Saturday, June 5, 2010


In my line of work, you haven't truly become a member of the team until you've cleaned up at least one "human explosion." Unfortunately, dealing with hazardous waste is one of the hazards of the job.
Most of these experiences make you wonder what people are REALLY like in the privacy of their homes.
My "favorite"(?) shit-induced horror story involves a little old man with a deep, gravelly voice. I've been waiting for that little old guy to come back into the store for about 5 years now....
I was working the morning shift, cleaning up the coffee bar or stocking coffee cups or something. A silver Toyota 4-door pulled up right at the front door and a hunched-over little old man with glasses and a cane came hobbling out of the passenger's side of the car, into the store and asked in gravelly tones if we had a restroom he could use. I pointed him toward it and went back to work.
It was the usual Morning Busy, customers passing through and beer & soft-drinks vendors dropping off shipments. I was ringing customers up & taking cash & writing checks for shipments, & slowly I realized that the little old man had been in the bathroom for a LONG TIME. At least 15 or 20 minutes.
Somebody spilled some soda or something on the floor, & I went over by the coffee bar to clean up the mess, which wasn't too big. The store emptied, & the next thing I heard was the silver Toyota as its tires screeched and it vanished out of the parking lot.
A light bulb went on over my head. The little old man had snuck out, not even saying thank you, & whoever was driving the car had wanted to get away as soon as freakin' possible. Obviously a crime had been committed.
As I walked over to the front of the store from the coffee bar I noticed a brown trail leading from the front door back to the men's bathroom.
I screamed.
Avoiding the trail of shit, I ran back to the men's room door, threw it open and....
It was EVERYWHERE. All over the toilet, all over the floor, all over the WALL.... The little old man had exploded, and then crawled quietly away.
He didn't even turn on the bathroom fan on his way out.
I screamed some more, grabbing for mops and towels and wondering where the key was so I could lock up the bathroom -- something we NEVER did.
Then, of course, it got busy. Another beer vendor dropping off a shipment ducked into the bathroom before I even had a chance to post an "Out of Order" sign.
"You don't wanna go IN there...." I called. But it was too late.
The vendor bounced back out awful quickly.
"I TRIED to warn you," I said.
It took over an hour to clean up the mess, between customers. We had plastic gloves that went halfway up my arm. I wished they'd gone up to my shoulders. Or my neck. I was wishing for a gas mask. Or a HazMat suit. The only thing to do was stop breathing and dive in.
I filled a garbage can with foul paper towels. I used up 2 buckets of hot water and more Pine Sol and 409 than I'd normally use in a year. Finally I got the place almost clean, as clean as could be expected under the circumstances.
And he's never come back. That old myth about criminals always returning to the scene of the crime -- well, it hasn't happened under my watch.
We've all been through it. & though I've had other shit-related nightmares at work since then -- including one explosion in the women's restroom that I'm absolutely SURE, due to my persistent, naive belief that women represent all that is Good, the far-better half of humanity ... that NO WOMAN could have created, or at least no woman I ever want to meet -- none of them tops that gravelly-voiced little old man ... who's face is still on my Shit List.
For the past month, we've only had one functioning restroom at work, after some unknown barbarian plugged-up the men's toilet for the absolute Last Time. & amazingly, although it's been a pain, the co-ed bathroom has stayed MUCH cleaner. Up til now. I've probably jinxed it just by writing this....

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