While taking continuing education classes last month, I met a man who is employed at a hippie commune. Well, those aren’t his words, they’re mine… He never actually used the phrase “hippie commune,” he only described one and I connected the dots.
It’s an institute, he said, populated by militant vegans and earth people. They own a defunct college(!), comprised of several large buildings on many acres of land. And they generate income by publishing a series of magazines on the subjects you’d expect, stuff like ecology, organic foods, and carbon-neutral sandal repair. Who the hell knows?
Anyway, many of the “employees” live at the institute full-time, there’s a vegetarian lunch room there, and the whole nine yards.
However, they also hire regular folks to perform various high-skill functions, and the guy I was talking with fell into that category. He was involved somehow with the technical side of their publishing venture. But he’s no hippie, he’s just an Average Joe.
One day, he told me, his boss called him into her office and told him to have a seat. And she said, “I need to talk to you about your body odor.”
How’s that for an ice-breaker?
The guy blinked ten times real fast, and sputtered, “My body odor? Um, I shower every morning, and use both deodorant and cologne. I don’t think…”
“No, no, no. Not that,” she said. “I mean you stink of meat.”
“I’ve had several complaints, and noticed it myself. You have the smell of baloney wafting off you, or roast beef or something.”
He said they’re fixated on baloney, and seemingly believe all meat-eaters sit around at home gnawing on enormous logs of the stuff. Baloney is the subject of a disproportionate number of conversations at the institute, he assured me.
Caught off-guard (I mean, seriously), he asked what she wanted him to do about it. “It’s not like I’m walking around with my pockets full of pork chops. Are you asking me to stop eating meat?”
“No, I’m not allowed to do that,” she said, “but I wanted you to be aware of the complaints, and ask that you take your co-workers into consideration.”
How’d you like to work under those circumstances? Good god! Your colleagues are complaining because you smell like yankee pot roast. And it got me to thinking about people I’ve encountered in my life, who REALLY DID stink-up the workplace.
And, as a public service, I’ll now give you a brief run-down of each…
In Atlanta there was a sales manager (probably pulling down $150K) who sat in his office all day farting. I don’t know if he had some kind of medical condition, or just didn’t care. But it often smelled like vaporized turds near his workspace.
Two elderly black women worked in the credit department adjacent to this weirdo’s office, and they were always utterly disgusted. I remember them walking up and down the hallway spraying Lysol and hollering in protest: That man is nasty! This caused me to buckle over in laughter every time.
The farter happened to be gay, and one of my co-workers believed the smell was so strong because of “compaction.” Heh.
There was another guy who worked at the same place, who always smelled like deep-fried food. I mean, every article of clothing he owned was saturated with it. People called him Fry Daddy behind his back.
Out in the hall was a place where folks could hang their coats, and his red ski jacket was always by itself. All the other coats were bunched together, but everyone avoided that red (semi-filthy) jacket like it was dripping with disease.
It was every single day with that guy. In fact, I bet he’s sitting around right now, wherever he ended up, smelling like a corn dog stand at a carnival.
I once worked at a bookstore, and management was forced to have a talk with a hippie hemp-sack bicyclist who arrived at work most days smelling like an open-grave. He rode that bike everywhere he went, through the Georgia humidity, and often worked-up a good stink.
They weren’t exactly tactful about the whole thing, or confidential either, and I felt kind of bad for the guy. Something needed to be done, as evidenced by the customers passing out and hitting their heads on the fixtures, but they could’ve gone about it a little quieter.
He seemed like an OK guy (for a hippie hemp-sack bicyclist), and the managers humiliated him.
In Greensboro I worked at a grocery store with a man shaped like a teardrop. Know what I mean? His shoulders were an extension of his neck, just straight down, and his ass was the widest part of his body.
He apparently made no effort at stink-suppression, and the longer he worked, the worse it got. By the end of the shift nobody could come within fifty yards of the dude. We called him The Funk Pump.
But since we worked overnight, and had little contact with customers, management never said a word to him about it. Finally, one of the other guys purchased a Speed Stick, or somesuch, and handed it to him.
“Here, you might want to start using this,” he told the guy, all matter-of-factly.
I’d never have the courage to do something like that, but it worked. The Funk Pump stopped pumping funk after that night.
And finally, I once worked with an enormous morbidly-obese man who walked with a four-legged cane. He always smelled kinda musty, like a house with a dampness problem.
I figured it was because of the place he lived, but one of my co-workers thought it was the smell of “bursting cysts.” WTF? Aren’t cysts under the skin? I think she was talking about zits, but that’s not what she said.
Anyway, her theory was that his “folds” were loaded with these so-called cysts, and would explode during exertion. Every time he reached for his Big Gulp cup, she believed, a few would go-off.
I have a suspicion this woman had no idea what she was talking about, but it was a hard image to wipe from my mind. In fact, I’m seeing it right now — and I’m thinking about filing a lawsuit.
Hey, and wasn’t there a band from the San Francisco area called Bursting Cysts? Or am I mistaken about that?
In any case, it’s now your turn. Use the comments section to tell us about former or current co-workers who stink to high heaven.
And I’ll see you guys tomorrow.