stories

Going back to high school

A conversation I had with my pal, Lora a couple of years ago, when we'd both reached our 40s.

Lora: I'd be so much better and popular if I went back to high school now.

Muneer: Yeah, but then the most popular jock would pull a She's All That on you.

Lora: Say what?

Muneer: He'd pretend to be into you and make you his girlfriend as part of a bet with the other popular kids. But then he'd end up actually liking you. It would all culminate in him telling you that he couldn't take you to prom while 98 Degrees" "The Hardest Thing" played in the background.

Lora: LOL. That's so messed up!!!

The syndicate

In Grade 9, I accidentally became the head of a gambling syndicate at my school.

I was a young, fresh faced kid, and found out that you could win money playing blackjack. So in my usual fashion, I began expanding the operation. I soon had 5 tables in the lunch room with games going at lunch.

That led to me needing to hire football players to act as muscle and collect debts from people.

I was planning on expanding my operation into fight promoting. But then some kids told their moms why they were coming home so hungry every day. They were losing their lunch money at the tables.

So, their moms went to the principal and I was called in to his office. He said, "Muneer, I'm hearing you've made $1000 off this little operation of yours!" I said, "No, I've actually only made $643. It's all here on my log book."

So, I was forced to pay back the money I hadn't already spent on baseball cards and rap tapes. Which was about $200. In my report card, they said, "Muneer needs to stop using his bright mind for destructive purposes."

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Saving face

One night, my sisters had an event at the Manarat Girls School. I was in our car with my dad and was throwing a tantrum. Probably because he wouldn't get me a toy I wanted.

So on Saturday, I get to school and Adnan asks me if I was crying in a car at the Manarat Girls School that weekend. I tried to think fast to avoid being embarrassed, and so I told him it was my twin brother.

Adnan naturally asked why my brother didn't go to Manarat. I said he went to Jeddah International because our parents wanted us to be able to live our own separate lives.

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Finding everyday heroes

I have this co-worker on a team full of people who manufacture idiotic crises that don't actually matter.

I was talking to her on Friday and she was talking about how vital she was to the company because she'd caught a potentially catastrophic error caused in part by her team's unwillingness to improve. 

In a later conversation about this conversation with another co-worker, I said, "Yeah. We find our heroes where we can. Some people rescue children from burning buildings, others work with Covid patients. Nadine saves us from non-issues that everyone will forget about in 2 hours."

She had me on speaker. She said her fiancee fell off his chair laughing when he heard it.

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Charlotte Nightmare

The time we spent in Punta Cana was amazing. However, American Airlines was horrible during each trip.

Our flight going to the DR was supposed to be at 7.30am, Sunday, May 11.

  • We got an email from AA 6 hours before our flight took off saying that we were being rebooked to the 7.30am flight on May 12.
  • Since we were under the impression we were going to take off, we got the message at 3am when we woke up. Jessicca called up AA.
  • Their agent finally got on the line after we were on hold for almost 2 hour and told us there was no way for us to get to the DR on Sunday.
  • So, we missed a whole day at the resort.

On the way back, it was an endless series of nonsense:

  • We got an email that our flight from Punta Cana to Chicago was delayed. The email told us to go to the airport to rebook.
    • We get there and check in the bags. The itinerary, however, said that the first leg of the trip was from Punta Cana to Chicago, while the second leg of the trip was from Charlotte to KC. I didn't want our bags getting lost, so I checked the bags to Chicago. That incurred an extra $10 bag fee because AA charges you if you don't check your bags to your ultimate destination.
    • The gate agent we got to was a trainee. Her manager came over and decided this was the best time for some training. So, our rebooking took twice as long as it should because they were doing it as slowly as possible. They rebooked us to Charlotte and put us on a flight that got to KC 2 hours after our original flight was scheduled to land.
  • The flight actually took off an hour early, so I thought this was the end of our troubles. How wrong I was.
    • We get to Charlotte and there's no gate open for us. We sat on the tarmac for almost 2.5 hours. A gate magincally opened up when a baby had a medical emergency in the back of the plane.
    • They had held the flight to KC, probably because half our plane was on that flight.
  • When we get through Customs, we were told to go upstairs to the general ticket counters.
    • Apparently, flights out of Charlotte had been getting cancelled all day, so there were close to 3000 people in line waiting to get rebooked.
    • We got in line at around 11.30pm.
    • At around 1.15am, Jessicca got an email saying we had been rebooked on the 8.19am flight to KC.
    • At 3am, we get to the front of the line. AA had 4 people working originally, but some extra agents got in at around 2.
    • They wouldn't let us check our bags because the baggage handlers don't start work until 5am.
    • I went downstairs to get us food and coffee from Starbucks, which was the only place open.
    • While I was downstairs, Jessicca got back in line for the baggage. I got up to the line with the food and drinks about 10 minutes before they finally let us give our bags to the baggage handlers.
  • We took off on time, and got home at noon on Sunday, 13 hours after we were supposed to have gotten home.

We're never flying with American again.

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Becoming a man

I once saw a teen boy at SportClips with his mom. The stylist who came to get him for his cut was a Russian woman who was showing a lot of cleavage.

The mom said, "We'll wait until the next person is free" and held the boy's arm. The boy shook his arm free, gave mom a look like "Damn bitch! Let me live!" and went with the stylist.

The mom, angry about this turn of events, loudly announced she was going to get ice cream.

I wanted to run over and give the boy some dap, but restrained myself.

Paul Pierce

When I was in my freshman year at KU, I was playing basketball at the Robinson Center one afternoon. We had the run of the court because of my teammates' scoring prowess and my extremely dirty play and ability to pull down rebounds in traffic.

Then, a group of tall gentlemen walked in. Among them was Paul Pierce, then a sophomore. I was assigned the task of guarding Pierce. I remember setting up in my stance. I looked to the left to check the guy on the wing. When I turned my head back around, Pierce was gone. I looked behind me, and he was laying the ball in about 10 feet away. Pierce is the quickest person I've ever encountered in my life. He blew past me twice more, and then I faked a calf injury to preserve what little of my pride was left.

Run For The Border

I got a call on a Thursday afternoon from [Suzie]. It was a curious call because the address on the intake form was a Canadian address. Prepaid Legal only sold plans to people in the US. Suzie had met [Gavin], a Canadian, online. After a whirlwind romance, Suzie and Gavin decided that they live together in Ottawa, where Gavin was living. They packed up all of her things into a U-Haul and then hitched her car to the U-Haul on a trailer.

The couple set out for the border crossing near Buffalo, NY. As Suzie and Gavin reached the border, the Canadian immigration officials asked if them if Suzie was emigrating or coming to Canada for vacation. Suzie replied that she was coming for vacation. Since most vacationers don’t bring 4 rooms worth of furniture and a car on a trailer for a vacation, Suzie was turned away at the border. At this point, Gavin got out of the truck and hitched a ride to Ottawa with another driver.

Suzie was now stuck in Buffalo. So she called her friendly home state PPA firm. Since I was the only one who knew anything about immigration, I got to take the call. This led to the following exchange:

Suzie: I only have enough money to stay in this motel until Tuesday! I got the forms right here. You think this will all be sorted by then?
Me: I highly doubt that you will be able to apply for and secure a residence permit in Canada in three and a half days.
Suzie: What?? I didn’t even think you needed a passport to go up to Canada. [Note: this conversation took place in 2009.]
Me: You can go up to Canada for a visit without requiring a passport or visa, but you cannot emigrate there without a visa.
Suzie: Well what do I do then?
Me: I would suggest asking your fiancee to get you an attorney in Canada to assist you with the process.
Suzie: You mean I don’t get this taken care of for free? Why am I paying you $19.95 per month?
Me: I can advise you on US immigration law, but you need someone who is licensed in Canada. You will need to go through Canada’s procedure for emigrating.
Suzie: I don’t have any money to stay in this motel past Tuesday! I thought this would be done by then!
Me I am sorry to disappoint you.
Suzie: Where am I supposed to stay??
Me: You could always come back to [my state].
Suzie: I can’t! You have no idea how tough it was to get up here with all my stuff!!
Me Well, then I suggest you get a residence and a job in Buffalo. This is not going to be a quick process.
Suzie: This is so unfair! Why do I pay you guys $19.95 a month??

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The only person who can complain

Back in 1996, I was complaining about some political issue on the KU bus. Some guy says, "You have no right to complain if you don't vote." I looked at him and said, "I have no right to vote since I'm not a citizen, so I'm literally in the only group that can legitimately complain about how things are since I have no say in any of it. However, if your mom or sister is willing to marry me, I'll be sure to vote in 2000."

The Tea Party Gets Its Just Desserts

At my old job, I’d talk to Tea Party idiots all the time. Since we had to take calls from people if they followed up on stuff, I was able to see the deterioration of their lives in a very concrete way.

The themes of the calls usually went as follows:

Call 1: Obama is the worst and everyone besides me is leeching off the system! Why do I have to pay so much in taxes!

Call 2: I just lost my job. Does my employer have to keep giving me health insurance?

Call 3: I’m about to lose my house. Aren’t there any government programs that can help me?

Few things brought me more joy than seeing these people stuck in a world where their situation was at direct odds with their Tea Party views.

Timely Advice

Since my sister in law writes erotica, the subject of menage a trois came up at dinner last night. My nephew asked what it meant.

I said, “Don’t do it, kid. You never want to disappoint two people when you can get away with just disappointing one.”

Knowledge Bowl

I was in high school and on the Knowledge Bowl team. One afternoon, we drove to a qualifier for all the schools in the state. I was sick as hell that day. I had a blanket, was chugging chicken soup and popping lozenges like Tic Tacs.

The qualifier was at a high school, so each team was in a different classroom. Once we began, the judges gave us questions as they would in a real competition. At some point, the question "Who is known as the Magnificent Miss M?" was asked. I said, "Bette Midler" and proceeded to pass out. My only familiarity was seeing the trailers for her movies.

Some people have a winning touchdown pass as their proudest competitive achievement. I have Knowledge Bowl.

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Late Night Hotel

I was once on a road trip with another dude. We hadn’t booked a hotel for that night, and found that all the hotels in a 50 mile radius were rented out.

We finally found a room with a single bed. My friend looked apprehensive and looked like he was going to turn down the room because he was not wanting to sleep in the same bed as another dude. I was angry and screamed, “I have no interest in trying to have sex with you! If you’re going to try and have sex with me, make sure you don’t wake me up!”

Needless to say, we took the room.

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Leaving Early

I went to KU in the late 90s. I remember during second semester of my freshman year, a few times a week when I was walking back from a morning class to the dorm, I would see a car in the loading area. There would be a shell shocked, sad looking, soon-to-be-former student loading their things with their stern looking parents into a van or station wagon. It always made me sad for the rest of the day.
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The Day I Lost Faith In Our Justice System

When I was a young boy, my family used to go to Bangladesh to visit falling every summer. In 1987, I was accused of stealing some money that had gone missing from my mom's purse. She did everything short of water boarding me to get me to admit that I was a thief. The next day, she pulled out one of her purses and the money was tucked away safely inside. When I expressed my desire for an apology, I was told that I was lucky to still be alive.

On that day, I realized that our innate sense of right and wrong is broken. As a result , I lost all faith in these allegedly impartial systems we rely on for "justice".

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I Can't Help Where I Have To Park

A man called in to complain about his car being damaged. He was working at a building where people had to pay for parking. So, this man decided to park in a side street to avoid the fees.

Man: They forced me to park in the side street.
Me: How do you figure that?
Man: I don't want to pay for parking and I have to go to work. It's their fault this happened.
Me: Let me get this straight: You chose to park in the side street, and that is your employer's fault?
Man: Well, if I hadn't been forced to park there for work, my car would be fine.
Me: How do you think things will go for you at work if you sue your employer for damage to your car?
Man: What do you mean? Can they fire me?
Me: As long as they can prove it's for a non-discriminatory or protected reason, they can fire you. We are in an at-will employment state.
Man: That's not fair!

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Emigrating To The Green Isle

A man called in the day after Barack Obama was elected President in 2008. Obama's victory had convinced this man that the U.S. would soon become  a "Socilist" haven that would target God fearing people such as himself. So, this man decided he wanted to emigrate to Ireland.

Man: So, do I call the U.S. Embassy in Ireland about this?
Me: No, you have to contact the Irish Embassy here in the U.S.
Man: Really? Why? I'm an American citizen.
Me: Because if you're trying to emigrate to Ireland, you need to ask them what their laws and regulations are to enable you to do so. The U.S. Embassy can only counsel you about matters pertaining to this country. Besides, wouldn't that be akin to sleeping with the enemy?
Me: I never thought of it that way!

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Just Send It To My House

A man called in about evicting his adult stepdaughter from his home. Stepdaughter was originally supposed to stay for two weeks while she found a new job, and then was to get her own apartment. Six weeks had now passed, and stepdaughter was whiling away her days sleeping and watching TV. He asked what the usual eviction process was. I explained that a letter would usually be sent to the tenant, along with a notice of eviction being attached to the apartment door.

Man: So, can you send a letter to [stepdaughter]?
Me: Let me get this straight. You want me to send a letter to evict your adult stepdaughter from your house. Meaning the letter will be sent to your house?
Man: Yeah.
Me: Just curious: How does [stepdaughter] receive her mail?
Man: My wife hands it to her.
Me: So, your wife will hand an eviction letter to [stepdaughter]?
Man: Yeah.
Me: This will not end well.
Man: I have to do it!

About a month later, the man called in because stepdaughter had gone nuts after getting the letter. He now wanted to sue her for the damage to his dishes and other breakables that were damaged during the ensuing altercation between stepdaughter and wife.

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I Need Better Cell Service!

A woman called in about the deterioration in her cellphone service. She was a legacy customer of Cellular One, which had recently been acquired by U.S. Cellular. I asked her when her contract was up, and she told me it would expire in 2 months' time. So, I offered to contact U.S. Cellular to see if they would let her cancel her contract with no penalty.

Woman: I don't want to cancel! I want better service.
Me: I understand. If we get your contract cancelled, then you can move to another company that has better cell reception.
Woman: I just want better cell service! I don't want to change my company! I been with them for a long time.
Me: How do you think that your cell reception will get better if you stay with U.S. Cellular?
Woman: I don't know! I need you to make them do something!
Me: They're not going to move a cell tower closer to your house so your signal gets better.
Woman: Why not????

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The African Diamond Affair

A man called in with an unusual request. He needed me to contact Interpol on his behalf. This man had gotten into touch with some men in the African nation of Benin (I wasn't told how the two parties met). The man calling me had completed a couple of transactions with these men to buy diamonds, spending around $2,000 each time. After the completion of the second sale, the Beninois told the man they had an unbelievable deal for him. They would send him a diamond worth at least $1,000,000 for only $50,000. The man promptly wired the money to Benin. After the money was received, the Beninois mysteriously disappeared.

Me: Did you know these people personally?
Man: No. I only conversed with them over the Internet.
Me: Just curious, but how were they going to get the diamond to you?
Man: We agreed that the diamond would be sent by DHL.
Me: Wait a second. Did you intend to declare the diamond and pay import duties?
Man: Why would I need to do that? They were sending it via DHL.
Me: DHL packages can be checked by customs.
Man: They can?
Me: Yes. Anyway, I can't initiate an inquiry to Interpol. You'll have to go through the [state] Bureau of Investigation.
Man: Will they find the Men?
Me: Not very likely. You have been tricked by criminals.
Man: I see. I suppose I should tell my wife.
Me: Not a bad idea.

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Making Money Shouldn't Be So Hard

An elderly woman called in about a website she had "bought". A nice man called her approximately two months earlier and said that for only $10,000, his company would sell her a website that would make her money. After the money was sent to the nice man, he mysteriously stopped taking the woman's calls.

Me: So what exactly were you going to be selling?
Woman: He told me I'd be selling products and that every time someone came to the website, I would get paid.
Me: Right. But what were you selling on this website?
Woman: I told you! Products?
Me: You don't know, do you?
Woman: silent

About six months later, the woman called again about another website she had "bought".

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People Who "Tell the Truth" Aren't A Protected Class

A woman called in about being discriminated against at work because she was African American. She said that her manager was not giving her the same hours as all the other employees. I sent her a questionnaire to fill out to get more detail about the case. About a week later, I got the paperwork back and called her. She sent in a work schedule as part of her packet.

Me: I am looking at this schedule, and I see that there is a Sheneneh and Laquanda [names changed]. May I presume that they're African American as well?
Woman: Yup.
Me: I also see that they are getting 40 hours a week.
Woman: That's because they're friends with the boss.
Me: That really sinks your case. You can't claim racial discrimination if there are other people of the same race getting 40 hours a week. If these women were all getting reduced hours, then we might have something.
Woman: If I get fired, do I get unemployment?
Me: Not unless we can prove discrimination. Which we can't.
Woman: Well I'm going to apply anyway.
Me: You are free to do so. The likelihood of you getting benefits is low.

She called back in a month later about being denied for unemployment. The reason for her getting fired? Telling her boss "the truth".

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Send Me Cash and I'll Send You More Cash

This woman called in wanting me to contact a lender who had not sent her money from a loan she was promised. The woman had seen a commercial about real estate investing. This commercial directed viewers to contact a specific lender to get the loans they needed to begin living their dreams. After doing some research and finding the lender on LendingTree.com, the woman determined that the lender was "legit".

Me: Well, what did you use as collateral?
Woman: They said that I needed to send them $3,000 as collateral and they would send me the $35,000 they promised me.
Me: Wait a second, you used cash as collateral for the loan? That doesn't make any sense.

But wait, it gets worse. Once the woman contacted the loan company and sent the cash, they stopped taking her calls.

Woman: I need to pay these loans by Friday.
Me: Who did you borrow from?
Woman: I took out payday loans for the money.
Me: You did what?
Woman: I was going to pay the payday loans back when I got the money from the loan company and use the rest to start investing in real estate.
Me: I hate to tell you this, but you've been defrauded by these people.
Woman: But they were on LendingTree.com!

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The Party Boy

A man called in about his son's expulsion from the local school district. Dad wanted son to be reinstated at once. It was imperative because the young lad's cheerleading career hung in the balance. The new school didn't recognize the son's brilliant cheering abilities. It was the kid's senior year; his time to shine.

Man: He's really a good kid. All he did was a dance called the "Party Boy". Some teacher got all bent out of shape about it and told on him.
Me: What's the "Party Boy"?
Man: It's from a movie called Hot Rod.

I decided to watch this dance on YouTube while the man gave me some other details.

Me: So your son was doing a dance that consisted of him thrusting his groin repeatedly at someone or something?
Man: Well yeah. But he was just kidding around. That teacher has no sense of humor! I can't believe she can't take a joke.
Me: Wait a second. He did this in front of a female teacher?
Man: Well, yeah.
Me: Is this conduct considered acceptable by the school?
Man: They said he violated the Code of Conduct.
Me: Was there a hearing?
Man: Yeah. It didn't go well.
Me: If there is another school district that is willing to take your son in, the old district doesn't have to take him back.
Man: That's not fair!

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Unfair Accusations

A woman called in about the police unfairly targeting her son. The son's phone was found near the scene of an arson; he was currently sitting in jail.

Woman: They're always accusing him of stuff!
Me: Like what?
Woman: Oh you know: robbery, attempted murder, burglary, drug possession with intent to distribute.

This wasn't the main issue though.

Woman: Is it legal for the police to look at my son's text messages?
Me: If they have probable cause to believe that the phone was used in furtherance of a crime, then yes.
Woman: That should be illegal! They're trying to get him on drug charges because someone sent him a text asking if he could get them some weed.
Me: They're allowed to do that.
Woman: That's so unfair!

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There's Only One Motel In Odessa, TX

This woman went to Odessa, TX and booked a three night stay at a budget motel. The premises were apparently so unsafe that she was forced to stay inside her room for the majority of the day. When she did go out once a day for ice, she had to be escorted by a member of the hotel staff. Of course, she wanted the hotel to compensate her for "pain and suffering". Naturally, some questions arose.

Me: Why didn't you go to another motel?
Woman: Well, I had a reservation for three nights.
Me: There are other motels in Odessa. It's not a small town.
Woman: But I was so scared! I suffered a lot of emotional pain.
Me: You could have gone elsewhere.
Woman: Really? I thought you couldn't do that if you had a reservation.

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Fair and Lovely

I was in Bangladesh back in 2006. I am much lighter skinned than most of the people in that country.

While I was there, my 20 year old cousins had several friends over for a birthday party. While we were talking, I let slip that I used 3-4 tubes of Fair and Lovely every day and had done so for the past 10 years. Thus, I had much lighter skin. All of the girls ooh'ed and aah'ed, delighted to see someone they knew who had gotten such great results using such a product.

I'm sure they would have bought all of the Fair and Lovely in the country had I not told them it was all a joke.

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Happy New Year!

As a youth in Saudi Arabia, I once collaborated with two classmates and made a dot matrix ASCII drawing that said "Happy New Year". After hanging it up, we basked in the admiration of our fellow students. Our religion teacher then ripped it off the wall and into pieces. We were then harangued for close to 30 minutes about our un-Islamic conduct.

Since then, I have been unable to wish anyone a Gregorian calendar Happy New Year without hyperventilating and wetting myself a little.

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