Powerful Photo Of Woman Leading Chants Is Being Hailed As One Of The Most Iconic Moments From The Sudan Protests
Protests have swept through Sudan in recent months, with many anti-government protesters demanding the resignation of President Omar al-Bashir, whose loyalist security forces have killed numerous people in the capital, Khartoum.
One image has taken captivated the internet in particular: It's a picture of a young woman in a white robe standing on top of a car. She raises her arms.
The woman, says Hala Al-Karib, a Sudanese women's rights activist with the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa, sums up "this moment we have been waiting for for the past 30 years."
@lana_hago A woman's place is in the revolution. https://t.co/xLtgOzv0aP— Martha (@Martha) 1554837821.0
The photo of the woman, which several news outlets have identified as Alaa Salah, a 22-year-old engineering and architecture student, has already struck a powerful chord as the world watches the protests rage on.
Power. Strength. #Sudan https://t.co/fye63ZnVhx— sarah margon (@sarah margon) 1554810895.0
This photograph of a young Sudanese woman dressed in a traditional “tob” today has already become one of the iconic… https://t.co/0Wf2mq9sQN— Isma'il Kushkush (@Isma'il Kushkush) 1554759754.0
What a picture. One woman risking her life to lead the protest against Sudanese President Bashir’s authoritarian ru… https://t.co/UZBzVYuA3f— Farrah Fazal (@Farrah Fazal) 1554787151.0
The woman led protesters in a chant of "Thowra!" –– Arabic for "revolution."
Don’t know her name, but this Woman in #Sudan is leading rallies, standing on car roofs, and pleading for change ag… https://t.co/579U6u1Mdf— Joyce Karam (@Joyce Karam) 1554776834.0
Hind Makki, an interfaith educator who holds a degree in International Relations who is the founder and curator of "Side Entrance," a crowd-sourced website "that documents women's prayer experiences in mosques around the world," explained what makes the image so powerful.
She's wearing a white tobe (outer garment) and gold moon earrings. The white tobe is worn by working women in offic… https://t.co/nsQVx7oLOw— Hind Makki (@Hind Makki) 1554752468.0
Her earrings are the gold moons of traditional bridal jewelry (Sudanese, like many Arabic speakers, often use moon-… https://t.co/bErGd4E3ES— Hind Makki (@Hind Makki) 1554752571.0
Her entire outfit is also a callback to the clothing worn by our mothers & grandmothers in the 60s, 70s, & 80s who… https://t.co/659MwRO9iw— Hind Makki (@Hind Makki) 1554752986.0
Sudanese everywhere are referring to female protestors as "Kandaka," which is the title given to the Nubian queens… https://t.co/40YOf42rL7— Hind Makki (@Hind Makki) 1554753440.0
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has held power since 1989. The International Criminal Court has had a warrant out for his arrest for many years for directing mass killings, rapes, and pillages in Darfur.
He's been accused of crimes against humanity, genocide, and other war crimes.
Yes, civilizations have rules for legitimate reasons. However, when you invent around those rules or find loopholes, does that make you a vigilante? It sure puts some people in hazardous situations, but for these rebellious minds, the rewards outweigh the risks.
Rank The Concertred and yellow light on a dark roomPhoto by Wesley Pribadi on Unsplash
When I was 16, a friend and I created a website with fake reviews of concerts in the Washington, DC area that we didn't actually go to. It ended up working out better than I could have ever imagined: Once we had built it up to our satisfaction, we used it as credentials to gain backstage access to a huge DC area music festival three years in a row.
A simple call to the radio station that sponsored the event got us free passes and access to hang out with and interview most of the bands, including Cypress Hill, Coldplay, Social Distortion, and Offspring. Nobody ever caught on, and oddly, nobody seemed to be suspicious of our age.
The Parking Spot Whisperer
I used to keep a can of white paint, a can of yellow paint, and a small paint roller in the trunk of my car. Why? Because I'm an evil genius, that's why.
Whenever I pulled into a full parking lot I just added a space. I expanded a total of four parking lots before I decided to quit. I also cut a “NO PARKING” stencil from two pages I printed off the internet. It didn't really benefit me in any way, I just wanted to see how obedient people could be. Turns out people are very obedient. I spent an entire day at my bedroom window, watching people drive up, almost park, then pull out and drive around the block looking for spaces. One of the better moments in my life.
Sorry, Wrong Applicant
I was applying to colleges, and having slacked off all through high school, I was getting rejected from every one of them. I finally applied to a university I had no chance of getting into, and marked down that I was "Native American", though I'm very clearly white.
A month later, I learned that I had gotten in, contingent on me completing a summer in a program for minorities, focused on bringing up their skills and background to their more-qualified peers. I accepted, had a very interesting summer—a whole other story—and graduated with honors.
You Here?men's blue collared top near silver MacBookPhoto by Austin Distel on Unsplash
When I was a teenager I worked for one of those crappy call centers with one of those horrible micromanaging plans. So they would divide us into "teams" with "team leaders". So one day they switched our teams and I noticed that they never placed me in another team—therefore, I was never accounted for. I had a crazy idea. I figured there was no way it would work, but I had to try:
I would go in every day, clock in, go home or whatever, then come back and clock out. Eventually, I got too lazy for this and just paid a girl to clock me in and out. This lasted for a month and a half before anyone ever noticed.
That’s Why They Hire Interns
When I was in Paris studying abroad, a large group of us had called a trendy club early in the night to reserve a couple tables, so we showed up around 1 am or so expecting to skip the line—which was a few hundred feet long at this point—and get our table. That's why you make reservations, right?
Well, naturally the bouncer apparently didn't get the memo and wouldn't let us in. After a few minutes of pseudo-arguing with their management, my friend pulls out his secret weapon: His ABC press pass—his expired ABC press pass—that he had from his summer intern work for ABC in London. He told them that he was writing a story on Paris nightclubs and that theirs was now going to be let off the list because they weren't letting us in. I started laughing thinking, "yeah sure Ted, good one, let's go home".
And then, boom, all of a sudden the velvet ropes open up and we get two bottles for free at our tables.
That was the coolest trick my friend Ted has ever pulled.
Have You Been A Good Boy?
This happened many, many years ago when I was still a kid. As I was old enough to figure out the truth about Santa Claus, mom took me shopping with her for Christmas. She was buying gifts for the whole family, so the shopping cart was quite full. The department store ran a well-publicized contest where each customer could have all their purchases reimbursed. It went like this: at checkout, the cashier asks you to pick an envelope. If you get the magic voucher, you just walk away and don't pay anything.
Obviously, she asked the "innocent kid" to pick the envelope. But, I quickly realized something: As the cashier handed me the envelopes, the lighting was well-positioned behind them, so I could see through. They're thin and I quickly realize most of them are empty; only one contains a piece of paper. The rest is family history. Not an impressive feat, but it made my day as a young boy!
Car Swapred car parked on parking lotPhoto by Krzysztof Kotkowicz on Unsplash
Working in the city, I really didn't want to pay $80/week for parking. I noticed there was very little differentiation between the “0” and “O” they used on plates. That gave me a crazy idea. I registered a custom plate—O101101—and parked my car on the street every day. 9/10 times, they would put 0101101 on the ticket. Never came back to me and I saved a ton of cash!
Not Lost But Found
Go to the library a day after it rains and tell them you forgot your black umbrella. Free umbrella!
Lose your phone charger? Go to the front lobby of any hotel and see if they have a match in their lost and found bin.
You Better Have My Money
There used to be a routine that you could do which took advantage of the lag between funds available and check processing with ATM deposits.
Basically, it worked something like this: You have two bank accounts with nothing in them. Write an uncovered $1000 check from one to the other. Wait a day and write a $1000 check from the second to the first. The first check will eventually clear using the phantom money from the first because funds were available faster than check processing.
With the right timing you could get a substantial amount of imaginary money flying around in a long cycle for more or less as long as you like. You could then take short-term loans out of the circulating money but managing it would be a lot of work.
I never did this myself, so I might have the details wrong. I had a friend who did this when he was short on cash. But he's maybe not a guy you should listen to... I'd check with him for the details—but he's currently in federal penitentiary.
Did You Beat The System, Or Beat Yourself Upsmiling boy wearing white crew-neck t-shirt during daytimePhoto by Moses Vega on Unsplash
When I was four, I was diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes. When I was six, I took over the day-to-day management of it. That included testing my blood sugar and taking my injections, which then was twice a day—parents still supervised of course but didn't need to do everything and anything for me. It took a few months before I was capable but eventually, I was able to take care of it all on my own and therefore able to do all the other things my Grade 2 classmates did, like have sleepovers and go on school trips, etc.
Sometime later, I can't remember how old I was but I would have been under ten, I discovered how the machine that tested my blood sugar level did it. It would read the color of my blood.
For those who don't know, Type 1 diabetics need to test their blood sugar by pricking their finger and putting the blood on a small strip of plastic. That plastic then goes into the machine and the machine tells you what your reading is. Back in the 80s, it was a little different. I had to drop the blood on the strip of plastic, wait about 90 seconds then wash the blood off with water, then put the strip in the machine.
I figured out that the darker my blood was on the strip, the higher my reading, and the lighter it was, the lower my reading... and the lower my blood sugar, the more I would need a "boost"...like candy.
So my young self thought, “That's interesting”. What is also interesting is that the strip I have to put the blood on is white.
So I started doing my blood tests as normal, then not putting the strip in the machine properly. The machine was no longer reading my blood, it was reading the white strip and giving me a low reading—which to my young mind was full of win! Lollies, cake, and all the awesome things I was never allowed!
My parents were scared and confused. The doctors were baffled as my pathology results were not matching my daily readings, the manufacturers were confused as when they tested my machine it was in full working order. I was getting all the awesomeness I wanted...and getting sicker and sicker.
Eventually, I confessed to my doctor. Although my parents were a little angry I think my doctor was a little impressed.
So there it is...not so much beating the system when all I'm doing is making myself sick but as a child, it felt awesome!
Throughout college, I had a sneaky way of cheating the system when studying for tests. Whenever it was time for me to study, I would send out an email to my entire class saying something like "Hey, I'm working on a study guide for the test...if anyone wants to send me a copy of theirs I will send you mine...just to make sure we haven't missed anything of course".
This is the genius part: Within an hour I would get several study guides sent to me...and I would just send them back a copy of another person's study guide. In the end, everyone is happy and none the wiser.
Thunder Buddies For Life
My swim team has meetings every Saturday morning. They tend to last between three to four hours. On one particular Saturday, there was a thunderstorm. Every time you hear thunder you can't get in the pool for 30 minutes, so the meeting got delayed several hours.
By the time the storm cleared up everyone just wanted to go home. So to encourage the officials to cancel the meeting, I walked out to the parking lot and hit a dumpster with my fist. The boom it created sounded just like thunder. From where I was standing, you could hear everyone in the pool area yell "THUNDER". Dismayed by another delay, the other team's coaches forfeited the meeting and we all got to go home.
You’ve Got Mailperson showing white envelopePhoto by erica steeves on Unsplash
Used to live in NYC for a long time. For personal mail within the five boroughs, I would put the recipient's address in the return address spot on the corner and my address in the center of the envelope. I'd "forget" to put a stamp on it and drop it in a mailbox. Inevitably, the mail would be returned-to-sender...to the address I wanted it mailed to. It worked every time.
Tweet All Your Worries Away
We all know customer service phone centers make it impossible to get good customer service, especially when you need to return something or get your money back. But I found another way.
Pretty much all large companies now have teams of people monitoring Twitter for complaints. Since hardly anyone uses Twitter to complain, I find that any time I complain via Twitter, someone contacts me almost immediately and rectifies the problem.
For instance, my dress shoes fell apart—Johnston & Murphy—and calling their phone center was really painful, but after I complained on Twitter, I got a brand new pair shipped to me the same day. Pretty decent move if you ask me.
My dad works in a chemical company as a scientist. One day, when he was cleaning out the old chemical closets, he found an unopened package containing one kilogram of solid Silver Chloride that had gone past its expiration date. Normally it would get thrown out, but my dad decided to take it instead. He took it to the kilns and decomposed the Silver Chloride back into elemental silver and chlorine gas, and managed to get about 700 grams of silver out of it.
An Endless Roller Coasterpeople riding red and white roller coaster during daytimePhoto by Gabriel Valdez on Unsplash
My dad and I waited in line for hours to get onto the fastest ride at Six Flags. Feeling adventurous, we decided to just see what happens if we don't get off the ride at the end. It turns out that in the rush, nobody notices that you're still on the ride. I couldn't believe it worked. We were only asked to step off after getting five or six rides, but by that time my dad had blacked out anyway.
Thinking Outside Of The Box To Get Inside Of The Bin
When I was in second grade, our school had a carnival with a bunch of different midway-style booths, run by our teachers. One in particular challenged us to build a paper plane, throw it about ten feet, and land it in a small trash bin. Nobody had succeeded in doing so, and I watched many paper airplanes veer off to one side, nosedive, tailspin, and so on. Cleverly interpreting the definition of "paper airplane", I wadded my piece of paper up into a really compact ball, aimed carefully, and tossed my paper ball into the trash bin.
They didn't award me the prize.
Doppelganger Saved The Day
Didn't happen to me but to a woman I met in Japan a couple of years ago, who had gone on a trip to China. After driving in a bus for two hours, they arrived at some destination only to be told that it was already crowded, it was late and they would have to return the next day. Well, one of the people on the bus looked a little like a certain ex-president's daughter, so they told the Chinese people that it was Chelsea Clinton. The place was suddenly open for business again.
Evil Twinphoto of woman's face reflectionPhoto by Alexander Grey on Unsplash
My friend really didn't want to go to her group meeting for a group engineering assignment in the first year of college. Every week, we persuaded her to make up an excuse and not go. After a few weeks, we've started to run out of plausible excuses. So we decided that she should have appendicitis. And then I had an incredible, devious idea.
I decided that it would be fantastic if she walked into her group meeting, pretended to be her own identical twin and told them that she had appendicitis. She did, and they ended up doing the whole assignment for her.
I took the SAT for my best friend. We had someone at our school store make a school ID for us using my picture and his name. When I got to the testing center I told them I lost my driver's license and this was the only ID I had. Worked like a charm. I scored a 1400 for him, which was better than I got for myself, and apparently was about 400 points higher than what he scored when he took it himself.
This threw up a red flag and the SAT people weren't happy. They told us—him—we had three options: get a refund and cancel the score, cancel the score and take the test again for free, or send in handwriting samples to prove it was really him who took the test. This is when we decided to roll the dice. We chose to put up a fight and take option three. I pulled a bunch of homework assignments that I hadn't written my name on and put his signature on them.
We sent them in but apparently, there was still too much of a discrepancy in the score and handwriting that they couldn't accept the score. And that was the end of it.
Cooperating With The Teachers
My school had trips to Spain offered every two years. As a fundraiser, we would sell candy bars. I was quite a bit more entrepreneurial than my counterparts, and offered candy bars on credit. This caused me to essentially corner the market to a point that one of the teachers went into competition with me.
The problem with that sales system was that we could only do it the year before the trip, not after. This is because it was, after all, a fundraiser for Spain. I decided that if I wanted to keep my business going I would need to get a little bit shadier.
The same teacher who ran the Spain trip also was in charge of Key Club. I gave 25% of my profits—not total sales—to Key Club in exchange for protection from the school authorities.
All in all, I netted around $1,600 in profit, or $3,200 in revenue—about 4 per person in my school—while going to school, without breaking the law. The year after was the Spanish fundraiser, so the teacher wouldn't accept protection money.
Like Having A Time Machinered apple fruit on four pyle booksPhoto by Element5 Digital on Unsplash
When I would have an assignment that was overdue, I would leave it somewhere under or around the teacher's desk. So, they would just assume you turned it in on time and that they had just misplaced it; I did this once or twice.
The hotel I work at has a membership to a full-service gym that's totally free for guests. All they have to do is show their room key, and bring a towel.
The cheating part comes from knowing that they don't verify that people with a room key are actually staying at the hotel. Hello, free gym time!
One Step Ahead
In college from—1998 to 2002—at the end of a semester, I already knew who my professors were for the next semester, and those professors used the same coursework every semester. So, I would download their entire website, where they had the current semester's homework/quiz/test answers. That info was very useful when I started the class.
Taking Quality Notesflat lay photography of blue backpack beside book and silver MacBookPhoto by Matt Ragland on Unsplash
When I was in school—at the beginning of the year—we were supposed to deposit empty notebooks for each subject. Throughout the year whenever the teacher for that subject would give us a test, they would distribute the notebooks to us to take the test on at the beginning of the day.
After the test was completed and checked, the notebooks would be again collected and locked in the class cupboard. What I and some of my buddies did was, whenever they would distribute the notebook at the beginning of the day we would write the answers to most probable questions or important stuff on the last pages of the notebook. When the test was taken, we would copy the answers from the back pages. Once done with the test, we would quietly rip off the last pages before submitting the notebook to the teacher. We always scored well.
Hey, Can You Come Pick Me Up?
In high school, a friend of mine had a cell phone. During class, if he felt like leaving school, he would just call the classroom he was in, imitate a security guard's voice, have the teacher write him a note and he was on his merry way.
Losing My Religion
In grade nine math, I told my teacher I was Jewish—I'm not. She was from the Caribbean and had no knowledge of the Jewish religion. Whenever I would miss a day and she asked why, I would just say "Oh, it was Yum Kavandash" or whatever series of Jewish-sounding words I thought would work that day. Basically, this let me take two weeks off the class while playing cribbage with my buddies in the cafe.
Friend With Benefitsman wearing blue denim jacket and sunglasses taking selfiePhoto by Tânia Mousinho on Unsplash
I had a friend from Belgium of Moroccan descent.
This guy was the most charismatic human being I've ever met in my life. I used to own businesses on the Santa Monica Promenade in LA—in the 90s before it became a corporate dystopia—and he worked for me. I remember going to the movie Independence Day when it came out at the time and was about to pay at the box office for myself, him and two other employees who had all done a hard day's work in the sun when he suddenly stopped me.
Instead of "wasting my money" as he called it, he dragged us—a party of four—to the ticket checker and started sweet talking rapidly—something about a lost cell phone. The next second, we were all waved through without paying. We were all astounded but elated. We'd somehow hacked the system through this guy. And my wallet was heavier through not having to pay. He would have taken it as a personal affront if I had paid. He impressed me to the point that I still remember him 15 years later.
Soon after, I learned he had talked the California DMV into granting him a driver's license even though he was a foreign national. Also, not long after, I learned, he'd gate-crashed the Oscars dressed as a chef and hung out for the night with Oliver Stone. All of this I confirmed.
The guy blew my mind.
We Love Free Candy
My high school had a shop run by the student council and they kept all the candy and soda in a locked room by the gym. One day, I noticed they had left the key in the padlock. During football practice, my friends and I snuck in and looted several duffel bags of candy. We did this for the next few days until they finally changed the lock. The best part, nobody thought twice when they saw a bunch of kids making off with full duffel bags because it was by the gym and everyone had them!
Play The Sick Card
I was up the Sydney Tower and for some reason—I can't remember—they were delaying everyone going down the lift. The queue was approx 1.5 hours long to get in the lift down. They wouldn't allow me to take the emergency stairs—but I knew I had one card to play.
I stated I was a diabetic and I needed my injection which was in my hotel, since I never planned on being up the tower so long. They told me to wait in the queue and I agreed as long as I had a Sydney Tower letter signed by the manager stating that I told them I was diabetic and I was to wait in line delaying me getting my injection. They asked what I wanted this for, and I stated that it was so I had evidence to help my case to sue them when I fell into a coma. Needless to say, I got the next lift down.
Catch Me If You Canperson holding credit cardPhoto by CardMapr.nl on Unsplash
I used to fill out credit card applications: Platinum Visa, AmEx, Discover card, etc. It took about three weeks, but they'd send me cards. I used to go from store to store and just "charge it". After about two weeks, I'd call in and report the card stolen. Then just repeat. I guess based on their system, it's hard to catch or something. I would also buy stuff from the mall with said cards, then take the bags back and get the cash.
College On A Budget
College textbooks are very expensive, but buying used books at the Student Book Exchange (SBX) can save you some money. However, you need to act fast when the book is a new edition and there won't be many used copies available. Since everyone tends to sell old books and buy their new books during finals week, you need a game plan to lock in a deal, especially if you are short on cash—which was me.
What I used to do was cruise the bookshelves and find a used copy of the book I knew I would need the next semester that got turned in early, a week before the current semester was over. I wouldn't have my cash then as I had not yet traded my current books in, so I would create a bridge loan by taking that used copy from one shelf and sticking it behind a big pile of books nearby. The bigger the pile the better as that pile needs to hold up until I return the following week. Piles that are all new books last longer than a pile of used books.
The next week I would sell my books, walk over to the big stack and grab the used copy that I had stashed and buy that one at a lower price. Often that used copy I had stashed was the only used copy available.
When There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
When I was 16, there was a fire drill in my high school in Texas. My boyfriend and I were skipping class and walking around the hallways when we heard the alarm go off. We decided it would be really awesome if we stayed in the school while everyone left—there's about 2,000 kids at my high school. So, we hid and waited.
When we couldn't hear any more voices we proceeded to skip around the halls and goof around. I realized I had a pack of cigarettes in my bag. I told this to my boyfriend. The moment I said it I knew I had to smoke one, the irony was too much to refuse. So, while the fire alarm was still going off, and in the hall right in front of the library, I lit one and we shared it. He put it out on the wall and we ran away screaming with laughter.
Twenty minutes later, after everyone had already come back in, we decided to check out that hallway again. We come across the administration—the principal and a few of the vice-principals. They were sniffing around, clearly wondering why it smelled. I've never felt so empowered.
That’s Why They Call It “Payphone”gray phoneboothsPhoto by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash
There was a row of pay phones outside of my local movie theater. After finishing a movie with some friends, we all waited outside to get picked up by my mom. We were bored, just walking and looking around when I saw a quarter stuck in the middle payphone. I tried pulling it out but couldn't reach it, so I took a piece of cardboard on the ground and pushed it in. Little did I realize, I'd just hit the jackpot: A huge pile of coins came tumbling out from all the people who put money into the—malfunctioning—payphone.
The next few days I would pay a visit to this payphone and push the coins in the back and collect my payment. I even went so far as to create "Out of Order" signs and put them on a few of the other phones to encourage people to use the broken one. Eventually, the theater fixed the phone and put an end to my easy money, but I made away with something like $40 in coins.
Nobody Can Block My View
My house is on a very popular public beach. Tourists usually like to come on the holiday weekends and they will set up tent cities right in front of my house—blocking my steps and walkway to the beach.
So, I just started setting up a whole row of fishing rods and chairs near my steps and walkway. You see tourists start to walk up, take one look at the fishing equipment, and say to each other "Ugh, let's sit over there instead".
Solution Is One Button Away
Recently? Big conference. 18th floor, top of the building. Everyone was going down the limited number of elevators at breaks. Big lines.
People are not going down the stairs by one floor because if you hit down you'd just get a completely packed elevator. My solution? Go down one floor. Hit “up”. Board empty elevator. Welcome people on the 18th and enjoy my quick trip down. The greatest hacks are the simplest.... though it would have been better if it didn't fail the categorical imperative.
Of course, if I wasn't an American I'd just take the stairs all the way down.
Let’s Reset The Tankperson holding black corded devicePhoto by Erik Mclean on Unsplash
Several local gas stations near me would switch from "regular'' pay to prepay-only at a certain time of night. Let's say it was 10 pm. I'd pull up and start filling my tank at 9:58 pm—making sure to keep filling as the clock rolled over to 10:00. When it hit 10, the pumps would go into the pre-pay mode and reset themselves. I'd finish filling my tank and only have to pay for about two gallons.
This stopped working when gas went to $4/gallon and drive-offs became a huge problem, making all the stations go to pre-pay-only full-time.
Life Hacks: Airport Edition
As a college student that lives on one coast and goes to school on the other coast, I have to get a lot of stuff across the country every year. This trick saves me a ton in overweight bag charges.
Go down to the nearest Army/Navy surplus store and pick up one of their backpacks. These fit a ton of stuff and don't look all that big. Pack two backpacks—one regular, one from the surplus store—plus your personal item. When you get to the airport go through security as usual, they don't care if you have more than the usual “1 bag + 1 personal item rule that the airlines use.
After getting through and to your gate, go up to the counter and say you're worried the flight is too crowded and/or you think your bag won't fit—don't let them see the other bag. Ask if there is some way to check your bag now. Most likely they'll "check the bag gate side" for you. Which means they put a tag on your bag and when you walk down the ramp there is a spot to put it. They then put it below with the other checked bags. On the way off the plane, you pick up your bag and you're on your merry way. Best part is you don't get charged for it.
For two years that I was in the dorms, I picked a roommate who said he was going to pledge and join a fraternity. That way, a few weeks into the term, he would move out. It would take another one or two terms to get the paperwork in line that I needed to get a new roommate. I would pick another guy who was soon joining a fraternity. I had roommates in my closet-sized dorm room for maybe two months of my two years, and I only paid for 1/2 the room.
Photoshop Your Way To The Topman in grey shirt using grey laptop computerPhoto by Desola Lanre-Ologun on Unsplash
I was a junior in high school, and I was transferring schools due to a recent move. However, my grades at my previous school were mediocre to say the least. The awfulness of my grades didn't stem from stupidity—I'm quite brilliant, mind you, but rather I had problems with undiagnosed insomnia for a very long time and never went to school because of it. My new school required a personal interview between the principal and myself. During this interview, I was told the school had very strict GPA requirements—my grades didn't cut it.
They'd requested a copy of my transcripts from my previous school, and as I was walking out of the office, I saw a sealed envelope on the secretary's desk—it was from my previous school. I took the envelope from the secretary's desk when she wasn't looking and proceeded to go home with it. I opened it up and sure enough, they were my transcripts.
I took the transcripts to Kinko's and had them scanned at the maximum resolution and quality possible and took them home with me on a CD. Then, I meticulously photoshopped the transcripts and changed my GPA from a mediocre 2.3 to an astounding 3.9. Finally, I had a buddy of mine whose dad worked for the US Postal Service don his dad's work uniform and deliver the transcripts the next day.
Needless to say, it worked. I went on to graduate with a 3.8 GPA in my senior year—I got my stuff together—and was accepted to one of the state's best 4-year institutions. I've since graduated and have a very rewarding career.
Is It A Six Or A Nine?
I went to a conservative university that had a nightly curfew. If you went away for some period of time, you'd have to fill out an overnight leave form online which would need to get approved by a student dean or dean or something. One fall break, I needed to fill out one of these forms for 10/03/06 to 10/06/06. I purposely filled it out for 10/03/06 to 10/06/09—in my mind, hitting a nine instead of a six was a legitimate typo if I had to explain myself. Their online system didn't automatically check for this kind of discrepancy, and the student dean overlooked it when he approved it because the month and day columns looked correct. It got me three years without curfews. I never had to worry about it again.
Think Simple, Think Fast
There was this really nice apartment complex next to our not-nearly-as-nice apartment when I was in elementary school. During the summer, it got really hot and the community pool was not walking distance. Unfortunately, the complex was pretty well fenced so no one without a key could get in—and they had a really nice pool which everyone was envious of. On top of that, the people living inside were pretty strict and would never just let us in. One day, I realized I could stick my hand through the metal grating of the fence and open it from the inside. I swam a lot more after that.
Don’t Overthink Itwhite plastic laundry basket beside yellow front load washing machinePhoto by Anca Gabriela Zosin on Unsplash
I used to live in a condo building that had three clothes washing machines and two dryers on each floor. Often all of these machines would be in use at the same time that I wanted to use them. My solution: Go to another floor and use the machines there. There are 18 floors in the building, that's 54 machines to choose from, so that I could wash my clothes simultaneously, in parallel. It's kind of obvious, but when I first realized this, it seemed pretty cool to me.
Okay, so in Ireland we have two official languages, Irish—Gaelic which is the first—and English. Because of our constitution, all services provided by the state have to be in the two official languages. The funny thing is though that the majority of Irish people cannot speak their mother tongue—Irish. Whenever I do my taxes or any other business with the state I always conduct it through Irish or demand that it be conducted through Irish. The advantage of this being that the queue/line and waiting time for things to be processed for things such as passports, tax credits etc. is always minimal or practically nonexistent.
I don't like the way my co-patriots don't speak our language, but it sure is a massive advantage to me. Also, if the state cannot provide the service through Irish, they try to fast track you through their system of whatever so as to try and not to offend you so you wont complain. I love it.
We’re Here, Obama!
My friends and I went to the Obama inauguration and since driving and walking were out of the question, we took the Metro. Well after the ceremony ended we headed towards the nearest metro stop which happened to be near the Air & Space museum. The stop was closed with a huge crowd of people trying to get in, so we went back to the museum and played poker for an hour and a half. After that we checked back at the station, still closed, so we walked up three blocks to another station, also closed. Then we were told we had to walk all the way across the mall.
At this point it was like four or five in the evening and we had been up since 3:30 am. So, we sucked it up and walked the mile or two across the mall to the one open station, and there was a line because it wasn't open yet...so we waited in a nearby food court for an hour until the station opened, and then we got back in line.
After we got inside the station, there was a solid mass of people trying to get back to Virginia, it would have easily been another hour or two waiting for the train. Then, I noticed that the Maryland-bound platform was nearly empty so I said, "Hey let's ride up a few stops then get on the train headed the other way".
Everyone agreed this was at least a better idea than waiting. After two stops, the platforms were empty and we got off that train and right on to another headed towards home. I was quite pleased as we rode past the platform of people who would be stuck waiting for empty trains for hours.
Like Father, Like Sonperson using phone and laptopPhoto by Austin Distel on Unsplash
I got a free trial cell phone and just didn't give it back. It stayed free for like 7 years, until someone took it from me.
Also, me and my dad used to tell the cable company that C-SPAN wasn't broadcasting clearly—like there was static and stuff. They would come over and remove some "block" which allowed us to watch HBO for free.
Also, in 1999, my dad worked in the IT department of a large insurance company. For Y2K, they needed one person to stay in the building, in case everything exploded or whatever. To determine who would stay, there was a tournament of coin flips throughout the company. Out of the hundreds—maybe thousands—of people who worked in the building, my dad was one of the final two people. It all came down to one coin flip, between him and his former college roommate. My dad said, "Okay, if it's tails, you stay, if it's heads, I don't". Apparently, the guy did not realize that either way, my dad would win.
Also, my friends and I inadvertently realized how to get free food at fast food establishments. You go through the drive-thru and tell them something like you spilled a drink in your car and you need some napkins. Something that they won't make you pay for. Then you pull up to the first window, they just wave you on, because you didn't order anything. Then you get to the second window, and usually, you'll get the food ordered by the people behind you. The two windows don't communicate. The first one just assumes you're going to ask the person at the second window and not take someone else's food.
Does This Ring A Bell?
When I was in high school, we had a bell system that sounded through a tone in the phone that was in each class instead of an old school bell. That gave my friend a brilliant idea. Realizing that this "bell" sound had a very digital ring to it, my friend and I decided to record it one day. Now having acquired the tone, I was able to replicate the sound of the bell, thus fooling my fellow students—who instinctively would get up and leave once they heard the bell—and the teacher into believing that the class had ended.
I was able to use this to end class early throughout a large part of the year until the administration caught on and started changing the tone daily.
This one time on a road trip me and my friend stopped at a local restaurant and bar to grab lunch. Halfway through my friend knocked over the salt and I told him to throw some over his shoulder for good luck. Unfortunately, the man behind us didn't enjoy it so he came over—he was much, much larger than us—and secreted a fluid out of his mouth right in my friend's burger.
Disgusted, but wanting to get back at them, I came up with a great idea. I went over and apologized to him and his friends and offered them a round of beers. They of course accepted and then, me and my friend headed over to the cashier. We said that this man and his group of friends felt bad and wanted to pick up our tab. The girl was skeptical at first but we pointed him out, and he signaled for what he thought was his round of beers. The waitress obliged and we headed out of the restaurant with a free lunch!
Count Me Twicegray computer monitorPhoto by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
About 10 years ago, I had a summer job that used online timesheets. When I started, my name was spelled wrong on the system. I had it corrected and received a new login, but they didn't disable the old one. That gave me an idea. For two months I completed two timesheets every week and got paid double. Nobody ever found out.
Confidence Is Key
My best “cheating the system” moment wasn't even clever or really even cheating the system. It was just outright lying mixed with extreme confidence. When I was seventeen, a bunch of my friends who were already eighteen wanted to go to an adult club. I didn't have a fake ID, but I didn't want to miss out—so I just went with them anyway. As we're walking in everyone gives the woman at the front podium—there was no outdoor bouncer—their IDs. I'm the last in line and I just gave her my real driver's license.
She looks at it for a minute, and then looks at me with confusion on her face: "This says you're only seventeen". Figuring there's nothing to lose I just went for it: "No it doesn't". She looked back at it, back at me, shrugged, and said, "Okay, go ahead".
BOOM, adult club jedi.
Whether or not we liked going to school growing up, we can likely all agree that we had one of those teachers who really didn't belong in the classroom.
From terrible tempers, little patience, and other bad behaviors, there are qualities that absolutely shouldn't be exhibited by a teacher.
But at least in some cases, the teacher gets caught in the act.
Redditor Ok-Discipline-4312 asked:
"How did that teacher get fired at your school?"
Creepy Phone Calls
"In the early 90s, a female student at my high school was receiving obscene phone calls."
"When police interviewed her, she told them, 'He sounds kind of like my history teacher.'"
" The police put a tracer on her phone, and the caller did turn out to be her history teacher."
Passing the Torch
"My high school had a notoriously stoney gym teacher, who was also hilarious. Every year, he did a miscellaneous object raffle during a random lunch hour. He basically just gave away whatever was in the lost and found box."
"Well, my junior year, one of the objects was a large and elaborate 'vase.'"
"Basically, he handed a student a giant f**king bong. He retired a few days later."
Rolling with the Punches
"A teacher used a sick day rather than a vacation day to fly to Japan to fight in MMA. He got caught and was fired for improper use of time off."
"He lost his fight and chose a different career path afterward."
"They used alcohol on the job. They had a bottle in the top left drawer."
"It took years to catch them, though."
"I had a few teachers like that. One lady had a can of Tab every day (remember Tab soda? laughing out loud)."
"Some kid made a mark on the bottom with a pen or something and found out it was the same can every day. She was refilling it from a bottle in her car."
One Word: Embezzlement
"Embezzling from the students. For quite a few years, she would collect money for this 'senior trip' that never seemed to materialize."
"She was arrested a few years after I graduated. I wonder if she's out of prison yet?"
"Holy s**t, I just had a repressed memory pop up in my head. We had a 'ski club' when I was in 8th grade, and the teachers constantly collected money from us for our 'ski trip' that we never took. I wonder where all that money went?"
All for the Prom Queen
"S**t, there was a vice principal that wanted her daughter, who went to the same school, to be the homecoming queen super bad."
"So she hacked into dozens of parents' district portal accounts and stuffed the ballot for her daughter."
"Not quite 'steal the money' or 'embezzle' bad, but still 'go to prison and never work in education again' and also 'your daughter isn't going to college now' bad."
A Sweet Future
"My middle school choir teacher was a closeted gay man. He had a long-term boyfriend but none of us knew about it, until one day a parent saw them at a HOUSE PARTY making out."
"They spread rumors throughout the school and multiple parents immediately removed their children from his class. The parents complained to the school and got him fired."
"The good news is, he eventually quit teaching and opened up a bakery with his partner, which did very well and got featured on 'Cupcake Wars.'"
Sprinkled with Annoyance
"A teacher threw a donut at an annoying student."
"What a waste of a perfectly good donut!"
"Because of me, I think. Once in primary school, I was messing around with a classmate, and she threw a sponge at me, making me chase her around the classroom."
"The teacher tried to stop me and grabbed me by the neck, making me fall on my back. It didn’t hurt, but I was surprised."
"I don’t remember how, but the principal and my parents got involved, and we never saw the teacher again after that. He was sort of a substitute teacher, and from what I can remember, he was pretty well-liked even by me."
Incredible Road Rage
"He cut off my grandpa in an explosive road rage incident, pulled him out of his truck, and beat him to the ground so bad that my grandpa was in the hospital for weeks."
"Thankfully, my grandpa was okay, but his job (and his marriage, and social life) didn’t survive."
High School Drama
"At my school, the new French teacher started screwing the old computer teacher, who was married to the geometry teacher."
"At the end of it, just the geometry teacher had her job and all the other two teachers' money because she divorced the computer teacher and managed to sue the French teacher as part of an alienation of affection suit."
"Then she hooked up with the metal shop teacher."
Three Strikes, You're Out
"The teacher called up a female student to work a problem on the blackboard. The student didn't want to participate. After some verbal back and forth, the student went to the blackboard and muttered something under her breath."
"The teacher grabbed the student's hair with both hands and proceeded to slam her head into the blackboard. 'You (slam) will listen (slam) to me (slam)!'"
"About three seconds later, the teacher realized what she was doing and released the student's hair. The student looked at her, said, 'You are sooooo fired,' and left the room."
"We had a new math teacher the next day."
The Dispassionate Teacher
"My memory of this is kinda hazy since this happened 10 and a half years ago."
"She was telling at us, I don't remember if anything specific triggered her episode but she said s**t like, 'I don't give a rat's a** what you think,' and 'I wish I could use the paddle.'"
"Although the one thing I'll always remember was before she sat down, she said, 'I'm going on Facebook, I don't care what the h**l you do.'"
"I guess she got fired the same day, because we had a sub after lunch, and we had a new short-term sub every few days before we got a long-term sub for the rest of the year."
That Would Do It
"He taught me physics for three years and became principal for two years."
"Then they realized he didn’t even have the teaching qualification."
It's obvious why these teachers were quickly removed from their roles as teachers and unable to ever teach again.
But the thought that these things ever happened in a classroom are deeply unsettling.
Working at a job where you get along with coworkers is ideal.
Strong teamwork can establish efficiency, and good rapport at the workplace can inspire friendships.
But not even the kindest person can vibe with everyone despite good intentions, and it could be due to toxic personalities.
Those types of coworkers can be ones who are unfriendly, manipulative, super arrogant, or completely lacking in self-awareness.
Curious to hear about the latter, Redditor Woodchipper_AF asked:
"Who is the most insufferable a**hole you’ve ever worked with?"
These individuals did not look forward to showing up, due to individuals who've made their lives miserable.
"At my old job, my boss would give me difficult projects from difficult clients. When I finished the project, she would go into the system and add her initials (whoever does the work has to initial after every step) and take off mine."
"Then she would go to her supervisor and be like, 'Look what I did! Hehe!' And she would get all the credit. When I finally figured out she was doing that, I wouldn't let her know when I was done, and I would personally submit my work to her supervisor."
"His mind was blown that I just 'magically picked up the work so effortlessly,' and I got promoted lol."
New VP In Town
"Matt, the new VP of operations decided that everything about our company needed to change, including undermining my role, essentially taking over my team, and started implementing these incredibly micro managing processes that nearly halved our productivity, then blamed it all on me. He then proceeded to place our junior as the team lead and left me on my own island. It really felt like he was trying to get me to leave and well, he got what he wanted. F'k you, Matt."
Her Way Or The Highway
"Sierra. Sierra knew the answer to every single question, had better ideas than you, had done more than you had done, tried everything that you thought of, seen more a problems than you had, and just all around was an insufferable know-it-all. Everything had to be done exactly the way she wanted it to be done even if it didn't need to be done that way, it still had to be done that way because that's the way she wanted it. She micromanaged everyone around. I was so happy when she moved to a different job."
"Sounds like my insufferable coworker. Except mine is also a f'king hypocrite who’ll rat you out for bending a rule that is flexible while constantly breaking rules she’s not supposed to because she’s been working this entry level job for 30 years."
"I look forward to the day she gets fired but unfortunately this is a union job."
Sometimes, things backfire.
"I had a coworker who would sh*t all over my ideas in meetings and then offer up the same solutions I'd just offered like 5 minutes later. Everyone watched her do it and I don't know if she thought she was getting away with something or had some kind of mental block where she didn't even realize she was doing it. After a year or so we had this guy Dave get hired and the first meeting she did that he blurted out, 'wait a minute, 5 minutes ago Joe suggested that and you sh*t all over it.' And she was kind of like, 'Oh,' and like mumbled something while everyone stifled a giggle."
"Lady tried to get me fired and was totally harassing me - it backfired and she was escorted out by HR. I’ve been with my company for almost ten years now. See you never✌️"
"Yeah I just went through 2+ years of hell because of a total abusive gaslighting coworker a-hole. She would say abusive stuff to me when no one else was around and then completely deny it with management. She would create weird situations to make me look bad or crazy and would like daily attempt to turn coworkers against me. She would straight up mock me in front of coworkers and customers. Also, many incidents of her mocking me for being a guy and being 'too sensitive.' Sh*t like 'You are too sensitive. You should be able to handle what I say.'"
"She even knew I was sober (25+ years) and on a couple of occasions managed to make me feel like sh*t as if I was some total scumbag. It was unbelievably frustrating and I had no idea how to handle all this. I managed to kick alcohol and drugs a long time ago and survive a very rough childhood but had no tools to handle something like this. It was like the twilight zone. She successfully convinced management I was the problem and that I was making the whole thing up for a long long time. I felt completely defeated and hopeless."
"Massive stress for something like 2 years. I finally broke and told management do something or I will sue. They first hired a mediator who took us through the mediation process. I was not told what the mediator thought of the situation but I definitely get a sense the mediator told management yes you have a problem here."
"Then the company called in lawyers who investigated my claims. Took about 6 months but it turns out several of her own employees (we were both foreman) backed me up and from what I know the lawyers told my company they were in serious legal jeopardy. Every one of the women I work with said I am kind and never have I ever been mean, snapped or been rude to them."
"Several of them said they love working with me and some actually witnessed some incidents. I was kept in the dark as to the whole timeline of the investigation but one recent Friday management walked in and told her to gather her things and they escorted her out of the building. I literally had to step out and weep. Not just because it was finally over but why did any of this have to happen? I still don’t really know why I was her target and I don’t think I ever will. My stress levels are 1000 times better but yeah I think I need therapy. Still processing it all."
These are the kind of work colleagues you don't go out for drinks with afterward.
The Thing About Dave
"Dave is a guy who thinks he’s much smarter than he is. He’s been with the same company for 20 years and has worked his way up the ladder at a small company, where he now leads Operations."
"He’s a control freak and micromanager and this job is pretty much all he has in life. He will do anything and everything to block progress and innovation and will ruthlessly stab anyone in the back who gets in his way."
"Sometimes I have pity on Dave because this job is as good as it’s ever gonna get for him. I’m gonna leave this job soon and move on to better things, but Dave’s gonna be doing Dave things until a heart attack or kidney failure takes him out eventually."
Can't Be Pleased
"Guy that I worked with on a cabinet door assembly line. One night we got done about 30min early and this guy throws a fit. How is he going to pay his bills if they send us home early ect ect. Two nights later we had to work about 45min late. This guy starts throwing a even bigger fit. No one helps us, whining we have to work overtime ect ect lol."
"Got a dude i work with who always claims he will quit when it comes to OT. Thing is, its never mandatory unless dire. We usually always have volunteers to fill in. Its been like seven years. Quitter still works there, claiming he's gonna quit."
I've been fortunate enough to have worked with amazing groups of people throughout my performing career.
But my first job experience as a 16-year-old was not a positive one. I worked in retail selling video games at the mall where I grew up.
My trainer who worked shifts with me behind the counter was the boss's girlfriend. She was condescending and would often abandon her job duties when things at the store was slow and go shopping around the nearby shops and department stores.
Of course, whenever she was gone, I dealt with mayhem. I had to figure out how to deal with exchanges, giving refunds, which I had yet to learn.
I also had to call security on a kid who wandered in unattended and swiped an item from behind the counter, then later dealt with his irate mother who had to leave her job to pick up her kid from the mall and yelled at me for accusing him of stealing.
After two weeks, I quit.
We all have those moments when we want to have the perfect comeback, but we draw a complete blank.
Until three days later when we have an epiphany about what we should have said.
Well, maybe these bons mots can put some weapons in your arsenal.
Reddit user MirrorFunhouse asked:
"What's an insult that's been thrown at you (or you heard toward someone else) that you actually admired or just made you laugh?"
So many insults to choose from...
"You look like someone who would pre-heat the microwave."
Some are one-liners.
"It could be that the purpose of your life is to serve as a warning to others."
Others require a little set up.
"My bestfriend and I were roasting each other.
"Me: 'What are you going to say to me that my parents haven't already said?'"
"Her: 'I'm proud of you'."
"I would agree with you, but then we would both be wrong."
"It’s not worth insulting you as nature has already done enough damage."
"Heard one of my sister’s bullies call her fat and mock her weight at school."
"She just yelled back 'B*tch you’re the f'king ugliest thing I’ve ever seen, I can lose weight, what the f'k are you going to do about that face?'”
“You think in low power mode.”
“You’ve got two brain cells left and they’re competing for third place”
"I like 'you only have two brain cells, but one of them is lost and the other went looking for it'."
"Or 'you only have two brain cells left, and they're each trying to bum a smoke off the other'."
"You are living proof that the education system needs better funding."
“Wisdom has been chasing you, but you’ve always been faster.”
“You’re as smart as you look.”
"Random dude online told me to go back to Mexico when I made a joke about the US medical insurance costs."
"I corrected him saying I was Canadian, and he replied with 'stfu, you're just a snow Mexican then'."
"For some reason I just immediately imagined a dude removing snow off his car while wearing a sombrero and laughed for a good 3 minutes."
"Que pasa, eh?"
"As a Canadian living in Texas, my stepdad would call us icebacks."
"I can only explain it to you, I can't understand it for you."
"You're intellectually on the ground already and what do you do?"
"Begin to dig."
Self owns are rife with opportunities.
"My friend got in a heated argument with her son (nothing new, they’re both hot-tempered) and she called him a son-of-a-b*tch and he said 'that’s right, I am!!' And they both cracked up laughing."
"My cousin jokingly called her teenage son a son-of-a-b*tch and I laughed and said 'You just called yourself a b*tch!' and then she told me to f'k off. It was great!"
"My friend once had the same thing happen and shouted back: 'At least we can agree on something, MOM!' His mom was pissed as soon as she figured it out a hot second later, but his dad tried his hardest to keep a straight face."
“You look like you have a favorite flavor of glue.”
~ triggamonThe Simpsons Eating GIFGiphy
"I envy people that didn't get to know you."
"In elementary a kid once shouted at me 'you're so weird, you probably were able to read the paper when you were THREE YEARS OLD!!'."
"Basically he called me 'smart' to my face."
"Unintentional compliments are the best. You know they aren’t lying because they tried to insult you."
"My brother said to me ‘you look 16 at age 20' and I was like 'OMG THANKS'."
"You behave like someone who snacked on lead paint too often as a child."
"You're not the dumbest person on Earth, but if I were you I'd hope that person doesn't die soon."
"In my early teens I told a good friend of mine (roughly translated) 'Dude, you're like the king of all dumba**es!'."
"Without missing a beat he asked 'Shouldn't you obey me, then?'."
"At that point I had to admit I had indeed gotten got. It's been over 20 years and it still burns a bit."
"I'd explain it to you in a way even you'd understand, but I have neither the time nor the crayons."
"Your self-confidence contradicts your expertise."
"My friend and I were at a place known for its clubs and drinking spots. We were waiting for our car when a man was hitting on us and inviting us to drink."
"Dude told us he's 47 and without hesitation, I asked 'Oh, so are you here with your kids?'."
"My friend was holding in a laugh while I was just clueless why, then I realized I pretty much called him an oldie."
"Some tree is woking its a** off to produce the oxygen you're consuming."
"You owe that tree an apology."
"I had a Mexican girlfriend who was self-conscious about her bad grammar in English. She got into an argument with another girl in English."
"She suddenly turns to me and points at the other girl and says, 'she is a little b*tch', then just jumps back into the argument. I found it a bit odd, but whatever."
"Afterward I ask her were you trying to bring me into the argument by telling me she was a little b*tch? She said 'no, I just wanted to call her a little b*tch and wasn't sure if it was, you are a little b*tch or you is a little b*tch. I knew she is a little b*tch was correct so I said that, but I couldn't say that to her, so I just said it to you'."
"The delivery carried some weight, and there were many subtle elements, although unintentional. There was uninvolved 3rd party verification, and it felt like she was undermining her that she was such a little b*tch that she didn't even bother directly telling her."
"It was very effective. The other girl was visually dissed."
"My expectations towards you were low and what do you do?"
~ triggamonlimbo belt GIFGiphy
So do you have a favorite comeback?
If not, you have some to choose from now.