“What Did You Think was Normal Around Your Hometown that You Learned was Totally Bizarre or Wrong When You Left?”

1) MotherOfKrakens95 wrote, “In my childhood neighborhood, you could go to one house and get a handful of candy, a different house for a soda, another house for a cookie and yet another for a Popsicle. Most of these people didn’t have their own children, only the cookie house had kids but I think they were Mennonite and homeschooled. These folks just kept goodies around for the neighborhood kids, it didn’t have to be Halloween or Easter, any old Tuesday afternoon was fine with them. Any time I’ve brought it up since, I’ve been told stuff like ‘You’re lucky you didn’t get poisoned or kidnapped,’ but the community I grew up in believed it took a village to raise a child and were just truly being good neighbors.” 

2) saltandsea wrote this:

“Not hometown but one I lived in for a long time. Pop. 1,000ish. I worked at the corner store over night. Every Tuesday night the police officer in town and a group of teenagers would play hide and seek with CB radios. He would come in for coffee all the time and the kids (I say kids, 18, 19, 20) would come in for cigs and snacks. The kids would plan all week for it, he wasn’t ever really busy but liked to keep his weekends open. 

“Their rules were: 1. Had to be a legal driver. 2. Had to stay in the car while hiding. 3.Had to stay on the same channel. 4. Stay off private property (not including the property they lived on). 5. Had to stay with in city limits. 6. If he flashed you with the spotlight you were out (9/10 they met back at the store).

“One night we were talking about it and I told him how fun it sounded. He said it was, it kept them out of trouble, built a good relationship with the youngsters and let him know where all the hiding spots were in town! 

“They (police) also liked to shoot fireworks in the town centre at five o’clock in the morning to keep the birds from hanging out on the power lines and pooping on people going to work. I almost sh[*]t myself the first time they did that.”

3) Hyperdrunk wrote this:

“In my hometown on the last day of school, middle schoolers would walk home rather than ride the buses. We’d walk for literally miles. The high schoolers would drive around and throw water balloons at the middle schoolers. 

“As a middle schooler there was a thrill in trying to make it home without getting hit, but as it was South Carolina in the summer, it was hot enough to where you really didn’t mind getting hit.

“As a high schooler it was fun trying to nail some middle schoolers.

“It wasn’t until I moved away that I realized it was unique to my hometown. It was this fun bonding experience, walking home from school with your friends, dodging or throwing balloons, and it was all in good fun. It was so … innocent. A small town annual tradition.”

Source: SpeedyD30, “What did you think was normal around your hometown that you learned was totally bizarre or wrong when you left?” AskReddit. 5 February 2018




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Good Fathers

“Daughters of Reddit Who Have a Great Relationship with Their Father, What Did He Do Raising You that Enabled Your Relationship to Stay Close to This Day?”

1) Podaroo wrote this:

“My dad is the best. It’s hard to put a finger on why or how, but here are some concrete things that he did that I think would work across the board:

“He read to us. When my sister and I were little, both of our parents read to us a lot. But my dad had a ritual where he’d read us a chapter (or two) of a book every night. We read The Hobbit, a biography of the mathematician and electrical engineer Charles Steinmetz, The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs, Just So Stories, so many Doctor Dolittle books … It was great. Not only did it foster a love of reading in both of us, but there are passages of certain books that I still hear in my father’s voice, with the sense memory of snuggling up warm against him in my parents’ big bed and feeling the vibrations of his voice in his chest.

“He was kind. He wasn’t perfect, he wasn’t always patient, and sometimes he lost his temper, but he was gentle and he was nice. That goes a long way.

“He obviously loves and respects our mother. Not every marriage is as happy as theirs is, but I think that even if things are sh[*]tty, you can try to model behaviors like listening to your partner/co-parent, keeping any intra-parental conflicts out of children’s view, and generally giving your children a sense that they are the product of two good people who are really happy that they’re here.

“He was honest. Obviously, how honest and about what depends on the ages of your children. But he would always answer any questions I brought to him, and when I brought up topics that in retrospect were maybe a little embarrassing or alarming, he’d treat them like perfectly reasonable things for a dad to be talking about with his daughter. Be it bad gas or bisexuality or overly adult literature.

“He made time for us. My dad and I went for a walk together every night when I was in high school. Summer or winter, rain (or snow) or shine. Sometimes we’d just go around the block. It was nice.

“We ate dinner together. Every night at dinner we’d talk about things we were reading or what we were doing in school or even the weather. We had a set of encyclopedias, and my sister and I would look things up to settle arguments. It was nice. 

“We did things together. My dad’s very musical, and so’s my sister. They’d play the piano and sing in the evening, and sometimes I’d play, too. I played stand-up bass and my sister plays violin, so we’d play string quartets with my dad covering the other two parts on the piano. We’d go outside and look at planets through his telescope. He taught me how to program and my sister how to take photographs. Looking back, it feels like he involved us in pretty much all of his hobbies.

“He was there. One of the things I loved as a kid was the feeling of all of us in the house, doing our own thing. We had school and activities, and both our parents worked and were involved in local politics and other things, but even if we weren’t together all the time, when I look back it feels like we were. I think the trick is having those touchstones like dinner and books and walks that add up to a feeling of unity.

“And don’t worry if you make mistakes. I was far from a perfect kid, and I’m far from a perfect adult. Sometimes I wish my parents had been stricter with me, and like anyone I have memories of them saying things that hurt or were unfair. But don’t get bogged down in that. Go for the broad strokes. Try to be good to your daughters. Let them know that you love them for who they are. Be there when they need you, as much as you can. You’ll do fine.”

2) helluvabella wrote this:

“I love my dad. He has always been my hero and now he is one of my closest friends (I’m 30). I think there are a lot of reasons, but I think the most important is how we communicate(d). He never talked down to me and always encouraged open conversation about topics. He was my homework help, we did science experiments together including brewing beer, which I thought was so cool at 8, we talked about current events and watched the news together … and he always considered my opinion … to this day, if I have a hard issue at work or in my personal life, he is always my sounding board and I value his advice over anyone. He takes the time to learn about what is important to me. I have a hobby he didn’t know anything about and he asks all kinds of questions so we can talk about it. I will be totally honest, though, in that much of my respect for my dad is because he is an outstanding human. He has a PhD and two masters degrees. He was a true Indiana Jones archeologist until I was born (he didn’t want to travel that much), so he became a futures trader and took my mom and me on the majority of his business trips. He is thoughtful and kind and a wonderful teacher. We always did charity work together when I was growing up and now that he is retired he works with a number of charities. One of my best memories with him is when I (now also in finance) had just taken my first CFA exam and he and I sat and shared a great brandy. It was the first time I felt like his equal and that was worth every ounce of work I had ever done. 

“I could talk about my dad forever, but if people reading this have one take away it’s that, regardless of how smart he is, he always treats people with kindness and does his best to meet them on whatever level they are at intellectually when having a conversation. I think kids are smarter than they get credit for and being talked to like an adult, but using language and concepts they understand, will make the relationship you have long term better.”

3) HAPPY_FLAPPY_BUTT wrote this:

“My dad adored my mom. I loved my mommy and thus I loved everyone else who loved her, too! I loved how he would always go out of his way to make her feel special. Peas in a pod they were. He loved talking about her and would include me in secret plans to make her happy. That made me feel really good, really safe. Their love for one another overflowed and filled up the whole house. Home was a loving safe place where mistakes were learning tools and people were loved for being themselves. 

“As for my father/daughter relationship, it was just filled with neat little things that were just between us. Midnight chats, power tools, using a t-shirt as a message board, and he would cry laughing from my stupid jokes. He made me feel like I was capable of something uniquely special. And he truly believed I was talented and one-of-a-kind. He was my biggest cheerleader! He believed I could do ANYTHING! 

“I gave his eulogy, about five years ago. I wish he could have met my sons. 

“E: My Dad would be telling all his friends right now about how his baby girl got a ‘GOLD’ from a STRANGER on the Internet all because I wrote about him. I can hear it now: 

“‘Well, she writes comments on a website called Reddit. I guess it’s really popular. One time she wrote one of the best comments and it was about me (she exaggerates, A LOT) and it was so good that someone put a gold star by it. Those things are rare! She’s always been good at writing.’

“And then he would continue to brag about me because he loved telling strangers how awesome all his kids were. Thanks, Internet stranger! Go call your Dad before it’s too late!

“I just wrote this in a comment further down:

“Here’s a story Mom told me about him that made me cry.

“He had back surgery to fix lordosis [a curvature of the spine] and his lower vertebrae were all fused together and fused to his pelvis. So he couldn’t stand up properly and walked a bit funny. When he was dating Mom (whom he always claimed was so far out of his league), one day Mom confessed that she had to break up with him. She said she couldn’t get past how he walked and the way his back looked had just got to be a deal breaker for her.

“He took a moment … frowned … and then smiled at her and said, ‘If that’s the only thing you can find wrong with me, then you’ve just made my day!’ And he turned around and walked out on her.

“After that Mom cried for two days and realized how great he was and how stupid she was for breaking up with someone over such a superficial reason. She went and begged to have him back. They were married for almost 30 years!”

Source: Dubscitygx2, “[Serious] Daughters of Reddit who have a great relationship with their father, what did he do raising you that enabled your relationship to stay close to this day?” AskReddit. 5 February 2018




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Disney Magic at the Magic Kingdom

“Former Disney Cast Members of Reddit, What are Some of Your Craziest/Creepiest/Best Stories?”

1) simplybenny wrote this:

“This was a while ago now, but it still makes me smiley and nostalgic.

“Character performers, such as myself, are only out during specific timeslots during the day for pictures. When those times end, usually guests aren’t allowed to enter the queue anymore, and we finish up taking photos with those remaining. Unfortunately, this day was particularly hot and fur characters had been experiencing issues (i.e. fainting) due to the heat, so they were packing us up rather quickly at the end of shifts. Dale and I (Chip) were waving our goodbyes to the guests when we heard this child absolutely WAILING her lungs out over not being able to meet us — she wasn’t being bratty, she sounded genuinely upset. 

“My attendant is the best. The crowd dispersed a bit, and she was able to catch up with the parents. She found out they would be returning tomorrow, and since we all had shifts the following day, we pulled some strings to set up a small meeting. Here’s how it went down: 

“The parents, as instructed to, brought her to Critter Country a while before the first meet and greet of the day. I crept up behind her and gently put my paws over her eyes, and pulled them back to reveal Dale striking this wonderfully heroic pose in front of her. I still remember how she screamed in excitement when she realized her favorite Disney characters had come out just to spend some time with her. We gave her autographs and did photos, then spent the rest of the time playing tag. :)”

2) bibbityboppityburner wrote this:

“I’m surprised no one has mentioned Towel Baby. Most people who worked at WDW-MK in the early 2000s heard of or met Towel Baby. It’s a rather sad story, so I’ll try to tell it respectfully. 

“Several times a week a couple with annual passes came to the Magic Kingdom with what appeared to be a swaddled infant. However, if you looked closely, the woman was carrying a rolled-up towel wrapped in a hospital newborn blanket. The man was always very gentle, leading his wife through security and into the park. I’m not certain if they went on rides, but I know for sure that they always asked for a table for three at restaurants. They came through my turnstile a few times and while the woman rarely made eye contact, they were always soft spoken and respectful. The story / legend was that the couple had lost an infant years prior and the woman fell into a deep depression and became delusional. The only thing that kept her somewhat functional was fussing over this towel and coming to the Magic Kingdom. 

“Observing them navigate the park was a master class in compassion, not only watching the husband care for his wife, but seeing every single cast member treat them both with respect and kindness. I remember managers telling us not to make fun of them (obviously) but also not to fuss over them — they’re just another family enjoying the park.”

3) ThePoetPrinceofWass wrote this:

“Whenever a Disney story thread comes up, this one from u/Ihaveanotheridentity is always the best: 

“I have one moment that stands out above all the rest. I was waiting for someone to ask me this question. It’s the reason I left a good job as a VIP Tourguide and moved to the Character Department.

“I was working City Hall one day when two guests came in with two little girls. One was in a wheelchair and the other one looked like she had just seen death. Both were cut and bruised and the one in the wheelchair had her arm in a cast. The two women were actually nurses from a hospital and were asking for a refund on the girls’ tickets, something we avoided doing at all costs. When I asked why, they told me the story. The two girls were with their mom and dad at Epcot, and on the way home they got into a horrible car accident. The mother was beheaded right in front of them. The father eventually died, too, but the two girls didn’t know that yet. They were from overseas and had no money and no contact information for anyone they knew. They were bringing the tickets back to get the girls some much-needed money to help get them back home. My heart absolutely sunk. If you had seen these girls, you’d know why. They were truly traumatized. I refunded their tickets and got permission to be their private tour guide for the rest of the day (which they were not expecting). I walked them to the VIP viewing area for the parade, which was as far as I could walk them in the costume we used to wear at City Hall. I had to leave them there while I put on my VIP costume. On the way down, I pulled out every kid joke I could think of. I was a REALLY good tour guide (I helped write part of it), and I knew how to make kids smile. Nothing worked. These girls were too far gone for that. I left them at the bridge to go change, walked backstage and bawled my eyes out. I just had never seen something so horrible. I was truly affected and it was a terrible feeling of powerlessness not being able to fix the situation. When I came back, I brought them to get ice cream, take them on rides and stuff, but they never smiled, not once. The nurses were loving it and were trying to get them into it, but it just wasn’t working. We went back to the bridge to watch the parade. It was there that I honestly saw true magic. Real magic, not bullshit. I had called the parade department to let them know what was going on and set up a private meet and greet after the parade. As the parade was coming around Liberty Square, I told the girls that I had called Mickey and told him all about them. I told them that Mickey asked to meet them after the parade.

“The little girl in the wheelchair smiled.

“‘Really?’ she asked. My heart skipped. ‘Yes, really! He told me to tell you to look out for him in the parade and to follow the float back to City Hall.’

“The other girl smiled.

“‘You mean right now?’ she asked.

“It had worked. They were talking. Not laughing, but talking. It was the first time I had heard them speak. Every single parade performer came up to them on the bridge and told them to look out for Mickey. Every one of them told them that. When Mickey’s float came up, Mickey (who was attached to a pole at the top of the float) managed to turn her body sideways, look down at the girls and point towards Main Street. That was all it took. The girls were excited now. They had forgotten about death. They were lost in a magical world, and I couldn’t believe I was watching it unfold in front of my eyes. We followed that float all the way back to City Hall, singing ‘Mickey Mania’ the whole way. Back then, City Hall used to have a VIP lounge behind the desk that was for privacy during difficult situations or to host celebrities. I took them in and showed them the book where all of the autographs were. They were eating it up.

“The girl who was Mickey that day got down off her float and without even taking her head off walked up to me backstage and said ‘Let’s go.’ I walked in with Mickey behind me, so I got to see the exact moment the girls met their new friend. They got shy but Mickey was in control now. Those girls met the REAL Mickey Mouse that day. Every single parade character stayed dressed to meet those girls. One by one they’d come in and play a bit then leave. We were in that lounge for over an hour. Mickey stayed in costume the entire time (which is hard to do after a parade). When Mickey finally said goodbye, I had two excited girls on my hands who couldn’t stop smiling. They talked and talked and talked. We had a wonderful day after that, but what I remember most is when we walked by the rose garden, the older one said, ‘Oh, my mommy loves roses! I mean…’ and she stopped. I held out my hand and walked her to the gate, picked her up and put her on the other side and said, ‘Pick one!’ She looked happy as she picked out her favorite rose. She didn’t say anything more and she didn’t need to. I said goodbye to the wonderful nurses and the wonderful girls then walked backstage behind the train station. This time I didn’t cry. It felt so good to be a part of that. I realized that as much as I liked helping guests at City Hall, the true magic of Disney was in the character department. I auditioned, transferred, and never looked back. Thanks for letting me relive this. It was a special day for me.”

Source: siamesedream81, “Former Disney Cast Members of Reddit, what are some of your craziest/creepiest/best stories?” AskReddit. 10 March 2018



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David Bruce: Football Anecdotes

Red Friesell

On November 16, 1940, Dartmouth played Cornell, a team that was on track to win the national championship, having won 18 games in a row. Dartmouth was a heavy underdog, but coach Red Blaik used a defense that hung back to see what play Cornell was running, then swarmed the ball carrier. Late in the game, Dartmouth led, 3-0. On fourth down, Dartmouth stopped Cornell with six seconds to go. Unfortunately, referee Red Friesell erred and thought it had been third down. Therefore, over the protests of Dartmouth captain Lou Young, he gave the ball and another down to Cornell, which scored, winning 7-3. After the game, Cornell University officials reviewed the game film and saw that they had been awarded an extra down, and they passed the information on to the conference officials. Referee Friesell immediately wrote the Dartmouth captain: “I want to apologize to you, your players, coach Blaik, and all assistant coaches. I assume full responsibility. I want to thank you all for the very fair treatment accorded me after the game.” Because the game had been completed, the win had been officially given to Cornell — the award of an extra down was an uncorrectable error. However, Cornell did the right thing and gave the win to Dartmouth. Cornell athletic director Jim Lynah sent this telegram to Dartmouth: “In view of the conclusion reached by officials that the Cornell touchdown was scored on a fifth down, Cornell relinquishes claim to the victory and extends congratulations to Dartmouth.” Cornell coach Carl Snavely was a competitive man and would have loved to win the national championship, but he agreed with his athletic director. He sent this telegram to Dartmouth: “I accept the final conclusion of the officials and without reservation concede the victory to Dartmouth with hearty congratulations to the gallant Dartmouth team.”

Veronica Walker, the sister of NBA great Herschel Walker, was a track star. When Herschel was young, he wanted to beat her in a race, but he was pudgy and he could not beat her. Getting tired of losing all the time, he asked Tom Jordan, the coach of the Johnson County (Georgia) track and field team, what he had to do to beat her. Coach Jordan, who was full of common sense, told him, “Do pushups. Do situps. Run sprints.” Herschel worked hard at pushups, situps, and sprints, and after much, much work, he beat his sister in a race. Immediately, he set a new goal — he tried to beat a pet horse in a race. His mother, who was full of common sense, told him, “Herschel, you can’t outrun a horse.” She was right. He tried a beat a pet horse in a race, but he lost. His father was another person who was full of common sense. Herschel and his siblings wanted to practice their jumping, and they talked about jumping over their father’s car. Their father quickly put an end to such talk: “You fool kids, that’s my car! You’ll get hurt. I’ve got no money to pay for hospitals.” All of Herschel’s hard work paid off. In high school, he did not lift weights, but when his high school got some new weightlifting equipment, he decided to give it a try. He lifted 250 pounds a few times, and then he told his coach, “Coach, 250 pounds isn’t heavy.”

When he was a kid, NFL quarterback Jim Kelly and his five brothers used to put on helmets and play football in the living room with the couch serving as the end zone. As you would expect, the family furniture paid a heavy price for these indoor games. Their mother once said, “I always said I wouldn’t trade my boys for anything, but there were days I would have gladly given them away.” Even as a kid, Jim knew he wanted to play in the NFL. At age 11, he got to meet his hero — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw — and told him, “I’m going to take your job away, Mr. Bradshaw.” By the way, when Mr. Kelly attended the University of Miami his freshman year, he ran into problems getting his favorite number. At first, he wanted the number 11 because that was his number in high school. That number was already taken, so then he wanted Terry Bradshaw’s number: 12. That number was also already taken. Finally, Mr. Kelly settled for number 7 because that was the only number left on a jersey that fit him!

Animal mascots can play a big role in college football. Handsome Dan XIII, a bulldog, was the mascot of Yale University. When his keeper, Chris Getman, would ask him which he preferred, going to Harvard University or being dead, Handsome Dan XIIII would roll on his back and pretend to be dead. One of Handsome Dan’s predecessors was Handsome Dan II, who was dognapped the day before the Harvard-Yale football game in 1934. The dastardly Harvards photographed Handsome Dan II licking the boots of a statue of the man whom Harvard is named after: John Harvard. (The boots had been smeared with hamburger.) Yale won, 14-0, but the Yalies still felt humiliated by their mascot, and the Yale crew team even adopted another bulldog as its mascot, resulting in what is known as the canine Great Schism.

When NFL player Esera Tuaolo decided to come out of the closet, the media took notice. New York Times sportswriter Bob Lipsyte wrote a sensitive article. Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel on HBO did a very good piece. Mr. Tualo then appeared on Good Morning America, and the show was broadcast live on a JumboTron screen in Times Square. The Good Morning America studios overlook Times Square, and after the interview Mr. Tualo was a hero on Times Square. Celebrity publicist Howard Bragman, who has helped many athletes and actors come out, says, “Real New Yorkers — the hot dog vendors and cops on the street, no quiche eaters they — hailed Tuaolo as a star and a hero for his courage. They were giving him free hot dogs, free T-shirts — you would never have believed it was New York.”

“Football is, after all, a wonderful way to get rid of aggressions without going to jail for it.” — Heywood Hale Broun.


Wilfred Owen: Arms and the Boy

Let the boy try along this bayonet-blade
How cold steel is, and keen with hunger of blood;
Blue with all malice, like a madman’s flash;
And thinly drawn with famishing for flesh.
Lend him to stroke these blind, blunt bullet-leads, 
Which long to nuzzle in the hearts of lads, 
Or give him cartridges of fine zinc teeth 
Sharp with the sharpness of grief and death.
For his teeth seem for laughing round an apple.
There lurk no claws behind his fingers supple;
And God will grow no talons at his heels,
Nor antlers through the thickness of his curls.***
This book is not about heroes. English poetry is not yet fit to speak of them.
Nor is it about deeds, or lands, nor anything about glory, honour, might, majesty, dominion, or power, except War.
Above all I am not concerned with Poetry.
‘My subject is War, and the pity of War.
The Poetry is in the pity.
Yet these elegies are to this generation in no sense consolatory. They may be to the next. All a poet can do today is warn. That is why the true Poets must be truthful.
Source: Draft for a preface to a collection of war poems he hoped to publish in 1919 (c. May 1918) and used in Poems of Wifred Owen( Memoir and notes).ed Edmund Blunden (1933).Chatto & Windus 1964.ASIN: B000GLY9CI

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Percy Bysshe Shelley: Ozymandias

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

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