X-Treme Hygiene!

7 Jul

So I guess I’ve got to keep this going, right? As far as the blogging thing goes, I’ve realized two things: (1) I have no idea the proper frequency with which to post and (2) I don’t know what the hell to say. I think my first post pretty much cleared the decks. Truth be told, I’m just not that deep. Pac-Man and turning my cubicle into a pirate ship is just about all I had.  So much like a man who’s just engaged in nearly six minutes of sex needs a quick eight hour power nap to recharge the batteries (that’s normal, right?), I decided to take a brief refractory period and ponder exactly what it is I want to say.

I know I’m overthinking this, but that’s kind of what I do. This isn’t exactly Faulkner I’m churning out here. Still, I’d like to have a theme. So after much consternation, I’ve decided this blog will focus on three things:

  • Shit that I think is funny
  • The general douchebaggery I encounter in my day to day life
  • My writing career (as it gains more traction)

The story I’m about to share is being told by request, and hits 2 of those 3 bullet points rather nicely.  You see, I’ve worked with a number of crazy people over the years. “Yeah, and?” you say, “Who doesn’t?” Whoa, you are really cynical, impatient, and rude, hypothetical reader. Let me finish. I’m talking about a special kind of crazy here; the kind of crazy that would make even Caligula say, “What the hell is wrong with these people (in Latin, of course, ‘cause he was like, Roman and stuff)?” Let me give you a few examples:

·         A woman with such offensive body odor she was forced by her boss to go home and shower because she was disrupting the work environment. With her funk. Ruminate on THAT for a moment: she smelled so repulsive, her coworkers couldn’t work. I’ll leave it at that.

·         A man who wore a chrome bicycle helmet while sitting at his desk because he feared the ceiling might collapse on his head. What good such a helmet would do him should that unlikely event ever take place, he never mentioned, but goddamn did he look stylish. How could he not?

·         A man who wore über-tight Lycra bike shorts (no matter the temperature) EVERY SINGLE DAY that both vacuum sealed and emphasized his manhood for all to enjoy. I can’t tell you how many times I turned around at my desk only to have that Johnsonville Brat staring me in the face because he had been standing behind me. Did I mention he didn’t ride a bike to work? Yeah, I should’ve mentioned that.

The above three examples are but a sampling of the kind of insanity I’ve encountered over the years at my job. They all pale in comparison to what I am about to share. *DISCLAIMER*: What you are about to read is going to be unpleasant. As a writer, it is my job to paint you a picture. If I do it right, the images in your head will shock and disturb you and can never be unseen. As a wise man once said, “You can’t gouge out your mind’s eye.” Then why am I sharing this? Because, like the old man in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (not the sweet-ass, 15 minute tune by Iron Maiden, but rather the poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge), I am cursed to share my tale. (By the way, if you ever have to choose between listening to the song or reading the poem, go with the song – Bruce Dickinson is the shit.)

It all began when I got promoted and started work in a new building. This entailed a six-month long training period: 8-hour days spent in a classroom learning how to process claims. It was about as thrilling as waiting for a Jell-O mold to set (only without the gastronomic reward of a wiggly, fruity treat when it was over). Within the first two weeks in my new position, I excused myself for what I thought would be an innocuous trip to the bathroom. Little did I know that my life as I knew it was about to change…

I entered the bathroom and saw a man standing in front of the sink – nothing odd about that. He appeared to be washing his hands – still perfectly normal. As the door swung shut behind me, I realized something didn’t seem quite right. He wasn’t washing his hands; he was…holding something. I thought to myself, “Oh, he’s peeing in the sink. That’s cool.” [Now, I have to stop for a moment to comment on that: I saw what appeared to be a man pissing in a sink at work and didn’t find it odd – what the hell does that say about me?!? I’ve never urinated in a sink nor have I ever seen anyone do it. Good to know that my brain is totally prepared for that scene should it ever present itself. Back to my tale.]

It turned out that what I had mistaken for hand washing or just good old-fashioned bladder to sink evacuation was neither of those things. No, this man was washing his junk. In the sink. In the middle of the day. At work. I hesitated for the briefest of moments, stunned by what I was witnessing. My eyes seemed to grow too large for my head. My brain screeched from inside my skull: “LOOK AWAY! LOOK AWAY!!!!” I raised my eyes. For one horrible moment, the dickwasher and I made eye contact. In my entire life, I have never before or since experienced a more awkward moment. To his credit, as if sensing my anxiety, the man stopped scrubbing his unit and gave me a nod as if to say, “It’s cool, dude.” Amazingly, I felt my head rise and fall in return like this was the most normal thing in the world. That broke the tension and I continued on my intended path to the urinal. I stood in front of it unmoving, waiting for him to finish. If it took until the end of time, I’d be standing there still. Fortunately, he finished up in another few moments, put Uncle Richard back in his pants, and left.  The silence he left in his wake was deafening.  

That entire event took place over the course of maybe 30 seconds almost six years ago, yet I recall it as if it happened just yesterday. That’s how it goes with the watershed moments of our lives. I left the bathroom that day a forever changed man, my brain filled with nightmare fuel and unanswered questions. I never saw the man again after that and thus never got to ask the most important question of all: why? Why was he doing that in there? Did he spill coffee on it? Was he eating peanut butter or something and got some on it? Was he a germaphobe? If so, wouldn’t a dollop of Purell applied safely behind the closed door of a stall have been the better option? To ponder the possible answers is to gaze into the eyes of insanity. I will be haunted by them until the end of my days.

And now, gentle reader, you know my pain. You know why I squeeze my eyes tightly shut whenever I enter a men’s room. I think you’d be wise to do the same. You just never know what’s lurking behind that door.

Next week: an essay on the worst song ever recorded.

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One Response to “X-Treme Hygiene!”

  1. Michael Brennan October 18, 2012 at 1:48 am #

    Permanent Stage Fright – that’s what I’m naming my band.

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