The most comedic stories of your life...

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So as a fan of comedy, someone who tends to try to use laughter to both cheer people up and also just myself up, what are some of the most absurdist things that have actually happened to you?

Since it's a Star Wars forum at its core, I'll tell my story of seeing Revenge of the Sith opening night. It was the midnight showing, but we were in line hours early. I mean it was 2005, there wasn't such thing as reserved seats then. I was a newly High School graduate and had this HUGE crush on THE head cheerleader. Her name was Kiara. We were really close friends, she'd even ride me home occasionally and I'd always think to myself "Man just go for it," but would always chicken out. What would the head cheerleader, the bombshell of my high school, really want from me but friendship? Right?

So one day she was riding me home and she was spilling about just HOW much she hates her boyfriend, literally as cliche as it is, the quarterback of the football team, how he's secretly obsessed with Star Wars. Immediately I'm like, I'm just a kid, I'm like "Oh yeah, how juvenile!" as she drops me off at a home in which I have a massive SW collection. I'm like, well crap, I gotta run with this lie now.

So cut to the midnight line of Revenge of the Sith. At that time, we sincerely believe it was the LAST Star Wars. Now I'm not one to dress up, all due respect to those who are, but I'm not. But I did kinda wanna celebrate even despite not really liking the prequels much. I liked aspects. In my young adult angst, I was like, well everyone will bring green, blue, and red lightsabers. I'm getting Mace's purple one! I wanna make myself stand out!

So there I am, in line, waving my Mace Windu lightsaber with the rest of us celebrating the montage on the above projected screen....when I hear it.

"Max?" and you all know who it was. I LEGIT had a gut reaction when I saw Kiara's face, threw the toy lightsaber behind my back....it slipped out of my fingers and apparently I tossed it so hard it hit the dude behind me in the face. She was there to see Monster-in-Law with a group of girlfriends. Look it up, this is legit, came out around the same time. So now I'm like, well I'm ousted. And right when I go to say "Hi," I get a "What the HELL MAN!?" from the dude behind me. He's angry! Perhaps rightfully so! "Dude I'm sorry, I didn't mean to" I say following with "Hi Kiara!" As I'm trying to have this convo with her, the guy starts beating me with the toy lightsaber I had and I finally just confess, "Yeah I mean, I like Star Wars, but ah....yeah look at all these losers! God who'd bring a lightsaber toy to this? It's just a movie!"

And I'll never forget it. The dude behind me hits me as hard as I accidentally did. Kiara laughs, progressed to tell me she knew I was a nerd but that's what she liked about me. I wasn't ashamed to be a nerd, unlike her boyfriend, and I shouldn't be now. Be yourself.

Never did date her. But this experience taught me something special. After that day, I was never embarrassed to be open about being nerdy. But I never did get that Mace Windu lightsaber back. Dude owes me like $20.
 
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Years ago, I had a manager named Kurt who liked to regale us with his stories about how much of a bad-a** he was. He’d spend all night telling us about the fights he’d gotten into, the motorcycle gangs he’d whupped, and the rooms full of women, all who got pregnant just by looking at him. He was one tough mutha’.


After a year or two, we’d heard all of Kurt’s stories and, frankly, we’d make fun of him when he wasn’t there. Nobody really believed him, but nobody would say it to his face because there was always that tiny sliver of doubt. Granted, on the very few occasions when things got the slightest bit hairy (mainly reports of a car cruising the parking lot which led to women asking to be walked to their cars), he’d mysteriously vanish, but then he’d come back and bark out another story about the time he kicked the crap out of the guy who beat up Chuck Norris.


When I first started working for Kurt, he was really just a manager in name only. He was more a shift leader and didn’t have any people management responsibilities. During his third or fourth year as manager, that all changed. He took over the people responsibilities after two other managers left. I didn’t have any problem with that at first because his boss always overruled his bad decisions (meaning decisions related to raises and bonuses), and because we generally got along.


One coworker Kurt never got along with, though, was Doc. Doc was older and basically just biding his time until retirement. That’s not to say Doc wasn’t a good employee—he was phenomenal—however, he was in his early 60s and had moved back to our department so he could finish up his last few years in a lower stress job. He was also a little difficult to get along with, and a legitimate tough guy to boot. He didn’t expect everyone to be as good as he was (very few people were), but he did expect you to work hard and be professional. As such, I made a great impression on him early on and he took me under his wing. Kurt was someone he always hated, though. To say the feeling was mutual was a huge understatement. Part of it was because Doc never liked management, but I think a big factor was that he could see through Kurt’s act from the start, and Kurt knew it.


In what was shaping up to be Doc’s last year, it got to be raise and bonus time. At the time, each manager would get a salary pool and a bonus pool. The raises were supposed to be based mostly on performance. The bonuses were a bit more subjective. Either way, at that time everyone was still supposed to get something, whether it was a raise and a bonus, or just one or the other. In Doc’s case, the raise that year was extremely important. He was taking early retirement and as part of the early-out package, his pension was partially based on his salary. I forget all the details but Doc said that just a 2% raise would have gotten him an extra $100 or $200 a month. That might not sound like a lot, but it meant a lot to Doc. Now, considering that top performers were getting 8-10% increases at the time, there was no reason for Doc to think he wouldn’t get that 2%. He didn’t care about a bonus, but the raise was a big deal. Kurt being Kurt, he didn’t give Doc a raise or a bonus.


The compensation emails came out on a Friday evening. Kurt, conveniently, had taken the weekend off. Doc was enraged. He came in, logged on, read his email, threw a paperweight that was on his desk and left. He came back a couple hours later. Nobody said a word about him walking out, and he wouldn’t even look at us. He finally talked to me toward the end of the shift. He told me he couldn’t believe it, then said, “Wait until I get my hands on him!”


I was never worried for Doc. Despite Kurt’s stories, I figured that, even if they were true, Doc could hold his own against him. I didn’t think Kurt would fare very well if it really came to blows. That said, I didn’t say a word about what Doc had said to anyone. I think Doc was a little more vocal by Sunday night (I was off). Whatever the case, word got back to Kurt.


Doc worked four 10-hour shifts, so he came in after the rest of us. The next night he and Kurt were going to be in at the same time was Thursday. When Kurt came in, he was white as a sheet. He locked himself in his office and didn’t come out the first hour. Half an hour before Doc got in, he came out and told us he was going to the restroom. Doc came in and asked, “Where is he?” We told him Kurt was in the bathroom and that he’d been gone for half an hour. “He probably went home,” was all Doc said. He got logged in then leaned back in his chair and watched the entrance to where our cubes were. An hour went by. Then another. No Kurt. I got up and went to the restroom. No Kurt. I went to the restroom down the hall. No Kurt. I then checked every other men’s room in the building. No Kurt. I looked outside and saw that his car was still there, but Kurt was nowhere to be found.


I called Dale, the security guard, and asked him to go find Kurt. After almost two hours of searching and calling his cell phone with no answer, we all got a little concerned. Doc was getting angrier with each passing second because he wanted to have it out with him. A few of us thought he might have been so worried about Doc that he locked himself in an unused office and had a heart attack. I was team leader by then so I said I’d go find him. Doc said he was coming with me. That got everyone on their feet. I told them they had to stay. I knew Doc wouldn’t listen to me so I asked Dale to come with us. After another forty-five minutes of searching, we’d checked every room in the building except the women’s room on the third floor, way back in the area that was under construction. There, in the second-to-last stall with his feet up so nobody could see him, was Kurt, playing Snake on his Nokia. I thought he was going to cry when he saw Doc. Doc, red-faced and full of hate, balled up his fists and snarled, “You…putz!” He then started laughing. He told Kurt he’d come in there ready to kill him, but that it was worth losing out on the extra pension money to be able to tell everyone what a genuine chicken-**** he was. He said a bit more, a lot of which isn’t fit to print, and Kurt just squatted there with his head down taking it all.


Kurt didn’t tell his stories after that. He didn’t do much of anything after that, to be honest. He’d come in, hide in his office most of the night, and do his best to not be there when Doc arrived each night. He took two whole weeks off when Doc retired. Everyone assumed it was because he was afraid Doc might want to take a shot at him before he left. When he had to lay off half the team a few months later, he spent two weeks begging to do it by phone, email or teleconference. When he was told it had to be face to face, he had three other managers and two security guards in the office with him. He hid in a different women’s room that time. A week later, he changed jobs and never managed again.


Doc didn’t look back once after he retired. The handful of us left on the team called him a few months later. He was cordial and cheerful but only talked to us for a few minutes. He never came to any of the “reunion” luncheons they’d have, and even though he joined Facebook, he never accepted a friend request from any former coworkers. He responded to one email I sent him, but that was it. He passed away last week. I was one of only two former coworkers who went to his memorial. His wife and sons were thrilled that we showed up. She said we were two of the very few people he mentioned by name back when he was still working. She said that once he retired, he spent the last seventeen years of his life spending every minute he could with his kids and grandkids, most of who hadn’t had much of a relationship with him prior to that due to his work schedule. She said he died happy, and that it would have meant the world to him knowing we were there to pay our respects. R.I.P., Doc.
 
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