Working for a living is probably the worst idea to come along since forever, but unless you were born rich like Donald T- … nope, not gonna say it … if you want stuff about the 45th president, you’ll have to visit my alt-blog, The Shinbone Star, where you’ll find a small-but-growing collection of extremely biased, yet truthful material.
No, this blog is Roamin’ Gnomials, and I’ve finally remembered its prime mission is to talk about crazy stuff, you know, like Nazis in the White H- . . . dang, sorry, folks, clearly it’s taking me a little bit of time to shift gears and maintain focus.
Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, work stinks for most of us, but some days stink more than others, and that was certainly true today at Big Orange, where I toil Monday through Friday in a part-time role.
Some people falsely assume that I wear an orange apron, and while it’s true that I used to wear one, I have moved laterally into wearing an orange shirt. In fact, if you’re ever in a Big Orange store and see people wearing orange shirts, you’re not really supposed to ask them for help, though people do anyway because it’s often difficult to find the Orange Apron People, who are busy kibitzing along the back wall, or maybe hiding behind the display for Martha Stewart’s cloth drawers. So this is just me telling you that if you ever have to call on one of us wearing orange shirts instead of orange aprons, it’s okay, we understand that you might not have any other choice. Now orange you glad I told you all about that?
Now people intent on talking to me at cocktail parties sometimes ask what department I work in at Big Orange, but the truth is, we Orange Shirt People are not tied to any one department. We work in a serpentine pattern that is designed to bring our special brand of Orange Love to every inch of the store every two weeks or so, and it’s that serpentine pattern that first led us today to Aisle 46.
Now understand, if you’re an Orange Shirt Person, work starts early, before dawn, and what better topic of conversation to start the day than vomit? Seems that someone left a smoking pile of puke in the outside garden area yesterday, and another puddle in the snow-covered parking lot. My co-workers, bless them, felt it was essential that I know what I’d missed after the end of my shift, but the thing was, nobody knew who the culprit had been, and it became a topic of sordid speculation. Was it an employee? A vendor? A customer? We were all thankful that whoever the Stealth Puker had been, he (or she) had managed to make it outside before spewing, but by the time our work took us to Aisle 45, we were no longer sure about that..
Once we rounded the corner into the next aisle, the more sensitive among us started scenting something foul, like maybe that special aroma from a landfill borne from afar on a hot July wind. However it was not July but February, and freezing inside because Big Orange doesn’t like to turn on the heat until just before the actual paying customers start to arrive. As our nostrils flared, somebody said, “What the fuck is that?” but such is the fate of the hourly employee that we kept right on working until break time.
Just like the place where you work, break time at Big Orange is a great time for going to the bathroom, and today, that’s exactly what I did. But on this occasion, going to the bathroom was a bad idea.
As you might expect, a store like Big Orange is filled with all kinds of construction contractors, you know, guys who work at job sites with no running water, and who, out of necessity, will store it up for a long time until they just can’t hold it any longer. Some will look for an empty paint bucket at their job site, but most will make a quick run to Big Orange, where they’ll find a box of nails, a tube of caulk, and a toilet that is sometimes clean. And let me tell you, friends, the only thing more toxic than a construction contractor is a journalist right after deadline.
When I walked into the bathroom today, I knew immediately that something was wrong, bad wrong. First I heard a sound, maybe like somebody gargling, but I quickly noted that there was no one standing at the sink with a bottle of Scope. It was then that I spied a pair of contractor boots under the partition in Stall #1, with the occupant’s paint-splattered dungarees pooled on the floor around them. I didn’t know what was going on in there, but it was surely nothing good, for soon the quality of the sounds emanating from therein changed from gargling to something like someone speaking in tongues, but in a language that was ungodly and not of this earth. If I hadn’t had to pee so badly I would have beat feet out of there immediately, but as it was, I had to hold my breath and try hard not to think about what was happening on the other side of the partition, just inches from my left elbow.
I finished as quickly as a 60-year-old prostate allowed, gave my hands a too-hasty wash, then hit the door running. I hastily warned two co-workers not to go in there no matter what, as Sherman marching through Georgia caused less devastation than the havoc that contractor was wreaking in there.
I returned to the break room shaken, but soon it was time to go back to work.
We marched back to Aisle 45, but since we’d almost finished our work there before break, we soon rounded the corner into the next aisle, and it was there that the Gates of Hell finally opened. If Anubis himself had ascended from the Underworld on a pillar of smoke, shat copiously and wetly into a box, then hidden it like some vile easter egg filled with turbid, diarrheal chocolate, it couldn’t have been worse than the horror we found on Aisle 44.
“Oh holy Jebus,” someone said, “what the fuck is that?”
“Maybe the Stealth Puker hit here, too.”
“No, doesn’t smell like vomit, smells like death.”
“I think it’s a rotting corpse. Dead rat maybe?”
“Now I think I’m gonna hurl! Let me outa here!”
Well, to make a long story short, working that aisle was the longest two hours of my life, but finally it was over and I headed back to gather my things before driving home for a bath in hot bleach.
But before I left, I cornered the store manager and told her, “Something’s fucking dead back there in Aisle 44. You gotta call a Hazmat team, or maybe the National Guard, but you better do something, because it’s waaaay toxic.”
Turns out she knew all about it already, which is probably why she’s the manager. Seems someone had spilled a gallon jug of deer repellent, you know, that golden elixir that’s loaded with the concentrated piss from 57 different kinds of dangerous predators — lions, tigers, velociraptors, I don’t even know what all — but I’ll guarandamntee you this, it should repel damn near anything . . . except maybe Republicans.
It all just goes to show that work stinks, some days more than others, and there’s not much anyone can do about it except try to assess blame. And now, from the relatively pleasant-scented calm of my living room sofa, I’ve decided that my co-workers will no doubt find a way to blame it on Obama.