As an actor, everytime I step off a stage and mingle with an audience inevitably, someone is going to ask it. The same question. The same odd fascination. "How in the world do memorize all of those lines?" I'll admit, they ask with genuine fascination and mild adoration but... really? That is the main question? Not the emotion we evoked, not the hilarity we inspired. No. Just the lines. It gets frustrating. It feels like everyone skips over the magic part and goes to the mundane.
Trust me, anyone is capable of the memorization. Unless you struggle with a disability that involves the brain and memory.... anyone is capable. The mind houses thousands of songs, lines from films and the oddest details from that could qualify you for "Jeopardy!"Redditor u/HilbertCube wants everyone to stop being so overly inquisitive. Like, why would you even ask that? They asked the internet..... "Oh, you're a programmer? I have a problem with my printer...". What's the equivalent of this in your job?
Am I a Bank?rich danny devito GIF by QuickBooks Giphy
"Oh you work in finance? What stock/fund should I buy? / you must be making a boatload on your personal investments with all the insider information you have access to!"
A Genius? Ha!
"Oh, you're a teacher? Please explain to me how my child's teacher had the audacity to give them a C despite it being very obvious that my child is a genius!"
Bonus points if they want you to explain the grading criteria in a completely different subject and level of schooling than you teach. Like, I teach high school and community college English and Social Studies - why do you expect me to know the grading criteria for middle school math?
Oh you're a paramedic? I have this thing on my toe, Will you check it?
I would tell them that if they wanted me to look, they have to call for the ambulance since it carried all of my very specialized tools.
Chair Flywindy taking off GIF Giphy
"You're in the Air Force? So you fly planes?"
Nah I fly a desk.
The Numbers Game
"Oh, you're an accountant? Can you add and/or multiply these huge numbers in your head lightening fast?"
No. You have no idea what I do....
Came here to say this. I am in corporate finance. I took a tax class or two back in 2003, so I might have SLIGHTLY more knowledge than the average person, but seriously not much at all. I'm really good at pivot tables though!
For Free Please...
"Oh you're a Graphic Designer? Can you make a logo for me really quick? It's for my cousin's birthday. I don't have any money to pay but I'll have multiple revisions that will cut into your actual paying work time, but then get upset when you ask for payment."
I typically respond to those questions with "Sure! Before we go any further, what's your budget?" and once they realize this is going to actually cost money, they get upset that you require compensation for your time (and explain how their relative can do it for free).
For the Music
Cinematography and Photography. I had a guy walk up to me the other day while doing street photography and ask me if I do music videos. I'm like ??? no, and even if I did I wouldn't take a job from some random who walked up to me on the street and tried to make a verbal contract with no discussion of pay.
Walter?aaron paul what GIF by Breaking Bad Giphy
"Oh, you're a chemical analyst? You must know how to make drugs."
Oh, you work in construction? (Proceeds to ask about fixing things around the house, asking if something was installed wrong because it doesn't "look right", or wanting a price quotes for various projects).
I love using this one, I'm a Carpenter and Construction Project Manager, I get these little requests all the time, easiest way is to say "Yeah nah, that's screwed, gonna take some work to fix, maybe take it back to the frame because it wasn't built for that purpose and needs rework.", you watch their face turn pale and they reply "I... I... I can live with it I think.", works every time. ;)
For the Celebration....marisa tomei picture GIF Giphy
"You're invited to my.. party/event/wedding/celebration.... please could you bring your camera."
Oh you are an accountant, can you do my taxes?
No Mary i can't. I work for a corporate company not frigging H&R block. I mean I probably could but I don't wanna.
Its either that or "you're an accountant? Cool." Then proceeds to talk to other people because you can't delve deeper than those two outcomes into the convo. (Talked to a dude who just said that and we all ended up standing in silence for a few seconds after he did).
Wires Crossedseason 1 episode 3 GIF by Dream Corp LLC Giphy
"Oh, you're an electrical engineer? Can you wire my garage?"
On the Road
"Oh, you're a truck driver? Can you come tell me what's wrong with my car?"
Umm, ma'am, I just drive the damn things... You want the shop guys for that.
Edit: Okay, wow. lots of attention on this one. To clarify a few things:
-I know how to do basic maintenance on my truck: Replace bulbs, fuses, etc. But for serious repairs, that's on the shop
-Yes, I know your great great grandpappy twice removed drove a truck since he was 3 and can take one apart and put it back together blindfolded. Most drivers aren't like that. All I'm saying is driving them doesn't automatically equal being able to fix them by any means.
-Yes, I know how to check my fluids and all that. In fact, we're required by law to do it every morning. Too many drivers don't, and that'll come back to bite them in the @ss sooner or later...
"oh, you're a writer? Can you help with this very important legal letter?"
And a non-job bonus: "you're married to my programmer son, can you help me with my phone?" My husband gets the "you work in IT, my printer isn't working" questions from his mum. She thinks he does tech support. He programs systems for universities, government departments, etc.
"Oh, you're a pharmacist? Well I have this huge, gaping wound on my left butt cheek, can you look at it and tell me what I can use over the counter?"
Sir... Please go to the hospital...
In some countries, pharmacists can act as the kind of first line of access to the healthcare system. They have walk-in clinics for people who can ask 'Is this really serious enough to see a doctor about, or can you fix it with a pill/cream?' I've seen that a lot in the developing world, where doctors may be scarce.
Not all machines
"oh you're a mechanical engineer, can you fix my car?"
I'm a mechanical engineer and I'm really good with machines but I know nothing about most actual systems. I always tell people that I can figure out the problem eventually, but I'm probably going to need to have it for a month, strip down the entire thing, and might end up saying "this part is chipped and there's nothing I can do."
Do you think so?therapist safe place GIF by Lucifer Giphy
Oh, you're a therapist? tells me about their family member who really needs to see a therapist.
Rocks and Stuff
"Oh you're a geologist? What kind of rock is this?" Just kidding, we love that crap and will tell you a long story of the history of that rock and how we saw examples in the field in the middle of nowhere.
Other common questions include:
- Is this a meteorite? (no, it's industrial slag)
- Is this a diamond? (no, it's quartz)
- How much is this rock/mineral/fossil worth? (probably $0)
- Is this a dinosaur bone? (no it is not)
- Is this gold? (no it's pyrite/fools gold) geckospots
I work with wildlife and reptiles and get asked all of the time. Many times I have convinced the people to either re-home the animal or drop the $500 needed on proper supplies.
And I managed to have one guy fined because he admitted and had video proof of releasing an invasive species of turtle into the local waterways.
Beneath the Skycarl sagan space GIF by Feliks Tomasz Konczakowski Giphy
Oh you're an astronomer? Why is my outlook as Pisces so negative this month? I heard all the planets are going to be lined up what does that mean for my horoscope?
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.