the loading dock of my work, a truck driver named Tater takes a seat in
the shade and fans his sweat soaked crotch with a celebrity gossip
magazine. Under the broiling summer sun, the tubby
trucker is quickly roasted like a luau pig; his fleshy face turns heart-attack red and his sleeveless t-shirt stinks to high heaven. As
I unload pallets of topsoil off his truck with a forklift, we chit-chat
and have a rather high-brow discussion about how awesome barbeque
flavored Corn Nuts taste. When we’re finished talking, Tater stands up and eloquently says, "Y’all got a toilet? I need to take a dump."
When Tater waddles back from the bathroom all sweaty and winded, I’m knee deep in the stank of my daily working class grind.
Jennifer Lopez is something, huh," Tater boasts and jabs a chubby
finger at a picture of the pop star in his soiled gossip magazine. "I’d wear her ass for a hat."
seconds after Tater departs, a group of my coworkers run out of the
store like terrified villagers frantically fleeing a foreign invader.
"It smells like the zoo in there," a young cashier chokes, a cupped hand protecting her nose and mouth. After I perform an exorcism on the bathroom, an unholy odor festers in the store and clings to my clothes. Good times.
At 8 a.m. the garden center opens and once again becomes the Ellis Island of labor. We hire the wretched, the stupid, the gimpy, the soused, and put them to work for the summer.
A college kid named Hafner shows up to work with only one shoe on. He gives me no explanation for the blunder. Hafner is majoring in aerospace engineering, making him an actual rocket scientist. But it appears that putting two shoes on this morning was too difficult a task. I send him home to find the other shoe and he comes back wearing lime green flip flops. I send him home a second time because labor regulations prohibit the wearing of "kick ass beach wear" on a job site.
Just as I finish watering a section of evergreen shrubs, a rusted out Buick slows down at the back gate. The Rooney Brothers fall out while the jalopy is still moving. They are a half hour late and wear matching purple welts under their eyes
"Hey boss man," Tommy Rooney greets me nonchalantly. They both are eating hard shell tacos for breakfast and a dirty red sauce rings their lips. Tommy finishes his taco in two bites and then puts a chunk of chewing tobacco into his lip for dessert. Danny Rooney rocks nervously back and forth, holding his taco to the side.
"We lost the remote for our TV!" Tommy blurts out randomly.
"Is that why you two are late?" I ask.
"No, it’s got nothin’ to do with the remote control," Tommy says and shoots me a stupid look. "We’re late because there are bats in our apartment that kept us up all night. And we each drank a case of beer."
"But dude, check this out: We lost our remote control and hated having to get up off the couch to turn the channel. It was an issue who’d get up."
That explains their fresh black eyes.
"So we went out and bought a wheelchair. Now we can drink and watch TV and no one has to get up. We just roll on over, change the channel, and roll back. Isn’t that awesome?"
"Actually, it is…" I begin to say just as Danny drops to a knee and dry heaves onto the asphalt.
Tommy takes out his cell phone and takes a couple of snapshots. "I’m soooo Facebookin’ this."
In my mind, I’ve fired these two idiots four hundred times a piece. But who am I going to hire that is eager to shovel dirt for eight straight hours? I’m
so desperate for workers these days that if an applicant wrote on his
application that his previous work experience was "Al Qaeda," I’d still
spill a drop of my taco, bro," Danny says proudly, as he rises off the
pavement and washes his mouth out with Mountain Dew.
Now that’s a skill you can’t put on a resume.