work and my dad ended up mostly raising me. My irrational self didn't even sugar coat it. I asked her if she cheated on my dad with my Uncle David. I have never seen the color drain from someone's face so quickly. She looked dumbfounded and then mumbled, "What kind of question is that? Of course not."

I told her everything: the test, percentages, DNA matches, ALL OF IT! My mom fell to the ground crying, begging me not to tell dad. I left her there and went back into my room. I called my cousin (now half-sibling) and told her everything. She ended the call screaming. My dad (now uncle) then came home and stumbled into my room asking what's wrong with mom.

I told him everything too. He didn't say anything after calming down. He left the room and I locked the door. For the next few hours, I heard my entire family fall apart outside my door. My parents got into a heated argument and my grandparents rushed over to see what was going on. My aunt-in-law and David showed up shortly after and I'm pretty sure I heard my dad and David get into some physical fight. Utter chaos.

I feel awful. I know it's not my fault but I can't help feeling that this is all because of me. If I had spent my birthday money on something else, none of this would have happened, but another part of me is glad to know the truth. I'm too scared to go outside. I don't even know what the outcome was. The only noise I hear in the house now is the occasional sobbing coming from my mother, and I'm sure my dad is out of the house.

Welcome To The Void

white ceramic sink with stainless steel faucetPhoto by Cameron Smith on Unsplash

So when I was 14, I got into a huge fight with my mother and she sent me to live with my aunt and uncle. It was an incredibly stressful event, and combined with my innate shyness about pooping anywhere but at home, at first I didn't notice that I wasn't pooping. After about two weeks I began to feel awful and tried, without success, to poop.

It had built up so much that I think it was impacted. To top it off, my aunt and uncle were weird about bathroom stuff, partly due to having one bathroom in a household of five people, and twice while I was trying to force it they knocked on the door and asked what was taking so long, which made the whole thing worse. I didn't tell anyone, partly out of embarrassment and partly out of fear of getting in trouble.

They were strict and I did get in trouble for random things. Another very uncomfortable two weeks passed, until one day, a month to the day that I had first arrived and the last time I had pooped, I was sent out to rake some leaves and I was just in total agony. I went back inside and told my aunt what was going on. She was thankfully very understanding, although incredulous that I had waited so long to tell her.

She told me she'd had poop issues her whole life. She went out and got me laxatives, suppositories, and a fleet enema and showed me how to use it. At this point I was in so much pain and just sweating bullets and praying for relief. The remedies barely helped matters, but in an hour or so I hopped on the toilet and tried to make things happen.

I put both hands on the walls and pushed with all my force, knees up to my chin, straining with all my might. I've since given birth and I pushed harder during this than I did pushing out my son. It hurt so bad and I felt I was straining every muscle in my body to void this beast. After 10 or so horrifying minutes, I still wasn't having any luck, and I began wondering if I should ask to go to the hospital, but the idea of a doctor digging poop out of my butt way just too much to bear, so I pressed on.

After 15-20 more agonizing minutes, grunting and straining and thrashing and pleading with my bum to cooperate, finally, finally, I heard my first heavy plop. Oh thank God! I cried from the pain and shock and relief. The first foot or so of poop wasn't much easier, it was so hard and dry. I had to twist and strain for a while, but after that, it got a bit easier.

About 30 minutes in, I stood up and looked into the bowl. Have you ever had a poop so large, so complete that it entirely filled the rim of the toilet, halfway up the bowl rising above the water? I have. I have never, and I mean never, seen a pile of human poop like that and hope never to again. It was about the size of a large round birthday cake.

I flushed once, twice, plunged, and got back on the toilet for round two. Finally, the flood stopped, and I gingerly wiped, flushed, cleaned the toilet, and emerged from the bathroom a changed person. I ached inside for a few days after, but oh my god the relief was incredible. I'll never forget that day as long as I live.

Hair Of The Dog

I have a five-year-old dog, and I’ve had him since he was three months old. I love him so much. He's an amazingly playful dog—a Jack Russell. A few years ago, he started developing really itchy red skin on his toes, and the poor pup would constantly lick his toes to the point where he was making them almost hairless. I took him to the vet, and they said it was allergies.

They prescribed him medication. We've been buying this medication for him ever since, occasionally skipping a few weeks and using a mini-dose of Benadryl until we purchased more allergy pills. The pills helped, as in he wasn't constantly licking his toes all the time, but he would still lick them so it wasn't a sure-fire solution. Let's say 80% cured.

Now, on to the screw-up. We tried giving him the pills with nothing, and he just puts them in his mouth and spits them out. So, we started putting them in a little bit of peanut butter, which he licks off a spoon, and the pill gets swallowed along with the peanut butter. A few weeks ago we ran out of peanut butter, so we used Jell-O instead.

It worked just as well because he swallowed it right up. Over the next few days we did the same thing, and he wasn't licking his toes AT ALL. We had a light bulb moment. We took our dog to the vet to get an allergy test, which we should have done FROM THE START. Test Result: Our dog is allergic to peanut butter. We've been giving him his allergy pills dipped in the substance he's allergic to. He's a happy dog now with no more itchy toes!

Whoopsie Daisie

My cousin decided it would be a good idea to give my dad two squares of THC chocolate for Christmas, because he'd mentioned that maaaaaybe he'd want to get high. My parents are 75-year-old Republicans. That was a big maybe. Well, my mom is like an unsupervised puppy when it comes to chocolate. You put half a candy bar down and YOINK, gone when you come back.

You can guess what happened. My mom went sniffing for some chocolate and found it, then ate both squares of chocolate (~8-16 doses, depending on one's tolerance) and got so high that she couldn't move or talk. Her last words, high as a kite, were, "I think this might be the end?" before my dad, fearing she'd had a stroke, called an ambulance.

They took her to the hospital and when she came around a bit, the doctor asked her what she'd eaten and she said just two squares of chocolate. At which point I assume my father facepalmed and my parents had to tell the doctor that my mother was in fact, simply higher than the RedBull Orbit Jumper. Anyway, they ran every test in the world on her and found out she had major blockages in three coronary arteries.

So now she's having a triple bypass tomorrow.

Good Day, Milady

person sitting in a chair in front of a manPhoto by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

This memory still makes me cringe. And cry. I had a job interview with a CEO, in person. I was super nervous, as per usual. Maybe even more than usual, because I really wanted this job. I tried to calm myself down, but by the time the interviewer showed up I could literally feel my heartbeat in my throat. He was about 50 years old, and walked down the stairs towards me, in his nice suit, but stopped halfway down.

I figured the interview would take place upstairs, so I got up to meet him. As I was walking up the stairs towards him, he put his arm up and his elbow out. And my brain just sort of went “ERRORRR!” I suppose it could have only meant two things. It could have meant (A) “Please take my arm, milady, so I can escort you to the room as if we’re strolling down the promenade together,” or (B) “Please give me an elbow bump, since we can’t shake hands in the pandemic,” which is really not an uncommon gesture at all in the Netherlands.

So what did I do? Yes, I went with option A and I eagerly locked arms with this strange man that I’d never met before in my life, as if saying, “Yes, good sir, let’s go for that stroll.” And then we just stood there! Arm in arm, halfway up the stairs, sheepishly staring at each other. I wanted the earth to swallow me whole. I just didn’t know what to do next and I don’t think he’d fully understood what’d happened, so neither of us moved.

When he’d finally gathered his senses, he said “I eh…meant to give you an elbow-bump?” after which I quickly put as much distance between us as I could and mumbled, “Right! Right, yes, that makes much more sense.” Because it did, let's face it. And then we had the interview. Why am I like this? But guess what? I got the job.

The Joke Thief

Tomorrow I'll be turning 32. As we were waking up this morning, my wife asked me if I was excited for the plans we'd made for my thirty-second birthday. I responded that it was going to be tough to do everything in half a minute, but I was looking forward to it nonetheless. She looked at me, blank-faced for a couple seconds. I thought she was just trying to make sense of what I had said.

Instead, she suddenly smacks my chest and yells at me that I ruined a joke she's been holding onto for years. I didn't believe her until she showed me an email from 2016 that she had sent to herself to remind her to set a calendar event so she wouldn't forget. It took her 10 minutes before she was calm enough to talk to me again. Unfortunately for her, I've known and used the 30-second birthday joke for years.

A Helping Hand

I was waiting for my order in the local coffee shop. Also in the store waiting for orders was a girl who looked around my age and a guy who seemed to be a bit older, like 35-45. I noticed the guy was talking the girl’s ear off and she didn’t seem very interested in the conversation. Next thing I notice, she’s approaching me and saying, “Brian?”

My name isn’t Brian, but before I could correct her I remembered reading something online that said, “If a girl ever pretends to know you, play along, she might be in trouble.” So I played along and started having a friendly chat with her as if I knew her. Well, not long into the conversation she looks at me and goes, “Wait, you’re not Brian.”

To which I respond, “I know, I thought we were doing a thing.” Then a bit louder and annoyed, she says, “Why would you pretend to be someone I know?!” Now the guy she was with before comes over and asks if everything is all right. Knowing I had messed up, I just told them honestly what I was doing.

Turns out he was her boyfriend and he was talking about fantasy baseball, that’s why she was so disinterested. She found it funny and thanked me even though I read the situation wrong. He was kind of offended but understood. I have never been more embarrassed.

I’m Coming Out

man kissing womans foreheadPhoto by Tron Le on Unsplash

My husband and I have always had an inkling that our son was on the LGBTQ spectrum, so my son coming out to me was not a shock in the grand scheme of things. It happened like this. I went up to my son’s room to ask what he wanted for dinner. I knocked and went in. I was tired after work and things weren’t really registering.

He just said, “Mom, I’m gay.” For some reason, it just didn’t register that he had just told me something so major for him. I don’t know what part of my brain thought this was a good idea, but I just said, “Ok, do you want pizza for dinner?” It took a few minutes for me to realize what I said and that I did not react properly. I went back to him and apologized and gave him the whole “I love you just the same” spiel and we laughed about my reaction, but I’m still SO embarrassed and mad at myself.

It definitely wasn’t the way I had always planned to respond!

The Other Man

I still can’t stop laughing at this. So, five months ago I met a girl through a mutual friend. First she added me on social media and we talked for a bit and then exchanged numbers. About a week later we went on a date, and it went well. Then we started "dating." We would meet up once or twice a week and do things together. We were doing things that normal couples do.

Sometimes she would come over to my place and stay for a day or two. So, around two weeks ago she said she wasn’t feeling okay and she needed some time alone. I said sure and did not really say anything. Yesterday, she messaged me we talked for a bit and she said she was now feeling better. I asked her why she wasn’t feeling okay. Her answer bowled me over.

She said it was because she broke up with her boyfriend. Turns out SHE HAD A BOYFRIEND even when she started dating me. When I asked why she never told me she said it was because I never asked and she was actually considering me more like a friend. Um. WHAT.

Less Than He Bargained For

I have grapheme-color synesthesia. Basically, I see letters and numbers in colors. The letter 'E' being green, for example. A couple of months ago, I was explaining it to my boyfriend who's a bit of a skeptic. He asked me what color certain letters and numbers were and had me write them down. Since then, he'll randomly quiz me and compare my answers to what I said a few months ago.

My answers are always pretty much the same, of course. Still, he still seemed a bit skeptical, as if maybe I just memorized them really well. Tonight we were laying in bed and my boyfriend quizzed me again. I tried explaining to him I just see the colors automatically when I visualize the letters in my head. Then I asked him what color are the letters in his head.

He looked at me weirdly like, “What do you mean ‘in my head,’ that's not a thing.” My boyfriend didn’t understand what I meant by visualizing the letters AT ALL. He didn't believe me that I can visualize letters or even visualize anything in my head, let alone anyone else on the planet. Welp, it turns out my boyfriend has aphantasia. When he tries to visualize stuff, he just sees blackness.

He can't picture anything in his mind and thought that everyone else had it the same way. He thought it was just an expression to say "picture this" or etc. It’s crazy to him that I can even picture his face without looking at him or a banana without looking at it. Now I have a boyfriend who is really upset. He feels like his world is turned upside down and everybody else has this cool superpower.

He's been texting all his friends and seeing if they can imagine stuff and realizing I wasn’t pulling his chain. He’s pretty upset and I feel really bad. For what it’s worth, my boyfriend wasn't being a jerk when it came to quizzing me, it was more of a fun curiosity thing or a science experiment. He never thought I was lying. I think it's one thing to wrap your head around synesthesia when you can visualize normally, but it's way harder when you have aphantasia.

One Wild Night

people sitting at the tablePhoto by Tony Mucci on Unsplash

So, this happened last weekend, and I’m finally getting around to really processing it all and trying to deal with it. I went out for drinks with my girlfriend and met up with my younger cousin at the bar. We'd all hung out once before and had a great time. My cousin invited a couple of her friends to the bar too, and we ended up doing some bar hopping.

I got very tipsy pretty unintentionally—the last bar was, I swear, not putting any mixers in my cocktails, they were straight. So anyway, we're about to leave and my cousin's friends are trying to get her home, because she's gone too. Well, my girlfriend was our designated driver, so we offered to let her stay in our spare room. Everyone was cool with that because who's safer than family, right? Wrong.

I had to piece together some of this later because I blacked out for most of it. We get home and apparently initially everything was cool. My cousin went to the spare room and my girlfriend got her situated. The problems started a little later when I, in my infinite wisdom, decided to walk straight out of my bedroom with my girlfriend in it, and into my cousin's room.

Then we both slept together. I KNOW. I have no idea what I was thinking, I was honestly blacked out and so was she, but we woke up without any clothes on, next to each other. But that’s not even the worst part. At one point, my girlfriend came out of the room wondering where I was because I just disappeared. She didn't barge into the room or anything, but she heard the noises, which are pretty obvious.

So at that point, she left. Like, me. She left me, and I don't blame her. I haven't heard from her all week, and I'm sure we're done. All I can hope for now is that this doesn't get out to my family, because I would probably implode. My cousin and I are not going to start hooking up regularly, OBVIOUSLY. It's actually super awkward and she has hardly said a word to me either. Again, I don't blame her.

Suffering By Comparison

So this happened a few days ago and I’m still not sure I’m 100% ready to tell the story, but here goes. I’ve been with my girlfriend for about a year and I already know she is the love of my life. She’s perfect for me. We’re perfect for each other. We’re getting ready to move in with each other and I want nothing more than to start a family with her and spend the rest of my life with her.

We went on a short vacation last week, and when we returned she gave me her phone to look at some photos from the trip. She went to the bathroom while I had her phone, and as I was scrolling through the pictures, it kind of jumped to a period that was about a year and a half ago. If you have an iPhone you know what I’m talking about, you scroll a little bit too fast and all of a sudden you’re back at the start of the photo album.

It’s annoying as heck. But some photos caught my eye. Some photos that I really shouldn’t be seeing, of her and a previous boyfriend. There she is, the love of my life, near the biggest you-know-what I’ve ever seen in my life. I closed the pictures and I’ve acted like nothing has happened, but I cannot get these images out of my mind.

I’ve never been self-conscious about my size—in fact, if you believe the stats I’m significantly above average, but this has destroyed my self-esteem. We haven’t had intimacy since. I can’t concentrate on my work. I just wish I had never seen those pictures. Also, she was with this guy for three years.

Coming Clean About Doing The Dirty

I’m a 25-year-old guy, and I have been involved with an older woman, she’s 44 years old, lately. It started a few months ago when I was on Tinder trying to find someone to hook up with. I saw this very attractive older woman and decided to swipe right because you know, it’s every 20-something-year-old’s dream to hook up with a MILF.

A few days go by and I get a notification that I have a new match. Wahoo! I open up the app and lo and behold it’s the fine cougar I was hoping for. We start chatting and flirting, and it’s going really well. Out of nowhere, she messages me and says, “I’m not sure how this app works, do we just meet to get it on or do we go on a date first?”

I was drinking coffee at the time and promptly shot it out both nostrils. My chance had come. I replied back that people generally just meet up to go to the Bone Zone together but I’m easy either way. She replies, “Well good, because I hate formalities.” I nearly pooped my pants in excitement. She sends me her address and tells me she’s free on Friday and to bring a bottle of red.

The rest of that whole week was a complete blur of anxiety. I could not screw this up. So Friday comes, I show up with a bottle, and she looks really, really hot. Even better in person. We talk about music and traveling and all that, not many personal details (which would come back to haunt me) just sort of arts and culture talk.

A few glasses later and we’re full-blown going at it. I left a little while later feeling like I’m the king of the entire universe and go to sleep. The next day, she texts me saying how she had a great time, and it made her feel young again and all of that. She says she’s off every Friday and Saturday and that next week we should do the same.

This has been going on for roughly three months now. We meet up once or twice a week and then go on our merry way until one of us gets in the mood again. Sweet deal right? Well, I just found out how wrong I was. I messaged her yesterday saying that I had today off of work and asked if she wanted to meet up. She said her son was taking her out to lunch, and that I could come over at 3 pm.

She had mentioned she had a son before but didn’t go any further and I didn’t really care to ask. So 3 pm comes and I’m almost at her house when she messages me that she’s running late. No problem. I park on the road and sort of just wait in my car because her car wasn’t in the driveway yet. I’m sitting there listening to the radio when an oddly familiar SUV pulls into the drive.

I sort of looked at it funny, and then I immediately realized where I knew it from. My co-worker jumps out of the front seat, goes around to her side of the vehicle, gives her a kiss on the cheek and a hug, and then jumps back in the car. My jaw was on the ground. He reversed out of the driveway, and stupid me is sitting like a deer in the headlights in plain sight.

He turns around and is literally 10 feet in front of my car and staring directly at me. My face goes bright red and I feel like I’m going to vomit. Me and this guy work together every single day and I consider him a friend of mine. I even trained him when he started at my company. And the kicker is, I’ve been telling him (in detail) about this older lady and he’s been giving me immense kudos about it saying that it’s “his dream.”

He pulls up beside me and looks very confused, asks me what I’m doing, and says how funny it was we ran into each other. I panic completely and stumble over my words and pretend like I’m on the wrong street and trying to find my cousin’s house. He looked skeptical but sort of shrugged it off. The whole time, his mother is standing there watching us through the curtains.

He directs me where to go and I pull off and then circle back once he’s gone. Needless to say, I went inside and told her what was up, and we both sort of sat there in silence before I left. No boom boom that day. I am now panicking because I think there’s no way he’s not going to know, and he’s going to realize all these wild escapades with this she-devil night mistress I’ve been telling him about is actually his mom.

Later, she texted me and says that we should tell him and come clean because it’s the right thing to do. She was adamant about telling him, even after I informed her about the explicit details I’ve been sharing since we started doing this. What is wrong with this woman? She keeps insisting that “he’s a grown-up and he should realize that his mother is a person too with desires like any other person.”

She said regardless of what I say, she was going to tell him the next day because she can’t “live with the guilt and deceit.” So eventually, the cat got out of the bag, and she came clean about it all. My co-worker called me saying it was super weird and his head is spinning but he’s not mad because he knows we had no idea. He asked if it was her I’d been talking about the whole time and I said yes.

He paused. Then he asked, “...even all that crazy stuff?” RIP BRO. Needless to say, I laughed and changed the subject, you’ve been through enough my child. He also said he’s going to look for a new job and already gave his two weeks’ notice because it’ll be weird working together. He genuinely just seemed bummed. He also said he put in a transfer so we won’t be working in the same building until he’s gone.

Jeez. I’m going to see his mom later and tell her we can’t do this anymore. She caused him to lose a job and a friend and gave him a reason to go to therapy over something we could’ve likely played off.

Burned Bridges

white ceramic sink near white ceramic sinkPhoto by Benyamin Bohlouli on Unsplash

I'm a 32-year-old woman who can never go back to my new dentist after two visits because I'm an idiot. My dentist is a very nice and professional man. Our first appointment was going pretty smoothly until he made some innocuous remark about us "being strangers." My immediate reply was, "Oh, you're not a stranger! You've been inside of my mouth for 20 minutes!"

I did NOT intend to make that kind of joke. His face turned red and he was clearly embarrassed, but he continued on like a true professional and we were probably both relieved when the appointment was over. I had my second dentist appointment today. I actually mentally prepared myself to be a model patient who didn't say anything weird, thank you very much.

He had been working in my mouth for about five minutes when he started to seem really uncomfortable or something. His face was red and he was breathing a little heavier. I was a bit concerned and also confused. Like how could I have embarrassed him this time? I had hardly spoken! So he keeps working in there, and then I realize what the heck is happening.

My dentist was wearing grape-flavored gloves. I had been absentmindedly licking his fingers the whole time. Never going back.

Step Into My Office

Ever since I was a kid, I loved to fiddle around with staplers. Playing with the automatic ones and doing dumb stuff like any child would, opening the manual ones and swinging it around, stuff like that. One of my favorite things to do was to open up a new strip of staples and break them apart before putting them in. Running my fingers through the staples, counting them, and breaking them apart...I loved it.

There are 210 staples in a standard strip and sometimes I’d break off each individual one until my fingers hurt. I’ve even found strips with 209 and 211 a few times. This progressed from me messing around with staples in Ms. Grady’s second-grade class, to buying a box of staples every other payday to play with, to literally having a collection of different brands and sizes of staples in my college dorm to break apart.

I had a problem, but no one was hurt, so who cares? Well...Fast forward to present day. I am a functioning middle-class adult with a wife and two children. I have a home, a normal car, and an office job. I am by all accounts a normal human being, and I still love staples. Working in an office with a supply room full of staples was a problem.

I’d spend my lunch break in the room opening boxes and breaking apart staples to get my fix before returning to work. It got so bad over the course of a couple years that my boss changed our supplier because the boxes all had broken apart staples and were sometimes ripped. So I had to stop doing that...I turned to Amazon first, buying 10 boxes of staples at a time for about 20 bucks a pop. It wasn’t enough. I went to 20, then 40.

My wife got curious then and asked, “Why are you buying all of these boxes of staples,” but I brushed it off as a work issue that I’d get reimbursed for and knew I had to change my methods. Over the course of a few months I enabled myself. I started using cash only at different office supply stores around my town and neighboring towns.

I would sit in my car and break apart staples before going to the next store. I began to stay out late and tell my wife I would be home soon, so I could go buy more staples from different stores. I opened up a new credit card to put online so she wouldn’t know, but she caught it in the mail. She then got suspicious because things weren't adding up.

This past Thursday after one of my “late nights,” I get home with a trunk full of broken staples and 10 freshly broken boxes in my passenger seat to see my parents’ cars at my house. I walked in and everyone is sitting around like it’s an intervention. Because it is. My wife asked if there was anything I wanted to tell them, and to tell the truth about my problem.

I sat down and kept saying, “What are you talking about?” until my mom said, “Honey, we saw the pictures.” Then my wife tells me that my late nights, excuses, and general weirdness about the credit card, and some other little things made her hire a private investigator. This man followed me around to office supply stores and watched me “do something” with what I had in the bag from multiple stores.

It basically looked like I was a drug runner for Office Depot who was using some of the product for myself. At this point, my wife started to cry and my dad shook his head. I had to come clean and all I could muster was, "I...I like staples." The “what the heck” looks I got afterward turned into disbelief, then concern, then fits of laughter when I showed them my car.

I came clean. I backed this up by showing my secret stash of used staples in my attic and explained the purchases on the card to my wife. Right now, my only concern is my dad. He didn’t laugh—just kind of shook his head continually in disappointment without saying a word. Believe it or not, I think therapy or addiction meetings may help, as my wife gave me these suggestions the day after. I was told that although the addiction is not typical in its damage regarding my mental or physical well-being, I do need help.

I am going to go through addiction counseling like any other addict would. Just tailored to my specific issue. Apparently, part of fixing my brain is to know that it is not okay to continue this level of staplephilia. That included cleaning out my car, attic, and not garnering more attention through memorializing pictures, and stuff like that.

My wife initially thought I was having an affair. She didn’t think I was doing substances until she got the pictures. The PI just told her what he saw, and she deduced that I had an undercover type distribution thing going with someone in the office supply business. She admitted that she didn’t think it all through, but her mind was racing and conclusions came as they did.

I do not have autism or any diagnosed mental disability. I am just an addict, and an idiot. I know how stupid the addiction is and so I tried to hide it. It’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things I guess, but my embarrassing white lie just spiraled out of control.

Paramedics load a patient into an ambulance
Photo by Mat Napo

Everyone is a bit leery of hospitals.

Even people who have to work there would rather be somewhere else most of the time.

But sometimes, a trip to the hospital is unavoidable.

More specifically, a trip to the ER.

We humans can really get ourselves into some ridiculous health-related situations.

All you can do is try to laugh about it.

And be grateful you lived so you can tell the silly story.

Redditor lugulaga wanted everyone to fess about the times their ER visits were more embarrassing than painful, so they asked:

"What is the stupidest reason you went to the hospital?"

I do my best to stay away from the ER.

I'll even suffer in silence.

Especially if I'm being an idiot.



"Hiccups that lasted 24 hrs, stopped right when the doctor stepped in the room. Lol."


"I’ve seen this a lot. Had a guy last Monday. 'Intractable hiccups.' Fun note: we use Thorazine to treat it. As in the anti-psychotic."


Down the Hatch

"Not me but I had to pick up a mate who swallowed a 50c piece to win a $2 bet. If you don't know, an Australian 50c is quite large. They had to do an endoscopy to get it out. They let him keep the black corroded coin too."


"My son did this but with an American 25¢ quarter. He had it in his mouth but inhaled it. It was stuck sideways in his airway so luckily he could breathe. They had to put him under and got it out via endoscopy."

"He spent 9 hours with it in his airway and hardly spoke at all. That is the quietest he has ever been since he learned to speak. He was about 9 when this happened, he is autistic, though very high functioning, and was sensory seeking which is why it was in his mouth."


While I Sleep

"A bat landed on my head while I was asleep. Rabies shots all around!"


"Ugh, my child had a 'mystery bite' from daycare that we ignored until it started looking infected. Doctors asking about animals and specifying bats-- reminds me that LAST YEAR the daycare had bats removed that were living in the roof but had no sighting since then."

But I said it. So they had to do the rabies shots, including IGG injected directly into the infected bite... on a 2-year-old. Most traumatizing experience of my life... thank goodness she doesn't remember!"


A Hard WInd

"My husband went because he was in extreme pain and thought he was having a heart attack. Turns out it was wind. He just needed a good fart."


"I took my 1-week-old son to urgent care because he had abdominal pain for hours and hours. He cried in the waiting room for a couple more hours, then farted three times and immediately fell asleep."

"They called us in about 10 minutes after that. The doctor said, "As long as you guys are here, let's see how he's doing" and gave him the standard well-baby check. I thought that was nice."


Not the Thumb

big bang theory paper cut GIFGiphy

"When I was 8 I was bored so I got a bottle of Gatorade from my pantry and grabbed a kitchen knife then proceeded to stab it over the sink to see how easily the knife would go through the thicker plastic of the bottle… almost lost my thumb."


Kids and kitchen knives, a most deadly combination.

Merry Nothing

Freak Out Running GIF by TLCGiphy

"Christmas Day, I dislocated my knee attempting to kick my brother during a sparring match. Needless to say, my martial arts career was over."



"I was at a house party, all the bathrooms were full. Went outside, and decided I should crawl under the porch to pee. Everything went well until I tripped on the way out and rolled my ankle. Shrugged it off, limped back upstairs and someone said 'Your ankle is broken.' Sure enough, bone sticking out. DD took me to the hospital and got me ice cream on the way home. I miss you, Kyle. You're the best."



"Butt cheek injuries caused by a door. I hate touching door knobs with my hands and always use my forearm to rub against the doorknob in a downward motion using friction to turn the knob. Was joking around with my gf saying I can open a door with my buttcheek exactly like how I use my forearm. Jumped at the door butt first and the little metal thing that guides the door cut my buttcheek (I think they call it strike plate or latch strike)."

"The cut wasn’t a clean cut because the thing wasn’t that sharp. 30+ stitches."

"After that, she had to stand behind me holding a bowl to cover my wound every time I take a shower so it doesn’t get wet, and we live in a hot country so she has to do that twice a day for like a month."


We did Nothing...

"I’m an ER doctor. About once a year I see a very nice young female who comes to the ER with three or four family members because her fingers are blue. They have always googled all sorts of fancy and exotic diseases that they are worried about. 100% of the time the patient has brand-new blue jeans on."

"Without saying a word I just grab an alcohol swab and wipe the blue dye off of their hands, and then I do the same thing to their jeans to show them it’s the same color. The collective sigh from the family is always what does it for me. Not surprisingly, half the time the patient doesn’t believe me and is angry that 'we did nothing.'"


All Sewed Up

Tongue Out GIF by MOODMANGiphy

"When I was about 3, I was running up the stairs in my house and fell. I hit my chin on a step and bit my tongue nearly off. My parents took me to the local hospital where they sewed up the gash in my tongue without anesthetic. I still remember it to this day."


I feel faint after reading all this.

Thank the Lord no one brought up any eye issues.

I'd be on the floor.

From angry clients to scandalous mid-trial confessions, lawyers tend to see the best and worst—but mostly worst—that humanity has to offer. It’s not easy waking up in the morning with the burden of a big court day on your shoulders, and these lawyers of Reddit are finally letting loose and sharing their most ridiculous cases.

An Underdog Victory

brown wooden tool on white surfacePhoto by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

I work as an insurance lawyer. One of my firm's partners, as happens sometimes, handed me a small case for our client, and told me to resolve it. Our insured, a man of around 75, was driving his car in the left lane of a four-lane road. The defendant, a lady who had been involved in a grisly murder as an accomplice about 15 years ago, was in the right lane.

The lady side-swiped our insured's vehicle, causing like $4,000 in damages. At the scene, our client said that he was just driving, and then he was side-swiped. The defendant said, "I don't know what happened, officer." The lawsuit was about six or seven months old when I got it, and the partner who was initially handling the case had spoken with the old man on two occasions and sent him a letter.

When I received the file, trial was a few weeks away, so I printed out the pictures of the vehicle, sent a subpoena to the officer, and tried to call the insured. I got a busy signal, so I put the file away. A few days later, I got a call from the officer who filed the report. Her words started a chain reaction of disaster. She said, "I'm not going to make it to court because I'm off on the court date."

"Alright, well, when are you available?" I asked. She paused, then said, “The report is hearsay. You don't need me anyway." "Ma'am, what I need you for is not hearsay. I'll reset this for a date that you are available for." That wasn't helpful. I called the defense attorney, and we pushed the trial out about a month and half.

I issued a new subpoena on the officer. I tried to call our insured again. I got a busy signal. Out of options and ideas, I pulled up our data software and looked up our client...that’s when I made a disturbing discovery. He’d passed the previous month. I'd never had this happen before, so I called the insurance adjuster handling this claim and told them, "Hey, I hate to tell you this, but our client is no longer alive.”

I then talked to the partner who had handed me the case. Instead of dropping the whole thing, he came up with a diabolical plan. He suggested that we fake it. I'd go to court, call the defendant as my witness, call the officer to discuss the scene, then get pictures of the vehicle into evidence using the insurance adjuster, who could also testify to damages.

The insurance adjuster is willing to try, but about a week later, I get a call from the officer, bailing on being a witness again. I really wanted to call her sergeant and complain, but it wasn't worth the trouble. So, now at trial, it's going to be the insurance adjuster and I. We'll probably lose since I have practically zero evidence against the defendant now.

Suddenly, I get a phone call that changes everything. It’s from the defense attorney. On the spot, they suddenly agree to pay the claim in full. I never told that attorney that my client wasn’t even alive anymore, but some day I kind of want to tell him he paid out a ton of money to a ghost.

Friends In High Places

I'm a family lawyer, and I was in court representing the mother of two young kids. The dad was representing himself, as was Grandma, with whom the kids were staying for several months while my client finished a college program. Dad took issue with this arrangement, despite being unable to take care of the kids himself because of a disability.

At our first appearance, the judge suggested something that everyone actually agreed to. I was the only lawyer there, so I was tasked with drafting the order. I sent copies to Dad and Grandma, asking them to let me know if they remembered the agreement differently, or if they are okay with my wording. The wheels started to come off immediately.

When he gets the order, Dad calls me right away. He says that he takes issue with my lack of professionalism (no explanation of what he means by that, but okay) and he doesn't consent to the wording of the order. He doesn't suggest alternate wording, though. And then he took it up a notch. He says that my draft has violated his human rights (again, no idea what he's talking about) and he will be forwarding this to the Human Rights Commission, who will be his lawyers from here on out (uh, they won't).

I decide not to point out that that's not how this works, and just go with a, "Thanks for letting me know." I point out that the Family Court Rules require me to file the order within a certain amount of time, which is rapidly running out. I ask him when I can expect the HRC to contact me (obviously they won't). Dad tells me that they usually take 3-6 months to deal with things.

I tell him "Okay, well I'm just going to write the court a letter explaining this, so the judge is in the loop." I write the letter, explaining briefly what has happened. I say that I'm unfamiliar with the HRC getting involved in Family Court cases (they don't), and particularly in the drafting of orders (ditto). But this was all an ingenious plan.

I point out that I'm hesitant to file the order since Dad has said he was going to consult counsel, so "I await direction from the Court.” This is actually code for: You see the crazy I’m dealing with? Can you help me out here, Your Honor? The Court office calls me the next day and asks me to send them the draft order, so the judge can look at it.

The day after that, I'm in front of that judge on an unrelated case, and she says, "Oh, and I signed that order from the other case. If he doesn't like it, he can appeal." Mic dropped.

The Crooked Lawyer

I am not an attorney, but my boyfriend is, and this tale took place a few years ago in NYC...thus, here is The Tale of (throws dust in campfire) of "The Crooked Lawyer." While looking up this guy's information, it became clear that he was a real jerk. A local paper described him as “a con artist,” and he preyed on unsuspecting victims, took out loans in their name, and falsified information.

Then he’d take off with most of his victim's money. Somehow, he’d avoided justice up until this point...until my boyfriend came along! My boyfriend moved to NYC from a state in the South. Freshly out of law school and riddled with student debt, he found a low-paying personal injury firm and settled in. Since money was tight, he found a roommate on Craigslist named Julie.

Julie is a feisty Latina, and my boyfriend is pretty much Wonder Bread, but they hit it off very well. My boyfriend would go to Julie's job after work (she was a bartender) and they developed a very strong friendship.

During this time, Julie meets a server, named Luis. They hit it off and begin dating. My boyfriend clicks with Luis, and they become a trio. Late nights, nodding off on the subway platform, my boyfriend being taken to Latin clubs...they become the best of friends. Something that will play a role in this tale is that both Julie and Luis (and their families) are in the USA undocumented.

So, Julie and Luis are getting serious, but they don't have a lot of money, so they move in with Luis' elderly parents. My boyfriend finds another place to live and they all still keep in touch. During all of this, Luis' dad had suffered an injury at work. He lost part of his finger and had hired a personal injury attorney—AKA the “Crooked Lawyer” of this story.

Apparently, Luis' dad was supposed to receive a $100k settlement, but some time had passed and still no update. Since Luis and his family didn’t speak English, Julie called Luis' father's insurance and asked about the status of the settlement. Their answer chilled her to the bone. The insurance said, "Oh, the settlement's already been paid out....?"

That's when Julie called my boyfriend and freaked out. Apparently this "personal injury" attorney had a history of being an ambulance chaser, and sought out undocumented clients. He held that over them and took their settlement money for himself, knowing that no one would pursue him and risk deportation. While there had been reports of this scumbag, the guy had been getting away with this kind of thing for years.

So, my boyfriend tells Julie to tell the lawyer that she knows what's up. Apparently this guy thought his clients were too stupid to seek retribution. The crooked lawyer then told Julie that he would return the money if she dropped her complaint against him. Still, my boyfriend was livid at this guy taking advantage of people—so he decided to get payback.

He told Julie to record all of her conversations with the lawyer and keep records of any type of contact. During their meetings, the jerk tried to bribe Julie into keeping quiet about his scam. She plays along, meets up with him a few times, always recording interactions and "getting money from him." With evidence in place, my boyfriend took everything he had to the NYS Supreme Court.

He told them that he was representing Luis's dad. While on trial, my boyfriend learned that people had filed reports against the other lawyer for years but nobody ever gave a darn until he became involved. It turned out that the guy had taken over $400,000 from clients over the years. It was a long trial, with my boyfriend representing Luis' dad and him having to testify, even though he was terrified that he'd get kicked out of the country.

The crooked lawyer knew my boyfriend had reported him, and he would glare at him from the stand. Long story short, the jerk pleaded guilty to charges of identity theft, among other things. He was also stripped of his ability to practice law and was sentenced to seven years behind bars. And this story has an even better happy ending.

My boyfriend is now the Godfather to Julie and Luis' son. Luis' dad moved back to his native country and bought a beautiful house. All of crooked lawyer’s victims got their money back through the Lawyer's Fund for Client Protection.

Darlings And All

man in black suit standing on brown wooden floorPhoto by Jeremy McGilvrey on Unsplash

I'm a partner in a small New England area firm. I had court this morning with one of my clients who is a very sweet older lady, around 70 years old. We were helping her with an old judgment from her divorce. Long story short, her ex-husband failed to pay something, and we were helping her collect. But the star of the show is something else entirely.

The old lady has a habit of calling everyone “Darling.” E.g. "Do you need my bank statements, darling?" when calling the office. I don't really care what she calls me, she pays and is mega sweet, so we brush it off. But she is also a bit hard of hearing, which is how our interesting. We had the final hearing today, and the judge was keeping things pretty casual and conversational.

He was asking the parties different questions to clarify things before closing the hearing. He asked my client something about her finances, and she didn't hear him. Her words made my face turn red instantly. "I'm sorry, Darling, what was the question?" Oh my God. Help me. There was a moment's pause, and the judge burst out laughing.

"I'm sorry, did you call me...Darling?" He leaned back in his chair, beet red, grinning. She also turned a shade of scarlet. "I...I did, Your Honor." He laughed again, shook his head, and the rest of the hearing proceeded. Upon closing the record, he mentioned that it was the first time he had ever been called “Darling” by anyone. I think we did well, though. Darlings and all.

The Queen Of Karens

It was a dispute in which I helped a low-income man seek full custody of his children. His ex was representing herself, and refused to communicate with me in any way. Apparently, she thought she knew the law, and said she didn't have to talk to me without a lawyer. No amount of explaining that I was a lawyer, not an officer, got me anywhere.

Come hearing day, she hadn't submitted anything to the court, and decided that she should get whatever she wanted simply by telling the judge to do it. She was, after all, the "mother" and more entitled to the child, benefits, and child support that went along with the child. Despite what she was saying, she spoke sweetly and was very petite so I knew people would automatically want to side with her.

The judge explained that she hadn't submitted any pleadings, and that she wouldn't prevail unless she asked for a continuance, submitted pleadings, and tried her case. That’s when she transformed into a monster. I must have romanticized the memory, because I swear she was flailing her arms around so fast that I couldn't keep track.

Her entire body was twitching, arms flailing, hands flopping, and head back screaming. She demanded to speak to the judge's boss immediately. She repeatedly made offensive comments about the judge. A non-stop river of psychotic-entitled garbage spewed from her mouth. She wasn't doing the insanely high-pitched-unintelligible scream, either.

She was doing a full-on drill sergeant bellow. The yell was loud, clear, forceful, and disconcertingly deep.

I’ve seen some stuff, but this left me opened-mouthed and staring. My client, however, was familiar with this brand of crazy. He stood up to loudly and politely ask the judge if he could say something. I felt like a jerk at this moment for not staying on point, but I was completely caught by surprise. In an instant, my client took the case from ridiculous to absurd.

The judge allowed my client to speak, and my client used both arms to gesture to crazy and yelled, "This is the stuff I'm talkin 'bout right here. You see this crazy. Nah. Just nah." For the second time that hearing, I didn't remain professional and couldn't contain my laughter. I think laughter, or any sound of happiness, must have been a trigger for her, because Crazy then started trying to physically attack my client.

My client ran to the witness box and ducked down inside in an attempt to shield himself from the attack. There should be officers in each domestic courtroom during hearings, but we all know it'll never happen. Crazy was detained, and screamed the entire time she was dragged away that she was going to talk to the judge's boss about her being disrespected.

My client was awarded full custody, and the mother wasn't awarded any parenting time.

Doggone It

So this couple has two dogs. My client tells me that she wants both dogs, and she won't have it any other way. She explains to me that the dogs love each other and NEED to be with one another. She is sobbing uncontrollably in my office, which is something I can normally deal with, but not in this case. She was beyond out of her mind crying.

I often use the Socratic method to explain things to people. First, I told her I love dogs (I do) and I totally understood her situation. I told her that it would really suck to break up my two dogs, so I understood her. Then I said, "But I have to ask you something. If you were a judge, and there were two dogs and two people, how would you divide them up?"

She realized what I was saying and she almost screamed, "Nooooo! You don't understand! They love each other and they can't be broken up!" I said, "I totally understand. I'm just asking you what you think YOU would do, if you were the judge...and there were TWO people and TWO dogs. How could the judge easily settle this matter?"

I was just trying to get her down to reality, so I could maybe figure out if she preferred one dog or if there was another way to settle this. Then she says: "Okay, I get it. Dogs are property. Even though they are my children, the law says they are property." That's right. At this point, I thought she had seen the proverbial light. I soon discovered how wrong I was.

"Okay, so then how about this: I will sell the dogs and that way, the court can't order me to give up the dogs. The dogs will be gone." Ugh. I said, "Ma'am, it sounds like you are saying that you are going to try to pull the wool over the judge’s eyes." I then continued, "I can't even entertain that notion. You think the judge hasn't seen this kind of stuff before? You think you're the only couple who has two dogs? Do you think this is an original idea? I'm not telling a judge that you sold the dogs."

I got her spouse served with the petition. Then she got her revenge: She fired me right before the trial and went in without an attorney. But she was in for a rude awakening. When she told the judge she sold the dogs, she actually thought he would just say, "Okay, well that's that." Instead, the judge said: "Who did you sell them to?"

Excuse me? "WHO DID YOU SELL THEM TO? I want a name and a telephone number. We can make the call right here, from the courtroom. I'm going to verify your story. I know you love these dogs very much, so I know you didn't give them to a stranger. Tell me who you sold the dogs to NOW." Oh gee whiz. She wasn't expecting that. I guess this judge has been a judge before!

Rather than have the judge call her accomplice, who was hiding the dogs and NOT expecting a judge to call, my ex-client admitted that it was a con. She crumbled under the judge's cross exam. The judge gave BOTH dogs to the respondent in the case. Full justice achieved, plus happy ending: Dogs get to stay together, and they surely would have been broken apart otherwise.

Down But Not Out

a wooden gaven sitting on top of a white counterPhoto by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

I was representing a defendant being tried for a probation violation, for trespassing and possession. My testimony was going to be focused on the officers who detained him and failed to follow proper procedures—they entered his house without a warrant, and they lied to the phone company about having a warrant to track his phone.

I was feeling tired, but I didn’t think much of it at first. This was a huge mistake, and the beginning of the most dramatic court case of my life. I’m a diabetic, and I didn’t realize I was about to have an episode. We go through the court case, and I'm behaving badly in court and being reprimanded by the judge repeatedly. I eventually start slurring my words and having single sided weaknesses.

The judge recognized something was wrong and put court at recess. The court officers thought I was having a stroke. They called an ambulance, but by the time it arrived, I was already unconscious. As soon as they saw me, they gave me an injectable hormone that forces my blood sugar to go up. 10 minutes and several snacks later, I manage to return to the courtroom and win the case.

Deja Vu

The Spanish Supreme Court recently ruled that certain clauses in mortgages from banks were null and void. This mean that we had tons of claims for compensation coming in. One day, there were 10 hearings against the same bank and every plaintiff was assisted by the same lawyer, my colleague. So we had 10 hearings in a row with the same judge and same lawyers, only pausing to let one plaintiff out of the courtroom and the next one in.

It was easy to notice that the bank lawyers didn't have much experience in civil procedure: they tried to introduce evidence they weren't allowed to, or stuff like that. Even worse, after the judge decided against the bank in every one of the points, the lawyers would introduce the points again in the next hearing with same results.

After the fifth or sixth time, this exchange happened: Judge: I already decided over this five times, attorney. Why do you insist on wasting my time? Bank lawyer: Mutters something about guarantees, proper trial, and a right to be heard. Judge: Everyone in this courtroom knows by now there is no basis for your defense. I expect a professional attitude in my court and that the lawyers come prepared to the hearings.

That’s when the bank lawyer started crying, then he made an unhinged confession. “With all due respect, I was hired only for today’s hearings. I didn't get to see any of the case files, and only received instructions to read from. Honestly, I don't even get paid enough for this.” After that, the judge called a recess so the lawyer could calm down.

When we reconvened, the bank lawyer briefly read from her instructions and the judge rejected the allegations one by one like before.

Family Feud

In my country, for child custody cases, the court will often pay for the child to have their own attorney or advocate who isn't working in the interest of either parent. I was representing the child in this case. The custody was over a five-year-old girl. The father was an unemployed alcoholic ex-gangster with a severe prior record.

The mom had a significant psychiatric history and a minor record, plus a reasonably stable stepdad. The mom and the stepdad had won in the past for obvious reasons. The child had complex medical and psychiatric needs, which were being adequately met, but the father had a history of taking the child’s psychiatric medication and denying her medical care during urgent situations.

Pre-trial, we often interview the parents to get an idea of whether they're fit to care for a child. I already knew the dad was unfit and the mom was not perfect but more fit, but I wanted to interview the dad to build my case. The lawyers frequently tell the parents to deny the interview, but sometimes they don't listen to the lawyers. He didn't listen very well and accepted our interview. That was his first mistake.

Before I got in the front door, I noticed an odor of drinks on him and numerous open and empty bottles in and around his living room. He made statements about the mom and physicians controlling the child with prescribed medications. He seemed manic, was living in unsanitary squalor, and it was clear that he had some undiagnosed psychiatric issues, too.

His girlfriend was his age, and she was obviously off her rocker. Interviewing her, she appeared to be in the middle of a psychiatric episode and was very cruel to me. Next I go out to the kiddo, and during the interview the kiddo spills off an obviously coached tangent on mommy drinking and acting funny. Me: "Who told you to say all that?" Kiddo: "Daddy."

The kid was clearly coached. After I get her to tell me the truth, I made a discovery that sent a shiver down my spine. The kid confessed that the dad’s girlfriend was abusing her physically and emotionally. I immediately haul my butt down to court and file to transfer emergency custody order over to the mom ASAP, plus a protective order against the dad’s girlfriend.

Trial comes up, and both of their attorneys bicker over who's more horrible. My testimony is requested and I drop a half an hour’s worth of revelations on the dad and the girlfriend. They eventually curse at me then leave the courtroom. Eventually, sole custody was awarded to the mom and the child was ordered to receive therapy for trauma.

After interviewing the kid, the authorities find sufficient evidence for an order to detain the girlfriend. In THAT subsequent trial, which only happened a week after the custody one, the girlfriend was sentenced to one year in intensive psychiatric care and 10 years behind bars before any release. I thought the case was over, but I was so wrong. Fast forward to a few weeks later.

I was preparing for another emergency late case at 8 pm, when the dad bursts through the doors of my firm's office. He starts screaming for me, and I meet him at the front window. The front window is bulletproof, the door is locked, and the access is pretty tightly restricted. He's punching the window, kicking it, threatening to hurt me, etc.

We lock him in and call the authorities and the officers come in. Now he gets detained on that charge, finally putting an end to the messiest case I have ever worked on.

A Good Foundation

man in white dress shirt sitting beside woman in black long sleeve shirtPhoto by krakenimages on Unsplash

So, I do a lot of insurance work, and I try cases of all kinds, large and small. I had a small case, over about $2,600, from where a contractor drove into a retaining wall at this lady's house and damaged it. He wouldn't fix it, and, after like eight months, the homeowner allowed her insurance company—my client—to have it fixed and then sent the bill to the contractor.

Surprise surprise, the contractor wouldn't pay. There was lots of squabbling between my client and the contractor's insurance company, who offered less than $500 on a $2,600 bill. We had a trial to settle it. I brought our claims adjuster and the homeowner. The defense attorney brought the contractor and an adjuster from the contractor's insurance company.

Everything goes fine with questioning the homeowner, who was a sweet, middle-aged woman. She, like most people, knows nothing about the finer points of masonry. Then, we get to my claims adjuster. He says, "Well, we paid $2,600 to have this fixed, but I'm not an expert on masonry." However, he also discussed how estimates on masonry were made.

I close my proof. Next, the contractor gets up on the stand. They go over what exactly happened with the retaining wall. Then, he testifies that he "knows for a fact" that the $2,600 invoice includes overhead and profit and accuses my client of "running a scam." The judge strikes the answer. I look down at the estimate for repair and grin from ear to ear.

It says, in bold print, "This amount does not include overhead or profit." I look at the invoice. It's the same amount as the estimate. This guy is lying through his teeth—and I’m going to catch him. On cross examination, I show the contractor the invoice. "Sir, this is a $2,600 invoice for repair, correct." "Yes." Then I show him the estimate.

"Sir, this is a $2,600 estimate for the same repairs, correct?" "Yes." "They're the same amount, correct?" "Yes." "Does the estimate say it does not include profit or overhead?" "Uh..." "Does it?" "Yes." "Didn't you just testify that you knew for a fact that the estimate included overhead?" "I don't know." "What don't you know?"

At this point, the contractor is furious and beats his hand on the stand. "It doesn't include overhead and profit, does it?" "I guess not." "But you said it did, right?" I pass the witness. But I wasn’t done yet. Next, the defense attorney calls the contractor's insurance company's adjuster. He testifies about how much he thought it should cost, like $500.00.

I cross-examine him. "How did you make this estimate?" "I put the numbers into a computer program." "How do you know what numbers to put in?" "Uh..." "Are you a contractor?" "No." "Are you an expert in masonry?" "No." "Have you ever worked in construction?" "No." "And the computer programs spits out what you put in?" "Yes."

"And you can just put in whatever numbers you want?" "Yes." "And it makes an estimate based on the numbers you pick?" "Yes." "But you don't know anything about masonry?" "No." The adjuster just testified that he made up the estimate. Defense closes proof. And the judge takes the matter under advisement. So let’s recap all this glory.

The contractor lied and was discredited, and the adjuster for the contractor admitted he just made everything up. We got $1,000 out of the trial. Less than half of what we sought but double what the defendant argued it should be. It was a win in my book.

Revenge Of The Dads

This one's a messy one. I'm a family law lawyer, and I was representing the kids in this one. Four kids. Three different dads; the mom was getting divorced from her husband. Mom had custody of all four. All the petitions against each other were complicated. One of the dads wanted the other dads’ kids too, the mom wanted sole custody of all the kids, the divorce guy wanted his kid and another. It was VERY confusing to figure out who and what everyone wanted already. But it got worse.

It turns out that mom was on probation AND on the national violent offenders list, had an ankle bracelet and everything. Despite all of that, she still got temporary custody of the kids. Her ankle bracelet forbids her from going out of the county, and the judge in the custody case forbid her from leaving the province as well.

Well, the mom and children didn't show up to appearance #3. Myself and all three petitioners motioned for the respondent’s ankle bracelet to be tracked. The judge made the phone call, and it was pinged outside of the county, just inside the province. Court is put at recess, and the roads department go try to get her. What they found stunned them.

They discovered her ankle bracelet off the side of the highway at an exit ramp to the next province. National guard get called, and they track her phone to her parents’ house in the next province. Once they track her down, they detain her. The children are brought back by child protection services, and the judge awards temporary custody of each child to each respective dad.

After all of that, there was one more twist. At the next court appearance, the dads start complaining about the mom sending them threats from behind bars. Then, because this couldn't end without one last catastrophe, one of the dads decides to set the mom’s old house on fire. He gets taken into custody, then his kid gets put with another one of the dads. That case was a RIDE from start to finish.

A Real Sicko

I’m a judge who presides over an emergency family court. My saddest case wasn't just one suit, but several separate petitions for emergency custody. A bunch of family members wanted to override a long-term custody plan that was previously ruled in favor of the mother. When I read all the files, they almost broke my heart.

I reviewed the petitions from dad, maternal grandmother, and family friend, which all talked about one of the children being in the emergency department with a chemical burn from an oven cleaner. They also all had substantial reasons for why the other parties shouldn't get custody. My plan was to call everybody in and dismiss the claim, because based on the petitions, it sounded like the injury was an accident.

I bring everyone in and explain why I'm dismissing the claims and denying the petitions, basically saying a simple accident isn't a basis for an emergency custody order to overrule a standing court order. That’s when they confessed the dark truth. All three parties clarified this wasn't an accident, nor was it one injury.

Apparently the mom was intentionally spraying dots of oven cleaner over the entire body of her child. She was doing this to present the kid to the ER, with the subsequent burns, claiming it was a horrible rash. She must have had some kind of mental issue because she did it so many times that her doctor figured out that something very wrong was at work. Learning about all that raises the stakes of this case so much more than I had first thought.

I call social services to ensure they had an investigator out, which they did. But we still had one more disaster to go. Around this time, mom arrives and storms into the courtroom, yelling and crying that she wouldn't harm her child. I lost my cool with her just a little bit, and she admitted that “just a bit of oven cleaner” got on the kid, but she didn't create the rash.

The mother was incredibly disruptive and made a threat to the father, so I had the authorities detain her in contempt of court until the next night. This ticked off the dad, who also started yelling at me for having his wife detained, so I had him held in contempt for the next night as well. The other family members left. You think this is the end of it? Nope.

This is now a week later. The social services investigator is present in the early hours of the morning, filing an emergency protective custody order for that child and all five siblings, ranging from three yeas old to 17. After an audit of medical records, we discovered that the oven cleaner was just the tip of the iceberg. This lady had been harming her kids and passing it off as illnesses for years.

These included using what was suspected to be chemicals to cause rashes, nurses having a concern over the mom possibly accessing a child's IV and injecting something, etc. Also, the mom was a nurse but her license was on a 15-year suspension. We ended up ordering emergency joint custody between social services and a third cousin of the children.

I'm not sure what the final outcome was, but that's my first for-sure case of Munchausen’s by proxy.

He Knows What He Wants

focus photo of woman in black top wearing white and black hatPhoto by Nic Amaya on Unsplash

My aunt is an officer, and has been for the past 27 years. She's seen a lot of messed up stuff, but this case takes the cake. About 20 years ago, she was called to court as a witness in a case. The case was delayed for some reason, so she was waiting in the hallway when suddenly her radio piped up with something like "additional officer assistance requested at the courthouse."

She responded that she was already there and asked what was going on. "Suspect turned violent after being told defecation in front of the judge was not allowed" was the slightly surreal reply from dispatch. So she found the courtroom where this went down, and as she walked in, her jaw dropped. She found a suspect and two other officers involved in what can only be described as a poop wrestling match.

There was poop all over, and the suspect used that as a sort of nasty lube to slither out of all sticky situations in order to stay free. charged in, grabbed the guy's arm and tried to cuff him. He resisted. Soon she was also covered in excrement...but eventually she, with help from the other officers, managed to cuff him and get his trousers up.

It turned out that the guy was in court because he was a serial public defecator. The judge had asked him "Sir, why do you keep doing that?" and the defendant had replied that it was just "so liberating," dropped his trousers, and squatted on the floor to squeeze out a Cleveland steamer. The case my aunt was there for was delayed even further while the judge allowed her to go shower and change.

The defecator got some time behind bars and fines. So lawyers, if your client does something stupid, just remember that at least they didn't poop on the floor while standing trial for pooping on the floor...

A Game Of Telephone

I have a funny story from when I was a law student observing court matters. That day, I was witnessing hearings for bail release. This guy came on his own, with a warrant on him for theft. So probably, his lawyer told him to willingly turn himself in, so the judge would be more compassionate, especially about the bail. It did not go the way he planned.

Judge: Young man, that warrant was issued last year, but it's only now that you wake up and come to court? Lawyer: Mr. Judge, my client has enormous difficulties communicating because he does not have a cell phone. Judge: Ok, but you can always try to reach him. Lawyer: Yes, but unfortunately, without a cell phone, I couldn't reach him to give him proper advice.

Judge: Let me hear from the defendant himself. Sir, what were you doing all this time, knowing that you had a warrant on your name ? Defendant: Mr. Judge, everything is a communication problem. My previous lawyer tried to warn me that a warrant was issued. But again, I didn't have a cell phone at the time, so no communication was possible.

The judge then takes off his glasses, looks at the defendant with a glacial look, and utters a phrase that changes everything. Judge: Young man, the warrant was issued because you are accused of stealing cell phones. I burst into laughter, the court laughed, and my teacher laughed when he read my report on that.

All The President’s Men

I’m a defense attorney, and I work a small town misdemeanor docket. One day, I had an intake meeting with this gentleman, who is as nice as can be, and who was charged with an extremely low level public nuisance offense.

However, there were aspects of the interview that did not ring particularly true. Like when he claimed to be the President of the US, who needed to be relieved of the burden of this court case so that he could return to treaty negotiations in Washington DC. I nod, and we have a pleasant conversation as I note the need to approach the bench at the upcoming court date and request time to arrange a psychological evaluation.

We go to court. Part of the routine process in this court is for the defendant, upon being called, to step up to the podium with counsel and state their name and birth date for the record. So, my client gets up, provides his name, and gets halfway through his birth date before he stops and shakes his head. What he said next may be the greatest line I've ever heard in a court room.

"I'm sorry your honor, I forgot, you blew my CIA cover. My actual birth date is (insert random date here)." The judge, to her credit, took this wholly in stride. Also, I'll note, there was no anger or accusation in client's tone. He was, in his mind, just reciting facts. The judge, without me needing to walk up to request time, goes ahead and gives me a date far enough out for the evaluation.

As I head out, the prosecutor grabs me, and asked if that was legit or if I thought the client was acting crazy for effect. I inform him that I believe it is legitimate, and, in a bit of a surprise move, he just shakes his head, and says, "This isn't worth it for a public nuisance charge. Just get me an agreed order dismissing." Easiest dismissal ever. I cleared the President/CIA Operative, and he returned to keeping America safe. Either that, or he is an evil genius.

From The Mouths Of Babes

five children smiling while doing peace hand signPhoto by Larm Rmah on Unsplash

I preside over an emergency family court on the night shift. We handle a lot of the emergency custody issues, protective orders, etc. Although evidence is definitely required, this is an emergency court. The threshold is pretty low for me to take a protective action—I handle immediate safety, the other appropriate courts untangle the rest.

Around 11 pm, one of our former frequent fliers (yep...that's just as sad as it sounds) is brings her three kids that she's had since I've last seen her, a three-year old and five-year old twins. She's filing for emergency protective custody of her children and an order of protection against her husband. She and the children both stated that they were mistreated.

However, I recognized the story, as in the past she used the darn near same template to file complaints of mistreatment against every ex she's ever broken up with. Anyway, with this one she wants a protective order for her and her kids against the husband, she wants emergency custody, and she specifically wants provisions allowing her to move out of the area.

I talk with the children in private. That’s when all her lies unravel. They tell me with exceptionally little hesitation that the mom coached them, they love their dad, and their mom is "crazy" (their own words). The kids also stated that mom hits them a lot. I was able figure out via one of the five-year-olds that the parents were "being unmarried"— again, his own words.

So now I have a lady going through a divorce in my court filing (almost certainly false) emergency orders. I confront the mom about the divorce and her previous patterns of filing the same claim against different exes, and she did not like that. She started yelling at me, saying I'm a part of a victim-blaming system, how I'm just as bad as her husband, etc.

She was crying (lots of noise, but no tears) and most unnervingly, the children seemed unfazed. All of a sudden, she's coming out and saying that the husband tried to run her over with a van, that he's done other violent things, etc. Kids seemed like “what the heck?” It turned out, the wife was desperately trying to get us to produce those orders so she could delay the initial suit for divorce and leave the country.

That's not what happened. We called the husband/father to court, and were surprised to find that actually seemed quite level-headed and calm. We granted him half an emergency custody order of the children, on the basis of protection from psychological mistreatment and neglect. We also filed an emergency eviction, forcing her to move out of their shared house.

I reported the whole saga to social services, and those kids got a happy ending. But man, I needed a stiff drink after wrapping up that case.

Do I Know You?

Ex-public defender assistant here. Two friends of mine were building a summer house and got scammed out of approximately five thousand dollars by their material supplier. Of course, the guy was using a fake name and ID, so it took a while for the authorities to identify his real name. After we managed to find his true identity, we started to do a background check, looking for past convictions.

We came upon a shocking realization. I had already met the jerk. Three years ago, while I was still working at the public defender’s office, a case of his got assigned to me. I managed to save his sorry butt after he was accused of, guess what, scamming someone out of a few bucks. This truly sounds like a cosmic prank, and all I have to say is Karma's a witch.

Catch Me If You Can

I'm a court marshal. Something one of my responsibilities is to serve court orders. Order service is a very complicated gig here, with many finicky rules. So, I've been chasing around a homeless guy for about two months to try to serve a protective order so that he stops harassing a client. If I can't physically give it to the homeless guy, the order doesn't fully count, meaning the person who needs protection is still at risk. Long story short: It's really important that I get this paperwork to this guy.

But to serve a protective order of this specific type, I need to do a ton of extra stuff. I have to introduce myself in front of the recipient with no obstacles (no doors in the way, etc). I need to show them the order, hand them the order, explain that they're being served with a protective order, and say that it's effective immediately.

I've been in contact with a family member of his to keep me updated on his location so I can hopefully give him the order, but this guy is impossible to catch. I've had him run after I knock on several different houses trying to find him. He's sped off after I tried to serve him at his car. He's jumped and run out of a third-story window of an apartment. I even tried to serve him in the hospital emergency department and he still managed to run away.

But finally, I found him sleeping in his car. I knew this was my big shot, so I was smart about it this time. I brought a wheel clamp and clamped it onto his car before knocking. The guy tries to speed off, but doesn't realize he's stuck. Watching him mess up his car and admit defeat? Priceless. Handing over an order never felt so good.

The Tables Have Turned

man in black suit wearing sunglassesPhoto by Harsh Gupta on Unsplash

This is a story from an attorney who rented an office from my first firm. I did not know him at the time of this story, but this was his favorite hearing ever, so much so that he spent money to order the official transcript just so he could show people the level of crazy he had to deal with. And guys, this case was truly next level insanity.

The attorney here was a defense attorney. In this particular case, his client was a little old lady who had gotten caught trespassing. She'd gone to a business she had been banned from before. She'd been caught on security cameras and had resisted getting cuffed when the authorities came and escorted her out.

After hearing about all this, the attorney thought the old lady must have some kind of mental illness, but she'd passed a competency exam. Then he had a pre-trial hearing with this lady and realized that even though she'd technically passed the exam, this lady was nowhere near sane. So he came up with an absolutely ingenious plan: He told her crazy side of the story.

So, when the head of security took the stand, the attorney used him as a way to show how nutty his client was. He asked, "Is it true that people have been coming into your establishment wearing masks of my client's face?" Witness: (confusedly) No... Attorney: "Is it true that you and/or your employees have edited films to feature my client's face?"

Witness: No. Attorney: "Is it true that you and/or your employees broke into my client's house and took the dress she was wearing when she had a liaison with Bill Clinton?" Witness: No... Client: (standing up and shouting) It was a nightgown! Judge: May I speak to the attorneys up here? (when they arrive) There's no way she's competent to stand trial.

Karma Will Get You

I'm a courtroom assistant. We do both security and practical assistance like moving displays, escorting juries, and some ceremonial stuff as well. One day, I was at the sentencing of an evil, evil man with several huge offenses. He stalked, kidnapped, assaulted, and killed a locally famous and growing pop artist. And as though that wasn't bad enough, the poor girl was pregnant at the time.

So this Evil Man, as he will be referred to from here on out, was on suicide precautions as he made threats against his own life, so he was in spiffy paper clothes. At this point in the day, we were well into victim impact statements; the victim had a large family and there were something like 35 individuals addressing the court. We're something like 28 statements into it, and next up was the grandfather.

These are always really emotional. Families are always really upset for good reason, but this 80+ old guy is the worst I can remember. He was crying, breathing heavily, and shaking for the entire sentencing. He was called to make his statement, starts walking up, about past the council table. He then turns and tackles the attorneys and Evil Man.

He didn't get much in on the Evil Man, maybe a kick and two punches, before 15 of us pile up on him. He was taken into custody, and it quickly became apparent that Evil Man got what was coming. Evil Man is screaming and gagging for about 20 seconds, then he starts convulsing. He came back in about two minutes choking/gagging, really bad.

We put him on his side and get an ambulance on the way, the rest of the gallery was evacuated and the court went into recess. By time the ambulance arrives, he's not breathing, only twitching, and has no pulse. They do CPR, take him out to the hospital, where he passed that day. Coroners report said his brainstem was damaged, his skull was broken, and his brain herniated through a break in his skull.

The granddad was interviewed by national officers who have jurisdiction of courts. He said that he'd been planning that for days, he felt no remorse, said if he had time he would have done the attorneys in, too. It also came out that the granddad was in the mob back in the day, and had 40 years behind bars prior to this for drowning someone in petrol and lighting their corpse on fire.

He was suspected but not confirmed to be involved in several other high profile attacks. He was charged with a slew of offenses, but found not guilty of everything except contempt of court, to which he was originally sentenced to four years but it was reduced to terminal probation with home confinement due to his health.

In The Driver’s Seat

I had a client once who wanted to get her car seats reimbursed. No problem, I told her. I sent the photos we had on file along with the Amazon price listings she sent us to the insurance company. The company emails me back a few days later stating that they need actual receipts or some kind of proof of purchase before they do anything.

I call the client, and she says she doesn't have any receipts because she bought them over a year ago and didn't hang on to the receipts. That's fine, I told her, any proof of payment would do. I asked if she could maybe find a bank statement showing how much she paid for the seats, or maybe call the company she bought them from and see if they could look into their records and provide her with something.

She just says, "Well they can't do that. I paid in cash." It's important to know now that the car seats were several hundred dollars each, and the total was about a thousand, so I was more than slightly shocked. "Do you mean you paid with a debit card instead of credit?" "No, I paid in cash. Like paper." So I call the insurance company again and explain the situation.

They very kindly agree to provide reimbursement for the amount given on the Amazon listing, provided that the client sends photos of the car seats with the straps cut through to prove that they can't be used anymore. I call the client back, and she LOSES it. How dare we ask for more photos from her! Is it not enough that she gave us photos of the car seats on her driveway in the first place?

Many of her relatives have been in car accidents, and they all got their car seats reimbursed, no questions asked. What kind of attorney's office are we if we can't even get this small thing reimbursed for her? I explain again that literally all she needs to do is take a scissor to the straps and send us the photos, and really, the insurance company is being very generous with this agreement.

She tells me that she can't do that because she tossed the car seats ages ago and hangs up on me. But she wasn’t done. A few days later, she calls back and asks me what the status of the reimbursement is. I tell her that, per our previous conversation, the insurance would not reimburse her without proof of payment or proof of the car seats no longer being usable, and since she paid in cash, lost the receipts, and junked the car seats, there was nothing I could do.

She then tells me that she didn't actually junk the car seats, she gave them to a lady in her neighborhood. A hoarder, apparently, who collects car seats. Great, I tell her. Go find the lady and ask if you can take back your car seats or borrow them long enough to cut the straps and take a picture. She goes on and on in circles about why this is impossible, why I'm being unreasonable, why our whole firm is being outrageously incompetent, etc etc etc. Finally, she asks me this whammy of a question.

"You have photos of car seats from other cases, don't you? Why don't you just use one of those photos?" Ma'am. MA'AM. The insurance company already knows what model your car seats are because I already sent them photos and listings. I do not have photos on file of car seats that match yours. And even if I did, I wouldn't send them to the IC because newsflash! That is insurance fraud!

I don't care if your relatives' attorneys did that for them! We are not them! I will not be helping you with this! I refuse to be involved in so stupid a plot! One of the attorneys catches me mid-explanation and says, "Tell her that's a freaking felony.” I duly relay the message as I am ordered. She goes into a deeper rage and demands to speak to an attorney.

So I transfer her. She ended up dropping the case eventually, thank god.

A Mother’s Love

a golden scale with an eagle on top of itPhoto by Nellie Adamyan on Unsplash

I'm a judge. One day, I oversaw a custody battle where the dad was trying to get joint custody. It's granted, and he's about to have his first weekend with the kids. Mom is not having it in the slightest. So Mom does the unthinkable. She has the father killed. In the aftermath, Grandma (Dad's mom) attempts to get guardianship of the kids.

It's discovered that Mom conspired to have Grandma offed, too. Mom is brought before the judge for her hearing. She is sobbing. "BUT I'M THEIR MOTHER!!!!!" Judge isn't having it. "You're their mother. So?" The woman stops crying almost immediately, proving she faked her "tears" from before. She's still currently behind bars.

You Have The Right To Remain Stupid

My job is helping people use the rights they are allowed while behind bars. One day, a client called, stating that they were going to turn themselves in for violating a protective order. That was enough for me to get sent out. I try to figure out what's going on, and learn that the client's ex-girlfriend took out a retroactive protective order and he's admitting to breaking it.

That's a huge “Oh god” moment for me, because you need to do something seriously messed up with significant proof to get retroactive protective order. Anyway, I advise him of his rights when interacting with officers as clearly as I can. Then I make sure he understands and urge him not to void his rights. Well, he voided his rights apparently without hesitation, and he spilled the beans to the officer about everything.

The story was even crazier than I ever expected. It turned out that there was no active valid protective order at the time of the alleged offense. Instead, the ex-girlfriend applied for a retroactive protective order, got denied, then had her friend serve him a fake retroactive order. When he breached the order that doesn't exist, she applied for a new regular protective order, was approved.

But there was one problem: the order wasn't active yet because it hadn't been served. Despite this, the ex-girlfriend didn't hesitate to void it by sending him harassing text messages! She ended up going in on production of false documents, distribution of false documents, breach of protective order, and electronic harassment.

The Early Bird Gets No Worm

I had a genius client today who called in and was very rude to my assistant. Old twit claims that he called twice in the morning and nobody answered his calls. Turns out, this geezer had called the office at 7:45 am and again at 8:25 am. Our posted hours are 9-5, plus our voicemail system states our hours. PLUS what office is open at 7:45 in the morning?!

When he finally did manage to speak to a lawyer, all he did was get really mad that we recommended that he get a new will done because all the people named in his existing will are deceased. There's no helping some people.

Do You Know Who I Am?

person in black long sleeve shirt driving carPhoto by Miles Loewen on Unsplash

This happened several years ago. My father was a superior court judge, and about 60 years old at the time. He was driving on a city street when a young kid blew through a stop sign and ran into him. Dad was on a through street with no stop sign, so it's pretty obvious that the kid was at fault. Nobody was hurt, thankfully, but the kid was very upset about it and jumped out of his car, cussing a blue streak.

"You crazy old man, you shouldn't be on the road. I'm going to sue you! I'll have you taken in for a hit-and-run, you can't you look where you're going," along with a series of other colorful words. My dad looks at him, cool as a cucumber, and totally destroys the kid. He says he isn't going anywhere, so hit-and-run wouldn't apply.

Kid keeps on cussing, stomping around, and generally being a real jerk. Fairly soon, an officer shows up. Young kid goes off on the officer about getting this crazy old man off the road, yadda yadda. Dad gives the cop his license, registration, insurance, and business card. Officer turns to him and says, "Your honor, can you tell me what happened?"

Young kid suddenly stops yelling, and looks like he's seen a ghost. Turns to the officer and says, "This guy's a judge??? My dad turns to the kid and says, "That's correct. If you would like to bring your parents by the courthouse some time, I'd be happy to perform the ceremony at no charge." I thought the officer was going to lose it on the spot. Kid got a ticket and was found at fault for the accident.

Christmas At Court

One Christmas Eve, a woman comes in with her two sons and files an emergency petition for sole custody. They had just arrived to spend the holidays with her and informed her about how abusive their dad was to them. So she fills out the paperwork, staff is going over it, and a probation officer comes to tell me that the next time I see this woman, I need to tell her to stay put because she has to go through a substance screening.

I find the woman and awkwardly delivered the news. It went better than expected. She took it all in stride and agreed. And after that interaction, I thought to myself that for someone who is spending Christmas Eve at court, petitioning for sole custody because the father of her children is mistreating said children...she was really chipper. Yeah, I'd soon learn why.

She tested positive for a whole whack of feel-good substances. Regardless, she was brought before the judge. Dad was called up so he could appear telephonically. Oh ho, the judge was unhappy with both of them. Turns out, dad had full custody, and mom was only supposed to have supervised visitation with the kids. Why? Because this lady COULD NOT parent.

The poor kids sometimes didn't have enough to eat. And she would leave them unsupervised for hours at a time while she went to do...whatever it was that she did. The judge was reading all this stuff from the previous cases onto the record in a really flat, matter-of-fact tone. "[Mom] complains that she doesn't receive enough in child support for the children. [Mom] still has enough money to afford substances.”

The judge asked the dad why he sent the kids to the mother they're not supposed to be alone with. Dad said he didn't want her to not be part of their lives. Judge scolded him regardless. Good intentions, bad execution. And this wasn't the first time she cried wolf about dad. And to top it all off, throughout the hearing, this woman is switching between sobbing loudly, laughing like a maniac, and stone cold sarcasm. Her petition to be the kids' only care-taker was denied.

By Any Other Name

So, I was a law clerk at a small firm in a northern state for two years during law school. The firm had been around for several decades, and it had a name like "Davidson, Roberts, McIntyre, and Johnson." Well, Davidson had started the firm. Roberts had joined within a few years. Roberts had passed about 20 years before I became a clerk, and Davidson had passed a few years before I became a clerk.

The firm name hadn't changed, though. When I became a clerk, McIntyre was the senior partner, and there were four other partners in at the firm, plus an associate. One of the partners was Davidson's son, we'll call him Joe. One day, I was called to the front desk to cover the phones because our receptionist was out. I was sitting at the front desk, and an older man walked up to me.

"I need to speak to an attorney." "Alright. What kind of case is it?" "Well, I don't know. Can I just speak to attorney Davidson?" "Joe Davidson?" "I just want to speak to the Davidson on the sign out front." "Oh. Well, he's dead." The man cocked his head, and said, "Well, can speak to attorney Roberts?" "Sir, he's gone, as well."

The old man just stared at me. I called around and found someone to come talk to the man finally. I don't know if we took him on as a client though. It was a really strange interaction.

Choose Your Battles

woman in dress holding sword figurinePhoto by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

Years ago, my wife and I ran a tiny landlord/tenant law practice. Technically, it was a two-person partnership law practice, but my participation was limited to reviewing contracts and going to court once in a while if she had two cases at the same time. Because of this, it was basically a one-woman show, so if my wife had to go to court, the office was empty. Not usually a big deal, as this was the type of practice that was mostly done by cell phone and laptop.

Or, I should say that it wasn't a big deal until one insane day. So, there was one tenant client who had a dispute with her deposit and damages. Long story short, not only would her landlord not give the deposit back, but he claimed there were extra damages that she had to pay too. Our case was weak as our client didn't have proof that the damages in the apartment existed before she arrived or that they were caused by external forces.

Now, in my state, if the landlord does not provide a detailed list of damages or return the deposit within 30 days, the landlord has automatically failed his or her role and now owes double the deposit. Guess who didn't comply with the statute? The now double deposit amount exceeded what the landlord was demanding, so we were willing to settle for the difference. Nope. Landlord refuses to take that deal, so mediation fails and we have to go to the judge.

Now, before I continue, this landlord was an arrogant jerk who didn't know the law. He was a computer engineer who thought the rental was just a second investment property. We tried to explain the law when offering the deal, but no dice. He clearly thought that a firm that didn't even have regular office hours was too far beneath him. That was his first mistake.

The way landlord-tenant court works in my state is that you have two rounds of meditation before you see a judge. Most cases settle before you get to the judge, so if it gets that far, the judge is looking to see who is being unreasonable. The judge rules for the landlord, though he disagrees with some of the cost estimates and awards him a bit less money.

He also reminds the landlord that he owes double the deposit, so he needs to give the tenant the difference from the award but less than the double deposit amount—in other words, more than what we would have had to pay if he just accepted our offer. The landlord doesn't agree with the judge’s findings and appeals, so larger court fees for him right off the bat.

When my wife gets the paperwork, she notices his fatal error. He screwed up the appeal. Since she wasn't his lawyer, though, she didn't have to tell him he'd made a mistake. She didn't even have to respond to the court since the appeal wasn't properly submitted. Instead, she quietly put a lien on the property for the judgment, added a fee for the extra paper work involving the fee, and went on her merry way.

For the next few years, we didn't hear a peep about the appeal. But then, one day, we get an email from the landlord asking us to remove the lien as he is selling the property. Gladly, we say. All he has to do is pay the judgement and fees. Landlord refuses and hires his own lawyer to fight us. This time, we got revenge. We have the strong case.

We simply e-mail the attorney the paper work and show how everything was proper on our end. Just like that, we proved that it's not our fault this jerk-landlord tried to play at being a lawyer. Long story short, our client gets her money, we get our fee, and that awful landlord gets a nice big bill from the attorney that he hired for his completely stupid case.

Black Magic Woman

I'm a client intake specialist for a firm that handles claims for employees who have been discriminated against at their workplace. Last week, I had a call from a potential new client who said that her employer caused her son's auto accident. When I asked her for more information, she asked me if I could meet her somewhere to discuss the details.

My internal red flags were waving at full staff, so I explained to her that I could not meet her. I told her I could take down all of the details and give her claim to the attorney, so he could review it and see if he could help her. She said she would call me back the next morning, since she didn't know if her calls were being recorded or if there were cameras in the room she was in. I did not hear back from her.

Fast forward to this morning, when I received a call from the same lady. She said she wanted to sue her employer because they hired a man to cause her son's car accident using...witchcraft. At this point, I'm thinking that this lady has really gone off the deep end. Oh, but she's not done yet. She explains that she has filed a report and wants to sue this man and her employer.

She goes on to say that she overheard a co-worker tell this witchcraft-practicing man to make sure all of her son's airbags come out because they want him to work for them in the near future. I politely, but firmly, had to tell this lady that our firm would not be able to assist her. She asked why, and I so desperately wanted to tell her that it's because she's clearly nuts.


I did a will for a client. Signed the will, gave him the bill. He whipped out a check and paid it happily. He immediately went home and sent an email to my boss getting really angry about the bill and only wanting to pay for the half hour he had spent in our office signing the will—not any of the time I spent drafting and preparing the will. My boss’s response was priceless.

My boss had him bring back his will. Handed him a check for the full amount he had paid, and then fed his will through the shredder in front of him. Full refund.

Go Speed Racer

vehicle driving through empty roadPhoto by Raivis Razgals on Unsplash

Several years ago, I was interning for a friend of mine at the firm he worked at. I had the pleasure of being the note taker at a first meeting with a new client. It was an 18-year-old kid who got pulled over by highway patrol for excessive speeding at about 3 am. So, my buddy explains everything to him, and then gets to the "be on your best behavior part."

The kid doesn't get it. My friend goes, "Pretty much, don't do anything that could get you in trouble. Don't stay out late at night, don't smoke, and honestly, just don't speed. The kid responds with, "But I like to go fast." My friend is completely dumbfounded. Like, this kid got pulled over on the freeway doing about 90 mph, at 3 in the morning.

He explained it to him about three times, how if you get a ticket for something, and you challenge it, and take it to court, if you get a ticket for it again while waiting for your court date, you will lose your case. But this kid kept saying, "But I like to go fast." I highly doubt that "Ricky Bobby" learned his lesson this go around, at least.

Employee Of The Month

So this is about five years ago. I worked as a chef at a bakery, and it was my job to make everything but the baked goods. Every morning, the baker and I would walk in at 4 am and knock out all the food needed for the day. This would leave me ready to go home around 10 AM or so. On my way home, I'd drop off half the online orders we received, while my co-worker would deliver the other half.

On this particular day, I had a delivery for a large law firm with a generic-sounding name. I had never delivered to them before, but they were a regular of sorts. Every financial quarter, they would hold a huge meeting. This meeting would require roughly $700 of bagels and bagel accessories. This spread included eight dozen bagels, all ten of our flavors of cream cheese, pastries, brownies, and enough coffee to power a college dorm though finals week.

My passenger seat, entire back seat, and entire trunk are filled with food. Now, the firm is located on the ninth floor of a commercial sky scraper deep in downtown. Parking was non-existent. There were meters outside the building, but I knew I would need close to 10 trips to deliver all this food, and didn't have a lot of change on me.

So I decided that I'd try to use building's own parking garage. As I pull on in, the security guard, let's call him Sam, stops me and says that the parking garage is for employees only. I happily show him my delivery invoice, explain why I'm there, and offer him a bagel, as I never leave the store without at least two on hand.

Sam refuses the bagel and says I can park in one of the guest spots on the bottom floor. The fee is $5 for every 30 minutes, minimum $10. Work will reimburse me, so this sounds great to me. I thank Sam and head to the bottom floor of the garage...where I see a total of six guest parking spaces. Just six. All of them are taken.

I head back up to talk to Sam, when I see an open parking spot reserved for the law firm. There are cars in every spot, with many spots reserved for employees by name. The last spot is empty, and is reserved for "Guest of [Law Firm's Name]". Perfect. I pull on in. I grab the most important part of the delivery (the coffee) and head to the stairwell.

I get into the elevator and hit the button for floor nine. The elevator asks for my employee ID card. Well...crud. So, I try the lobby. That works. From there, it’s nine flights of stairs until I am outside the firm. After introducing myself, I am shown to the room where the meeting will take place. A table is set aside for me. I set down the coffee and head for trip number two.

That is when I see an unsettling sight. Sam is talking to the receptionist. He runs over and starts shouting at me. "I am putting a flag on your freaking car. I told you to park in the guest section on the bottom floor!" I don't get a word in before he launches into a speech about security and how I could be hurting his building or people.

That is when a very well dressed man walks over. It so happens to be one of the partners at the law firm. He asks what is the problem, and soon the two are arguing. Partner: He is delivering food for my meeting. He is allowed to use my parking spots. Sam: Those parking spots belong to the building. You are leasing them like you lease this floor. I am the one who says who can park there. He isn't an employee so he isn't parking!

Partner: Then I am making him an employee! Sam: You can't do that! Partner: ... ... ... You know what. You are right. I thought it was over, but I was so, so wrong. Then the partner calls over another partner, who walks over with an amused look on his face. Partner: (introducing the other man) This man is Mr. Smith. He's the head of our HR department. Mr. Smith, hire this boy.

So Mr. Smith pulls out a piece of paper and scribbles that I am “Now a member" of the law firm, and signs it, then asks me to sign as well. I do so. The partner reaches over to the receptionist, who is already grabbing some things. Partner: Here is your employee badge, your -PARKING PERMIT- and your elevator key card. Now please, do the job I have -HIRED- you to do, and deliver my bagels.

Sam looks on in utter fury as I ride the elevator down to my car. Seven sweet, sweet elevator rides later, all the food is delivered. Bob and Harry meet me at the table. Bob: Well, you have made great strides in this company and I am proud of your work, but I feel it is time for us to part ways. Here is your final check. Bob then hands me a crisp $50 bill.

Mr. Smith: And your severance package. Now please be sure to return your badge and card on the way out. The partner hands me a $20 and sends me on my way. The receptionist is sure to validate the parking ticket that Sam gave me, and I head on out. On the way out, Sam grins at me and asks for my ticket. I place it in the machine in his station.

It sees the validation I got, and lets me out for free. Sam glares at me as I drive off into the late morning sun. Lesson of the day: Never argue with lawyers.

Take A Walk

I had a client who called to tell me that the police report completely messed up her name, and she was afraid it was going to affect her case. I checked, and the report was indeed messed up. Like not just a minor misspelling, but it looked like an entirely different name. I told her not to worry, she just had to bring the report and her ID to the station, and they'd fix it for her.

Client asks why we can't do it for her. I tell her that departments are quite strict about that sort of thing, and I'd do it for her if I could, but they absolutely require the actual involved party to come in themselves to get that fixed. She complains that her car accident happened too far away from where she lived and she doesn't want to go all the way back there.

Thankfully, the agency that took the report was the State Highway Patrol, and in the state I worked, you could go to any SHP office regardless of where your accident actually happened and they could help you just the same. I do some Googling and the following exchange happens. Me: Good news! I found an SHP office that's literally right around the corner from your address. It's like a ten-minute walk MAX, faster if you want to drive.

Client: That's too far. Me: I'm sorry what. C: That's too far, I'm not going all the way there to get my report fixed. Me: It's literally around the corner and down a block. This is the absolute closest SHP office. There is not a single one that is any closer than that. C: Well it's too far. Why can't you guys go do it for me? You're my attorney's office, this is what I pay you for. At this point, I'm losing my patience, but I put on my nice voice and continue.

Me: As I've explained, I am literally not allowed to do it for you. SHP won't do it if it's not the actual person themselves. C: Can't I just call or email them? Me: No, they need to see your actual physical person along with your ID, so you need to show up. I promise, it's right on [names intersection here], it's no more than 10 minutes away if you WALK.

I'm slowly losing my mind here, and I thought the conversation had gotten about as brain-numbing as it could be—until the client dropped this next line. C: Well that's 10 minutes out of my day that I'll have wasted, and I'm not a youth anymore, I can't be traveling such distances whenever I want. I told her that if she really didn't want to get the report fixed, she didn't have to, but it could totally cause problems later in her case.

But if she INSISTED, then fine, don't. She told me she'd think about it. The client, by the way, who claimed she was "not a youth anymore," was a fully able-bodied 20-year-old. It's people like her who give the rest of us millennials a bad name and honestly I hate it.

Orders From Above

File:Portrait of US federal judge William H. Pryor, Jr.jpg -

I’m picking a jury in front of a judge who, coincidentally, happens to be in the Reserves. During selection, the judge asks "Is there any reason that anyone can't serve the full length of this trial?" Young lady in fatigues sticks her hand up. "My lieutenant is giving me a lot of grief about missing work to do jury duty." Judge doesn't skip a beat and delivers the greatest line I've ever heard in my career.

"Really? Give him my number and tell him that General Hizzonner would like to discuss his attitude." The grin on that young lady's face was something to see.

Long-Distance Friendship

This happened to my co-worker, Al, who represented a guy who had clear mental health issues. The client had a long history, took a bucket-load of medications, was semi-homeless, etc. So while talking to Al, my co-worker decides to contact this guy named Bob that Al keeps calling "his lawyer"...even though Al is supposed to be his lawyer. Confused, Al looks up Bob—and he realizes the case just got more complicated.

Yes, Bob is a prominent attorney, but in a totally unrelated field. Now, it's obvious that Bob isn't the client's lawyer in the sense that he has him on retainer. Still, Bob's been an attorney for 25 years, so Al figures that Bob probably represented the client at some point—maybe he started as a public defender, or took an occasional pro-bono case, or whatever.

So Al gives Bob a call to see if he can remember anything about the client that might help, and at least ask why the client is so insistent that Bob is "his attorney," when the client has clearly been represented by at least a dozen lawyers at this point in his career. The conversation goes as follows: Al: “So, I'm representing Mr. Client and he says that you're ‘his lawyer.’ How do you know him?”

Bob: “Well, I know him, and I don't. You see, I've never represented him, or even met him. A few years ago, he called my office and asked to speak to me. He had apparently seen a story about a case I was handling in the local paper. I wasn't in, so the secretary put him through to my answering machine, where he left a lengthy, rambling message.”

My co-worker is rapt at attention now. Bob continues, “At the beginning of the message, he was extremely agitated, but as it went on, he seemed to calm himself down and sounded much better. A little while later, he left another message, which followed the same pattern. It really seemed to help him just vent into the answering machine.” Al’s getting the point now, but Bob finishes off the ridiculous story.

“So I told my secretary whenever he called in the future, to just tell him that I wasn't in and let him keep leaving messages. He's been doing it for years now.”

Mother Knows Best

I’m a legal assistant. I just recently opened files for my lawyer, and this means new clients calling in to schedule their first appointments. This usually happens the next week after I sent out the first letters. They usually call in bulks. I mostly have a good memory so if your name is unique, I will definitely remember you. Now, this client’s name is unique in a way that is difficult to pronounce.

It’s even harder as I’m not from this country, so I still have a slight accent...and I have a lisp too. Yay. The client is also apparently not from here and has an accent. The two of us are not the dream team. Normally, I'd make my lawyer handle this kind of thing, but she was in court during this exchange, so it was all down to me.

ME: Hello. Her: Hi, my name is [insert complicated name] and my son is [even more complicated name]. Is it possible for me to talk to his lawyer regarding his case? ME: (me trying to type the name onto the system but not coming up with any) Sorry about this, but can you please spell your last name? I can’t seem to find your son’s name on file.

Insert us spending five excruciating minutes trying to figure out the spelling. ME: Okay! So can your son come in at this date and time to see the lawyer? Her: My son is actually not here in the city right now, he lives abroad. Is it possible for me to deal with this case without him coming down there? ME: Your son lives in abroad? Sadly, we cannot help your son if he doesn’t live here—

Her: OH NO! Haha, I meant my son is on a vacation for two weeks. He’s going to be back soon. Can I just see the lawyer instead of him? ME: So he is coming back then? That’s fine. The lawyer is scheduling appointments in six weeks anyway. Sadly, you cannot see the lawyer in his place. Her: But my son might be away for two months. I’m not sure if he’ll be back here. It’s fine. I know all about his case. I can see the lawyer for him and we can settle this without him.

This is where I started to get suspicious.

ME: Oh. I thought you said he’ll be back here in two weeks? And again, the lawyer needs to see your son. We need him to sign documents, things you won’t be able to sign. Can you give me a date of when your son is returning and we can schedule the appointment then? Her: But I’m his mom. I know all about his case!

ME: But we still need your son to come in, as he is the one getting a divorce. Please pass on my phone number to your son. Okay? Her: Okay. Fine. I’ll have him call you today. Son called later in the day. No, son is not on "vacation." Yep, son is fully living in another country. No, we cannot represent him. I don’t understand why mom kept lying to me.

Nothing Comes For Free

three women sitting beside tablePhoto by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

A good client of mine asked me to help a friend of theirs, who is having some trouble with debt. The debtor is getting demand letters because they haven't been paying back their $12k student loan. They're a medical professional in a lucrative field, so I figure that they can just...y' back their loan. But on the phone, they're panicking so I assume something else must be going on.

Me: "So, what's the issue?" Debtor: “I got this student loan with auto-debit. I closed the bank account and moved. They're calling me up again." Me: "Did you offer to start paying them again?" Debtor: "Do I have to?" Me: "Well, have you paid it off?" Debtor: "That's another thing. I've been paying on it for three years and it's not paid off? That can't be right.”

I do some quick excel work and realize that Debtor's payments are lower than the interest on the debt. This takes the conversation to the Crazytown exit on the Just Don't Get It turnpike. Me: "You've been paying less than the interest payments, so they're adding to the principal." Debtor: "That's not fair. Isn't there a way to get out of this? Like sue them?" Me: "I'll bet that there's a 'cost of litigation' clause in the contract where any court or attorney's fees they spend in getting you to pay are paid by you."

Debtor: "Can I get them to pay your fees?" Me: "No. You'd pay their fees, my fees and the loan. That's why I recommend that you settle for the current principal." Debtor: "But I didn't get anything out of it.” Me: "You're a practicing medical professional. I imagine that pays better than the alternatives.” Debtor: "I still think I paid too much. I shouldn't have to pay interest."

Me: "Yeah, I know that feeling. But you signed a document that says you would pay it. Since it's a student loan and you're earning decent money, you don't have much in the way of negotiating strength." Debtor: "But it seems that all my patients get Medicaid. Why don't I get anything for free?" Me: “You're getting free advice."

Debtor: "But you're not helping" This is when I lost my patience and dropped the mic. Before hanging up, I said "Sorry about that. I'll refer you to someone who specializes in this. They'll want to be paid up front."

Nickels and Dimes

If you've ever driven through a small town where the speed limit dropped precipitously from 55 to 35 for no apparent reason, you know that lots of places support themselves through fines and court fees. This extends far beyond speeding tickets, though. It's a dirty secret that most municipal and justice courts exist to make money for the town, not actually dispense justice.

I used to work as a public defender in a county that squeezed every dime it could out of people coming through the court system. Many of my indigent clients owed hundreds or even thousands of dollars to the courts. I had one client who owed $25,000 to the courts. That was my record for a while, until I had a guy who owed $40,000.

One day, I was swapping stories with my fellow public defenders and I this topic came up. I didn't think for a second that my $40,000 guy would be the record, but I was still shocked when one of my colleagues told me that he once had a client who owed $190,000! This prompted the following amusing exchange. Other colleague: $190,000? Geez, that's more than my student loan debt. And at least I have an education to show for it!

Me: Well, in a way, so does he...

Blank Slate

We were buying our first home, and a small firm specializing in real estate transactions was handling our closing. My wife and I, and our realtor, were seated on one side of a large table; the seller and his realtor were on the other, while an attorney sat at the head of the table, handing out papers to sign, and then collecting them again while explaining each step of the process.

It was all very amicable, generally well organized, no issues whatsoever. No issues, that is, until he collected a freshly-signed document from us with one hand, his attention on that one to make sure we had crossed all the I’s and dotted all the T’s as appropriate...while almost absentmindedly handing us the next one without really looking at it.

The next form was a single sheet, which I committed to memory. Quoting in its entirety: "By my signature below, I hereby certify that I have received a copy of this notice." With lines for printed name, signature, and date at the bottom. That's it. Nothing else on the page at all. I said "Um....I don't understand..." Puzzled, the attorney asked for it back so he could see what I didn't understand.

He looked at it for the longest time...looked at the back (blank) and then at the front some more...and said "Well...on one hand, I've never seen this form before, ever, and I have NO IDEA why it is in your package. On the other DID in fact receive a copy of it, so... why not?" The man had a point. We signed it. :)

Mean What You Say

person talking to phone raising his hand with ok signPhoto by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

A respondent called my direct line; we represent his wife. Now, the wife is pretty crazy. I don’t want to get into why and how, but believe me that as soon as I hear her name on the phone receiver, I cringe and know that this won’t end very well. She demands things we can’t do unless we perform magic. But somehow this guy is even worse.

He is a piece of work. One of our staff-members served him with papers and he had such a huge freak out that the poor girl literally ran out of the office. This guy's pretty big, while the staffer is a tiny woman. Needless to say, we sent the sheriff out to bring this guy back into court, only for him to pretend he didn't have ID and that the sheriff must think he's someone else. By the time the sheriff realized he'd been fooled, the guy was already long gone.

Since we couldn't get an address for him, we found him on social media and served him with paperwork through there. Now that was a year ago. We were finalizing their matter but we needed his financial information, so we subpoenaed his employer for his information with a court date. However, the employer called and told us how much of a piece of trash he is and just sent us his information without any more prompting or court date needed.

The payroll hates his guts and that’s amazing, because what are the odds he has interactions with payroll. Unfortunately, by that time, the information is useless because the kid from the wife was taken by child protective services. Like I said, the wife is a piece of work too. She won’t be getting the kid back anytime soon, so we can’t proceed on their matter anyway.

We’ll have to put everything on hold. Basically, court is cancelled and no support from him will be taken. Well, the guy called this morning and was nice at first, but as soon as pleasantries were out of the way, the truth came out. Him: Now, I know you subpoenaed my employer! Now my employment is at risk! Me: (having no idea how to answer this) Is there anything I can help you with?

Him: You’re ruining my marriage! I don’t want a DNA test! Me: We’re not asking for a DNA test, sir... Him: My lawyer told me I don’t have anything to say to you! I can’t believe you’re helping my wife! She is a horrible person! As a mother, how can you sympathize with that! Me: (With no boyfriend or plans to have children, raised my eyebrow) Can you give me your lawyer’s name to talk to him instead?

Him: My lawyer said I don’t have to talk to you! And I’m not giving you my lawyer’s name! He said I don’t need to! Me: (I am very confused at this point on why he called) Is there anything I can help you with today, sir? Him: You’re ruining my marriage and my work is at stake. I won’t talk to you! (Hangs up) Weirdest conversation ever.

You Read My Mind

I’m an assistant in a family firm. This happened a few moments ago and I still don’t know how to react. I’m honestly baffled. So here's the story: I had a family emergency yesterday so I had to leave work an hour earlier. As I was leaving, I heard my work phone ring, but I had to leave ASAP so I left it. I thought for sure this person would leave a voicemail or contact reception if it was an emergency.

Imagine my surprise (and joy) that I came in the next day and I didn’t have any voicemail! Fast forward a few hours in: My phone rings. Client: *Screaming* Me: Confused Me: Hello? C: WHY DID YOU NOT CALL ME BACK I HAVE BEEN CALLING SINCE YESTERDAY Me: Sorry, can I get your name? Did you leave me a voicemail? C: MY NAME IS SCREAMING CLIENT AND NO. I DON’T LEAVE VOICEMAILS BECAUSE YOU WOULD NEVER CALL ME BACK ANYWAY

Me: So you didn’t leave me a voicemail but you expected me to call you back...? (I’m super stumped at this point) C: YEAH BECAUSE YOU GUYS DON’T CALL ME Me: ...okay. Well how am I supposed to know you need me to call you if you don’t leave a voicemail? SC: WELL, YOU SHOULD’VE KNOWN The next part was just us finally discussing the reason she’s calling, and then I put her on hold to get the lawyer to talk to her about her screaming and to please PLEASE leave a voicemail instead of assuming I have the powers to know when she called.

All’s Fair In Love And Breakups

The process of obtaining a restraining order is pretty straightforward. However, the people involved are sometimes very...interesting. I thought I'd already met the strangest people that humanity had to offer...until this one woman walked through my door. She came in one day to file for a restraining order.

Before starting anything, the clerk has to ask who they are filing against, to make sure they're eligible to apply. So she says, "Who are you filing against?" The woman bellows, at the top of her lungs, "He's a psychopath!" Cool. That doesn't answer my question. She explains that she wants to file against her ex boyfriend, and, as is common with a lot of people who interact with court staff, she begins to share the whole story.

He's attacked her multiple times, she has multiple health issues and the stress he puts her under could be fatal, he jacked a car and brought it to her house (?), among other things. She then starts focusing on the physical damage she's endured. She has some healing scars and such that were new-ish—not fresh, but not too old.

All of a sudden, she blurts "Do you wanna see what he did to the inside of my mouth?" I probably had a full on deer-in-the-headlights look on my face. I'm holding the paperwork she needs to fill out and just wondering how I should respond to such a question. I opt to avoid answering and just meekishly ask her to start filling out the paperwork.

She heads outside the room to begin About 10 or 15 minutes later, I hear screaming from the hall outside the office. The ex arrived, also looking to file for a restraining order. Neither were happy to see each other and proceeded to start a screaming match that attracted the attention of some officers, who separated the pair.

The woman was brought back into the office and the man was kept in the hall. A pair of officers attempted to calm her down. Not because she was scared or anything, but because she was angry. She insisted on not filing for a restraining order unless he did, too. The officers explained to her that the process didn't work that way.

She had to make a decision of whether to apply or not, independent of his decision. In the end, she elected not to apply and left. Once the dust had settled, he came in for the paperwork to start the process for his own restraining order. Now, this guy was not all there. Red in the face, strange speech, eyes sagging shut, you get the idea.

But I still gave him the paperwork and he filled it out. One of the probation officers got a look at him and informed me that he wouldn't be going the usual route for a restraining order. Instead of having his hearing in front of officers, he was going to be in front of a judge. Oh, and he would have to go through a substance screening.

I don't know if he caught onto the fact that something was up or what, but he elected to stop the process and left. So the screaming match amounted to nothing.

Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother

person holding pencil near laptop computerPhoto by Scott Graham on Unsplash

I’m a legal assistant, and I work in a branch of government that deals with providing assistance to those who cannot afford representation. I work in a family firm, so we mostly handle stuff like divorces and separations. One day, we open a client's file and send him a letter, saying we need to meet to discuss his case. We do not hear from him for weeks.

I send a second letter, but no dice. I checked his file for any phone numbers or emails. No phone number, but there is an email. Bingo! I send his last letter, a threat that if he does not reply we’ll be closing his file and he won't be able to use our services. Nice. If we get a reply, then yay! If no reply is received by the deadline we set, then even more yay, time to close his file.

One Friday afternoon, when I’m 30 minutes away from freedom, my phone rings. With just enough time to wrap up a call, I answer it. Big mistake. It had to be the most frustrating call I have received to this date. Me: Hello. Her: WHY ARE YOU CLOSING MY SON’S FILE HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO HIM HE HAS NO MONEY WHY ARE YOU NOT HELPING HIM HE CAN’T EVEN PAY FOR THE APPLICATION FEE YOU ARE ALL HORRIBLE PEOPLE—

ME: Sorry about that, but may I ask which client you’re calling about? Her: MY SON’S FILE AS I AM HIS MOM. ME: Great. And your son’s name is? Her: MY SON ME: (at this point I knew she was going to be a pain) I cannot help you if I do not know which file this is on. May I please get your son’s name? Her: (gives me son’s name) AND I AM HIS MOM

ME: Thank you, Son’s Mom. Let me just grab his file for a second. I’m going to put you on hold, is that fine? Once I have her on hold, I went ahead, grabbed the file, opened it, and went back to her. ME: Okay. So I have your son’s file. You said to not close it— Her: WHY ARE YOU CLOSING MY SON’S FILE HE HAS NO MONEY (repeats everything she screamed at the start of the call)

ME: We sent the letter because your son has not replied to any of our letters. I just need to schedule him an appointment to see his lawyer. Do you have a phone number I can contact him at? We do not have any on file. Her: MY SON HAS NO PHONE AND HE ONLY DROPS BY THE CITY TO PICK UP HIS MAIL ONCE A MONTH HIS SISTER IS SICK SO HE CANNOT PICK UP THIS MONTH WE LIVE OUTSIDE THE CITY

ME: Oh! In that case, can you give me your son’s address outside the city? We only have the city address on file—Her: MY SON HAS NO PHONE HE HAS NO MONEY HE HAS NOT BEEN WORKING IN YEARS WHY DOES THAT WITCH WANT MONEY FROM HIM HE HAS NO MONEY. At this point, it’s been 30 minutes and I am just so tired of her repeated complains and not answering my questions.

ME: Well okay. Your son just needs to see his lawyer and the lawyer will fix everything for him. Just have him come at this time and date and the lawyer will see him okay? Just let him know. Her: WELL I DON’T KNOW IF SON CAN COME THEN BUT I WILL TRY TO LET HIM KNOW BECAUSE WE HAVE NO MONEY TO PAY HER SHE IS RICH AND HE HAS NO WORK AND

ME: Your son just needs to come see the lawyer and the lawyer will sort out everything! Her: Okay.’s been 32 minutes since the call started. To this day, I still don’t understand why she was the one calling our department. Her son must have called when HER to complain about US closing the file when he could’ve just called US directly. Some people!

An Expensive Mistake

So, I had an insurance file where a company had rented a few floors of a building, and the lease required them to maintain the utilities. They moved out before the lease expired, turned off the electricity, did not turn off the water, and didn't tell anyone. Well, no electricity meant no heat so disaster struck hard and fast. The pipes burst in the unoccupied building.

Virtually overnight, they got $45,000 in damages. Before the file is handed to me, the insurance adjuster reached out to the CEO of this company, who agreed to pay in instalments. Sounds good, right? Wrong. He agreed to pay, but never signed a release or made a payment. So I get the file and type a release that obligates them to make $1,500 per month payments until the entire $45,000 is paid off.

If they default, they’ll pay attorney fees, pre-judgement interest, post-judgment interest, and court costs. This file also admits liability for the damages. It is signed and returned without objection. I get a single payment. I wait a month. Nothing. I send a letter threatening suit. They want to make a late payment. I refuse, but I allow them to a sign a second release with the same terms and begin paying. Again, I get a single payment.

At this point, I'm fed up. I wait about two weeks after the payment is due. Now, I don't have to prove negligence or breach of lease. They've admitted to that. I have a contract, so file a lawsuit on the contract and request $45,000 minus the two payments plus attorney fees, pre-judgment interest, and costs. I also include claims for negligence and breach of lease based on their admissions in the contract.

It was close to an $80,000 or so case. I get a call maybe three days after service of the lawsuit. "Why did you sue us?" "You didn't make the payment." "But we sent the check." "I don't have the check." Apparently, some employee at a branch office had received the check but had just stuck in a drawer somewhere. "Can you dismiss the lawsuit?"

"No, but I can settle for $50,000 cash. If you don't pay up, a motion for summary judgment will get me an $80,000 judgment." "Okay. I'll have a check to you tomorrow." A courier showed up the next day with a $50,000 check, which I hand delivered to my client. It took a good four months to resolve the claim, but I basically just let the company screw itself over.

Unfortunately, the clerk who misplaced the check was fired for her $50,000 mistake.

Going, Going, Gone

One day, I'm in General Sessions Court. There's lots of debt collections matters on the docket—for which most defendants don't even show up—and several matters where people are defending themselves. One case gets called, and the defendant isn't there, but the plaintiff is. So the judge gets the plaintiff up to discuss her damages. Here's the important part: This judge intelligently requires the plaintiffs to do so under oath as a strategy to stop frivolous suits.

So the lady who walked up to the podium gets sworn in then launches into her story. She goes, "I took my car to this guy to get it painted, and he just ruined it." Judge asks, "Well, how much are you asking for? It says here '$5,000.' Is that how much you are asking for?" Lady goes, "Yep. That's the estimate I got to get it fixed."

Judge: "How much did you pay this guy who damaged your car?" Lady: "$800.00, but I was 'sposed to pay him another $500.00 when he's done." Judge: "So you paid him, $800.00?" Lady: "Yes. I have pictures." The judge takes the pictures, looks at them, and says, "Wow. This guy really did destroy your car. Is this one of those PT Cruisers?"

Lady: "Yep, it is!" Judge: "And is the picture of the car after you got it fixed?" Lady: "It sure is." Judge: "You know, I like that Dale Earnhardt number 3 on the side of it. That's a good number." Lady: "It is! I got a big ole number 3 tattooed on my back, too!" Judge: " much did you pay for the car?" Lady: "$1,500."

Judge: "Well, it certainly would cost $5,000 to paint this car, but I can't give you $5,000 if the car is only worth $1,500." Lady: "I didn't mean $5,000." Judge: "You said you wanted $5,000. It's on the civil warrant." Lady:"I didn't write that." Judge: "Who wrote that then?" Lady: "The people in the office that done gave it to me."

Judge: "The Clerk doesn't fill out warrants." Lady: "Well, I guess I did it then." Judge: "Alright, well, how much did it cost to get this repaired to condition in this picture with Dale Earnhardt number 3?" Lady: "About $400 for paint and such." Judge: "Alright. I'll give you $1,200: $800 for what you paid to the man who ruined your car and $400 for supplies."

Lady: “You know, he did mess up the interior a little too."Judge: "Alright. $1,300." Lady: "And he drove an entire tank of gas through it and put a lot of miles on it." Judge: "Alright. $1,400." Lady: "And I had to do the work myself." Judge: "$1,500, and that's my final offer." Lady: "I'll take it!" The Judge entered a judgment in favor of the plaintiff for $1,500.

The Happiest Place On Earth

blue and white concrete building under blue sky during daytimePhoto by Bastien Nvs on Unsplash

Whenever anyone gets in trouble for spending money that isn't theirs, they always use the dough to go to Disneyland or Disney World. For example: one client was his mother's Power of Attorney. Took his mother on a trip to Disneyland with him, his wife and his three kids...and he used his mother's money to pay for all of it. Every single cent.

If he had only used it for his mother's expenses, it would have been sketchy but at least it could be justified, however tenuously. All six tickets, hotels, flights, food, drinks, though? Not even a little justifiable. And here's the kicker. This whole time, the mother was in a wheelchair and barely coherent with dementia.

This is just one example, but I swear it's every time. Someone misusing a Power of Attorney—Disneyland. Someone misusing a corporate credit card—Disneyland. Someone faking expense reports—Disneyland. Someone taking someone else's identity—buys tickets to Disneyland. Pilfered estate funds—Disneyland. The list goes on.

What is it about Disneyland that entices people so much?

Be Careful What You Wish For

I am not a lawyer; I am a Foreclosure Mediation Specialist working for a large mortgage servicer in the United States. In my company and department, there are two mediation reps: Myself, and a fairly useless lump of DNA at one of our other offices across the country. I operate with almost complete autonomy and report directly to my manager.

Not to toot my own horn, but I am good at what I do and I work hard. I have, however, convinced my boss that this work is a lot more difficult than anyone knows, so I basically spend my days listening to heavy metal, answering emails, taking phone calls with our attorneys and the courts, and trying to put out fires when someone screws up.

However, once upon a time, when I was just a wee foreclosure processor, I made a mistake. I was working foreclosure files and did not notice that our loss mitigation team had erroneously issued a denial letter a few days before our foreclosure sale. The letter included an appeal period later than our sale date, giving the borrower extra time to appeal their denial.

I was understandably upset, and so was the borrower who filed suit against us. Being very concerned for my job, I kept tabs on the file as it processed through our litigation team. Some weeks after the foreclosure sale was rescinded, the borrower filed for bankruptcy through a third party (major red flag) while continuing with their litigation against us.

Being the concerned drone that I was, I reviewed the bankruptcy filing and re-reviewed the loss mitigation applications that had been submitted, and I found something curious. The borrower had (allegedly) transferred partial interest in the property to a third party by way of a quit claim deed prior to the original foreclosure sale, and the third party had filed bankruptcy as a stalling tactic.

This fraudulent behavior was actually a common practice at the time, but soon, something far, far worse caught my eye. I saw that the borrower was actually deceased...and had been since before the quit claim deed was signed. And yet there was a signature stating he'd signed the quit claim deed, presumably from beyond the grave, notarized and everything.

I took everything to my boss and we went over everything together, and she was stunned. After discussing the matter with our attorneys to confirm what we were seeing, we forwarded everything to our litigation team handling the case. My boss was just tickled that the borrower's family was trying to sue us while we had definitive proof they were engaged in a fraudulent bankruptcy. Their lawsuit was quickly dismissed by the court.

An Iron Clad Defense

I was an Assistant DA in a college town in Texas. A fellow prosecutor (in plain clothes) overheard this exchange between a defendant and his attorney in the courthouse hallway. "Why don't they dismiss this case? The paper says 'State of Texas v. ______,' but I didn't punch the state of Texas. I punched my wife." Oh, buddy…

Let It Go

man in gray crew neck long sleeve shirt standing beside woman in black crew neck shirtPhoto by Afif Ramdhasuma on Unsplash

So, this story takes place at the second firm I worked for. I worked primarily on family law. This particular case was a divorce case. It should have been fairly easy, as the couple had only been married for about five years. Our client was in his early 30s; his wife was between five and 10 years older. They had no children; the only division would be property.

Our client was a perfect client. He was an officer in the Air Force. He always told the truth. He gave us relevant documents as soon as reasonably possible. He was nice to chat to. He paid his bills on time. His wife, on the other hand, was a hot mess. He was divorcing her because of two incidents. The first was when he was stationed overseas and they were Skyping.

She was in her cups and started stripping. That wouldn't have been a big deal, except for the fact that he was in the barracks with a number of other airmen, some of whom were visible on the screen to her. The second incident, and the straw that broke the camel's back, was Thanksgiving. Our client and his wife invited his superior over for a Thanksgiving party. This is where everything went off the rails.

While preparing to host this swanky dinner party, the wife starts drinking (noticing a theme here?) and neglects the dinner, over and undercooking various parts of it. And what was she doing while ignoring the turkey? Why, making out with one of the guests in front of her husband, of course! After that, our client left her and his ex moved back to her home state. And here's the kicker: This isn't even why he showed up at our office. Her true crazy only came out after they split.

After moving back home, she called our client one night, threatening to take her own life if he went through with the divorce. Our client did the smart thing: he called the authorities and told them his ex was claiming she would hurt herself. She was put under a 72-hour psychiatric hold. Because of this, we learned that the woman had Bipolar Disorder. I'm not sure if she was diagnosed before this episode or not.

We're basically rolling our eyes at this case since it should just be a 50/50 split of assets. The most complicated thing should have been the house, but given that she had left the state, it should have been simple to hand it over to our client. Instead, the wife kept dragging things out. In the meantime, she was represented by an attorney.

Now, I understand that sometimes you have crazy clients. Sometimes, your client doesn't show his or her true crazy until you're well into the case. However, this lawyer was also crazy. My first interaction with him was jaw-dropping. He called us after we served the wife to announce his representation. The receptionist transfers the call to me, and before I can finish a sentence, he cuts me off.

He tells me "I'm the attorney. I don't have email. I don't have a fax machine. My only employee is my wife. The only way to reach me is to call me or send me mail. Let me talk to your boss." I'm a bit taken aback, but this isn't the first time I've dealt with an attorney who feels he is above dealing with a woman. Plus, we've been waiting to hear from this guy so I let him talk to my boss.

I later learned he talked to my boss (a male attorney) the same way, so my initial impression was off. He didn't just hate women. He thought he was better than everyone! Anyway, we eventually go through several months of negotiations, which at one point involves the wife bringing in her sister (who has been divorced several times and is thus an expert) to "review offers." It was hilarious, but it was also insane and at the end of the day, we weren't here for laughs. We were here to win our client's case.

So our client wants the house and is willing to compensate his ex for the difference. His wife, however, comes out with a crazy demand. She wants half his pension and his insurance for it. This might be reasonable if they'd been married for decades, but this was less than five years. She would get more out of the 50/50 split than she put in, which kind of defeats the point.

One day, I get a call from her attorney. He is nice and almost apologetic. He tells me, "I think my client has been lying to me." I somehow refrained from saying, "Really? Your client has literally been institutionalized during the course of this proceeding, and you're just now realizing that her view of reality might be skewed?!"

I instead made some kind of sympathetic sound, and he said that he wants to settle the case fairly and amicably, which is all our client wanted all along. The case settles more or less equitably, though our client paid way more in attorney's fees than he should have. Now, every time I have a difficult or crazy client, I remind myself of this case.

Service With A Smile

I'm a clerk in a civil court. My job includes dealing with lawyers and parties who walk up to our counter. Sometimes, it's better for some parties not to show up here, though. This is a story about one of those times, which happened at my previous workplace. In walks a bulky gentleman, who looked like he could destroy a person with a single punch.

"I wanna know what's da deal with my suit, yo," he barks, while basically throwing his ID at me. Since he didn't give me a lawsuit number, I would have to input his SSN number in my system to get a list of the suits he was a party in, and then see which one belongs to my court, if any. My system is already very slow, but that day it was particularly slow.

I was waiting for the list to show up and he starts to tap his hand at the counter and then screams "HURRY UP, BRO, I GOT PLACES TO BE." His demeanor ticks me off, but I keep my face straight. Finally, the list shows up. There are two lawsuits to his SSN: A family suit for alimony—and something much darker. A suit for... Third degree murder.

Oh, and it comes with a pending bench warrant. Now, were it a lesser charge AND were he not discourteous, I would probably just warn him that he has a warrant and tell him to surrender himself to the authorities. I'm not a bailiff, so it's not my job to detain anyone. I could, however, nudge the court officer in the right direction, know what I mean? So I launch my ingenious plan.

"Sir, there's a problem with your suit and I need to make a phone call so someone with the right skill set can help you." He scoffs and berates me for being an incompetent public worker and talks about how I'm wasting his time. Well, don't worry, sir, soon enough you'll have plenty of time. I call the court authorities and tell them about the guy at my counter.

Not five minutes later, three officers show up with his bench warrant in hand. They go through the procedures and he doesn't fight or try to run, but yells the same thing many times, while walking with them: "I AIN'T HURT NO ONE, YO! IT WAS AN ACCIDENT, I SWEAR!" OK, sir. How about you go ahead and tell that to the jury.

topless man
Norbert Buduczki on Unsplash

Personal preferences aside, there are some people that are almost universally recognized as physically attractive.

It's common in society for most people to comment on another person's looks.

But heterosexual men are generally discouraged from remarking on other men's appeal.

That doesn't mean they don't have man crushes though!

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