To resolve conflicts between management and staff, I brought both sides together and asked employees to jot down key words on a flip chart. One participant complained about management’s tendency to interfere and wrote the word nitpicking. A manager leaped to his feet to ask, “Shouldn’t there be a hyphen between nit and picking?” —E. Howson
It was my first night caring for an elderly patient. When he grew sleepy, I wheeled his chair as close to the bed as possible and, using the techniques I’d learned in school, grasped him in a bear hug to lift him onto the bed. But I couldn’t clear the top of the mattress. So I grabbed him again, summoned all my might, and hoisted him onto the bed. When the night shift nurse arrived, I recounted what had happened. “Funny,” she said, looking puzzled. “Usually I just ask him to get in bed, and he does.” —Erin Dockery
THE LAW OF COFFEE
If you sit down to enjoy a hot cup of coffee, your boss will definitely then ask you to do something that will last until the coffee is cold.
Two men are hiking through the woods when one of them cries out, “Snake! Run!” His companion laughs at him. “Oh, relax. It’s only a baby,” he says. “Don’t you hear the rattle?” —Steve Smith
Q: Did you hear about the racing snail who got rid of his shell?
A: He thought it would make him faster, but it just made him sluggish.
FRESH, CANNED, OR FROZEN (i don’t get it..)
A man bragging about his promotion to Vice President got so out of hand that even his wife was annoyed. “Look, being a VP isn’t that special,” she said. “They even have a Vice President of peas at the supermarket!” Not believing her for one second, the man called the supermarket and demanded, “Get me the vice president of peas!” The clerk replied, “Fresh, canned, or frozen?” — Norman Middleton
MY NEWSPAPER WAS DIFFERENT
A customer walked into my clothing shop and asked to see the pants that were advertised in the paper that day. “We don’t have an ad in the paper today,” I told her. She insisted I was wrong, so I got a copy of the paper, and we went through it, eventually landing on an ad for pants from another local store. Exasperated, the customer glared at me and said, “In my newspaper, the ad was for this store!” —Edward Oppenheimer
WITHOUT HER MAN
When I was a proof-reader, I shared with my coworkers this example to illustrate how writing can skew based on gender: A professor wrote on the blackboard, “Woman without her man is nothing.” The students were then instructed to insert the proper punctuation. The men wrote, “Woman, without her man, is nothing.” The women wrote, “Woman! Without her, man is nothing.” —Susan Allen
LEARN TO WHISTLE
Thinking no one could hear me as I loaded a UPS tractor trailer, I began to whistle. I was really getting into it when a co-worker in the next trailer poked his head in. “You know, I always used to wish I could whistle,” he said. “Now I just wish you could.” —Megs Brunner
I WANT THE LEFT SIDE
As my two sons were climbing into the back seat of our car, Eric, 5, yelled, “I call the left side!” That didn’t sit well with Ron, 4. “No, I want the left side!” “I want the left side!” “No, I want the left side!” Intervening, I said, “Since Eric is older, he can have the left side.” “Thanks, Dad!” said Eric. “Which side is left?” —Josh Weston
BRING IT BACK TOMORROW
A customer walked into the post office wanting to mail a package. “Two-day shipping will cost $12.95 to get it there by Friday,” my co-worker Billy told her. The customer, clearly looking to save a few bucks, said, “The package doesn’t have to get there till Saturday. Is there any way to make that happen?” Billy nodded. “Sure. You can bring it back tomorrow.” —David Cutcher
FIRST DAY OF RETIREMENT
My mother was browsing in a store when a saleswoman offered assistance. Mom admitted she didn’t have anything particular in mind, and the pair started chatting. The woman quickly learned that Mom was retired. Interested, she confessed that she, too, was considering retirement. Mom immediately started telling her how much she liked no longer working and how the saleswoman would enjoy it too. Finally, convinced by Mom’s enthusiasm, she asked, “How long have you been retired?” Mom said, “This is my first day.” —Lee Beacham
MEET THE GENIUS
We Uber drivers never know whom we’re going to end up with as a passenger. One day, I was driving over a new bridge, the design of which was very confusing. Completely confounded, I muttered, “I’d love to meet the genius who designed this mess.” With that, my passenger extended his hand in my direction and said, “Well, today is your lucky day. My name is Mike, I work for the county engineer’s office, and I’m the genius who designed this!” Surprisingly, he still gave me a tip. —Patrick Grilliot