PART OF THE HUMAN CONDITION: TONGUE-IN-GEAR, BRAIN-IN-NEUTRAL SYNDROME
As I sit and write this evening, Labor Day has passed and summer has officially ended. The days are growing noticeably shorter and soon
We live in an increasingly fast-paced society. One of the top reasons people visit
For me, some of the funniest things are the things that were never intended to amuse—those occasional gaffs we all commit when our tongue moves and our lips part before our brain fully engages. Of course, when you are in unfamiliar territory and you’re on vacation, your mind is even more susceptible to temporary lapses in common sense.
For years a colleague and I traded stories between ourselves and with other members of the tourism community throughout the US, exchanging with one another the silly things people say or do before their ‘brains fully engage.” I hope you’ll enjoy some of the stories I’ve collected over the past twenty years or so. But don’t be too hard on the offenders; we all put our foot in our mouth from time to time:
Here at Rock of Ages we just happen to quarry the world’s finest granite and we just happen to be in
At one time we sold granite dust, a natural byproduct of our manufacturing process, for use as a fertilizer for roses and other non-edible plants. Well, we used to sell and still sell today souvenir pieces of granite called “cores”, the granite industry equivalent of the “donut hole”, the center of a hole drilled through the stone with a hollow bit. For a while we inadvertently tempted visitors to leap to conclusions when we placed the fertilizer dust near the core bin, prompting more than one customer to ask me: “How long does it take for the granite to grow once you plant the core?” We moved the dust away from the bin after that season.
I won’t soon forget the panic-stricken look of an elderly woman who rushed to our counter and blurted out “My husband is trapped in our trunk.” We give away samples of granite called “grout”. These waste pieces make a great souvenir as a garden stone or door stop; smaller pieces serve as a paperweight. If you’ve grown up around granite, as I have, grout is not that exciting. But our visitors enjoy picking out the free stone and carry away tons of it each season. Normally, taking grout from the bin is not a “Do Not Try This At Home Experience.” But this dear gentleman had chosen a sizeable piece and had pulled his car up to the bin to load it. He was driving a Cadillac, back when a small island nation could fit in the trunk, and he’d lifted the piece into the front of the trunk and then had climbed in to try to push the piece up closer to the wheels so he could pack his luggage back in. The lid closed, trapping him. He was disconcerted by suddenly discovering he was a prisoner and couldn’t find the trunk release handle in the dark. Hence, his wife’s sudden appearance at our counter. But once he collected himself, he groped about until he found the handle and was out of the trunk before the locksmith arrived. Once his feet were planted safely on terra firma, he chuckled over his unexpected “situation.”
Today we still sell children’s novelty rings, called gemstone rings. They have a small, tumbled piece of stone glued to a plated-metal ring. They look like one of the prizes I used to get from the dentist if I was very good when I had my teeth examined when I was a small child. So you get the picture—not something you’d expect to see in the counter a Tiffany’s. Well, our counterparts at Vermont Marble Exhibit sold the exact same ring. And our dear friend and colleague Jean would just chuckle as the fifth or sixth person that day approached her at the counter and asked: “Is this sterling?” The ring sold for 35 cents or so at that time. Of course it was sterling. Who’d pay 35 cents for a ring that wasn’t sterling, unless of course it was 14K gold?
I’ll end my rambling with some of the funniest questions I’ve collected over the years:
Jean had friends who worked at a resort in
When visiting the
The last two summers previous to this one were wet and rainy here in
Another great question posed to park staff at the
I’ll end with one of my personal favorites, a question posed to the staff at
We’ve all done it; we’ve all said silly things or asked dumb questions before thinking about what we were saying. So the next time you’re asked a dumb question, just smile and think: “I’m glad it wasn’t me this time.”
Take time to laugh. It’s great for the soul.