People Disclose Their Juicy Revenge Stories
11. My Dad Left When I Was Young, So I Made Sure He Got Everything He Didn't Want In His Will
“In 1990 when I was just out of middle school and my sister was still in elementary, my dad met his third wife at the only gas station in our town. They soon moved in together, and my dad abandoned us in our basement apartment to live on a shanty houseboat, that didn’t run, to live with her. He would show up every other week and give me $40 for groceries.
Eventually, someone figured out the situation and called my mom. We went to live with her which was, believe it or not, worse.
My dad and his shanty wife got married in 1991. Not long after, she called me and told me my dad’s brain tumor had returned (it hadn’t) and that he couldn’t handle the stress of being around us. That the only people he could bear to be around were her, and her son, ‘Shorty,’ who was my age.
When I called my dad to ask if this was true, he said it wasn’t, and he just couldn’t believe that she would say that, to begin with. That was one of our last conversations until two years ago.
I worked my way through college, living in my car from time to time. My dad and I were no contact, but I heard from family that he’d bought a house and put his ‘son’ through some vocational classes.
When my grandmother died, Shorty and Shanty Wife showed up in a truck and took all the furniture and anything else that wasn’t tied down or already gone. Eventually, I went no contact with my dad’s side of the family. I struggled for years, decades really, but I made it. And I have a great job and a good family now. The best revenge is living well, right?
Two years ago (Oct 2019) I got a call from my dad’s brother, ‘Allen.’ He told me my dad was in a nursing home in another state (great!) and I needed to go see him because he needed my help.
Shorty had ghosted him (HAHAHA!). The nursing home, coincidentally, was about 20 minutes from my house. And I saw an opportunity and I went.
The reunion was underwhelming. I didn’t want to make amends, but I DID want to hear how he wound up dumped and all alone in another state. And it was a really, really good story. Shanty’s Wife got lung cancer and put my dad in a nursing home before she died in 2017.
She suffered, and I was happy to hear it. Shorty became his power of attorney (POA) when she passed away, and had been visiting my dad, living in my dad’s house with his two children, and ‘taking care’ of my dad’s affairs since his mom died. But now he was MIA, and my dad was worried about him. He asked me to drive the hour and a half to his house to check on everything.
That’s all he wanted. He never even asked me how I had been.
I agreed to go; I think out of morbid curiosity. I’d never even been to my dad’s house. I did want to see where he lived with his ‘real’ family for 30 years. I wanted to see what could have been my life. It was 50 shades of awful. The grass hadn’t been cut all summer.
You couldn’t get to the front door for the overgrowth. There were three pickup trucks in the yard; two were full of trash. Cabs and beds and backseats, just trash. Mail, clothes, paper, shoes, garbage bags. I couldn’t understand it. My dad’s handicapped-modified SUV was on four flats and full of garbage, too.
I didn’t have a key, so I just walked around. From what windows I could look through, the inside was in shambles and hoarded to the underworld.
On the front and carport doors were dozens of notices from the city that they were going to condemn the place. The carport was also hoarded. Boxes and boxes stacked on each other, most rotting from the rain. The yard was full of garbage. Broken Christmas ornaments, more shoes, rusted tools, old toys. There was a letter in the mailbox notifying him that since the house was abandoned, mail would not be delivered anymore.
That night, I googled Powers of Attorney and how to use them.
I went back the next day and showed my (bedbound) dad the pictures on my phone. He vowed to ‘beat Shorty’s butt,’ then asked me to help more. I told him I would, but he’d have to sign Power of Attorney over to me. All of it, durable (financial) and medical. If he didn’t, he could figure this out by himself.
He agreed, so I set about finding a lawyer who would drive to another state and do the paperwork in the nursing home. Bless that lawyer for being so good at his job, because all I did was tell him what I knew, and he put together a beautifully bulletproof POA. It was full of stuff I didn’t even know I would need. He also filed the paperwork to revoke Shorty’s POA.
And now I’m unstoppable.
We’re from a small, rural town and it’s the kind of creepy, landlocked place that, no matter how long you’ve been gone or how far away you’ve been, when you go back, you’ll see someone you know. Even if you don’t know you know them. It’s like playing Seven Degrees of Everybody, all the time. It’s suffocating. But it can also be helpful.
I got to work the next morning. I didn’t know how scorched the earth would be when I finished, and I didn’t want Shorty or anyone from his prolific, inbred family trying to find me, so I made sure nothing I did had my name on it.
I opened a google account for my dad and got a google number. I opened a PO Box for him in his town.
I put in a mail forwarding notice. I pulled his credit report. I took the POA to my dad’s small-town bank, changed the address on his accounts, and got new account numbers. I requested copies of every transaction back to the day Shanty Wife had died (about 13 months worth). I had to go to the main branch, two hours from my house, the next day to pick the records up.
I sat in the lobby all afternoon, going through the account. I cornered a service rep and got a crash course in his debits and deposits. This is when I figured out the extent of Shorty’s staggering stupidity.
My dad got about $5K a month in disability and social security. Twice a week, Shorty was going INTO a branch and withdrawing funds. ALL of it. For 13 months.
And every time he did it, as the POA, he had to sign a form stating that he was acting on behalf of my dad, and that form was notarized by the bank. I went through every withdrawal and got the bank to confirm that every one of them was made by Shorty.
Then I went to the house and called a locksmith. I knew it was bad, but I had no idea what was waiting for me there.
He got the first door open, and the stench rolled out like a fog bank. We both gagged. Two locks later, I was so embarrassed by what he had to see and smell, that I gave him a $60 tip. And, with shiny new keys in hand, I called the cops. I told them I was POA for my dad, was checking on his house, and there were three vehicles there that didn’t belong to him.
He asked me if I knew who they belonged to. I said no, and I wanted them towed. He told me to call a tow company and he would meet them there.
They showed up with two wreckers. The tow truck guy got out and asked me for a signature. I only signed my first name. As I was signing, he asked, ‘Do you know Shorty?’ Running on pure hatred at this point, I surprised myself.
‘Do you?’ I asked. He said he did, and that ‘… he’s a jerk.’ I responded, ‘He might be.’ They towed the trucks.
When everyone was gone, I opened the door in the carport to peek in. The sun was going down and it was dark in the house. I heard something faint, and after some seconds realized it was the roaches and the rats doing their roach and rat stuff.
I could smell it all in my hair.
I sat on the carport steps and watched the sun go down. I was mad. Just so cosmically LIVID that 72 hours was all it took to dissolve three decades and here I was, stinking and listening to the rats and cleaning everyone else’s crap up. Taking time away from my family, and for what?
I had a coming-to-Jesus with myself; I could either bow out now or double down.
And the thing is, I’m tenacious. To a fault. I had to be to survive, and this was a bone I couldn’t put down. The thought of Shorty’s life being upended, his only source of income (probably) disappearing literally overnight, and my dad having to hear, second-hand FROM ME, that he’s broke and alone, made me absolutely giddy. I desperately wanted them both to lose what they had left.
So, I decided I was going to triple dog down. That night, I googled restraining orders.
And it was surprisingly easy to get one! I went to the courthouse in my hometown, went to the clerk’s office, and told her I needed a restraining order. I filled the form in at a rickety little table while I was there. I wasn’t prepared to see a judge that day, but she took the form and said ‘OK, I’ll see if the judge is still here.’ That kind of scared me.
She took me to his chambers, and as I was waiting, I looked around and saw he had certificates of appreciation hanging up from various veteran groups. Then I wiped my palms and thought, ‘Fish in a barrel.’ He asked about my dad’s stint in the Marines, and about the DoD office logo on my sweater (I’m a contractor). He read my form and granted me the temporary order.
I would have to go back for the permanent one, where Shorty would be able to argue against it. Then I went home and googled biohazard companies and elder harassment statutes in my state.
I hired a biohazard company to shovel all out of the house for $7K. I would have paid double. They found my dad’s mummified dog under some pizza boxes in the master bedroom.
They sent me pictures and salvaged some papers. Shorty was served during this time, and a hearing was set. I got to work collecting and documenting things. I made pictures and spreadsheets and timelines with cross-references because screw it, now they had my full attention. (The paid versions of Truthfinder and Trello seriously got me through all this.) In my spare time, I went to the nursing home and gave my dad 8×10 copies of the pictures of his dead dog.
From every angle.
Before the court, I went to the police station nearby and told them I wanted to report an elder harassment crime. A ‘white collar’ detective came out and told me it was a domestic matter and that since Shorty had been POA, everything he had done was legal.
And this was the day I got to teach a small-town detective about the fiduciary responsibilities of a POA.
Thanks for googling! I handed him a copy of the statute with the applicable sections highlighted. Then I handed him a thick folder with bank statements, pictures of the hoarded house and dead dog, a copy of my dad’s credit report that showed he was tens and tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and a spreadsheet listing every withdrawal with a running total of the stolen amounts.
The grand total was just over $130K in full. That’s not including the lost value of the house or the credit cards he opened and used. I told him he could keep that folder since it wasn’t the only one I had. Then I told him I would wait for a case number, and I sat down. He came back about 30 minutes later and apologized, said I had a case, and gave me a case number.
Then I headed over to the courthouse.
There were other people there and I had to wait my turn. And while I was waiting, that stupid idiot schlepped his sloppy butt into the courtroom, by himself and obviously, literally, non-metaphorically, dirty. His shoes were untied and that turned my giggle box over. Then it was our turn and we stood up. The (same) judge asked me some questions, asked him some questions, and asked me if I had any proof.
I had a very thick folder of it. The judge asked me if I had gone to the police. Well yes, sir, I have. Do you have a case number? As a matter of fact… The order was granted, permanently and for life, but not before the judge halted proceedings and told Shorty he needed a lawyer.
Someone told me that the courthouse would have a copy of my dad’s DD214 (discharge papers) so while I was there, I got a copy of those, because why not? I also used my POA to take Shanty Wife off the deed to the house.
That way, if my dad passed away and it went into probate, Shorty had no immediate claim. I also went and got copies of my dad’s birth certificate and Shanty Wife’s death certificate. Technically, stepchildren can’t request that info, but the clerk who waited on me recognized my dad’s name and told me she lost her virginity to my uncle Allen in the 60s and went to my grandparent’s funeral.
So I got all the forms I wanted.
Shanty’s wife left my dad $50K in life insurance. About $35K of that was left since Shorty was spending my dad’s and not his mom’s. So I opened an Ally account and transferred every penny over. Then I set up recurring transfers for the monthly deposits. At any given time, there was no more than $100 in his account.
I also found a house flipper that paid me enough for the house to pay off his mortgage. That’s the thing about probate, there’s nothing to fight over it (there’s nothing there.) And I made sure there was NOTHING there. My dad died thinking he still owned a house.
Speaking of which, this is about the time I found my dad’s life insurance policies. They were up to date, and Shanty Wife was the beneficiary.
My POA didn’t allow me to change beneficiaries, but it allowed me to assign them, and since Shanty Wife was gone, there was technically no beneficiary. This is where the death certificates came in handy! I assigned my sister and myself as beneficiaries. Irrevocable, too, which means that the only way to change that is for my dad AND me AND my sister to agree to it.
I kept my dad in the dark about all this. The only thing he ever really knew about was the restraining order and his dog. I found out that he had purchased the gravesite next to Shanty Wife and wanted to be buried next to her. That was just never going to happen. I googled national cemeteries and found out he qualified to be in one since he was a disabled Vietnam-era veteran.
So I arranged for that, instead.
My dad passed away in June this year and I was there. He’s buried in a National Cemetery far away where no one will ever go visit him. The only obituary I ran was on the funeral home’s website and that was only for insurance purposes. I wrote it as vague as possible. There was no service. His urn is purple, the color he hated most.
I got a call in August from the prosecutor’s office in my hometown. The lady on the other end is married to my first cousin because of course, she is; that’s how it works there. Shorty was arrested just after midnight on July 1st, was still in jail, and had been arraigned on felony elder harassment charges. He’s facing 10 years in prison. She told me not to expect the trial any time soon, as it can take up to three years for that to happen.
I told her that was awesome since the uncertainty will hopefully haunt him. And after all that, he’s still got prison to look forward to!
He lost his kids. He lost his ‘dad.’ I’m spending his mom’s cancer funds. He lost his free house and trucks. He has no credit and will never be able to get any sort of decent job and will, hopefully for a long time, not be able to find a decent place to live.
And I sleep like a baby.”
10. And That's Why You Shouldn't Annoy The Person Doing Your Evaluation
“A fellow nurse was a preceptor for a nursing student. She’s been off the last two weeks and I took over. I like to teach and the students make it easier to get through the day as they aren’t jaded yet.
The clinical teacher at the university gives me the student’s contact information. I ask for his lesson plan or teaching objectives and she says the student has it and will send it to me.
So contact the student I will call Brad. I ask for the information so I can plan out what he needs to see and do over the next two weeks so he can graduate. This is on a Friday and he is supposed to start on Monday. He sends me nothing. I asked that he be there 30 minutes before shift so we can go over what that day’s plan will be.
He shows up 2 hours late saying he slept in. Not off to a great start. Asked for his lesson plans, what skills he needed to work on, what type of patients he needed to see, etc. He said he didn’t have one.
The last nurse gave him an evaluation and that was all he needed to pass clinical so he was just going to shadow me for 2 weeks and graduate.
I’ve precepted before and know this to be bull crap. I contacted his clinical teacher and his previous preceptor. She filled out her evaluation and was going to fail him but because the term wasn’t over left anything that wasn’t completed blank as he still had an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge, skill, and judgment in those areas over the next few weeks. The clinical teacher asked that I give the pass or fail evaluation and sent me all the paperwork.
Brad, who’s 22 and apparently knows everything, was informed daily, and I made a point of doing this daily that I was willing to teach skills, answer questions, and provide learning experiences with various procedures on whatever type of patient he needs.
From children to geriatric, long-term illness to acute accidents. What you need Brad, I got some behind curtain #3!
Brad didn’t want to learn or do anything, so he didn’t.
I had him for 10 days and he was late 7 times and spent most of his time getting garbage out of the vending machines and hanging out in the lounge.
Even if he was inclined I wouldn’t let him near patients until he demonstrated he knew what he was doing. I would ask him how he would insert a catheter, IV, ART line, etc., and he had no idea.
I would go over a patient’s meds and ask what they were and what they did. What’s the mechanism of action of this med, what do we need to know before administering it etc. No idea.
But he was smug, said he knew all this stuff, and is just biding his time until graduation. ‘It was an easy job, girls can do it.’
OK. I could have and probably should have told him I was doing his evaluation but it must have slipped my tiny girl brain-mind.
I had been in contact with his clinical teacher about 3 times and let her know exactly what is going on and she said it was up to him to pass or fail.
His last day was Friday and today (Monday) I met his clinical teacher and went over my evaluation pulling no punches. She wasn’t surprised as he had had problems before and was barely in the program having failed once before.
I am asked to wait a few minutes and the clinical teacher leaves. A minute later I see her walking with Brad past the office I am in and go into a larger board room. I see him, he doesn’t see me. About 10 min later the dean of nursing who I knew back when I was a student greets me and after a few warm words takes me into that board room.
Well, it turns out that our boy Brad had gotten the evaluation from the previous preceptor and just filled in all the outstanding grades himself! No wonder this kid had no worries in the world. He turned a pale white you only see in linen when he saw me. I handed him a copy of my evaluation that I had previously sent to the clinical teacher and his face went from white to ashen to red in just seconds.
Well, Brad not only failed the course but was expelled from the program for breaching academic integrity and fraud or something like that.
It’s a good thing he knows everything because that will help him with whatever he plans to do next because it won’t be nursing.”
9. My Landlord Was Sketchy, So We Taught Him An Expensive Lesson
“So my friend, let’s call him Paul, returned to my city after living out of state for a year or so. He needed a place to stay while he got himself set up with a job and a new apartment. I had a spare bedroom so I offered it to him for a cheap price. That way he could be month to month and just move out when he was ready.
He probably stayed with me for about six months—found a new job, saved up some funds, and signed a lease on a new apartment.
Everything seemed fine. Paul liked his new studio apartment in a large apartment building. It wasn’t far from work, near transportation, and in an area where he had other friends. Great. He got all moved in and seemed to be set. UNTIL he realized the apartment had bed bugs! He wasn’t there a week before he started finding bed bugs and bed bug bites (of course).
So he did what anyone would do. He contacted the landlord’s office to report the problem and ask about solutions.
The office claimed they had no other reports of bed bugs. They had no idea what he was talking about. Maybe he already had bed bugs when he moved in? You get the idea. Well, Paul knew they were lying. So he started talking to the neighbors in his corridor.
And of course, he found others were also dealing with bed bugs and that the landlord had given them the same bull crap responses.
So Paul decided to do a bit of research to see what options the tenants had. Turns out they could easily report the problem to the city inspectors and the more reports they got from the same address, the more likely they were to prioritize sending someone to inspect the building.
Paul put together the info for reporting with suggestions for what to mention and asked his neighbors to make reports. Some of them must have followed through because it wasn’t long before Paul was contacted about the issue. He had bagged up all of his stuff and returned to my house but still had the lease and keys for the place. He met the inspector at the building and showed her his apartment.
It was clearly infested and there were signs in the hallway.
The inspector turned out to be a young woman who was VERY dedicated to her job. She told the landlord it was their responsibility to cure the infestation. The landlord wanted to bring in his usual exterminator to treat the apartment and hallway. They tried that but it didn’t fix the issue. The inspector eventually insisted that they tear out the carpet and sections of flooring where the infestation seemed to be centered.
By now the inspector had seen that multiple units were affected so the costs were mounting. She also discovered that the building hadn’t had a proper inspection in years. The landlord was dodging her and didn’t want to set up a time for her to do a full inspection, of course.
Well, after he negotiated to get out of his lease, Paul gave the inspector the punch code to the front door AND pointed out several things he thought the landlord was hiding including bed bugs on other floors, a malfunctioning elevator, old fire extinguishers, illegal basement level units, improperly stored building supplies, tripping hazard floor in the laundry room, damaged walls in corridors…
The inspector called Paul and let him know she had returned to the building on a couple of occasions. Once she was meeting the building manager. She let herself in a little early and walked up on the manager trash-talking her and saying how he didn’t want to be bothered. Ha, ha!
The family-owned firm that owned that building had several large apartment buildings in the area and the inspector intended to visit them all! She had already found tens of thousands in repairs for Paul’s building that she was insisting the owner make as soon as possible. Given how they were operating, I’m sure all of their buildings were in a similar state. They made an expensive mistake when they tried to ignore Paul!”
8. Criticize My Friend's Wedding? I'll Give You A Taste Of Your Own Medicine
“My college roommate became incredibly homesick and left school about halfway through. We still kept in touch. Some years after graduation, she asked me to be a bridesmaid and I was thrilled. I didn’t know anyone else in the party and they didn’t know me.
The week of the wedding, the best man’s significant other insinuated herself into the wedding party. She’s one of those people who acts so badly that no one knows what to say and people will do anything to avoid her.
You know this kind of person. Again, she wasn’t engaged to the best man, but just figured they’d get married. So she followed the bride around and criticized the wedding by comparing it to her ‘imaginary wedding’ which, of course, would be grander.
‘You’re getting married in this banquet hall? I’m going to have a wedding on the beach. It’s going to be so much better.’
It was death of a thousand paper cuts, subtle enough that no one could figure out how to step in, and obnoxious enough to drive the bride crazy.
The groom kept intervening, redirecting her if not completely questioning why she was there, but he also had things to do. The best man seemed embarrassed into silence.
This is what you need to know about me: I live in NYC, my fiancé had just started law school, I am obsessed with Fifth Avenue, but no, I don’t shop there, and I can come off as the Duchess of Essex even in secondhand clothes.
It was a few days before the wedding. We were setting up and partying. When I walk in the bride tells me how the best man’s partner was driving her nuts. I ask the bride to show me all the plans. As we go through what’s happening, the girl is still doing her bull crap. But now, everything the bride shows me is ‘tasteful’ and ‘suits her’ and everything the girl interjects is ‘quaint’ and ‘popular.’ Of course, I say it with such disdain.
‘White roses are so classic. A friend of mine had a wedding at the Plaza and it was white roses everywhere. Oh? Silver Roses? That’s a bit… expensive. Most people just use them in an attempt to be impressive.’
Now I had just gotten engaged and hadn’t started planning, but my ‘imaginary wedding’ was going to be spectacular. By this time, the bride realized what I was up to and kept goading me to share the details of my wedding but I kept shying away.
Eventually, the girl begged me to share. So I did.
My tanzanite engagement ring came from Tiffany’s. I was having a very small destination wedding at a vineyard in Tuscany, where my fiancé proposed to me. I haven’t decided on a designer for my dress, but I promised the bride that she would come to the fitting at Bergdorf Goodman’s when that happened.
The girl was completely demoralized. Suddenly, her beach wedding didn’t seem so fancy and slowly she faded into the background. Two days later, the wedding was gorgeous. The bride and groom were happy. A month after that the best man broke up with the girl.
I had a modest, affordable wedding, but for a brief moment, I was a rich heiress getting married in Tuscany. It was fun.”
7. You Got Me A Souvenir? I'll Get You Fired From The Post Office
“In the summer of 1991, I found a summer job as a ‘casual carrier’ for the USPS. They used to hire summer temps to cover for all the full-time carriers who mostly took their vacations in the summer.
The USPS had (has?) rules that things had to be delivered within certain time windows. People could get fired if they took too long to do tasks. Carriers were both openly and secretly monitored and timed on tasks and we had the first computerized time system I ever saw.
They would be secretly followed a few times per year to be sure they were working hard the entire time they were outside the post office. The post office building even had secret back hallways, passive sound monitoring, and hidden raised viewing areas where they could see the sorting floor unobserved – cameras and microphones were super expensive back then so this was all done using tricky architecture, and the eyes and ears of the postal inspectors.
We were supposed to walk over and punch in and out of tasks so that they could track productivity to the second. People walking a delivery route were expected to do it FAST and better routes went to faster carriers. Slow carriers got mercilessly hassled to be faster and were disciplined for slowness. Look at Newman on Seinfeld. ‘Going postal’ due to overwork was not really a joke there, because people would flip out and murder their bosses.
I hear it’s worse now with GPS.
Pre-Internet, there used to be a huge volume of mail that got shuffled around the country every day. Quantities of mail that you would find hard to believe compared to what we see now. I was a broke college student home for the summer and was willing to work any hours they gave me, so the supervisors liked me. I was also very friendly with most of the Full-time (FT) carriers because I was a good worker and didn’t rock the boat.
Also, for other reasons that you’ll see below.
I’m a fairly big guy (6’5” or about 195cm, about 210 lbs back then) and I could carry a lot of weight so that also made management happy. I was also in my early 20s with long legs so I could move fast carrying a lot of weight. Sorting mail back then was labor-intensive and took a lot of time to learn.
I had a regular route that I would deliver in the afternoons that was sorted by a regular. I would usually do oddball delivery stuff in the mornings, help move heavy things around, do special deliveries, etc.
I would also deliver for FT carriers that went on vacation or whose T6 was on vacation. Side note – mail delivery is 6x per week but FT carriers only work 5 days per week.
The T6 is an FT carrier that did the sixth day for five routes. That way it worked out that everyone only worked 5 days per week.
At the time, a lot of retail catalogs were mailed to houses. A LOT of them. Some were substantially bigger than current magazines. We also delivered magazines, ads, packages, and samples. A lot of companies would mail free samples of products like laundry detergent, shampoo, and other liquids to be delivered to every house on the route.
These were the bane of the carriers’ existence because they were bulky and heavy. This slows you down and is physically taxing. Usually, carriers would divide the very heavy stuff up and deliver it throughout the week.
On to the revenge.
I was assigned to do the T6 work for Dave (name changed) for a few months. Picture a failed Phys Ed teacher in his 40s. Bad mustache, about 5’7”, wore knock-off sunglasses like Magnum PI’s, and had an opinion about everything.
Dave learns he has me as his T6 and decides he will leave all of the heavy stuff for me. So, once a week I got confronted with the entire week’s worth of heavy mail for this jerk’s route. I confronted him about it and he basically laughed and said there was nothing I could do about it. The other FT carriers didn’t like Dave much, but I was a temp and he was there permanently so I was encouraged to just suck it up.
I went to our boss and escalated to our postmaster but was told that he was FT and I was a temp so I just had to deal with it. If the mail needed to be delivered that day to meet the deadline, I had to make it happen. The postmaster’s exact words were, ‘Just deliver every piece of mail for the route as fast as you can and don’t worry about the time it takes or anything else.
You’re making huge OT on this route.’ They did talk to Dave and the most egregious stuff stopped, but I was still doing most of the hard work on this route.
I mentioned earlier that everyone was always on the clock and tracked. In my first week, some of the nicer people took me aside at the beginning of the summer and made it clear to me that I was not to move quickly when delivering FT carrier’s routes because it could make them look bad and cause trouble for them.
As a temp, I should always take longer than the FT carriers because (1) my job was limited and the USPS did not really track temps closely; (2) I had zero experience so everything should take me longer; (3) this was a union shop and they would hate to have to kick my butt for messing up their jobs; and (4) most of these people were awesome and I wanted to be a team player.
So, I was incentivized to move slowly and not make the FT people look bad. Side note – I am very pro-union and pro-labor so this is not intended to knock unions, but the context is needed.
I decided to wreck Dave’s job since he was such a bullying little tool. I requisitioned two additional mail carrier bags. These are the over-the-shoulder satchels you see all the time.
I was asked why and I specifically told them it was to be able to carry all of the heavy items on Dave’s route without having to keep going back to my jeep to reload along the way. The postmaster personally approved it.
After doing Dave’s route 1 to 3 times per week (he called in sick a lot, too) for a few weeks I knew it very well and was staying on top of the heavy stuff.
Once I was comfortable with the route, I started RUNNING it. I would literally load up 3 mail bags for each segment of the route and jog or run his entire route. Dave’s route took him about 4.5 hours per day to walk. This was probably accurate for him and he’d been on the route for several years. I would finish it in 3 hours or less.
Every day. Rain or shine. No matter how many magazines, samples, or packages were waiting.
No one really noticed I was coming back so quickly and punching back out of delivering his route when I was only doing it a few times per week. I would come back, pick up other work and get that done. The fun started when Dave took a 2-week vacation and I handled his route 6 days per week.
Since I was doing the work right, there was never a backlog of heavy items landing on me once per week. This made it even easier to jog or run his route as I was back to using one mailbag and fast-walking/jogging was enough to get it done quickly. I frequently got it done in under three hours and never took longer than about 3.5 hours.
My personal best was under 2.5 hours.
I got pulled aside by my supervisor and the postmaster after the first week. They asked me about my timekeeping practices and I confirmed that I was doing things correctly. I would punch into his route on departure, keep the appropriate logs, and punch back in when I got back. The Postmaster then asked me about Dave’s route. I played completely dumb.
He noted that I complained about the mail volume several weeks ago and that I used to take 6, 7, or more hours to get it delivered. I explained that I was spreading the heavy deliveries out over the whole week and that had really made a difference. He asked me if I was really delivering all the mail and whether I was hiding or throwing away mail – a serious problem if true.
I got very offended and told him I delivered every piece of mail for the route, every day.
Then I dropped the bomb.
I told him I was having trouble understanding why this route was budgeted for 4.5 hours to deliver when it clearly could be done much faster than that. I pointed out that it was a lot of dense multi-family housing, which means less walking. I told him lots of people on the route seemed surprised that I did not want a soda pop or to sit down and talk for a minute like Dave always did with them (pure lies).
All in my innocent, gosh-I-want-to-help-the-USPS voice. I told the postmaster that I was delivering all the mail as fast as I could and not worrying about anything else.
I jogged the route again for the next 6 days and kept getting it done in much less time than Dave. Dave did not know about any of this. He made a point of finding me on his first day back to ask how I enjoyed doing all the hard work for him while he was vacationing.
I told him I’d learned a lesson about how to treat your coworkers. He laughed at me and went back to sorting mail. He came back a few minutes later and said he got me a souvenir, he then pulled his middle finger out of his pocket. Classic Dave.
That was my last week at the USPS and I headed back to college. I kept in touch with some of the friends I’d made there and one of them was very happy to tell me that Dave was fired about two months after I left.
Due to the massive discrepancy in how long it took me and him to deliver the route, the higher-ups audited his route and discovered that he actually was lollygagging, taking unauthorized breaks, and apparently having an affair with a woman on his route – all on the clock. I, on the other hand, was in great physical shape after all that running and had pockets full of money for that semester. His regular T6 also got most of the heavy stuff dumped on her, so she didn’t get into any trouble for her delivery times because she was swamped with heavy mail on her day. She actually bid for and got the route full time when Dave was shown the door.”
6. My Cousin Stole Loads Of Jewelry, So I Stole His Inheritance
“25 years ago my aunt passed away when I was a baby, leaving my two cousins who were both in their early 20s alone to fend for themselves. My grandparents (who were very wealthy) put a clause in their will that grandkids will receive half of their share of inheritance if a parent passes before the children reach age 30 and then the other half when my grandparents eventually pass.
Both my cousins received a very sizeable inheritance coupled with the money they got from selling my aunt’s house. The younger of the two paid off her college loans and was able to buy property, she still lives on the same plot of land. The older sibling blew all of his inheritance. Straight out of a book of the bible, within 6 years, he was back to living in a condo working as a police officer.
Everyone in our small family knew he had a substance issue so he was barely making ends meet with his officer salary and buying copious amounts of substances.
For the next 4 years, my cousin went to rehab three times, sponsored by my grandparents. He sobered up after getting his partner, now wife pregnant. Absolutely wretched woman. She saw my grandparents as payday and essentially baby trapped my cousin thinking it was her ticket.
Within 7 years they had three kids so she is locked in tight. She’s a nurse and with 3 kids around they always needed a little boost. Guess who they would always ask? You got it, my grandparents. Being the kind spirits they are, they always lent a hand. My father, mother, sister, and I got sick of it very quickly.
My grandmother, unfortunately, passed away when I was 17 leaving my grandpa as the last remaining.
I was undoubtedly my grandfather’s favorite among the grandkids which left a real sore spot in the mouth of my cousin and his wife. I had two more years at home before college so I lived with my grandpa to keep him company and help take care of him. My cousin and his wife HATED this, so much so that whenever they came to visit and I was not home, they would send their three gremlins into my room to destroy it (my room had double doors so it couldn’t be locked).
This was the start. The longer I lived there, the more they would mess with me. My cousin even went as far as to place one of those little mechanical noisemakers in the cabinet in my room (the ones that play sounds at random intervals that make you think you’re insane). Thankfully my german shepherd would always hear it and after a week or so she finally found it.
They did this to distance me and deter me from taking care of grandpa so they could swoop in and be the heroes. This continued until one of the ‘kids’ ‘found’ my gun. By this time I was 18 and in the ‘possession’ of a firearm. I use quotations because my grandfather has guns, but cannot aim and shoot them anymore due to arthritis and nerve degeneration, so when I moved in, he placed all the weapons in my hands should the need for self-defense arise.
But should he see them out for any reason other than cleaning, there would be chaos to raise. Being very well trained with guns and having a sense of pride in defending my home I took this responsibility very seriously. I always kept a handgun in a locked container in my nightstand with the key on a high shelf out of reach from the gremlins.
One fateful day, I am out getting my grandfather food when I come home and my older cousin, his wife, and my grandfather are staring at a gun on the table.
It was my gun that I kept in the lockbox. IT WAS LOADED AND HAD A BULLET CHAMBERED. I always keep a magazine in the lockbox but never loaded into the gun. The lockbox was nowhere to be seen. My cousin claimed one of the children ‘found’ the gun and was playing with it. I was 100% certain that he either found the key or broke the lockbox open to get to it and load it, as a 6-year-old would not be able to reach a key I could barely grab, figure out what it was to, load my gun and chamber it.
I tried my best to explain what my cousin had said was nonsense and that I never keep my firearms loaded in the house, but my cousin who is a cop scolded me on gun safety and threatened to have me arrested if I didn’t leave and hadn’t arrested me yet ‘because we’re family.’ I was asked to collect my belongings and go back to my parents.
My cousin had won, or so he thought.
The next day I apologized to grandpa and explained to him there was no way one of the kids could have gotten the key, he agreed with me and he apologized but he thought it best I move out until things cool down but once they do I would be welcome back home. Our relationship was a little fractured due to misinformation provided by my cousin.
A month later, my grandfather died of a heart attack at 86. I was DEVASTATED. I was just beginning to get back into rhythm with him and rebuilding the trust that was somewhat shattered. To this day, I am still unsure of what kind of man he saw me as due to my cousin.
Immediately, my cousin and his wife began sucking up to my dad, as they had sealed payday with grandpa, it was time to move on to the uncle.
This persisted for a month or two. I wouldn’t stand for it. Then came time for the will. My grandfather’s lawyer read out the will to me, my father, mother, and sister in our home, our two cousins would be briefed individually on their share of the estate, per my grandparents’ requests. Then the miracle line in the will comes to fruition: ‘if anyone attempts to claim any part of the estate that is not assigned to them, they forfeit any assets they are supposed to receive and will be divided equally among the remaining family members.’ This was basically their way of saying ‘if you try to claim more than you’ve been given, you get nothing.’ My father is supposed to receive every piece of physical property (aside from two or three items he set aside for me) from my grandparents as he is the only remaining child.
I hatched my plan. I called my cousin and told him all of grandma’s jewelry was to be donated to a charity auction. Grandma’s collection of gems and metals was extensive, to say the least, so a charity event wouldn’t care if a few pieces didn’t make it right? It was a lure of gargantuan proportions that my greedy jerk of a cousin could not resist.
He bit right on it and headed over to my grandparents’ house asap, determined to snatch up as much as he could, a handful would send his kids to college. Regardless of what I said, the jewelry was never going to go to him anyway, so his actions were purely his own since none of it was destined to be his. Coincidentally, dad was on his way with the lawyer to my grandparents’ house to overlook everything, formality stuff.
According to my dad’s testimony, my cousin had three shoeboxes worth of grandma and grandpa’s jewelry piled on the kitchen counter ready for loading into his car. My dad and the lawyer stood in the kitchen wondering why it was all there when my cousin walks in from my grandparents’ bedroom with a fourth and final shoebox. The jig was up and he put two and two together that I set him up.
Which was true. but there was no penalty against me for exploiting my cousin’s greed so he would screw himself over. It’s worth noting that between the 18 years from my aunt’s death and my grandpa’s death, their wealth had increased several times over, so my cousin felt ‘wronged’ and expected to receive just as much as my sister and I, despite receiving half of his already and blowing it.
Throughout this whole ordeal, his younger sister (my other cousin) has not had a problem at all and is still weeping over grandpa’s death like the rest of us.
However, just like that, my cousin lost enough in the course of 30 minutes that made him contemplate his sanity. OVER GREED. My cousin’s jerk of a wife apparently filed for divorce a few weeks later. We haven’t heard from him in nearly 6 years as he is all but disgraced now. You can call this a fairytale ending, and on this particular part of the story it somewhat is (there was a massive lawsuit by an unknown family member involving the IRS and FBI later on) but honestly, I would rather have my grandparents.”
5. The HOA President Is A Bully, So I Bully Him Back
“So this story is about a property I own, but rent out. This may sound strange, but I don’t think I could afford to live there these days—it’s become somewhat exclusive.
I’ve used dollars here, because it’s what most people reading this will relate to. This doesn’t take place in the US, and I’ve given an approximate dollar value for local currency.
A million years ago my property was part of a large farm.
I bought it about 30 years ago, long after the farm was broken up, but before there was any development near it. The piece of land I got was near the back entrance that joined into a dirt road that ran past. The more expensive plots were near the tarred road in the front.
I originally bought a large chunk of the land intending to do some farming, but that never happened.
About 20 years ago some of the owners got organized (We’ll call them the Organised Owners – OO) and had the area designated as a municipal suburb. The municipality agreed to put in tarred roads, water and electricity if a certain percentage of the properties were developed. A construction company (linked to the OO) went around contacting the owners who had land but no buildings offering to build houses for us at a very (very) reasonable price – contingent on them getting a certain minimum amount of people signing up.
While this was happening, one of the OOs approached me and offered to buy half of my property. I agreed, and the money I got for the sale (which was about 4 x what I’d paid for the entire chunk of land 10 years prior) combined with a small loan from the bank gave me what I needed to pay for a house to be built, and it was a fairly large and nice house too.
I stayed in the house for a few years, and my mom moved in with me. I had decided to subdivide the property again and build her a house next to mine, but unfortunately, an un-diagnosed tumor took her before the house could even be started (well, it was diagnosed, but too late to do anything).
Soon after she died, we moved out of the house and started renting it out.
About a few weeks before we moved out, the OO I’d sold the land to started talking about starting an HOA. I wasn’t interested and left soon after. About two years later, the neighbor OO contacted me. There were two roads entering the area these days – the original tarred road that was near where the farmhouse had been and was entered from a fairly busy main road and my ‘dirt road back entrance’ which was now a tarred entrance from a wide but not very busy municipal road.
The HOA was trying to get the old farm road blocked off to improve security and decrease traffic and wanted the road next to my property to be the main (and only) entrance to the HOA community. And they were pressuring me to join.
I said no, and I was adamant, and eventually, they accepted that but told me they wanted to have a sign near the road welcoming people to the neighborhood, and the only practical place to put it was on the edge of my property.
They also wanted to build a little guard hut and have a security guard permanently monitoring who went in and came out, and they wanted to build his shed on my property. We came to an agreement whereby they would mow the lawn and pay the equivalent of about $35 per month in exchange for the land they needed. I was very happy with this arrangement, since the property was fairly large, and it didn’t really cost them anything since they already had a full-time gardening service servicing the HOA.
This all happened over a decade ago. They eventually got the other main road blocked off, and the HOA is paying for rent-a-cop to be permanently stationed close to my property, as well as mowing my lawn and paying me enough for takeaways for the family each month. I’m occasionally contacted by members of the HOA to get me to sign up, but I’m really not interested.
My property has been rented to the same tenant for all these years and everything there is going well for me.
Until about 3 years ago, when someone scared the life out of my tenant’s young daughter by making strange noises and shooting a gun close to her bedroom window three or four times over about a month. This scared my tenant and I guessed it scared the HOA because they AND my tenant contacted me with a proposal – I join the HOA and they give me exclusions from the HOA rules, including exclusions from paying the monthly fees, and in addition, they will build a wall around the ENTIRE HOA neighborhood, including electric fencing and security cameras.
They told me they had wanted to do this for a while but were unwilling to build the wall on a property that was not in the HOA.
I couldn’t see the downside, and so agreed.
It took a little over a year to build the wall and get everything completed, which is quite fast. And then a month to the day after everything was done, my tenant got an HOA warning about his dogs barking.
He told the HOA that while the property was in the HOA, it was exempt from the rules. The HOA told him that they had canceled the exemptions and that he had 30 days to comply. He contacted me, and I opened some mail I’d gotten from the HOA (I’d ignored it since I was supposed to be exempt from the rules and fees).
Man, did I get a surprise.
They had retroactively canceled the exemptions, and were claiming:
That I pay late fees going back over a year.
That the easement agreement had been canceled, and that they were retroactively canceling it a year back because the HOA contract allowed them to use “small unused portions” of HOA members land for the common good for free.
That I refund them what they had paid for the easement over that period.
That I owed them for the garden service mowing the large lawn.
That I would be fined for each infraction my tenant failed to remedy.
This started an expensive process involving lawyers and the court system, which ended with a judge telling me that what the HOA had done was mostly legal – they had the right to revoke the exemptions, but that they had to give me 30 days notice.
As I was walking to my car the neighbor OO (the one who bought half my land so many years ago) told me that I was stupid to have refused to join when the HOA started, as I could have been a founder member (whatever that means), and that next time I should be sure to understand the documents I sign before signing them.
Neighbour OO was right, I should have read the contract (better).
Also, I was interested in what it meant to be a ‘Founding Member’ (spoiler: Nothing), and so when I got home I grabbed the HOA contract I’d signed, as well as all the other documentation they had provided me with, and started reading. I was determined to break every rule I could find a loophole to break.
I didn’t get past the first page.
While the street address of the property is used to identify it for all practical purposes, in the city records it has a unique property number that has to be used on legal records.
When my mom moved in, I’d subdivided the remaining property but hadn’t yet started building on it. And when I gave the HOA the easement all those years ago it had been on the property I’d sliced off for my mom. And when the HOA set up the contract, they had simply used the property number from the easement.
The next afternoon the neighbor OO delivered (and had me sign for) two documents – one telling me that my exemptions would expire in 30 days, and one letting me know that the easement would no longer be required after 30 days.
I think he was being a bit malicious here, because I lived about an hour away from the property, and he drove out himself.
EXACTLY 30 days TO THE HOUR after the HOA had given me the 30 days notice, I knocked on the neighbor OO’s door (did I mention he was the president of the HOA?) and had him sign for two documents. The first was that I planned to build a house on my HOA property (which confused him) and the second noticed that they had 30 days to remove from the property the guard shed, the parts of the electric boom that were on my property, as well as the sign.
He tried to engage me but I ignored him, climbed into my car, and drove off.
Early the next morning I got a call from the HOA lawyer who explained to me that their junk would be staying on my property since it was in an ‘unused’ part of my land. I explained that I was building a house there and that the land would not be unused anymore.
I could hear the smirk as he told me that building a second house to be spiteful would not be accepted by the courts. I sure hope he could hear the smirk in my voice when I told him that the property in question did not have a house, and was, in fact, barely large enough for a house to be built and would not be large enough for any extraneous buildings.
I then told him to go look up the property in question and call me back. (I had sliced off just enough to be legal, which was just enough to build a small house).
It took them just under 5 days to get back to me. Their lawyer told me that the terms of the easement meant that I could not cancel without their permission, so I emailed him a photo of the document they sent to me canceling the easement.
That afternoon Neighbour OO invited me to lunch (his treat) to discuss the problem. I said ‘No thanks.’ He extended the offer again two days later, and again I said ‘No thanks.’ Others of the original OO contacted me to try to talk. Some sounded aggressive, some sounded sympathetic. I said, ‘No thanks’ to each of them.
Eventually, the lawyer phoned and asked if we could come to some sort of arrangement.
I asked what he had in mind, and he told me that he was prepared to discuss exclusions in exchange for access to my property. So I said ‘No thanks, and please don’t call me again.’
About 9 days before their 30 days was up I got a call from a different lawyer. He said he wanted to ‘negotiate a surrender’ (his words, not mine). I agreed to meet him at his office the next day.
I’d already had documents drawn up, and the meeting was as simple as me giving him the documents and him reading them over. My new easement offer:
Included everything offered by the old easement offer.
I changed the line ‘mow the lawn’ to ‘get the property to HOA standards and keep it there’ since it was now in the HOA.
Would cost them about $500 per month instead of ~$35.
This amount would be increased with inflation (the previous contract didn’t include that bit).
When canceled, for whatever reason, the HOA would have to pay me a cancellation fee of around $7500.
The contract automatically terminated 30 days after any disciplinary action was taken against me, my tenant, or the property (‘the property’), any complaints were levied by the HOA against the property, any legal action was taken against the property by anyone in the HOA.
That (lawyer who had offered to negotiate surrender) would be allowed to mediate any disputes between us, at HOAs expense, and that
The HOA would pay all my legal fees if any legal action was taken against me.
I’d deliberately left some insane things in there so that I could appear to ‘concede’ some points or be negotiated down when the HOA got indignant about the points I actually cared about.
The lawyer didn’t look happy. He said that my proposal sounded unfair, but that he’d have the HOA president look at them. I reminded him that in 8 days I’d be setting a group of men armed with sledgehammers and anger management issues loose on whatever of theirs was still on my property.
That evening I got an irate call from the HOA president. He told me he was never going to sign the new contract.
I said ‘OK’. He then told me I was charging too much per month, and that it should be at the same rate as the previous contract. I pointed out that when I signed the previous contract the area was under development, and there was at least one other road leading in and out, but that now there was only mine. And besides, mine was now developed with everything they needed.
He told me that I was forcing them to sign a document they didn’t want to sign. I told him that he was free to not sign it. He whined about everything he could think of. And then eventually told me I’d be hearing from his lawyer.
The next morning Surrender Lawyer called to ask if I’d be willing to come to their offices to sign the contract.
I agreed. When I got there that afternoon I learned that Surrender Lawyer was not a lawyer, but a Paralegal. He handed me the contract and asked me to sign it. He laughed when I told him I’d have to read through it first to make sure nothing was changed and mumbled something that sounded like ‘I’m sure you would’.
I read the contract. Nothing had been changed.
NOT A SINGLE THING. And the HOA president had signed it, with the Surrender Paralegal signing as witness. I looked at him and said ‘Why did he sign this? It was stupid to sign it!’ and the paralegal looked at me and said ‘I started telling him that signing it would be a bad decision, but he told me I wasn’t being paid to think or give legal advice, and to shut up.
So I shut up.’ I said, ‘Do you understand what he’s signed here?’ He looks at me and nods. He said he asked him if he should have one of the lawyers look at it before giving it to me, and he told him that they had already billed enough for this and that he’d sign it and sue me after their easement was safe.
This happened about a year and a half ago.
It took 6 months for the HOA to find out how screwed they were. They wanted to sue me, but their lawyers explained to them that there was no way to win. Even if the court sided with them, all they would get is the easement contract voided, and they did not think that the court would side with them. The lawyers were adamant about one thing – the HOA could not live with the ‘HOA pays my legal fees if legal action was taken against me’ since it didn’t limit the people taking legal action against me to the HOA – as worded, the HOA would be forced to pay for my legal fees if ANYONE took legal action against me.
They argued that the courts would probably not enforce that, since the context of the agreement was to do with the HOA, and I told them I was prepared to find out since the HOA would definitely be the ones taking action against me if they challenged it. I eventually signed an addendum to the contract that said that the neighbor OO (HOA President) would personally pay all my legal fees unless he held no position at all in the HOA and that the HOA would pay all legal fees if the HOA took legal action against me.
He resigned from the HOA at the end of that meeting. I politely told him in front of everyone that he should not sign documents unless he understands what he’s signing. He didn’t look pleased.
It came out during the mediation (you cannot imagine how happy the lawyers were that their paralegal was mediating) that without the ability to control access to the HOA neighborhood through the security boom (partially) on my property (the HOA had become a ‘gated community’ a number of years back) the HOA would be in breach of their own articles and would be dissolved.
I also learned (should have been obvious to me) that all the security cameras were wired, and all terminate in the guardhouse/guard shed. So basically, it was my way or the end of the HOA.
That first mediation was really quite funny. My paralegal looked more than a little glum as we assembled and he called everyone to order. I suspected that he had been told to work against me, so I took the initiative.
I reminded everyone there that I had agreed to let the Paralegal mediate, but that I had agreed to no arbitration at all. If I didn’t feel like the proceedings were fair I’d leave and they could go ahead and sue. The paralegal brightened up and things actually went quite well.
I’m writing this after getting home from the latest mediation. I built a ‘paddling pool’ for the neighborhood dogs.
As in I made it myself. I dug a hole, packed it with stone, and added a concrete finish. It was my first attempt, and if I say so myself, it looked… well, terrible. The HOA called for a mediation meeting (what they do now instead of taking official action. I’ve declined their mediation requests in the past) in which they told me, as nicely as they could, that the paddling pool was an eyesore right at the entrance of the HOA.
I asked them to create a list of what needed to be fixed and how it needed to be fixed to give to me the next meeting. The list was extensive. It basically required the pool to be rebuilt from scratch, I asked them if there was any way to reduce costs on the work they needed to get it up to HOA standards, and they assured me there was not.
I thanked them, pulled out a copy of the agreement where they had agreed to ‘get the property to HOA standards’ (which I’d highlighted), and handed it to them with the list. I told them the HOA usually preferred if these things were dealt with within 30 days. They started arguing until the mediator reminded them that they could not force me to comply without causing the easement to end.
I should mention that their lawyers usually no longer attend these things. They said they would get it done.
I also learned a lot about neighbor OO today:
I found out that Neighbour OO sold his property about 3 months back, and is apparently leaving the country for Australia.
I found out that the HOA had successfully sued him for what they had lost to his mismanagement as part of his vendetta against me.
I also learned that he had a vendetta against me. I have no idea what I did to upset him.
I’m not sure if I will screw with the HOA anymore. I already think I’m so close to breaking them that the only thing stopping them from canceling the contract is the massive financial loss if they do. I guess a lot depends on how they treat me and my tenants going forward.
Also, I do like the monthly payments, though, so I’m motivated to play nice.”
4. You Built That Car? I'll Catch You In Your Lie
“I went to high school in the late 70s (yes, I know, I’m older than many forms of dirt). The times were very different in ways that would astonish high school kids now. Cell phones didn’t exist – heck, calculators were still pretty novel. The idea of having a card that would allow you to get money from your bank account after hours was a new and amazing thing.
Music came on vinyl discs, 8-track tapes, and cassettes. And – you could work on your own car.
Now, you can work on your own car nowadays but it’s not the same: computerized systems, emission controls, and just plain poor design has made it impossible for the average person to do much more than the occasional oil changes or brake job. In those wonderful days though, it was much easier and much more common.
It was almost a rite of passage, at least where I lived in the deep south, that a boy would grow up working on cars alongside his father or older brothers. And a boy’s first car was a momentous thing, not only because he could now go wherever he pleased, but because he and his friends were sure to spend many hours together under its hood.
Working on your car was only the first step, however: there was a whole wonderful world of modifications and enhancements that you could learn and do.
A lot of guys would start where most seem to stop nowadays – the stereo. Subwoofers weren’t a thing, but having a clean clear system with plenty of power was. So, too, was hopping up the engine – getting more performance out of it.
Your vehicle became your form of self-expression. For example, many guys who drove had muscle cars of one sort or another or drove pickup trucks. This being the deep South, many of those trucks had pew racks in the rear windows, of course. Almost every guy knew the basics of working on his car – oil changes, brake jobs, tune-ups – sure, but before long you were rebuilding carburetors, switching out engines, rebuilding engines, and generally tricking the cars out any way you could afford.
It was not at all uncommon for one of our classmates to drive into the parking lot in the morning in a car with an oversized cam, high rise intake, glass packs in place of mufflers – whatever we could knock out with our buddies on the weekends with the money we made at our part-time jobs.
This is where a classmate I’ll call Bubba came in.
Bubba was a jerk – there’s no other way to put it. He managed to make it onto the football team, but that seemed to be the limit of that accomplishment – he never did much on the field. He was unimpressive in the classroom, to say the least: we used to joke that he was studying to be an astronaut because all he seemed to do in class was take up space.
He fancied himself to be irresistible to the girls, all of whom seemed to be able to resist him just fine, thank you very much.
Well, all but Chrissie, his equally vapid partner, who for some reason thought that Bubba was the smartest guy around. Chrissie was convinced that she was a social leader in school and she was part partner, part toady. Bubba liked to use his size to pick on younger kids – incoming freshmen were a particular target – and was a big, dumb, bully.
Like I said, Bubba was a jerk.
He also was pretty much clueless when it came to anything having to do with cars. He watched other guys come driving in every morning in cars they and their buddies had been building out, engines rumbling, and watched the admiring looks of the other guys as each one showed off his machine. Bubba, on the other hand, drove a mid-60s Rambler that had been his mother’s.
He managed to get a stereo in it – by paying for the installation – but that was it. It was even powder blue. This was something his ego couldn’t abide by.
So we were all stunned in senior year when Bubba and Chrissie came driving in one day in the sweetest 1970 Plymouth Duster we’d ever seen. Slot mag wheels and a custom paint job were the outside attraction, but it was evident by the rumble from the engine that it had a lot more going for it.
He proudly popped the hood for us to show off a beautifully built 383 engine with chromed valve covers, mesh hoses, and all the trimmings. We were impressed, but our envy turned to suspicion when Bubba started telling obviously tall tales about how he had been building this car for months in secret, that he’d ordered the wheels special, and on and on. Past experience had told us that Bubba didn’t know a vacuum gauge from a vacuum cleaner – there was no way he had built this car.
Still, he claimed it was all his doing and Chrissie was there backing him up all the way.
A couple of weeks later the answer came to light. One of the mothers of our group knew Bubba’s family pretty well and found out that his older brother had shipped over to Europe with the military, and had left HIS car with Bubba’s parents – and that was the origin of Bubba’s new ride.
Hey, good for him. What was driving us crazy was that he was now laying claim to vast levels of mechanical prowess, using the car as ‘proof’ of his abilities and downplaying everyone else’s skills. He clearly considered that this car gave him supremacy amongst the car enthusiasts, and he was reveling in it to the point of making fun of our rides compared to his.
Obviously, this could not stand.
Later that week when Bubba was showing off ‘his’ creation to a group of admiring onlookers, we seized the moment. Just as we were winding up and preparing to head back to the building – and before he could close the hood – one of the guys called Bubba’s attention to a supposed ding on the trunk lid. As he was distracted I reached under the hood and quickly disconnected the coil wire from the distributor cap, and left it sitting just on top.
After seeing that the trunk lid was OK, he came back and closed the hood and we all went inside. It was the end of the school day we were all waiting for now.
As usual, we all traipsed out to our cars after class. As he had become used to doing, Bubba was ragging on our cars and talking about how much better his was. And as planned, everyone’s car started…
but his. We all stuck around with our cars running, one guy’s stereo blasting, and the rest of us watching Bubba’s increasing frustration with immense interest. He lifted the hood and stood staring at the engine – but he really had no idea what he was looking at nor how the engine worked – so he had no idea how to troubleshoot his problem. A little thing like a disconnected cable wouldn’t even register in his mind.
After a bit we started asking him if he needed help, offering to fix it for him, in between bouts of telling him how great the car he ‘built’ ran. If he had admitted he needed help, if he had asked our opinions, we’d have shown him the problem. Chrissie caught a ride home with one of her friends, leaving Bubba to face the music all alone. His ego wouldn’t allow him to admit that he didn’t know what he was doing, so eventually, we all left and Bubba used the payphone at the gas station across the street to call his parents and a tow truck.
He didn’t seem to brag so much about his mechanical expertise for the rest of the year.”
3. Think All I Do Is Wash Dishes? Fine, You Can Clean The Whole House
“So summer is almost done for me and during said summer, I have been managing the house while my family does work and school. This event happened when my grandmother went to her homeland for a month and, like I said, all the housework falls on me since I don’t have work/school. Oh, I almost forgot to add, I rarely get to leave the house during summer because they would tell me ‘but who would watch the house?’ Or ‘you don’t even have to go there.’ So keep that in mind, please.
It was a warm morning and once again, I’m alone at the house with a ton of work to do. I was just talking to my sibling and aunt about me going to visit my friend when they said:
‘Why would you leave, you’ll do nothing there.’
I replied, ‘but I’ve been cooped up in this house for over two months now, at least let me go outside to do other things than take care of the house.
Besides, it’s on a weekend and Other Sibling will be here to do my job with our parents.”
Then my sibling told me, ‘All you do is wash the dishes, don’t complain and you’re not leaving this house!’
So I just said ‘Okay.’
Happy that they talked some ‘sense’ to me, they both left for work.
Enter Malicious Compliance
Let me list to you some of my work; washing breakfast and lunch dishes from an extended family (so a lot of dishes), mopping the floors since some peeps walk in with dirty shoes, sweeping the floors of my two-story house with tons of rooms, watering the plants, feeding our cute dog, filling up all the water containers (let me tell you, it’s a lot), cooking meals, cleaning more stuff, and much more.
I’m the one who takes care of the house and takes all the crap they throw at me, cause I’m ‘lazy.’ They really judge me since they aren’t there when I’m alone at the house. So I maliciously complied with their wishes, and all I did was wash the dishes and took care of my dog (no way I’m letting her suffer, she’s my baby!)
My other sibling got home at 4, expecting shiny floors, water containers to drink, food ready, etc.
But she got the opposite: rough floors from dirty shoes, no food, no water, etc. They talked to me about it and I explained it to them, thankfully they understood and didn’t complain.
My bossy sibling and aunt came back at 6, let me tell you, their shouts were heard from the street outside. I didn’t move no matter what, continued being actually lazy, and told them ‘I’m a dishwasher.’
My parents came back an hour later and complained about the mess, my bossy sibling and aunt blamed me, and I explained the situation.
My parents trusted me and knew I did more than the others thought I did, so they told them to do everything cause ‘she’s the dishwasher, not the house cleaner, gardener, cook, and more.’
No one told me what to do afterward and I was so happy when I watched my older sibling, who worked lazy (cause there’s no work during this season) and came home being lazy, do the workload I avoided because they didn’t expect such a long list.”
2. Not Coming To Pick Up My Yard Waste? I'll Sit And Watch You Do All The Hard Work
“I live in a consolidated county. That means that the city and county governments merged some years back, ostensibly to reduce administrative and infrastructure costs. This is important because services like fire, police, utilities and trash pickup are now managed by former county officials and not the city officials. Many of these services are also much more inefficient, and some services have been ‘outsourced’ to private companies.
My ‘municipality’ outsourced trash and yard waste pick-up a few years ago, and the two companies who now do those collections are woefully inadequate, and their services cost more than when the city or county did it. They both have similar sets of rules: what can be put out for collection, take fewer types of waste away, and no longer come two days a week as the city once did, but now only come one day a week.
We’re all paying more for less service.
Now that the background is done, here’s the story:
I did some yard work over the course of a couple of weekends last summer, cutting some limbs, trimming some shrubbery, and cutting down a dead tree in my backyard. Knowing what the rules are for how much yard waste, limbs, leaves, and such can be put out, I bagged everything that was supposed to be bagged, filling up three of them.
Things like leaves and small clippings, weeds, and such. The paper bags for yard waste from the big‒box home improvement stores are what they require, so I use those. I just fill them halfway up so as to not make them too heavy for the waste collectors, even though there are no written weight restrictions. However, if a bag is ‘too full,’ they will knock it over to spill out the contents, so they then don’t have to pick it up.
I cut the larger limbs down to under four feet in length, or they wouldn’t be picked up. Anything at all, they can do to get out of picking something up, they will do. And they almost always leave a horrendous mess behind when they do pick things up.
The pile put out for collection is not allowed to be any wider than ten feet, nor any deeper or higher than five feet, nor may it contain any piece longer than four feet.
All bags must be placed in a row, no more than three feet away from the limb pile. My pile was maybe four inches longer than the ten feet and only because of the tiny ends of the limbs (smaller than a toothpick) hanging out of the pile. The pile was no higher than three feet and no deeper than four feet. In other words, it fell within the size limits, except for a few twigs with leaves.
I also had the three bags, each about half full of clippings and leaves, all lined up exactly as required, and about two feet away from the main pile.
They were scheduled to come on a Tuesday, but when I got home from work that afternoon, it was all still there. There was a pre-printed notice on my door that my pickup exceeded the proscribed size limits, and the note said that I would be required to either pay a $250 oversize load fee or ‘reduce the size of the pile by half’ to make it fit into the limit.
This is where the revenge comes in.
I had the next two days off, so the next morning, bright and early, I got out the hedge trimmers. I trimmed the ends of the pile back to exactly nine feet in length. After carefully laying those trimmed bits on top of the pile. I went to the backyard, where the limbs I had not trimmed up the week before were stacked for the following week’s pile, and found four long, fairly straight limbs.
I removed all the smaller limbs and leaves from these limbs, ending up with four moderately straight poles, each about seven feet long. I marked one-foot intervals on each pole in fluorescent orange paint, and stuck them in the ground, (out at the curb in the front yard) at the corners of a rectangle exactly five feet wide and ten feet long. Got out the surveyor’s tape (bright pink plastic tape used to mark property corners) and tied it onto and around the stakes at the height of five feet.
This established a visual outline of the volume I was required to stay within.
I made absolutely sure that everything in the pile was completely inside the poles and below five feet in height. This required adding almost two‒thirds of the remaining pile in the back yard to the stack out front, to bring it up to four feet six inches in width, four feet six inches in depth, and nine feet six inches in length.
And no pieces longer than 46 inches. The pile was almost twice as much material as before. This included some small logs, up to 4” in diameter, also each 46” long. (The limit is 5” in diameter) All within the limits of 5’ x 5’ x 10’ the waste company mandates.
I carried each of the three bags of clippings to the back yard, and filled each of them up as much as possible, while still being able to fold over the tops and staple shut each bag.
I also included small, 8” to 10” sections of the ends of larger limbs, for added weight. The bags were now completely filled and weighed more than twice what they had before. I had to use the hand truck to get them out to the curb, they were so heavy. Oh, and all the extra clippings I had generated, filled up two more bags, so the total was now five bags.
The company limit.
I then went inside, called the company, and very nicely asked that they come to pick up my yard waste since they had not done so on Tuesday. They agreed to send out a truck and crew and told me I would have to pay the fee. ‘Come on then,’ I told them. They soon arrived and happened to be the same crew that normally comes to my neighborhood.
I pulled a 25‒foot Stanley tape measure from my pocket and asked them to measure the poles to confirm that the space was within the required limits. They did so and agreed the pile was not oversized and proceeded to spend the next two hours manually loading it all onto their truck. Oh, and it took both of them to manhandle each of those bags into the back of the truck too.
I told them, very nicely and with a smile, that I knew what ten feet was, pointed to the fence where it was marked with orange electrical tape, and thanked them for coming to pick up my yard waste. The two tired, sweaty waste disposal guys just groaned, got in their truck, and drove off. There was no extra fee added to my bill for that month.
Never has been since.
Now, I know they got paid for their time, and I know that I had to do a lot of extra work on my day off, but since last July, I have not once ever had them leave so much as a single leaf on the ground in front of my house. They had to actually do some hard work, with me standing there in shorts, smiling, and drinking cold Gatorade while they were sweating.”
1. My Principal Tried To Get Me Fired So I Got Her Fired From The District
“I was in my mid-20s, fresh out of grad school, and ready to start my teaching career. I got a job at a title one elementary school near my home teaching art. And I was super excited that I could walk to work!
However, I was so far into la-la land that I didn’t notice any of the warning signs…
Warning sign number 1: It was a week before school started, and I had called and emailed the school office staff and my principal to ask about getting my keys and badge, so I can start seeing what I needed to do to get ready for the school year.
No response and no answer from either. So I call the district office and asked when and where I could pick up my keys and badge. Two days before school started, I get an email from my admin that I should have been more patient and not have contacted the main office about my keys and badge.
I finally got everything and was able to get into my room and was horrified with how much I had to get done.
(Apparently, they had used my room as storage, so it was loaded with tables and desks stacked on top of each other, 8 filing cabinets, and well over 100 chairs stacked all around the room.
I managed to clean out the space with help from my awesome custodian (shout out to all custodians who are the secret backbones in helping teachers get ready for the school year).
Hurdle number one finished!
Warning sign number 2: It’s now the day of classes starting. And I haven’t been informed of what the schedules are. As in, which days I see certain classes and when. So I email my principal, again, asking what the schedule looks like and if there is a digital document that I can print out. I get an email back a few minutes later telling me to ‘stop pressuring and bullying her.’ (?!)
I replied, sorry if I was making her feel that way, but it would be nice to know what classes I had and when.
This leads to warning sign number 3: It’s 8:10 am, not 10 minutes after school started, and I finally get my schedule… only to find out that I have two classes, AT THE SAME TIME! Note my school isn’t huge, but we still had 14 classes serving kinder-6th grades, so I was having at least 46 kids in one classroom by myself! Moreover, I had seven 45-minute periods a day and saw every class every day of the week, with only a ’30-minute lunch’ (my lunch was when I was on lunch duty).
I asked my principal if there was any way we could adjust the schedule, so I had time to plan and get the classroom ready for the next class and wouldn’t lose instruction time getting things ready as the new class was coming in. I got yelled at by her with a class waiting outside saying that ‘it was my first year teaching, and I didn’t know what I needed and needed to just deal with it.’
Well, I decided not to ‘just deal with it,’ and I read the teacher’s contract for the district.
Come to find out, we had a section about classroom size. It stipulated that if you had a class of over 30 students, you get to have an educational assistant help you with the class. I brought this up with my principal after a month and a half of struggling and was… you guessed it, denied and told there were no funds in the budget, and I would have to make do without it or quit.
Mind you, I am stubborn and determined to make things work with what little I have. But things were rough. In order to prep and plan everything for the next day, make meaningful grades, keep up with referrals, and keep in contact with families, I was having to be at the school from 6 am (when the morning custodian arrived) until 9 pm (when the night janitor was leaving) on weekdays and then also use my weekend time to continue to plan and grade.
When it came time for my first teacher evaluation, I was dreading it. However, I got all satisfactory marks from my principal. I was shocked; little did I know this was a plan she had all along.
A few more weeks pass, and I’ve had it. I talk with our union about the double classes and say it’s not sustainable, and a classroom my size can’t safely fit more than 30 students, let alone 46 students.
And they said they would handle it… and another few weeks go by and nothing.
It’s now the week of Thanksgiving, and conferences are over, and I get to not worry about anything for two days. So I decided to go to a potluck dinner with some old friends of mine. So here is the best part and maybe the part that saved my career and even maybe my sanity: I was talking with an old acquaintance and his new husband about what teaching job I landed and how the school year was going.
I let it slip that even though my students were amazing and had such creative minds, it’s frustrating to me that I don’t have the time to give to them, that they deserve, and with two classes at once, it’s hard to get around to everyone in the class in just 45 minutes.
I noticed the husband raise his eyebrow and ask me what school I worked at.
So I told him. What harm could it do?
Ladies and gentlemen, and everyone in between, little did I know I was talking with my principal’s supervisor. I found out the next Monday when my admin stormed into my room at 8:05 am to scream and yell at me, threatening to fire me, and make sure I never work in education again! I was shocked and confused at the time.
However, later that week at our staff meeting, we talk about a change in the schedule and how only one class would be in my class at a time for an hour now, and I would only see them twice a week instead of all 5 days! It was magical. The kids were happier, I was calm, was able to help each individual student if they needed it, and was able to plan enough throughout the day so I could leave at 4 pm!
Sad to say, my happiness didn’t last forever.
I noticed my principal stalking my room and coming in non-stop to observe me. It was awkward. I also had a few of my very extroverted students come in quiet and unable to focus on work, but when I asked them if everything was okay, they would burst into tears and say, ‘I don’t want you to go!’
Being confused, my response was always, ‘Oh student name, I have absolutely no intentions of going anywhere.
You are all the best students a teacher could ever ask for!’ Which would cheer them up for a while, but then they would come in next week upset again.
It all clicked the day before we left for Christmas break. My principal came into my room with one of her minions (who was our building union representative) to tell me I was being put on a Teacher Support Plan.
This plan was to evaluate whether or not my contact, with the district, would be up for renewal at the end of the school year.
I was shocked, and my union rep just snickered and walked away giggling with our admin. I felt sick and mistreated, unable to feel any emotion. It wasn’t until I got home and read what this plan detailed that I was seeing red.
I had hit my breaking point.
This is when I started to formulate a plan of revenge.
Some things to note: our principal liked to come into school whenever they felt like it. She would be there anywhere from 7:45 am (our actual contract hours) to as late as 9:30 am (she once showed up at noon without telling anyone). I also knew that she had kept renewing a certain after-school care contractor that wasn’t free to families, but they got funds from the district to offer it for free.
I also knew that this person running after-school care was romantically involved with and living with our principal!
So during winter break, my acquaintance and his husband called and asked if they were free to get drinks over the holidays. I love a good cocktail, and I needed some hard drinks. When we met up, I wanted to talk about anything other than school stuff; I just wanted to keep my mind off of school drama.
But the new husband brought up if things were better after he had talked about the double classes. That was when I found out that he was her boss.
I asked: ‘What do you mean you talked to my principal? How do you know her?’
New Husband, ‘Oh, you didn’t know? I’m the supervising administrator for that cohort of schools.’
My jaw dropped, and I started to hyperventilate.
The husband was startled and asked what was wrong.
So I told him, I told him everything. How she yelled and threatened to get me fired, how she put me on this support plan, and how she just kept observing my class without notifying me.
His face went from a concerned look to a surprised Pikachu face to red with anger.
He told me, ‘I really always had a bad vibe from her and always wondered why there were always so many new teachers at that school every year.
What else can you tell me about what’s going on?’
I hesitated to tell him everything, but my acquaintance told me not to worry; he has seen this look before, and that we were on my side. So I told him everything I knew. They both just sat there awestruck, unable to speak about what they were hearing.
Anyway, after break is over, I am dreading coming back into my class, but I don’t want to miss seeing my students.
So I push on. I am walking in the hall to my mailbox, and I see a few of my students that had cried and told me they didn’t want me to leave. They ran up and gave me the biggest longest hug ever, saying, ‘You’re here! You’re here!’
Me: ‘Of course I’m here. I wouldn’t leave the best students ever! Now would I?’
Students: ‘But principal said you were going to leave us because you didn’t want to be here, and we should give you trouble before you left.’
Me (trying to hold my rage): ‘Oh, maybe she was talking about how I was leaving to visit family over the break? No need to worry; I’m still here.’
Yes, y’all, this wretched woman tried to purposely make kids misbehave in my class to write me up for not having a good rapport with my students! I was beyond livid!
So next time I have class with that student, I ask them if they could make a comic book of the conversation they had with my principal when she told them I was leaving.
And make an ending he wanted. Phase 1 started.
Phase 2, I contacted my boss’s boss and told him per my contract, I wanted another admin to accompany my principal’s Teacher Support Observations. And I wanted it to be him. He said absolutely! But not to tell my principal just yet.
The first day of my observation comes, and she walks in without a notebook or anything to take any sort of notes.
Looking proud of herself like she is about to get away with firing me. She is shocked and confused when her boss walks in with a laptop and sits next to her and starts typing notes about how I’m doing. She stumbles around and comes to ask me for a notepad to take notes, and I tell her, ‘I don’t have an extra notepad, but I do have some poster paper (we were making a movie poster of a movie we would star in to go with our comic books).
And that I hope you can be better prepared next observation as to not disrupt my class and take time away from their institutional time.’ Her boss just smirked.
Phase 3, I was now calling my new best friend (my boss’s boss) whenever she was late getting to school, and he would do a random stop by if he was close. So he was able to document that she was not showing up to work on time and had not submitted the paperwork to have it be taken out of her leave minutes.
Overall, we get her at least 2 times a week for a solid month, I think he even asked someone from HR to come to our school to see for herself at 9 am and she still wasn’t even there!
Now time for Phase 4, which was my favorite one. Getting the parents on board. I first started talking to parents that seemed to always be late picking up their students, I would chat about it, and they said it was hard to get there on time, and they often had to leave early.
And when I told them about our aftercare, they would tell me that it cost too much for them. However, I would inform them that since we are a Title 1 school, that after-school care was free and paid for by the district and gave her a nifty flyer I made up with the website to fill out the forms and which ones to fill out.
This made word spread around to parents paying the contractors directly that it was supposed to be free. And boy was that a fun PTA meeting to go to. I also made sure the principal knew it was me that informed the parents about that free after-school care program.
After this, there were countless investigations at our school. With head administration from the central office stopping by our school, auditors, and our union finally got involved and tried to play the heroes/victims of this incident.
The outcome: The second half of the year was very chill. My new best friend made sure that my Teacher Support Plan was taken off my teaching record, and my principal was not allowed to do my second term evaluations, nor was she allowed to do any informal observations. The after-school care contractor was fired and taken over by one recommended by the district, and my students were making amazing strides in their posters and comics.
At the end of the year when we were getting our assignments (jobs) for next year, my principal made one last attempt to get me to leave and told me that ‘our budget doesn’t have the funds for an art teacher next year and that I might want to see employment elsewhere.’ I laughed in her face and said, ‘Nice try, my position is paid for by a state bond and isn’t affected by your budget from the district.
If there isn’t anything else, I’ll be leaving now,’ and when I walked out, I could hear her slam her desk and swear up a storm as I closed the door.
At the end of the year, I had my one student share his comic book about how the principal told him to ‘give me trouble in class’ at our school’s talent show, leaving the already angry parents angrier that an adult would tell a child to act in such a way.
I even think she had a shoe thrown at her when she ran on stage to stop him from finishing his comic.
To the surprise of no one, on the last day of school, she announced on the intercoms after students had left that she would be resigning from our school to move to a different position where she was ‘needed’ and that she would miss ‘almost all of us.’
I came to find out after stalking her on LinkedIn two years later that she had to get a job out of the district an hour drive away to get another admin job, but only stayed for a year, and then had to step down to teaching English at a different school in another district the next year!
And for those of you wondering how my student’s comic book ended, well. ‘The art hero rallied the students against the angry principal to make her see the errors of her ways, but the angry principal could not become happy, so she left, and the power of happiness filled the school once again.’”