Embarrassed Out Of Work
EMBARRASSED INTO ENLIGHTENMENT
"EMBARRASSED OUT OF WORK"
A series of embarrassing jobs causes a young man to lose interest in the "American Dream" of owning a house, a car, and lots of material possessions, and instead start to dream of someday leaving America, and living a much more simple life as a "minimalist".
"THE DRUG TEST"
Once I turned 18 the time had come for me to find a job so that I could move out of my parent's house and become independent.
So I did some "job hunting" and found out that there was a new mall that was being built, and they were going to be having a big "job fair" soon where anyone who was interested in working there could show up and apply, so I decided to go to it.
Over 100 people showed up that day looking for a job, and they had everyone fill out applications and watch some training videos, and although I was usually really nervous around strangers and in public, I was actually handling the situation surprisingly well until they announced that everyone would be required to take a drug test before they left by peeing into a cup.
As soon as they announced the drug test at least a dozen people immediately stood up and walked out because they knew that there was no way that they would pass the test, and I almost got up and walked out too...
But not because I was on drugs (I had never taken a drug in my life) but because I have "Bladder Shyness", and I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to pee in a cup!
When it was time to do the drug testing they had us all go into a big room with a small bathroom attached to it.
They then started drug testing everyone, and the way it worked was they called everyone's name one at a time, and when your name got called you would have to walk up to the bathroom where a large man who was wearing a shirt that said "SECURITY" on it was standing in-front of the bathroom. The man would hand you a cup and then you would go into the bathroom, pee in the cup, come back out, and give it back to him.
Everyone else was doing it with seemingly no problem whatsoever, but when they called my name I nervously walked over to the man to get my cup, and then I went into the bathroom and tried to pee, but I just couldn't do it!
I tried and tried but nothing would happen because it was simply too difficult for me to pee when I knew that there were a bunch of people right outside the door who were waiting for me to finish.
The thought of going back out there with an empty cup was terrifying to me, so I resorted to every trick I could think of to make myself pee...
- I turned the sink on slightly to mimic the sound of urination.
- I closed my eyes and tried to imagine a waterfall.
- I put my free hand just below my belly button and started finger drumming over my bladder while silently humming to give my urine some epic theme music to come out to.
But none of this was helping, so I then tried putting my hand in the sink and running some warm water over it, and finally after what seemed like an eternity of doing this I actually started to pee...
I was so relieved that I was able to do it and that I wasn't going to have to go back out there and tell the man that I "couldn't go", but then just as the cup was almost full there was a sudden and loud knock at the door which startled me so bad that I dropped the cup and spilled it on the floor.
I then heard the large man from behind the door yell...
"ARE YOU OK IN THERE BUDDY???"
So I nervously shouted back to him...
I then heard several of the other people outside the door starting to laugh about it, and I even heard some of them imitating the way that I nervously said, "Ugh............ yeah...........".
I quickly bent down to pick up the cup, but noticed that the lid that had come with the cup was now missing.
I couldn't remember if I had set the lid down somewhere or if I was holding it and had dropped it when the man pounded on the door and startled me, but I frantically searched all over the bathroom for it and couldn't find it anywhere!
(The lid was actually in my pocket, but just like the man who is late for work and can't find his car keys even though they are in his pocket, my short term was severely impaired due to how stressed out I was in that moment!)
I didn't want to go back out there without a lid because I imagined that the big man at the door would be really upset about it (or at the very least really confused) and would probably yell, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU LOST THE LID???" in front of everyone. (And then the people who were doing the actual hiring would probably think to themselves, "We better not hire that guy who lost the lid of his urine test cup, because he's completely incompetent!")
The thought of going back out there with an empty cup AND without the lid was mortifying, and to make matters worse I then started to hear all of the people outside the door talking about me, and saying things like...
"What's taking this guy so long?"
"He's been in there forever!"
"What is he doing in there???"
And then I heard a comment that would haunt me for years to come...
A woman (who judging by her gravely voice was middle aged and smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day) said...
"Any man that needs this much time to pee in a cup can't find the little guy."
As soon as she said it everyone burst out laughing, and I felt so embarrassed and "insecure" about it that I instinctively looked down between my legs, and when I did I realized that when I had dropped the cup of urine some of it spilled on my pants, and it looked just like I had peed my pants!
Then the man started pounding on the door again but this time I was way too uncomfortable to respond. So he pounded louder and louder, and all I could do was just get down on my hands and knees and crawl under the sink, and then I put my hands over my head like they teach you to do at school during a "Tornado Drill", and I just tried to take comfort in the words of wisdom that "No Storm Lasts Forever".
Because I was non-responsive they ended up calling 911, and the police had to come and take the door down just to get me out of there!
Needless to say I didn't get a job, and it was such a humiliating experience that I didn't even apply for any other jobs out of a fear that I would have to take a drug test again, and it seemed as though I was doomed to live with my parents forever.
But then a few years later a cousin of mine named "Paul" suddenly showed up at my parents house looking for me, and he told me that he needed me to help him pass a drug test.
I didn't know what he meant, so he explained to me that he was applying for a job but that he smoked marijuana regularly, and he needed some of my "clean urine" to pass the drug test.
He then showed me a special bag that he had purchased that allows you to cheat on a drug test.
The way the bag worked was that you would fill it with the urine of someone who doesn't do any drugs, and then you would hide it under your clothing. The bag also had a small emptying tube that could be pulled out through the zipper of your pants and conveniently poured into a cup during a drug test.
So I let him have some of my urine and he passed his drug test with it, and in exchange he let me borrow the device so I could hide some of my "clean urine" under my clothing and pass a drug test too without having to pee on command, and I was able to get a job at "Walmart" using the device!
(I might be the only person in history who has ever used their own urine to cheat on a drug test, but I have "Bladder Shyness" and it was the only way I could pass the test!)
"THE WORLD OF THE 100,000 THINGS"
The first job I ever had was stocking shelves at a "Walmart", and the "Walmart" that I worked at was one of the giant "Super Center" stores which sold over 100,000 different items.
But when I first started working there I of course didn't know where every one of the 100,000 different items were located, plus I was extremely shy and nervous around people, so I feared customers coming up to me and asking me where random things were located.
Sometimes a customer would ask me something easy like, "Where are the TV's?" and I would confidently tell them where they were at, but then a few minutes later I would suddenly realize that I was wrong, and that I had accidentally sent the customer in the totally wrong direction. Then I would start to worry that the customer might be really mad at me about it, and that the customer might even be on their way back to confront me over it. So I would run to the employee bathroom and just hide in a stall for half an hour to avoid running into the customer again!
But I wasn't "stealing time" when I would hide from customers in the bathroom at work, because as a Walmart employee I was supposed to be given two 15 minute breaks every day and the managers would purposely make me work through both of them. So as long as I didn't spend more than 30 minutes a day hiding from customers in the bathroom (or as long as I didn't average more than two and a half hours per week or 130 hours per year doing it) I didn't feel that I was doing anything wrong.
"MONKEYS ON TYPEWRITERS
Working at "Walmart" wasn't all bad, and I actually managed to have a lot of fun during my time working there. I was always getting asked where random things were located, so one day as a joke I drew a really detailed map of the store and I put a big red "X" where the blow driers were located. Then I put the map in my back pocket and brought it to work with me every single day until finally after about 5 months of always having it in my back pocket a man came up to me and said, "Excuse me young man, but can you tell me where the blow driers are at?"
I was so excited that someone finally asked me where the blow driers were that I quickly reached into my back pocket and pulled out the map, and then I handed it to him and walked away without saying a word...
About 10 minutes later I was working and I looked over my shoulder and saw the man who I had given the map to staring at me from a distance. He looked so confused and it was obvious that he was trying to figure out how in the world I just happened to have a map to the blow driers in my pocket. (And why in the world a map like that would even exist in the first place.)
So I stared back at him and carefully observed the way that he looked and dressed until I had a photographic memory of what he looked like in my mind, and then we continued to stare at each other until he finally got uncomfortable and just walked away.
The next day he showed up at the store again, and it was obvious that he still wanted to know how I did what I did because he walked up to me and said, "Excuse me, but I just wanted to thank you for your help yesterday when I couldn't find the blow driers." and then he just stood there anxiously waiting to see what I would say in response...
I then reached into my back pocket and handed him yet another piece of paper, and I once again walked away without saying a word...
I had fully expected him to return, so the paper that I gave him this time was a very realistic picture that I had drawn of him looking really confused and using a blow drier!
I'm guessing that the drawing really freaked him out, because I never saw him in the store again.
But several months later I was at a gas station putting gas in my car, and another car pulled up to the pump next to me. When the driver of the car got out I realized that it was him and he looked at me and gave me a casual nod, but then he realized that it was me and his eyes got all big and he quickly jumped back in his car and sped off!
Because he was a lot bigger than me it made me realize that I had the power to scare people if I really wanted to.
"THE LADDER INCIDENT"
The "Walmart" that I worked at was so big that the top shelves were about 20 feet in the air and sometimes customers would ask me to get something for them that required a ladder to reach.
The problem with this was that all of the managers at work had told me that I wasn't allowed to use a ladder due to how nervous and jumpy I was, so if a customer asked me for something on a high shelf I would have to go and find another employee to actually climb the ladder and get it for them.
But one day a very beautiful lady asked me if I could get a kids bicycle for her that was way up on the top shelf and I said, "Sure, one moment please." I then ran around the store looking for another employee, but every employee that I saw was either talking to a customer or talking to another employee, and because I was such a polite person I was too uncomfortable to just walk up and interrupt anyone's conversation.
I was also terrified of public speaking, so I couldn't just get on the store intercom and announce over the loud speakers that a customer needed assistance in the bicycle aisle either.
I didn't want to keep the woman waiting (and because she was so beautiful I didn't want her to know that I wasn't even allowed to use a ladder because then I would probably never have a chance of being her boyfriend someday) so I decided to take matters into my own hands...
I didn't see any managers around so I went to the back and dragged out a big ladder, then I set it up under the bicycle that she wanted and I began climbing the ladder to get it myself. (I was scared of heights, but I really wanted to impress her so I just kept climbing and told myself not to look down.)
When I finally made it all the way to the top shelf I grabbed the bicycle that she wanted, but then I heard her yell up to me, "Sir." so I looked down to see what she wanted and as soon as I saw just how high up in the air I was I instantly felt my legs go limp and I started to fall backwards so I screamed and quickly wrapped my arms around the ladder, hugging it for dear life!
After several moments of awkward silence the lady yelled up to me, "Are you OK?" but I was so paralyzed with fear and embarrassment that I literally couldn't move or respond to her question, and I actually started crying.
The lady felt really bad for me and yelled up, "Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry that I had you go up that high... I didn't know that you were afraid of heights!" and all I could do was just keep my face buried under my arms in shame...
After what seemed like an eternity I looked down again and saw that the woman was gone, so I was about to climb back down the ladder, but then she suddenly returned, and this time she had a managers with her named "Mark" who was really mean to me, and as soon as he saw me on the ladder he started yelling at me, "Hey! What the hell are you doing on that ladder? I told you that you are never to even touch a ladder! Get down from there this instant or you will be written up!"
Because he was yelling at me in front of a beautiful woman I felt even more immobilized, and because he was yelling so loudly several other customers started coming to the aisle to see what in the world was going on, and before you knew it there was a large crowd of customers gathered under the ladder looking up at me.
Because I was completely non-responsive the manger pulled out his walkie-talkie and called for security to come to the aisle, and a few minutes later a really big security guard showed up and had to climb up the ladder to try to "talk me down".
He climbed up the ladder until he was right below me and he did his best to nicely ask me to come back down, but I just ignored him and kept my head covered and didn't even look at him, so he then reached up and grab my ankle, and it startled me so bad that I instantly jerked my leg back and I accidentally kicked him right in the head, and it almost caused him to fall off the ladder!
As soon as I realized what I had done I looked down at him and told him that I was sorry, but he was understandably upset about it, and he told me, "Look man, if you refuse to come down this ladder then I'm going to have no choice but to call the actual police, and if you make me do that then I'm going to tell them that you kicked me in the head, and you might even have to spend the night in jail over it!"
As soon as he said the part about me going to jail I felt more scared than I had ever been in my life, and to make matters worse I then looked down at the beautiful woman who I had tried so hard to impress, and with a frightened expression on her face she turned to one of the other customers and said, "Oh my God, can you imagine what would happen to that poor boy in jail?"
Then several of the customers started yelling up to me that I had better come back down because there was no way that I would survive a night in jail!
I then looked at the security guard with fearful eyes, and because he was so used to dealing with criminals he could "smell fear" like a dog, and he knew exactly what I was thinking, so he looked me in the eyes and said, "If you go to jail the first thing that they will do is take your "mug shot", then they will "strip search" you, then you will have to have to take a shower with a bunch of other naked men, and because you are so skinny and are basically the closest thing to a woman that some of them have seen in years..."
I then stopped him and said, "OK, OK, OK, I'LL COME BACK DOWN!"
My fear of going to jail was far worse than my fear of heights so I started climbing back down. (And honestly, just the thought of having to get my mug shot taken was already too scary for a person like me who is "camera shy" to think about!)
When I finally made it back to the floor the crowd of customers all started clapping and cheering over the fact that I wasn't going to have to spend a night in jail, and I felt so humiliated by the whole experience that I wanted to quit my job over it!
But because I had been working at "Walmart" for a while I had kind of gotten caught up in the belief that happiness was something that you can buy, and I had accumulated a MASSIVE amount of credit card debt due to buying stuff that I couldn't really afford. (Mostly fancy and expensive things for my apartment that I thought would really impress a girl if I ever got a girlfriend.) So I felt "stuck" and unable to quit at the time.
Although the "Walmart" that I worked at was the biggest building that I had ever been in, during the holidays there would be so many extra customers in the store that I would actually start to feel "claustrophobic", and to make matters worse the customers were a lot more angry and aggressive during the holidays...
I had to work on "Thanksgiving" day and as soon as I showed up there was a mentally challenged guy who worked there named "Clifford" moping something up, and some of the other employees were watching him and laughing for some reason, so I asked them what was so funny and they said, "Some old man crapped his pants and the managers made "Clifford" clean it up!"
I felt bad for "Clifford" (and the old man) but I also couldn't help but think that if it wasn't "Thanksgiving" it probably wouldn't have happened. (The fact that there were so many people in the store that day who were all stressing out because they had waited until the last minute to buy stuffing was probably too much for the poor old man to handle!)
There were also over a dozen "fender benders" in the parking lot that day, and a customer even got arrested for punching an employee! (And the reason he punched the employee was just because we were out of canned cranberry sauce!)
I couldn't help but think that if it wasn't "Thanksgiving" it wouldn't have happened, because I don't think that it would be possible to get that mad over cranberry sauce on any other day of the year. And the person who went to jail over it probably didn't even like cranberry sauce anyways, but he had been programmed to believe that he had to have some cranberry sauce on "Thanksgiving" day.
I had to work on the day after "Thanksgiving" as well (which is commonly known as "Black Friday") and the customers were acting so hostile that day that 11 people got arrested and an ambulance had to be called to the store twice! (Plus everyone was talking about how a customer at a different "Walmart" actually got trampled to death that day by a mob of shoppers who were all rushing into the store as soon as the doors opened at midnight!)
I had originally planned on buying a big stereo system and a bunch of other things for my apartment as soon as my shift was over that day, but I was so scared that day that I ended up spending most of my shift hiding in the employee bathroom, and once my shift was over I didn't dare stick around to fight over whatever merchandise was still left!
During the month of December they would play the same dozen "Christmas" songs over and over again on the intercom at work, and this would drive the employees so crazy that I would often hear co-workers say things like, “If I have to hear "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" one more :&%#@ time I'm going to bring a gun to work and just start shooting people!"
There were also a lot of white people with protest signs standing outside of my "Walmart" because we had a black employee dressed up as "Santa Clause" and posing for holiday portraits with kids, and they felt that seeing a black "Santa Clause" would confuse their white kids and ruin their Christmas!
I had to work on "Christmas" day and a "Jewish" woman who worked with me got really offended and yelled at me because I said "Merry Christmas" to her. (I didn't even know what the word "Jewish" meant at the time, and I was just trying to be nice when I said it to her.)
But I couldn't help but notice that later that day when the manager announced that everyone would be getting a $50 "Christmas Bonus" check, not only did she not get offended by it but she literally yelled "Woohoo" and started clapping and dancing for joy because of how happy she was to get a "Christmas Bonus" check even though she was "Jewish".
"BECOMING A CONSCIOUS CONSUMER"
All of the holiday madness that I witnessed got me to start questioning the whole concept of "consumerism", so I did some research on-line and was alarmed to hear a statistic that 99% of the material goods that are purchased at places like "Walmart" are no longer even being used 6 months after purchasing them.
"That can't be true!" I thought to myself, but then I looked around my apartment at all of the stuff that I had bought to impress a girl someday, and I realized just how much money I had spent on things that I had never actually used.
I then learned about something known as "Planned Obsolescence" which is where things are purposely designed to break down or become obsolete shortly after purchasing them so that people will throw them away and have to purchase newer versions of them. And I also noticed that people were being conditioned to think that it was embarrassing to still own things that were considered "old fashioned" and to get rid of them even if they still work perfectly fine.
For example, new TV's were getting bigger while new phones were getting smaller, so if you owned a big TV and a small phone you were cool, but if you owned a small TV and a big phone everyone would think that you were a loser!
One day I was working in the "Pet Aisle" and I noticed that there were even products that were designed to embarrass people's pets into becoming life long loyal consumers...
For example, there were cat litter boxes being sold at Walmart that came with a "privacy tent" so that cats could use their litter box without the awkwardness of having their human owners staring at them when they used it, and because I had "Bladder Shyness" I knew that this would train cats to be like me and to eventually not be able to go to the bathroom without complete privacy.
A lot of protesters would show up at "Walmart" claiming that "Walmart" was "evil" because we sold products that were made in sweatshops overseas, as well as products that were causing unthinkable amounts of environmental destruction to produce, but because I had never traveled and had never seen any of these evils with my own eyes (combined with the fact that so many crazy people would show up to protest at "Walmart") I tended to label all of the protesters as "crazy" and I didn't take anything they said seriously at the time.
"THE PEOPLE OF WALMART"
"Walmart" was notorious for having some really strange and unusual shoppers, and one day I showed up to work and the oddities were out in full force...
Within 5 minutes of starting my shift I caught a crazy looking guy stealing peanut butter, but instead of simply taking a jar of peanut butter and sneaking out of the store without paying for it like a normal shoplifter would, he actually opened a jar of peanut butter and scooped out a big handful of it, then he stuffed the handful of peanut butter into one of his pants pockets, and quickly walked out of the store!
I made no attempt to stop him and I actually thought it was hilarious.
A few minutes later an overweight black man with a big white beard and overalls rode up to me on a motorized handicapped shopping cart while holding a really small bottle of "Elmer's Glue", and he asked for my assistance. He told me that one of the rain gutters had fallen off of his house, and he wanted to know if I thought that a bottle of "Elmer's Glue" would fix it.
I had to laugh about his question and was now in one of my super silly moods where everything seemed funny to me.
Then I saw an angry old white man walking around with a bag of hamburger buns, and as soon as he spotted me in my "Walmart" uniform he walked over to me looking irate. I did my best to keep a straight face as I politely asked him, "Can I help you with something sir?" and he held the hamburger buns up to my face and shouted, "This is horse shit and you know it!"
I immediately burst out laughing because he was cussing, and all of the other customers around us stopped what they were doing and started looking at me and the old man.
The old man was furious that I was laughing at him so he started cussing me out in front of everyone, which only made me laugh more, which only made him cuss more, which only made me laugh louder, which only made him cuss louder, etc...
Me and the old man were caught in an intense exchange of polar energies and it got so powerful that my chest started to hurt from all of the laughter so I grabbed my chest and fell to the floor. Then the angry old man became so angry that his chest started to hurt from all of the rage so he grabbed his chest and fell to the floor as well...
As we both laid on the floor about to die (me from laughter and him from a heart attack) I had a "Near Death Experience" and below is a detailed description of what I remember of it...
"MY NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE"
I remember seeing some emergency paramedics running over to help me and the old man, and because I was so uncomfortable about being touched I stopped laughing and quickly jumped back up to my feet to run away from the paramedics, but as I was getting up off the floor I looked down and saw my lifeless body still laying on the ground!
So I turned to some customers who were standing right next to me and asked them, "WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOING ON?" but they completely ignored me, so I raised my voice but they still went on acting as if I was completely invisible and wasn't even there, and it hit me that I must have died and that I must be a spirit now...
Normally this is the part of a "Near Death Experience" story where the person who died will say that they watched their lifeless body being revived by the paramedics, but unfortunately the first thing that the paramedics did to my lifeless body was take the shirt off of it so they could perform CPR, and I felt super embarrassed over the fact that everyone was seeing me with my shirt off, so I ran out of the building to get as far away from my half naked dead body as possible!
But once I got outside I heard some shouting behind me so I turned around and saw that the spirit of the angry old man was coming straight at me with a vengeance so I kept running to get away from him!
The old man chased me down the street and as we ran past people's houses I kept having to jump over piles of merchandise from "Walmart" that were piled up along the side of the road and waiting for the garbage trucks to come along and haul it to the dump!
The old man chased me all across America and in every city there were small mountains of merchandise from "Walmart" that was still in good condition but piled up and waiting for the garbage trucks!
I was running as fast as I could but the old man was getting closer and closer!
I then looked ahead and saw that we were about to reach the edge of "California", so instead of turning left or turning right I kept running straight towards the water, and when I finally reached the edge of the shore I made a big running leap and I jumped all the way across the Ocean and landed on the other side of the world!
I had jumped across many time zones so it was now late at night and I had no idea where I was. I had landed on a street somewhere and all of the street signs were written in Chinese, so I figured that I must be in China.
I started walking down the dark street and it must have been really late at night because I didn't see another person anywhere, and none of the houses that I saw had any lights on. But then I noticed a building with a dim light shining through the windows and a strange mechanical noise emanating from inside, so I curiously approached the building, and when I saw that the front door was opened I walked inside to see what it was...
It was a factory that made cellphones and there were lots of people working inside, but I was shocked to see that even though it was late at night some of the people who were working there were young children who were still in diapers!
I couldn't believe what I was seeing, but then I looked more closely and noticed that the adult workers were wearing diapers too!
Everyone in the factory was just wearing a diaper and nothing else, and it didn't take long for me to figure out that the reason nobody was wearing a shirt or pants was because of how incredibly hot it was in the building. And the reason that everyone was wearing a diaper was because they were being forced to work extremely long hours, and they weren't even allowed to take bathroom breaks!
These poor workers had to work in these conditions just to keep the production of cell phones in China high and cost of cell phones in America low for people like me, and because I had "bladder shyness" I felt a lot of sympathy for these people. (And I felt kind of guilty over the fact that I was actually able to "hide" in the bathroom at work for long periods of time without anyone even noticing my absence.)
But then one of the workers saw me and started pointing at me and shouting something to everyone in Chinese.
I didn't speak Chinese, but I could tell that the fact that I was an American and the fact that I was wearing my work shirt which said "WALMART" in big letters and that had a big smiley face underneath it caused these mistreated sweat shop workers see me as the devil himself!
So I ran out of the building and all of the workers stopped working and started chasing me down the street!
They chased me through the streets of China, and we ran past several other sweatshops that were full of mistreated workers who were being forced to produce cheap products for "Walmart" (and who were also being denied bathroom breaks) and the workers in those buildings also came outside to join the chase, and before you knew it I was being chased by millions of Chinese people in diapers!
I kept running until I reached the edge of China and I once again made a big running leap, and once again leaped across many time zones so it was now daylight again, but instead of landing in another country, this time I simply landed in the middle of the ocean!
The ocean where I landed was full of floating plastic garbage, and it was all whirling around like a gigantic whirlpool!
I didn't know how to swim, but I was able to grab some empty "Clorox Bleach" bottles and use them as temporary flotation devices. But the ferocious speed of the spinning "Garbage Patch" was so great that I eventually lost my grip of the bottles, and just like the countless spiders that I had flushed down a toilet back when I was a lot younger and a lot less compassionate towards smaller life forms, I was doomed!
I got sucked in and flushed downward into the ocean, and once I sunk down a giant whale came up to me and swallowed me whole!
I was still alive, but I was inside the whale and in total darkness. But then I felt something hard and loose rolling around near my foot, so I reached down and picked it up to see what it was, and I could tell by the feel of the object that it was a flash light. So I turned it on, and the inside of the whale's stomach was completely full of random indigestible man-made objects that had somehow ended up in the ocean.
There was so much man-made stuff in the whale's stomach that I couldn't help but curiously browse through it all, but then it suddenly hit me that all of the junk that was inside the whale's stomach was actually all of the junk that I had bought for my apartment.
Then me and all of my material possessions suddenly started spinning around in circles like clothes in a dryer, and when the tumbling finally stopped I had lost the flashlight, but it didn't matter because a bright light in the distance suddenly came on and illuminated the inside of the whale.
I got up and walked towards the light to see what it was until I got to the whale's mouth, and then I stepped out of the whale's opened mouth and found myself on a bright sunny beach.
The whale that swallowed me had been washed ashore due to all the garbage it had swallowed.
I then looked around and saw that there were dozens of other "beached whales" as well so I tried desperately to push them back into the ocean so they wouldn't die, but sadly they were way too heavy for me to budge them.
Then I heard a loud beeping sound approaching so I turned around and saw a giant garbage truck driving along the shore to collect all the whales since they had quite literally become giant sacks of man-made garbage that had been washed up to the "curb" of the ocean, and that were now ready to be taken to the dump!
I then woke up in a hospital bed to the beeping sound of a heart monitor, and I realized that my "Near Death Experience" was just a dream, but I felt that the exploitation and pollution that I had envisioned was really happening, so I decided that I should try to find a more "environmentally friendly" job. (Plus everyone had seen me without my shirt off at Walmart when the paramedics were trying to revive me, so I was too embarrassed to go back anyways.)
I got a job working at "Whole Foods", and although I felt really good about the fact that I was working at a "health food" store, the prices at "Whole Foods" were so high that it made me feel embarrassed to work there!
Even the managers at "Whole Foods" were so embarrassed about the prices that they would purposely not even have price tags on certain items that were ridiculously expensive. (Hoping that customers would just put it in their cart without knowing or caring what it cost.)
But of course a lot of customers would want to know how much these expensive items cost, so sometimes they would ask me, and when I would tell them the price I would have to deal with the bulging eyes and the "ARE YOU SHITTING ME???" responses from customers who felt outraged or even "insulted" by our prices!
I dread having to be the "bearer of bad tidings", so having to be the one to break the news to someone that a tomato they want to buy cost $7.00 is just as uncomfortable for me as it would be for a doctor to have to tell one of their patients that they have cancer!
So although "Whole Foods" offered a lot of unique health foods that couldn't be found in regular grocery stores, I felt that they were also causing people to develop a strong and limiting belief that if you want to eat healthy you have to be a millionaire. (Hence the nickname "Whole Paycheck" that I would have to hear multiple times a day whenever the managers would make me run a cash register and I had to be the one to tell people how much their total was!)
One of the things that I liked about working at "Whole Foods" was that because I was an artist the managers let me draw all of the decorative signs in the store. (Instead of using normal printed signs like other stores did "Whole Foods" would use chalkboards and colored chalk to create unique and artistic signs throughout their store.)
But after a while the managers started to feel that the signs that I was making were a bit "silly", so they started putting restrictions on what I could and couldn't do with signs.
One time I had to draw a sign for a big display of pickles that had been imported from all over the world, and the jars of pickles were ridiculously expensive (One of them was from Brazil and cost over $600 for some reason!)
The managers told me not to go crazy with this sign and to simply write "Imported Pickles", so I agreed to make the sign, but because the pickles were so expensive I wrote the word "Important" instead of "Imported" so that the sign would say "Important Pickles" as a joke.
I made the sign and hung it up for everyone to see, and what was really funny to me was that nobody even noticed the misspelling. (Everyone who worked there was so used to seeing the word "imported" on expensive products throughout the store that their minds would just "auto-correct" the word "important" to "imported" when they read the sign. And even if some of the customers read the sign correctly they probably saw the prices and just thought to themselves, "Oh wow, these are the most "important" pickles I've ever seen!")
The sign stayed up for months and I thought it was hilarious that none of the managers could see what I had done even though they were looking right at it, but it also made me to stop and wonder just how often my own mind would "auto-correct" things that I looked at just so the world around me would make more sense.
I lived on the 3rd floor of a big apartment complex and one night I was woken up at 2:00 AM by the sound of sirens and people yelling outside, so I got out of bed and looked out the window to see what was going on, and I realized that my apartment building was on fire!
Luckily firefighters showed up pretty quick, and the police also showed up and were pounding on everyone's doors and yelling that everyone had to evacuate immediately!
The fire was spreading and was getting closer to my apartment so I knew that I had to get out quick, but then I saw a "CHANNEL 8 NEWS" van pull into the apartment parking lot.
I then watched in horror as several camera men jumped out of the news van and started filming the fire, and then a really beautiful female news reporter with a microphone got out of the van and started interviewing all of my neighbors who had just been evacuated on live TV!
Because of how "camera shy" I was I was just as afraid of the thought of being on TV as I was of the fire, so I felt trapped in my apartment and unsure what to do next...
What To Wear?
As the fire raged on and the temperature in my apartment started to increase my desire to live also started to increase, and I decided that I had to face my fear of the cameras and go outside, but I was still in my underwear so I ran to my closet to put on some clothes first...
I went to grab a shirt from my closet but because it was late at night it was too dark to see which shirt I was grabbing, and I knew that if I turned a light on in my apartment everyone outside would see the light come on and know that someone was in my apartment (including the camera men and the beautiful reporter) and I definitely didn't want the attention that it could bring!
I was too afraid to just put on a random shirt without knowing exactly which one it was, because most of the shirts that I owned were shirts that I was comfortable wearing when I was home alone, but that I definitely wouldn't choose to wear if I knew that I was going to be on television AND that a beautiful woman was going to want to talk to me!
And even the nicest shirts I owned were my "work shirts" but they said "Whole Foods" on them, and because "Whole Foods" had recently been all over the news due to getting busted for selling "Asparagus Water" (Which was nothing more than a small bottle of water with 3 stalks of asparagus in it for $6.00 a bottle.) I feared that if I put on a work shirt the beautiful reporter would know that I worked at "Whole Foods" and she might even start interrogating me about the embarrassing "Asparagus Water Scandal" on live television!
It then occurred to me that because I was a male I could technically just go outside without a shirt on, but I simply didn't have the confidence to do that.
I then looked out the window again and noticed that some of my male neighbors who had just been evacuated were actually standing outside without a shirt on since they had just gotten out of bed and didn't have time to get dressed, and none of them seem embarrassed about it at all. (And they didn't even try to cover up their chests or anything whenever the beautiful reporter would walk up to one of them and start interviewing them!)
I then thought about "Charles Darwin" and thought to myself that if I died in the fire it would be "Natural Selection", because a man who is too embarrassed to be seen without a shirt on will not go on to reproduce anyways!
Then my apartment started to fill up with smoke and I was so desperate that I decided to call 911...
The 911 Call
I called 911 and when a woman answered and asked me what my emergency was I told her that my apartment was on fire.
Then I explained to her that the fire department was already there to put it out, but that I was really shy and there were a lot of people outside of my apartment (including people from the news who were filming everything) and I just wanted to know if she could please get a hold of the police who were there on the scene and ask them to please have everyone turn around and face the parking lot for just a minute or two so that I could leave my apartment without everyone looking at me...
But unfortunately she didn't empathize with my social awkwardness one bit, and she just started shouting at me in a angry and commanding voice, "IF YOUR APARTMENT IS ON FIRE THAN YOU HAVE TO LEAVE NOW!!!"
Then the phone went dead due to the fire, and I'm guessing that she traced my call and reported it to the fire department because less than a minute later a fire fighter suddenly showed up and started pounding on my apartment door while yelling...
"I KNOW YOU'RE IN THERE! COME ON OUT!! YOU HAVE TO LEAVE NOW!!!"
But I was too afraid to open the door so said nothing and acted like I wasn't there, so he then walked over to my living room window and punched it twice, and on the second punch the window shattered!
He then crawled into my apartment while shinning a flashlight at me and I tried to run away from him but my apartment was so full of smoke that I couldn't see where I was going, and I ran right into a wall, which knocked me silly and caused me to fall to the ground!
Then the firefighter (who was a very big and strong man) picked me up and hoisted me up on his shoulders, and then he took me outside and carried me down the apartment stairs while I had nothing on but a pair of underwear and while I was kicking and screaming in terror (but also smiling and laughing like a little school girl due to how ticklish I was) and of course everyone was staring at me!
When we got to the bottom of the steps he set me down on the ground, and luckily another fire fighter came running over to me with a big gray fire blanket, and he wrapped it around me so that only my head was showing. But then the beautiful female reporter came running over to interview me so I quickly ducked my head down into the blanket to hide like a frightened turtle!
She attempted to interview me, but I kept my head down until she finally got the hint that I was shy and I heard the sound of her high heel shoes walking away from me across the pavement.
Once I was sure that she was gone I slowly poked my head back up and saw that my apartment was now completely engulfed in flames, and that everything I owned was on fire!
Out Of The Ashes
It turned out that the fire had started because one of my neighbors had fallen asleep on his couch while he was smoking a cigarette, and the fire ended up destroying 28 apartments. (Including my own.)
Rather than getting angry or depressed about it I tried to view the fire as the beginning of a new chapter in my life, and as a sign that it was not only time for me to find a new place to live. (And also time for me to find a new job, and possibly even have my name legally changed since I had appeared on the local news that day in my underwear!)
When I was finally allowed to go back inside of what was left of my apartment all of my material possessions that I had bought (and had gotten myself into serious debt over) had been completely destroyed, and all that I could really salvage was about 13 dollars worth of coins.
I desperately needed clothes, but based on the kind of places that I was used to shopping at I imagined that 13 dollars wouldn't even be enough money to buy a decent shirt. However, one of my neighbors named "Edward" (who I ended up having no choice but to meet due to the fire, and who I ended up enjoying talking to) told me that there was a "thrift store" across the street where I could find lots of really inexpensive clothes.
I had never been to a "thrift store" before, and all I knew was that it was a store that sold used clothes, so I always imagined that the clothes at a "thrift store" would be really old and raggedy looking, and that the only people who would shop at a place like that were people who were either really poor or homeless. But left with no other options (and realizing that I myself was now really poor and homeless) I swallowed my pride and went to the thrift store with just a blanket wrapped around me, and what I found was nothing short of amazing...
The "thrift store" was full of "slightly used" clothing that still looked brand new to me, and that cost practically nothing! As I walked around the store I kept looking at the price tags in disbelief and telling myself that I would never go to the mall and buy brand new clothes ever again!
With the 13 dollars that I had I was able to buy a really professional looking business suit, which I wore it to my next job interview, and I got the job!
"HOLDING THE DOOR OPEN FOR SOMEONE"
I got a job working as an "office temp", and on the morning of my very first day of work I pulled into the parking lot and started walking towards the front door of the building. But as I was approaching the door there was an old man in front of me who was also walking towards the door, and he was walking a lot slower than me so I purposely slowed way down just to avoid getting close enough to him that we might have to say "Hi" to each other.
When the old man finally got to the door he opened it and was about to go inside, but then he turned around and noticed that I was walking toward the door, so instead of going inside he just stood there and held the door open for me to be nice.
(You have to understand that friendly gestures like this make socially awkward people like myself extremely uncomfortable, because although he may have been saving me the trouble of having to open the door, he was putting me in the much more difficult situation of having to open my mouth and say, "Thank you" and possibly having to engage in meaningless "small talk".)
So I started to walk a lot slower hoping that he would just give up and go inside without me, but it wasn't working and he just kept patiently waiting for me at the door.
Then I pretended that one of my shoe laces was untied so I bent down and acted like I was tying my shoe, and after about a minute of fidgeting with my shoe laces I looked back up and couldn't believe that he was still standing there just waiting for me. (But now he looked a bit impatient and I think he could tell that I was trying to avoid him!)
So I stood back up and tried my best to start walking toward the door, but I just couldn't do it, and I actually started walking backwards instead!
The old man was looking at me in disbelief as I walked backwards back toward the parking lot, and I looked at him in disbelief too because I honestly had no idea what I was doing either!
I didn't want him to think that I was acting this way just to avoid him though, so I put my hands in my pocket and started feeling around with with a confused look on my face as if I had forgotten my wallet or something, and then I turned around and ran back to my car pretending that I had forgotten something.
Once I was in my car I started pretending that I was searching for something important in my glove compartment, and after spending a few minutes or so just staring into an empty glove compartment I glanced back up to see if the old man was still standing at the door, and I was horrified to see that he was actually walking towards my car with a big frown on his face!
I screamed and frantically started up my car, and then I drove away from him as fast as I could!
I drove around the block a few times just to kill some time, and when I finally returned to the office I was relieved to see that the old man was no longer outside. But when I went inside I found out that he was actually my boss, and I was also over 20 minutes late because of the incident, AND he was really mad at me because I had left big black tire marks in the parking lot when I sped away from him!
It was such an epically bad first impression, that it still blows my mind to this day that he didn't just fire me over it on the spot!
"BRING YOUR KIDS TO WORK DAY"
On my second day of work at the office it was "Bring Your Kids To Work Day".
I was the only person in the office who didn't have kids, and because it was still considered strange back then for a man in his mid-20's to still be single and not have any kids, this lead to people asking me if I was gay or a virgin on only my second day working there.
During the lunch break that day all of the kids went outside to play "kick ball" and all of the adults stayed inside and watched them playing from the break room windows. There were two big tables in the break room, and all of the male employees were sitting at one table while all of the women were sitting at the other table.
As we were watching the kids play one of the kids kicked the ball really hard and it flew across the field and hit an overweight boy right between the legs! (Which caused the overweight boy to fall down and caused everyone sitting at the "male table" to instantly cringe and say "Ouch" at the same time.)
The overweight boy slowly got back up and limped back inside while holding his groin, and when he came into the break room he walked right up to his Mom, and in front of everyone he said to her loudly...
"MOM MY BALLS HURT!!!"
I was shocked that the boy actually said the word "balls" to his Mother, so I turned to one of my male co-workers named "Eric" and asked him, "Could you say that to your Mom?"
He looked a bit puzzled by my question and asked, "What? That my balls hurt?" so I said "Yeah" and he just shrugged his shoulders and said, "I guess so... Why?"
I couldn't believe what I was hearing so I asked him, "You mean to tell me that you could actually say that to your mom and not feel embarrassed?" and in confusion he asked me, "Well what are you supposed to say if your balls hurt???"
He then looked me up and down and said, "You must have lived a very sheltered life growing up!" and then he added, "And I bet that if you woke up with a mysterious lump on your balls you would be too embarrassed to go to a doctor to have it looked at." So I thought about it for a moment and admitted to him that even calling to schedule an appointment for something like that over the phone would be way too embarrassing for me!
He then got a big grin on his face, pulled out his cellphone, and tried to call his mother but she didn't answer, so he left her the following voice message...
"Hi Mom, it's "Eric", and I just wanted to call and tell you that I love you.
I also wanted to let you know that the kids are all doing really well in school, and that I'm going to buy dad that set of golf clubs that he was talking about for his birthday next month!
And before I forget "Susan" asked me to please call you and thank you for giving her your lasagna recipe. We had it on Sunday, and although it wasn't quite the same as when you make it, it was still really good, so thanks a lot from all of us!
And... Oh yeah, my balls hurt a little today...
Well, I gotta go, bye Mom!"
He then hung up the phone and everyone at the male table burst out laughing about his phone messages (including me) but I still think that it's weird to be able to say something like that to your Mom!
Although the office building had lots of windows they were never opened, and the temperature inside was completely controlled artificially via air conditioning and electric heating. Because of this the office was air tight and I had to sit between 2 large women ("Barbara" & "Roxanne") who would always wear really strong perfume that would make me feel nauseous and even dizzy!
(And it would always blow my mind when the other men in the office would actually come over and compliment "Barbara" & "Roxanne" on how "good" their perfume smelled!)
Deep down I felt lonely and desperately wanted to find a girlfriend someday, but the problem was that literally every woman I had ever met wore perfume, which was basically a repellent to me in the same way that "bug spray" is to an insect. And I also refused to wear cologne (even though women supposedly loved it) because the smell of cologne would make me sick too.
(And it would always blow my mind to think that these toxic and horrible smelling colognes were often marketed for their "power of attraction" and would actually have brand names such as "Irresistible", "Temptation", and "Seduction"!)
I couldn't take it anymore, so one day I went into the boss's office and begged and pleaded with him to please move me to a different area of the office so that I wouldn't have to sit by "Barbara" & "Roxanne" anymore, and finally after weeks of asking he finally decided to go ahead and moved me to the other end of the office so that I would be far away from them.
But unfortunately he also told "Barbara" & "Roxanne" that the reason he moved me away from them was because I kept telling him that their perfume was making me want to throw up! (So I knew that any time I had to interact with "Barbara" or "Roxanne" at work it was going to be super awkward!)
"SITTING ALL DAY"
It wasn't until I started working at an office that I realized just how fragile humans were becoming. (Not just physically fragile but mentally fragile as well.)
For example, all of the men in the office were required to wear black dress pants as part of the "dress code", but there was a guy at work named "Rick" who would always complain about this rule and say that he didn't like the way he looked in black pants.
"Rick" kept showing up to work wearing blue jeans instead of black pants, so the manager eventually called him into his office and he told him that if he showed up to work wearing blue jeans again he would be sent home.
After being told this "Rick" literally went to the bathroom and cried about it for over an hour, and then the following morning he actually showed up with a doctor's excuse saying that he couldn't wear black pants!
Because I was always on my feet and moving around a lot in my previous jobs I found sitting in a chair for 8 hours a day to be extremely difficult to do. (And it seemed like I was only one in the office who felt this way, because everyone else would show up to work on Mondays and be practically bragging about how they spent their whole weekend just sitting in front of their TV watching movies, playing video games, or "binge watching" entire seasons of certain TV shows.)
I lived within easy walking distance from work and because of how tired I was of constantly sitting I actually started walking to work instead of driving just to avoid "sitting in traffic". And I noticed that it actually didn't take me that much longer to walk to work than it did to drive since the traffic was so slow, and I also noticed that I would show up to work feeling more awake and more energetic if I walked there.
I started to really enjoy walking, and because I lived within easy walking distance of all of the other important places that I would go to like the grocery store, the bank, and the thrift store I actually started considering the thought of just getting rid of my car altogether.
But when I told my male co-workers about this idea they all told me that no woman would ever want to date a guy who didn't own a car, so I got scared and decided to keep my car and keep driving everywhere.
Then one day I thought of a simple yet brilliant idea to not have to sit for 8 hours a day at work...
I took some boxes of paper from the "supply room" and I put them on top of my work desk, then I put my computer monitor and keyboard on top of the boxes, and because they were a bit higher now I could stand while typing.
I felt so happy that I would no longer have to spend 8 hours a day sitting, but unfortunately the fact that I was the only person in the office who was standing resulted in a lot of strange looks, and some of my co-workers would even complain about it and say things to me like,
"Will you please just sit down? You're making me really uncomfortable by standing all the time!"
Eventually enough people complained about it that the manager called me into his office and told me I had to sit down like everyone else, because just the sight of me standing all day was too much for my sedentary co-workers to handle!
I was so upset about not being allowed to stand up at work that when I got home I immediately grabbed the one chair that I had in my apartment, and I took it across the street to the local thrift store and donated it. (I was so sick of having to sit for 40 hours a week at work that I didn't even want to look at a chair when I wasn't at work!)
And when I went to work the next morning and told one of my male co-workers about how I didn't even have a chair in my apartment anymore he burst out laughing and told me,
"Dude, you're going to be a virgin forever!!!"
"THE HALLWAY OF DOOM"
Sometimes I would have to use the copy machine at work which was in a room by it's self and you needed to walk down a long and narrow hallway to get to it.
The problem with this was that sometimes a person who had just finished making some copies would be walking out of the copy machine room as I was approaching it, and because the hallway was so narrow we would have no choice but to acknowledge each other with empty "small talk" such as...
Them: "How are you?"
Me: "How are you?"
Or even worse the person would say something that was supposed to be funny like,"Working hard or hardly working?" or "Are we having fun yet?" and I was expected to laugh even though it was the thousandth time that someone had said that to me and it wasn't even funny the first time I heard it.
I simply couldn't take these pointless and uncomfortable encounters anymore, so if I was walking toward the copy machine room and someone suddenly walked out of it I would instantly turn around and come back later.
But then one day I was walking to the copy machine and when I was about half way there "Barbara" (one of the women who got offended because I said that her perfume smelled bad) suddenly walked out of the copy machine room and started walking towards me.
I of course turned around immediately, but as soon as I did I was horrified to see "Roxanne" (the other woman who got offended because I said that her perfume smelled bad) was on her way to the copy machine too and she was walking towards me from behind.
I looked back and forth at both of these two large women who I was way too uncomfortable to interact with (and didn't want to smell) approaching me from opposite directions and I realized that I was trapped!
It made me think of the "bridge scene" in the movie "The Temple Of Doom" when "Indian Jones" was standing in the middle of a really primitive bridge that was made out of wood and ropes, and there were people with swords who were coming onto the bridge from both directions wanting to kill him.
I then remembered that "Indiana Jones" did something totally crazy in the movie. (He pulled his sword out and just cut the bridge in half causing both of the groups of people who were trying to kill him to fall!)
So once "Barbara" and "Roxanne" were both only a few feet away from me I reached my arms high up in the air as if I was holding an imaginary sword, and then I slammed the imaginary sword down in front of me in an attempt to cut the hallway in half.
Of course, the hallway didn't get cut in half since the sword wasn't real, but when my hands came down I pulled down the emergency fire alarm lever that was on the wall in front of me, and the fire alarm went off!
The alarm was so loud that "Barbara" and "Roxanne" both stopped walking towards me and started covering their ears, then the sprinklers in the ceiling turned on and they both got down to the ground and covered their heads!
So I jumped over "Roxanne" and ran back down the hall, and since I knew full well that I was going to be fired over the incident I went ahead and just kept running out of the building and back to the parking lot never to return!
And as soon as I got in my car I looked up and saw that my boss had just came outside and was running towards me to finally fire me! So I once again sped off and left a huge set of tire streaks in his parking lot!
Working at an office simply wasn't for me, and I was determined to find a new job where I could be on my feet the whole time and where in addition to getting a good paycheck I would also be getting a good workout!
MORE WORK STORIES COMING SOON
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