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» Karma

Icy Goodness
One cold and snowy day, I was amongst a bunch of commuters walking out of Marylebone Station in London - the forecourt was covered with a sheet of ice and it was extremely tricky to find a way across. Subsequently, we were all picking our way very slowly and probably looking like a selection of mongs.

Some twunt in a pin-striped suit (there's a lot of 'em here) was obviously pissed off with our tremulous progress and pushed past, shouting, "Excuse me!" and tutting loudly.

Rather predictably (although not to him, obviously) his doom was close at hand. The ice and his speed combined to make him slip in the best way I have ever seen anyone do it - both legs raised high up in the air, where he seemed to hang for a delicious amount of time, before smacking down very heavily onto his arse.

I am proud of my fellow commuters - they joined me in pointing at him and laughing in a loud and prolonged manner (no mean feat when also trying to maintain one's balance).

Watching him slip over again when trying to stand up served only to increase our joy.
(Thu 21st Feb 2008, 17:16, More)

» Blood

Big Irish Ciaran.
I taught with him in Japan - the kids loved him because his name sounds like kirin, a word that can be used for 'giraffe' (he's particularly tall, even when not placed in a race of midgets).

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing - his Japanese was in a fledgling state, but he was fairly competent. So one day, when he's telling his class about a traditional Irish breakfast, he explains about black pudding. He accompanies this with the kanji for pig blood on the blackboard.

The kids go fucking nuts: the girls are screaming, the boys are petending to puke. 'WTF?' thinks Ciaran. 'This from a nation that eats snacks made from fried chicken cartilage and fermented beans?'

The Japanese teacher he works with sidles over. 'Erm, Ciaran-sensei? Is this true?' he asks, and points at the kanji. 'Sure,' replies Ciaran. 'Pig blood.'

There's a pause. 'Erm, Ciaran-sensei, this not say pig blood. This say, erm, pig period. You tell kids you eat pig period.'

Hmm...another bunch of potentially dumb tourists with crazed beliefs is on its way to England.
(Wed 13th Aug 2008, 11:04, More)

» Sexism

15 years old in Geography class,
and Mr Hankins is telling us all about Marula, who lives in some godforsaken village in Forrinland. Marula is merely a girl, so she has to fetch water from the well, clean the hut, make the fire, cook the food, clean up stuff etc. The men lie around smoking pipes and doing fuck all. Well, this was my interpretation of the text book anyway, so I made a huge, teenage-style fuss about the sexist nature of the story and outlined my probable reaction to receiving such instruction from men in the body of the essay I submitted for homework.
Twelve years later, my cousin came round to see me after her first day at the school and handed me a note, saying, 'I've been told to give you this.'
It said, 'Fetch some water Marula, there's a good girl.'
(Sun 3rd Jan 2010, 15:37, More)

» Cringe!

Being somewhat of a lazy bastard
I used to called into the little convenience store next to my flat in Japan and buy a bowl of pre-cooked rice, which the little man would heat up for me.

One day, I bought two, thinking I'd egg-fry the second one the following evening (always better if it's left in the fridge for a night). The little man asked me if I wanted them both heated up, but I just said, 'No, only this one.'

In Japanese, that would be, 'Kore dake.' I said that, and he looked at me with a bemused and yet scared expression. 'Eh?' he responded.

'Kore dake. Kore. Dake.' He continued to look scared and I'm thinking, 'For fuck's sake - it's your bloody language I'm speaking.'

This went on for some time, before I suddenly realised - I wasn't saying, 'kore dake' at all. I was saying, nay shouting, 'Kore dare! Kore dare!'

The poor man was just trying to understand why the crazy gaijin was pointing at a bowl of rice and shouting, 'Who is this? Who! Is this?'

I spent the next few weeks frequenting the store across the road instead.
(Wed 3rd Dec 2008, 16:00, More)

» Customers from Hell

A cheeky pearoast from me...
For a short, unhappy time, I worked for Abbey (then National), just as they were taking over the N&P. So I started at an N&P branch, where they had open counters.

A very angry man came in, bypassed the queue of people and marched up to my counter. He shouted, "Do you mind fucking telling me why my fucking card doesn't work in your fucking machine?" At this point, he rudely flicked the card across the counter and it slid to a halt right in front of me. Whilst he continued to rant and rave, and everyone in the branch watched and waited, I looked at the card and had one of those glorious moments of impending victory.

When he had finished swearing, I pushed the card back across to him with the tip of my pen and said sweetly (but very loudly), "Sir, this is your BT chargecard. Perhaps you'd like to try your cashcard instead." To his credit, he blushed and said, "I look like a bit of twat, don't I?" I just smiled.
(Wed 10th Sep 2008, 13:29, More)
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