Tales From A Hungry Life

July 9, 2014

Things That Amaze Me

by Maria Schulz

There are some things in life that always amaze me. Since every day is a new adventure, someone always comes along and makes me shake my head in wonder. So what are those things? I’m so glad you asked.




#1: You Don’t Have to Be Cruel to Be Kind

A while ago, I read an article in The New York Times about a woman who was incensed that men held doors open for her. Excuse me? What exactly are you complaining about? You live in NYC and people are being nice to you. Let me remind you that:

a. Kindness is always welcome…yes, even in NYC

b. Small kindnesses = Nothing to complain about

c. Their kind gesture is all about manners, consideration, and humanity. It’s NOT ABOUT male domination and the subjugation of women everywhere!

Likewise, a study showed that men who have doors opened for them by women feel less masculine. Really? So next time you’re struggling to open a door because you’re carrying ten packages, holding a squirming child’s hand, or just happen to be coming in right behind me, I should let the door slam in your face?

I hold doors open for people all the time. Why wouldn’t I? I can’t understand people who know you’re one step behind them, yet they let go of the door and walk away merrily while you get slammed. My momma taught me better than your momma, apparently.

#2: Prepared Lunches are NOT fair game

Why do people eat other people’s lunches? You know you didn’t bring anything to the office for lunch. And just to you give you the benefit of the doubt, let’s say you grabbed the wrong bag and upon opening it, you realized that the food inside isn’t yours.

So why would you eat it anyway?

As George Costanza in Seinfeld said, “We live in a SOCIETY!” Theft, lack of consideration, and a general inconsiderate nature does not excuse you from the conventions of society.

I used to work with a lovely young woman who had numerous health issues which she struggled with on a daily basis. As a result, she would bring in food that was meticulously prepared: weighed, meat-free, sugar-free, wheat-free, gluten-free, and probably, taste-free.

Yet every day, someone would eat her lunch.

This cost her time, money, and a TON of aggravation. She was reduced to tears on more than one occasion thanks to the cretin who decided to steal her lunch constantly. She finally left a note one day (taped to her food) that said:

She should've used this stationery

She should’ve used this stationery

Dear Food Thief,

I am forced to bring in specially prepared food due to a multitude of severe health issues. Please stop stealing it! Eating my food is wrong and you know it. Besides, I could get extremely sick if I ate the wrong thing.

Thank you,

Hungry & Sad

The note was still in the fridge, attached to the empty bag, after the person stole her food.

My co-workers and I offered several suggestions to stop the thief in his/her tracks. The one that made me laugh hardest and that I would never personally suggest to anyone? Adding laxatives to that meticulously prepared lunch. Not enough to cause harm, just enough to make it obvious who was stealing her food.

Being the lovely and kind young lady she was, she declined. It made me feel bad for her. Obviously, she didn’t come from the same neighborhood as us.

#3: I’m at the Manned Checkout Line for a Reason

Help Me!

Help Me!

I am not a big fan of the self-checkout line at the grocery store. I always do something wrong, and then I have to wait what seems like days until the attendant comes along and fixes whatever I did. So imagine my joy when I find a real, live grocery clerk at an open station.

The problem starts when I pay for my groceries and then start bagging. For some reason, the cashier sees this as an opportunity to not help me at all. Instead, he/she starts ringing up the next person, who:

a) piles their things on top of mine

b) expects me to get out of the way already

c) figures I might as well bag their stuff since I am standing there

So now, I wait for the clerk to start bagging before I help. Why? Because this seems to be the only way I can get help and stop the person behind me from trying to push me out of the way.

#4: No Problem Is A Problem

Is there a problem?

Is there a problem?

When did the phrase “no problem” replace the phrase “you’re welcome”? When I say “thank you,” the polite response is “you’re welcome.” Saying “no problem” makes it seem like you thought it was a problem in the first place.

Was it a problem? Why was it a problem? I didn’t mean to cause any trouble. I thought we were getting along and all of a sudden, there’s a problem? But wait—you said there was no problem…

It’s not like “no problem” is easier to say than “you’re welcome.” JUST SAY YOU’RE WELCOME!

#5: Helicopters are an HR person’s Least Favorite Thing



I have it on good authority that this behavior drives Human Resources people crazy: when young people who have been turned down for a job/promotion/raise/award have their Mommy or Daddy call to complain. A similarly bizarre phenomenon includes the request to bring Mom/Dad/Sister/Brother/Boyfriend/Girlfriend along so they can check out the building where this young person is going for an interview.


Apparently, helicopter parents and the helicoptered-sort-of-adult children they love are oblivious to this major faux pas. So ‘lemme ‘splain:

Lemme 'splain

Lemme ‘splain

a. Adults do NOT have their mommies/daddies yell at their employers

b. If they do, they probably will need to find a new employer

c. Your obvious lack of judgment in this issue makes you a target for derision and scorn by all who work in Human Resources

d. Your HR person will never forget you…but not it a good way

e. This ain’t college, kiddo. Leave Mom/Dad/Siblings/Dates at home


Gluten-Free Pizza

gluten free pizza

This was the stolen lunch that made my young co-worker cry. She had to search everywhere for a recipe that was delicious and easy to make. This particular recipe got lots of great reviews from pizza lovers who must eat gluten free, so try it and let me know what you think.

Here are some recipes for those of us who do not eat Gluten-Free:

50 Easy Pizza Recipes


Quattro stagione -- 4 toppings

Quattro stagione — 4 toppings

So…what amazes you? What crazy action or reaction makes you shake your head in wonder? Did anyone ever steal your food? Do you like Gluten-Free anything? Please join in and leave a comment below. Thanks!



  1. I could write a book about helicopter parents and how they are detrimental to their children when applying for a position. The main responsibility of a parent is to teach their children to become functional adults. Give your child space to make his or her decisions. If they really want the job, they will call themselves. Parents please don’t end your emails requesting interviews for your child as Proud Mother or Proud Father; news flash it only makes their resume or email go into the waste basket quicker. Sorry Maria, I need to work on the “no problem” Sometimes I tend to say that myself. Loved this blog!

    Comment by Kathleen Lagalante — July 9, 2014 @ 8:32 am | Reply

  2. “shaking my head in wonder”, yes. What had always been a routine, nice morning activity on the way to work has turned into a not so nice routine activity when one morning I arrived at work with a DD coffee in hand (something i’ve done often in my work career) to a colleague that quipped, “hey, why didn’t you get me one?” and looked sheepishly annoyed at me. I arrived with a smile on my face and suddenly I was the “ignorant-selfish Teacher who didn’t have the common courtesy to “get” her one”. I wondered to myself and was completely dismayed how my usual routine of getting caffeine became something that I So Obviously Didn’t Do For Her. What?? A passive Bully was on my hands and now I needed a “strategy” to handle this situation. I do get my coffee if I want to and I disguise them in my own home thermal mug. And, sometimes, I just go ahead and buy her a coffee too!
    While at home with family my brothers will not necessarily “steal” my food, but help themselves without asking to my often sought after refreshments, once again, why should they ask?? It’s there for the taking.
    Gluten is a mystery to me: a strand of a particular type of proteins found in wheat. Sometimes I buy gluten free products at the Queens Health Food Emporium, but it’s not really noticed in the product. I wonder these days if I have an allergy to certain foods and wheat is one of them… I’d like to get checked for this in the future. I can’t stand Pasta that is whole wheat and gluten free. Yuk!
    My husband holds the door open for people everywhere, while that is really kind and considerate of him, and I don’t want him to stop doing that… it gets to the point where I’ve entered into the whatever building and turn around looking for him for 10 minutes because he gets caught up and people keep comin’ after… I’m like…”where were you?”

    Comment by Anne — July 9, 2014 @ 8:51 am | Reply

  3. Apparently I have aged in this respect like good wine. Nothing bothers me anymore well maybe mostly nothing. There are drivers who feel the road belongs to them but they really don’t bother me I just say a prayer for their souls which I know are damned to hell. I really don’t mind people holding doors open for me anymore, except when they add “Go right ahead Pops.” or “Granny”. Another prayer for these purgatorial bound well meaning people. I really enjoy meeting people who say to me with an air of surprise, “You really look good!” and under their breath add “For a guy your age!”. However I seem to be getting off the real point and that is nothing really bothers me anymore, I mean “no prob” or should I say Thank you for this blog and you can say “You’re welcome.”.

    Comment by Bglou — July 9, 2014 @ 3:47 pm | Reply

  4. Maria, what gets me about manners is that people today feel that they can say anything they want (like in your freedom of speech blog) but if you give them the same treatment they are appalled. This attitude that they will not be walked all over never translates into them not getting what they came for, like a job. I hear it every day, I don’t respect others until they show me respect! Who shows it first. Stop walking in thinking you are all that and have to be catered to. When walking on the street and someone say or nods hello, do the same. Don’t look at them as if they just spit at you or are a stalker. Parents have evolved into defending their kids even if they are wrong. This sets an example that whatever they do is right and that others should bow down to them. This doesn’t work in the job market or society as a whole. When two such personalities come together watch out. Maybe this is why the divorce rate in increasing.

    Comment by Tony Lagalante — July 14, 2014 @ 11:23 am | Reply

  5. When I was a kid, I would ask my dad for a “taste” of his pear or apple or peach (always sliced carefully with the paring knife) and he’d always give me a piece without a grimace or a get your own. Now, my 8 year old asks me and I think, “why can’t she get her own,” but I always have the image of my dad, carving a slice off for me, sharing a ripe pear, so I share too. I don’t know why this terrific article made me think of that …maybe it’s the involuntarily genetic sharing.
    Keep writing!!

    Comment by Caroline Bock — July 14, 2014 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

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