In one of my clearest memories of first grade, I distinctly remember my teacher telling us, on the first day of school, that the bathroom in the back of the classroom was only for emergencies. For non-emergencies, we’d have to wait until lunchtime. In my six-year-old mind, however, “emergency” meant only one thing: “throwing up.” And so, when I had to go, I held it. And held it. Until…well, I wasn’t holding it anymore.
That’s right: It actually took wetting my pants for me to learn that the word “emergency” means very different things to different people — a concept some people apparently still haven’t figured out.
It’s unclear, for example, what might constitute a “citrus emergency” at this Pleasanton, California optometrist’s office. (Perhaps a masochistic mandarin peeling itself?)
You might think people would be a little more precise in their language on a military base. At Arizona’s Fort Huachuca, you’d only be about half right.
At Gustavo’s new office building in Seattle, it only took about a week — and about a bazillion false alarms— before someone decided a little clarification was necessary. (Sorta sounds like something you’d expect from a classroom of first-graders, no?)
Meanwhile, Andrew in Cirencester, England only noticed this sign after pushing open one of his office’s alarmed fire doors (triggering a sudden and unforeseen occurrence — i.e., ear-shattering noise).
related: Gee, thanks for the clarification