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My parents recently attended a dance with a group of friends. They brought along a tray of party sandwiches, as everyone was asked to bring finger food. My mother was disappointed that the sandwiches were a bit stale, since she paid $18 for them from a local deli, and while that's not an outrageous price, you'd expect the bread to be fresh, at least.

Anyway, when the dance was almost over, one of her friends, Mona, walked around from table to table, asking if anyone wanted to contribute their leftover food to her "party" she was having the following week. You see, she and her husband were throwing themselves a 40th wedding anniversary party.

When my mother told Mona she could have the tray of leftover sandwiches, she also asked her how they would keep till the following week, when they were slightly stale already. "No problem," Mona said, "I'll freeze them". By the end of the night, she felt she had enough leftovers from the dance to cater her own 40th anniversary party. Oh, and BTW, the couple has plenty of money. The husband is a successful attorney, and they had just returned from a European vacation.

Many of the people at the dance would be attending next week's party, and would see their own leftover food being served to them. My parents will see what's left of their $18 thawed out, stale sandwich tray. These hosts are cheap, cheap, cheap!



I was on vacation with my University roommates in Chicago this past summer. While one roommate was off enjoying some festivities, my other roommate, "Erin" and I went downtown to see the sights.

We were standing on a bridge, chatting while Erin had a cigarette when we were approached by a middle-aged man. He took a glance at Erin and her cigarette and asked her if she was pregnant.

Erin is by no means overweight, but is sensitive about her stomach, while I stared at the man in disbelief she chose to respond with a great deal of class and politely told him that no, she was not pregnant. The man nodded his head and explained that that was good, because if she was he was about to lecture her about smoking. I told him that what he was saying was extremely rude and disrespectful; lecturing a total stranger about smoking is rude enough, but to ask a young girl if she was pregnant without knowing her is an extremely risky move! It is a question I feel no one should ever ask unless they are familiar with the person and are 100% sure they are pregnant.

The man walked away and Erin and I were able to laugh about it later, but to this day my mind is still blown by how nosy and inconsiderate he was.



A few months ago our family celebrated my niece's Bat Mitzvah.  Besides a lot of extended family, many of my niece's school and temple friends were in attendance.  So, I have to ask their parents: 

On what planet is it acceptable to walk into any house of worship wearing shiny metal micro mini skirts, split-paneled chiffon dresses, or high heeled slides?  Oh, yes, they were actually dressed for the party, where dressing like a little prostitute is very chic.  Ever think of having them change into their party dresses after the service?


My story takes place in a local discount store I love and frequent.  Please keep in mind that I have the dubious advantage of looking younger than my age and that two of my biggest pet peeves are as follows: being called "honey," "dear," "sweetie," etc. from people who don't know me (or don't know me well) and being touched by strangers.  One afternoon I was standing in line at said discount store about to buy a single item.  I was third or fourth in line; around me were mostly elderly ladies and young mothers.  I had my purse open and was looking through my wallet.  (This purse was not the zip-up kind, but the fold-over or "envelope" kind that snaps shut.)  All of a sudden, a woman I had never seen before in my life enters the store and breezes by me.  As she does so, she taps me on the shoulder -- quite hard -- and says, loudly enough for everyone around me to hear, "Close your purse, dear."

I was so surprised that I never got to shoot back, "I appreciate the advice, but don't touch me and I'm not your "dear."



I received an invitation to celebrate the 1st birthday of an acquaintance's  daughter.  It requested that guests bring their own lawn chairs and alcohol. Classy.



I commute into London on a very busy line.  On the way home once I offered my seat to a little girl I saw standing.  She was sweet and said thank you, but as she went to sit her strapping father thrust her into the tiniest corner and took the seat himself.  Then he actually gives me a triumphant glare, deliberately sticks his legs out so I can't hold onto a pole (I'm a small girl), and scowls at me.  Nice.   Before I can say anything, the train goes round a bend at speed & without the pole I'm sent flying.  Much to his horror, right into his lap.  He turns absolutely scarlet as I'm apologizing like mad, but I can't actually get off him for the train rocking, and everyone is staring.  Luckily two nice Cityboys help me up.  Even more luckily, I miss his daughter.  He hid behind a newspaper for the rest of the trip with only his bright red ears showing, but his daughter was still giggling when I got off.



Miss Jeanne, I received an email invitation from a friend for a party (quite a nice friend, actually)! This is how it goes.

Hi everyone! "Niki" and "Jane" are organizing a party to celebrate post-exams! We both really hope you can all come =D The cost is $10 per person to cover costs such as food and damages. Please RSVP by Tuesday 11th September, so that we can organize catering, etc.

I'm not too concerned about chipping in for food, since we're poor students, but presuming that their hosts will be causing damage to the house is going a bit overboard!


My cousin Tami is a thief in every sense of the word. She steals from her own family and what she can’t get from them she ‘buys’ at the store with worthless checks for which she’s been to jail. She also lies to social services to steal money from the government to send her children to daycare free, get healthcare free and food stamps. Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with receiving help when you really have a need because you’ve fallen on hard times, not because you’re a bottom feeder like my cousin.  

Anyway this is just one incident I picked from many: Not long ago Tami had a cookout at her parent’s house. She had the party there because this is where she and her children live – rent free I might ad. She treated everyone to shrimp, oysters and other expensive goodies. When my Grandmother asked where she got the money for the food, because everyone knows she receives ‘assistance’, she proudly told my Grandmother and several other people that she had used her food stamps to fund the party.

Talk about tacky. This is a 31 year old woman for goodness sake! Needless to say this is one event I did NOT attend!



A few years ago my sister Kass came home crying. When I asked her what was wrong she told me a story that should land this lady in e-hell forever! My sister decided that she wanted to do something special for my birthday. Being a high school student with not a lot of money she decided she would bake cookies. Being my birthday falls close to Halloween, my sister and her friend Jay decided they would make ghost cookies. My sister packed up all the ingredients from my parent's house and took them over to Jay's dad's house. When they were finished with the cookies they packed them up when Kathy came over. After asking and being told several times by both girls that the cookies were for my birthday, Kathy took the cookies. She then gave them to Jay's dad and told him how hard she had worked to make the cookies just for him. She later confessed to Jay that she said she felt a little tacky for taking the credit. After all of that I took my sister and her friend out to eat. I couldn't let such hard work go unrewarded. Plus it floors me that she called herself tacky. That wasn't tacky, that was just plain mean!


A few years ago, my boss' daughter had a bat mitzvah.  As employees, we weren't really encouraged to go to the thing, and only the boss' secretary attended, but an invitation was posted on the bulletin board for us all -- it was pretty clear that this was a hint that we should chip in on a gift so chip in we did.  I think we ended up getting her a savings bond for like $200 or something close to that.  Months went by and no word from the girl till finally a thank you note landed on the bulletin board as follows:

"Dear Employees of ---------------:   My father said I should write you people a thank you note for the savings bond.   Emily"   




A few weeks ago, my son's preschool had a tag sale, and parents were encouraged to donate items for the school to sell. I was bringing donations to the drop-off site at the school, and was carrying a large, heavy box toward a gate when I saw a nicely dressed older woman coming out. The gate has a complicated mechanism in place to prevent the preschool children from getting it open, so to save us both some time - for her to get it in place, and for me to undo it 5 seconds later - I called out, "Excuse me, do you mind not locking that gate so I can get through?" I expected her to say, "Sure," push the gate back open, and go on her merry way. Although it would have been nice, I wasn't expecting her stick around long enough to lock the gate behind me. What I really wasn't expecting was to get a lecture about how she would hold the gate open but she was NOT going to stay and lock the gate behind me because she was in a BIG HURRY, she had a VERY BUSY DAY. By the time she finished talking and flounced off to her car, I had already walked through the gate, set the box down and was locking the gate myself. I was left alone to ponder the notion that people are willing to sacrifice the good will of a fellow human being for a few precious seconds, time that could easily be eaten up waiting for a car to pass as you turn out of the parking lot.

I carried the box up a flight of stairs, dropped it off in the donation room, and went into the office to pick up a donation receipt. As I was walking back down the stairs toward the gate (so we're talking at least a minute and a half after the lecture), I saw the same woman get out of her car, walk back over to the gate and look at the lock, I guess to make sure that I'd understood I was supposed to lock it myself. Good thing she saved all that time for her busy day!



Both my boyfriend and I are Performing Arts majors in college, and just this fall my boyfriend auditioned and got into a community production of the musical Grease.  I wanted to audition, but as I don't drive the rehearsals would've been too hard to get to, but I heard all about the wonderful director and his wife, and though the performance turned out wonderful, I'm glad to have missed the backstage drama.

The director is a very nice man, but more than a little biased in casting.  Now the traditional way to cast a show (especially in community theater) is to have one main cast with understudies for the leads (who then get to play a night or two during the run) or to completely double cast every part and have two sets of leads.  Deviations from this practice is acceptable, but the casting this director used was more than a little biased in my opinion, and rehearsals were not conducted in a very professional manner.

-All the boys parts were single cast, with the exception of Eugene (the nerdy kid and a fairly small part), and there was an swing understudy for the three T-birds who got to play each character once.  A little hectic for the understudy to learn three leads and his ensemble part, but they made it work.-All the girls parts were single cast except for Marty (one of the pink

ladies) was double cast.  Now I know from experience, when all the roles are single cast except your own, you can't help but feel a little blow to the ego.-Sandy (the leading female) was also double cast, and one of the girls was the directors own daughter.  Now if she were an amazing actress, that'd be one thing; same if all the parts were double cast.  But in a cast where almost all the parts are single cast, and the other Sandy was the much stronger actress (I saw both perform and I've inquired the opinions of other audience members), one starts to suspect that the directors daughter was cast as a lead because she is his daughter.  (The director's son was also cast as one of the T-birds, but in most people's opinions this was fair as he was quite suited to the part.  I still think you tread on thin ice when casting your own children though.)

-An understudy was created for the part of Rizzo when the actress learned she was going to have to miss three rehearsals.  The actress was not informed of her new counterpart, then the understudy was unceremoniously dismissed from the duty and never got to play the part.  The actress playing Rizzo only played for one weekend, and was then dismissed for adding her personal interpretation to the character.  The former understudy was forgotten and another actress was brought in for a one week cram session to learn the part from scratch (thankfully she's a wonderful actress and is well liked by the rest of the cast).

-Rehearsal schedules were changed at the last minute and the director's wife would often call up those who were unaware of changes and yell at them for not being mind readers.  She'd also haul in ensemble members, rehearse a single scene with them (a matter that sometimes took only 20 minutes) then send them home.

The show ended up being really great, but I hesitate to audition for this theater in the future.



My stepmother and I were at the hospital while my dad was undergoing major surgery that would decide whether he lived or died. There was a special waiting room, separate from the regular waiting areas, just for the people whose loved ones were undergoing major surgery. The waiting room was very full, but very quiet because everyone there was very worried and stressed. Everyone was unfailingly polite to one another and the loudest noise heard was someone sobbing softly once in a while.

Until this one huge family came in. Most of the surgery patients had between 1 and 3 family members waiting and they’d talk amongst themselves in hushed tones. This family came in as a group of at least 10 people. They took over a large section of the waiting room and were very very loud. Ok, we thought that they’d get quieter once they settled in. They didn’t – they got louder. They started telling jokes and coarse stories to one another, at the top of their lungs and cackled and hooted even louder. We all were forced to hear about private details of their lives and their families’ lives that we would have rather not heard, in addition to a full report on the health and the minor surgery their relative was having.

The Worst Offender was a middle-aged lady who was the most talkative and loudest of them all. And whenever she said something that she thought was particularly amusing, she would actually stand up and get out of her chair, and start stamping one foot on the floor several times, like a trained donkey learning to count. And she did this with all her strength and as loudly as possible. I was sitting about 10 ft away and I could feel the floor shake every time she did this.

After a while, they actually set up a portable DVD player so some of them could watch a video of someone’s daughter’s dance recital. Of course they had to turn up the volume as loud as it would go. One member of the herd wandered over to the other side of the room to look at something. Then she carried on a conversation by shouting to the people on the other side of the room. Some of them decided to take over all the computer terminals that were there for everybody to use. You were supposed to only use them for 30 minutes at a time to give everyone a chance. They of course hogged every computer in the room for hours.

The Worst Offender continued her previous bad behaviors, and in addition started to ask her Uncle Bob to do her minor favors. She would do this by literally shouting: “UNCLEBOBUNCLEBOBUNCLEBOBUNCLEBOBUNCLEBOBUNCLEBOBUNCLEBOBUNCLEBOBUNCLEBOB…could you turn my laptop on for me?” or “UNCLEBOBUNCLEBOBUNCLEBOBUNCLEBOBUNCLEBOBUNCLEBOBUNCLEBOBUNCLEBOBUNCLEBOB…what

time is it?” She sounded like nothing so much as a spoiled child demanding attention. So eventually they had a noisy laptop playing something, a loud DVD player playing something else, and were still all talking to one another at the top of their lungs. Plus the stamping on the floor like a jackass.

Eventually, every other person in the room was looking daggers at the Worst Offender, staring at her with looks of utter loathing. One of her family members nudged her and said that maybe she was being a little loud. She replied (and I quote), “These people, they just done need some HAPPINESS in they’s lives.” Ok, I could agree with her on that point. However, any happiness in my life was going to come from hearing the news my dad was going to get better, not from a bunch of loud, ignorant people behaving like barnyard animals. No matter what, it was going to be a difficult day, but they made it an utterly miserable day for us and for every other person who had loved ones fighting for their lives.



My friend, "Joanne" and her husband "David" are - in spite of many years of trying to conceive - childless. Surrogacy is an impossibly expensive dream, and they have also recently been refused the opportunity to adopt or foster on medical grounds. (Under UK law this means that they would not be able to adopt from abroad either.)   Now most people at this point would be trying IVF, however, Joanne and David decided not to pursue this route. Firstly, they would be unable to fund it themselves and, secondly, they believe that it would be unfair to try and have such expensive non-essential treatment on the overstretched National Health Service. When they told me, my reaction was one of amazement at their quiet generosity. Others, however, have taken a different point of view...   Joanne and David recently invited me to a small pre-Christmas party at their house. Some of David's family were also there, including his pregnant sister, "Rachel". Rachel seems incapable of talking about anything other than babies at the minute. Joanne, although happy to be becoming an aunt, can find such discussions exceptionally painful. Therefore, whilst Joanne was out of the room, David cautioned Rachel to ease up on the baby-talk.

Unfortunately, this warning just turned the conversation to talk of infertility instead. Joanne had just walked into the room when Rachel half bellowed at David; "Well, all I can say is that you can't REALLY want a child if you're not willing to try IVF." The whole room was silent. Joanne turned so pale that I seriously thought she was going to faint. David took her outside, and they returned - both somewhat tearstained - a few minutes later to be the perfect hosts for the rest of the evening.   I still don't know what I am more astonished by! Rachel's callous comment, or Joanne and David's composure.


Page Last Updated September 18, 2008