Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Straight from the Horse's Mouth... er, Womb

I have nothing to say tonight. I literally can't think of a single thing about which to type. Hm. Well, I could always tell you about the shittiest job I ever had. Really? Don't mind if I do.

I was in college... maybe the winter of my sophomore year. I needed cash but I couldn't bring myself to work at the drive-thru window at the bank again. You can only swipe so many fake IDs for your friends, you know? My friend D said his dad had a line on a gig in the city that had the potential for some quick cash. I liked quick cash, so we headed downtown.

We arrived at a giant, corrugated steel quonset hut type of building, somewhere on the south side of Chicago. Very industrial area. Found the head of the place -- he had some sort of eastern European accent... I'm no language expert but it sounded vaguely Uzbeki, maybe Turkmeni. So the guy looks us over and says, "You two need some boots. Here -- take this and go buy some. Heavy duty kind. Then come back." Okay, that was odd -- apparently whatever we were doing required heavy duty boots. Good sign. So we took the hondo he gave us and went and bought us some boots.

We got back and were directed to a lockerroom type area. We were told to put on these white coverall things, hardhats and our new heavy-duty boots. Then we were led back into the quonset, which was really fucking cold, mind you. It was December in Chicago and there was no heat in the goddamn place. There were lots of other dudes dressed like us and there were shitloads of forklifts driving around with palletes and big oil drums and shit. Oh, and it smelled like barf.

So, this dude gives us each a really long metal pole with a big old scoop on the end. Then he leads us over to this open man-hole and points down into it. He says, "So, you put pole into hole, you scoop fat up and then dump into barrels. Okay. Get to work."

So here's the deal. This place was some sort of weigh-station where trucks from all over the country would come and dump animal by-products into this huge underground sewer system. It was shit like horse embryonic fluid and donkey tinkle that, I guess, is used in shampoo and capsules for medicine and shit. So this donkey jizz is flowing underground and a thick layer of fat forms on top of the liquid. Our job was to scoop off this layer of piss fat and dump it into barrels. I have no idea where the barrels were headed... most likely to the Little Debbie factory. But that's beside the point.

The important thing to know is, the smell wafting up out of this manhole was akin to the smell one might experience if one were stuffed into a horse womb, floating in horse embryonic fluid, and then had horse turds jammed up your nostrils, while you were snacking on donkey ass. It was the foulest fucking thing I've ever experienced and it will remain with me until I am a bleached skeleton with really long hair and fingernails. It smelled like shiturdiarrheabarf... fart.

So I'm like, "Dude, I can't wait to thank your dad for getting us this awesome job!" But being good little boys from the suburbs, we figured we'd give it the old college try. So I plunged the pooper-scooper down the hole, scooped me up a heapin' helpin' of horse liquid and pulled it back up. Then I lifted up the scoop and dumped the glob into a barrel. Now here's the funny thing, and by funny I mean really fucking fucked up. When I dumped the fat ball into the barrel, it splattered back up and sprayed both of us IN THE FACE! I had to wipe ass juice off of my lips. It was like getting a facial from a Clydesdale. And it was all over our hands and shit. It was fucking insane.

And then one of the worker dudes comes up all concerned-like and says, "Uh, hey, don't you guys have any gloves?! That shit can burn your skin off and the smell never goes away!"

Who the fuck invents a business like this?! Seriously, at what point does someone say, "You know... I'll bet there's a shitload of horse embryonic fluid going to waste in the world. I wonder if I could convince people to put it in their shampoo and their pill capsules. Yes, I think I'll do that."

So they rushed us into this special sink area and had us scrub our hands with this special soap and shit. While we were scrubbing, this one dude told us how, when he first started there, his wife wouldn't let him in the house after work. He had to take his clothes off outside and then scrub down using the garden hose before he could even go inside. "She got used to the smell eventually, though," he continued. I'll bet she did, dude. The smell of "what-the-fuck-did-I-marry?!"

So yeah, that pretty much did it for that gig. We decided to call it a day -- I mean, we had put in a good two and a half hours worth of work, lost the outer layer of our hand epidermis and had ingested more than the RDA of donkey drippings. We changed out of our coveralls, handed over our heavy-duty boots, jumped in the car and sped off for the suburbs, never to return that quonset-of-horrors again.

Over the next couple of weeks, the skin on the palms of my hands started peeling off. It was so fucked up. I never forgave D's dad for that gig. To this day, I can't smell horse embryonic fluid without suffering crippling flashbacks. And I always ask the pharmacist for tablets instead of capsules.


Kim said...

And here I thought being an elf for a shopping mall Santa was a tough gig.

Dude, you win. Hands down.

crabbydad said...

I don't mean to diminish the crappiness of your Santa servitude. I'm sure that bit royally, as well. You didn't have to sit on his lap, did you? Or comb his beard? Or polish the North Pole? 'Cuz that would be worse.

EOB said...

I might have you beat. This was my last summer job before heading off to Chicago for college. A friend's dad owned a shipyard down in Virginia Beach and I was assured that we could make major double-overtime money for two months.

We got down there and my friend was shown the air-conditioned office to learn the family business and I was shown the bilge of the ship where I would spend many 40-hour weeks at regular pay scooping up buckets of oil, walking up 4 flights and then down the gangplank in 100 plus heat to pour it into barrels.

I only tried to get the oil off my arms and legs at the end of the first day. But the burning from the turpentine wasn't worth just getting the top layer of oil off of me (only to leave a more opaque layer on the skin no matter how much I tried to turpentine it away). I was quite a sight on the beach every weekend as I looked like I had just taken a swim up in Alaska. (Uh, Exxon Valdez spilled that spring.)

So, similar type of job, but mine lasted a few months. Not to mention having to work with racist Greek foremen who, every morning, liked to point out that since I didn't have any skills (couldn't weld) I was only good for [insert n-word here] work. And then there's all the Virginians who were still fighting the Civil War. (Every men's room stall let me know that "Northerners' suck Southerners' dicks." Funny, we didn't bother to think of Southerners in NY/NJ, let alone write about them while crapping.)

crabbydad said...

Yeah, EOB, that sounds pretty heinous. And I don't think the southerners were being mean by writing that on the bathroom walls. They just left off the question mark at the end -- they were making a request. They just needed someone besides their sisters to do it while they were away from home.