October 18, 2004

Good Clean Living

You know, or you will when I tell you, I cleaned up a little bit around the apartment tonite. Nothing huge, the sink, the toilet, one of my under-the-bed boxes. I found a fake newsletter I had written while I was working at Hell on Earth, aka, Unnamed Firm & Co.

Unnamed Firm & Co., I'm sorry, Unnamed E. Firm & Co., is what is known as an investor relations firm. That basically means they throw luncheons for companies getting ready to go public and they invite a bunch of plate-lickers (platelickers?)* to fill the seats. The plate-lickers are from firms such as Smith Barney and A.G. Edwards, etc., those kinds of places. And really, only a few of the attendees are real plate-lickers by very definition. Anyhoo, they almost always serve chicken at these luncheons, but the steadfast, seat-filling, plate-lickers would always ask for fish instead. Yeesh. The fish-eating plate-lickers were usually old men. And no, I'm not sure why I keep yammering about this. Or why anyone would want to go back to the office smelling like fish. But I digress.

Actually, speaking of fish, one day at the office I smelled something foul and horrendous. (Actually, most days that happened.) But this time it smelled like someone had microwaved fish, which was strange, because we didn't have a microwave. We didn't even have computers (you could bring your own if you had one) and we didn't have a new-fangled fax machine. This was 1995-96 and we had the kind where you had to pick up the receiver, dial the number, push the button, and hang up the receiver. One time the boss, who founded the company in 1950 and who more than strikingly resembled Bob Dole (only slightly better), answered his phone, heard "SQUEE," held the receiver away from his ear, and waited for the fax to come through. (It never did, but he screamed, "Marsha, I think I'm getting a fax!!!" anyway.)

But back to the fish smell....Well, we had a co-worker who was a bit heavy and who kept an industrial-size bottle of Rolaids on his desk. He sweated profusely. And when he breathed, you could hear his nose whistle. Not that I begrudge anyone's (?) breathing, but during staff meetings, it just got really annoying. He hovered, sweated, and nose-whistled the whole time. And he stank. He stank a lot. He stank of fetid sour milk coupled with the odor one might carry if he took 10,000 consecutive dumps without ever changing his pants. It was gag-worthy, to say the least. And when I learned I might have to travel with him (close quarters in a cab, or worse, an airplane), I told him I had Tourette's Syndrome and began looking in earnest for a new job.

Anyway, that afternoon (the fish smell time from up a few 'graphs) is when I learned that this man's stench permeated the office. Because no one had fish for lunch, silly. It was this man. Even when he wasn't in the office, if you left a piece of paper on his chair, it would take on the stink. It was like Siddhartha...everything he saw or touched or moved near took on his foul emanations. Like Siddhartha, I found myself being tested. (I mean I was tested on the book, not life's journey or whatever.) But unlike Siddhartha, there was nothing holy about it. Just picking up a press release from his chair involved the use of MacGyveresque pencil-and-butterfly clip contraptions.

And what's worse, the guy wasn't even nice. He yelled at people. And was belligerent. And he had a girlfriend. I don't really get it. She was nice, and very thin, and very sick. I think I heard that she jumped out of a window and killed herself at one point, but I can't be sure.

I forgot where I was going with all of this--actually I wanted to mention the redwoods but that will have to wait--but I hope it has spurred you to consider your personal hygiene, well, more than personal....It affects us all. Love the planet, love thy neighbor, seek medical help for sour stomach, and for god's sake, don't shit your pants.


Plate-licker: Someone who comes for the food and doesn't really stay and/or listen to the pitch. In other words, just a body to make it look like we're doing our job.

Yeah, I had the real firm name up but then it occurred to me that it would be just my luck someone would see it and I'd get my blank in a sling. Paranoid, thy name is h.


Blogger Donutbuzz said...

Maybe he had that condition like Gordon on "Freaks and Geeks," and he couldn't prevent his smell. But I don't think Gordon smelled like cheese, and your description doesn't indicate aminoaciduria, either.

Oh well, I could go on, but I'm at work, and I don't want to get fired for hypothesizing about diagnoses for people who smell like rotten cheese.


12:18 PM  
Blogger h. said...

Well, rotten cheese rolled in shit, anyway...

12:25 PM  
Blogger Lawbot said...

You know, I went to a suburban bar last night for a couple beers during the NYC game and there was a guy sitting at the bar, a huge, fat man with a ratty beard, who stank so badly that I left before the end of the ninth inning.

I know I'm a little out of sorts and all right now, but honestly, after about the eighth time he screamed his mulchy, fetid breath at the screen nearest my face I seriously considered knocking him off his barstool.

Of course, I only wond up leaving, but it was fun for a minute to imagine taking out work-related stress on a random, stinky bar denizen.

3:24 PM  

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