Tag Archives: laughs

Hooked on a feeling

Hooked on a feelingIt was summer, and the company was getting a lot more business.

As a result, the owner, Benito, started hiring people at a frantic pace. Every morning, an unfamiliar guy would arrive at the shop while we were loading the truck, to wait for an interview.

One morning, we were in the shop sharpening lawnmower blades when a car pulled up and a man stepped out. The sunlight glinted off his arms, making me squint.

I peered at him, and I saw that instead of hands, the guy had hooks protruding from his wrists.

Crew Leader Carl appeared behind me. I glanced over and saw that he was staring at the man.

“Dude,” Carl said, as the guy walked into Benito’s office. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“Yeah,” I said. “I’m wondering if we have the facilities, vehicles and tools to accommodate his disability.”

“Actually,” Carl said, “I was wondering how the guy uses the bathroom. You know what I mean? How could be possibly wipe with those things without tearing out his O-ring?”

I looked at him. “You know, Boss,” I said, shaking my head, “I don’t think you and I will ever be on the same page.”

Don’t put all your eggs in one Dumpster

Don_t put all your eggs in one DumpsterIt was late Thursday morning, and it was already sweltering. We were working at our largest account — a shopping center anchored by a supermarket.

There were no lawns to mow or weeds to pull here. Instead, the job consisted of each of us combing the property and picking up trash.

And man, was there always a ton of trash.

We’d each lug a plastic container behind us, and by the time we’d return to the truck, it’d be overflowing with shopping bags, soda cans, beer bottles, cigarette butts, soiled diapers, used needles.

“I really need to get paid more,” I mumbled, dropping a flat, run-over cat into my container.

I was walking the perimeter of the supermarket and approaching my least-favorite area: the overflowing Dumpsters in the back alley. They always reeked of rotting food, and garbage blew everywhere in an endless whirlpool.

As I approached the nearest Dumpster, I saw a pair of legs poking out, wiggling. As I grew closer, warily clutching my trash container, I saw that they belonged to Crew Leader Carl.

“Hey!” he said, wrenching himself out of the Dumpster. He was holding a carton of eggs. “Look what I found! They must be throwing out food today. I found a whole dozen eggs, and they’ve only been expired for a week!”

My stomach turned. “Boss, it’s ninety degrees out here!”

“So what?” Carl said. “It’s not like they’re refrigerated when they pop out of the chicken. You need to learn where your food comes from, pal.”

“Well, I know where it doesn’t come from,” I said. “The supermarket Dumpster.”

If you want to eat my bread, you got to make some bread

If you want to eat my bread, you got to make some breadIt was Saturday afternoon, and I was spending the day with my girlfriend, Katrina. I had just come in from mowing the lawn and was in the kitchen making myself some lunch.

Katrina walked into the room. “I appreciate your mowing the lawn,” she said, “but we need to talk about all the food you’ve been eating here lately. It’s getting to where I can’t afford it.”

“What are you talking about?” I asked, as I slathered mayonnaise on a ham, turkey, chicken, beef, pastrami, salami, meatball and bacon sandwich.

“Don’t get me wrong; I want you to come over,” Katrina said. “It’s just that you’re eating me out of house and home. I feel like I’m buying groceries every few days.”

“I have a physically demanding job now,” I said, lettuce spewing from my full mouth. “I have to consume more calories. My muscles are growing.”

Katrina glanced at my gut. “I’m not sure it’s your muscles that are growing.”

“Well, what do you want me to do?” I asked. “I can’t starve!”

“As gravely concerned as I am about your wasting away,” Katrina said, “I can’t continue to pay so much for groceries. Is there a way you could, you know, chip in a little?”

“I’m sure you’ve noticed the finely mowed lawn out back,” I said, taking another gargantuan bite from my sandwich.

“OK — I’ll spot you the sandwich. It’s true that you paid for it with sweat equity. But what about the box of Tuna Helper you prepared for yourself last night?”

I gave her a mischievous grin. “I imagine I can pay for that with sweat equity, too. What do you say I spend the night tonight?”

“Eh,” Katrina said, shrugging. “If that’s your proposal, I think I’d prefer the money.”

I’m like a doctor — always on call

I_m like a doctor — always on callIt was early Saturday afternoon. I was lying on the living-room floor at my girlfriend’s house, watching a movie.

Or at least that’s what I was trying to do. But a few moments earlier, my girlfriend, Katrina, had appeared in the doorway and asked me to mow the backyard lawn.

“I don’t want to mow the lawn,” I said, whining like a little kid. It was a weak play, but it was my last resort. I was running out of believable excuses not to help out with the housework.

“It shouldn’t be a big deal for you!” Katrina exclaimed. “You mow lawns for a living!”

“That’s the point,” I said. “I mow lawns all week long, and today is my day off. I need a break from yard work once in a while.”

“So you’ll mow lawns for a bunch of strangers, but you won’t mow mine?” Katrina asked.

“Mowing lawns is what I do professionally,” I said. “This is my off-time.”

“I don’t get it,” Katrina said. “What difference does it make to mow one more lawn?”

“OK,” I said. I took a deep breath to make what I knew would be a profound point. “Think about it like this: Me mowing the lawn would be like a gynecologist giving his wife a pap smear on his day off. Right? That just doesn’t happen. Gynecologists spend their weekends golfing. They don’t stay at home performing complimentary pelvic exams.”

Katrina glowered. “That’s really the argument you’re going to use? You’re going to compare yourself to a medical professional?”

I shrugged. “If it gets me out of mowing the lawn, then yeah.”

Katrina’s eyes narrowed to slits. “Peter, go mow the lawn,” she said, her voice eerily quiet. “Right now.”

I leapt to my feet. “You keep the mower in the shed, right?”

This is a job for a professional

This is a job for a professionalIt was early Saturday afternoon, and I was at my girlfriend’s house, watching a movie on TV.

Or I was trying to, anyway. But Katrina, my girlfriend, seemed intent on assigning me household chores.

“Peter, I need you to mow the backyard lawn,” she said, standing in the living-room doorway, holding a laundry basket.

I moaned and kept my eyes on the TV, even though there was nothing on but commercials.

“C’mon Peter,” Katrina said. “You hang out here all the time, and you eat all my food. It’s the least you can do.”

“I told you I’d pay you back for that box of Tuna Helper I foraged from your pantry,” I said.

“That’s not the point. My parents own the home, and they expect me to keep up the yard. And now that you’re a landscape-maintenance professional, mowing the lawn should be right up your alley.”

“I’m not a landscape-maintenance professional,” I said. “I have a journalism degree.”

“Right,” Katrina said, “but that’s the only job you can get with a journalism degree. So by all definitions, you’re a landscape-maintenance professional.”

I frowned, staring into space. “I guess you have a point.”

Grueling labor can wait until the commercial break

Grueling labor can wait until the commercial breakIt was a warm, lazy Saturday afternoon. I was lying on the living-room floor at my girlfriend’s house, watching a movie on TV.

Katrina, my girlfriend, lived in a manufactured home that she rented from her parents. Even though it was cramped inside and out — with tiny rooms and minuscule front and back yards — it was nicer to hang out there than at my one-bedroom hovel of an apartment. (She had a wider variety of food in the pantry, too.)

Katrina walked into the living room, holding a laundry basket. “Peter, can you do me a favor?”

I mumbled incoherently, trying to sound as noncommittal as possible. She had a businesslike tone, which I was sure meant she wanted to put me to work.

“The neighbor’s dog pooped on the gravel outside, and I’m afraid one of us is going to step in it,” Katrina said. “Would you mind going out and shoveling it into the ditch?”

“But I’m in the middle of a movie,” I said, motioning to the television. “Can’t it wait until the commercials?”

Katrina frowned. “These are the commercials.”

“Right, but they’re halfway through. I don’t want to be walking out when the movie comes back on.”

“How long’s the movie?”

“With the commercials, probably another two hours.”

“What if I taped it for you?” Katrina asked. “Then you’d be guaranteed not to miss anything.”

“Would you edit out the commercials for me?” I asked.

“Go shovel the poop!” Katrina screamed.

Those who don’t know, teach

Those who don_t know, teachIt was Monday morning, and all of us were seated on folding chairs in the shop, facing the open bay door. Shoemaker, the shop superintendent, had called an impromptu meeting before the crews took off to go to their respective job sites.

“The owner, Benito, asked me to gather everyone together this morning to discuss something very important,” Shoemaker said, stroking his goatee and pacing back and forth. “The company has gotten a lot of complaints lately. Apparently, some team members have been whistling at women while driving company vehicles.”

I looked at Juan and Slim. Both of them were staring at their laps, examining their hands, as if they’d never catcalled in their entire lives.

“As we all should know,” Shoemaker continued, “whistling at women is inappropriate behavior. Not only that, but it’s sexual harassment. And when we make disparaging sounds at members of the general public, it reflects poorly on our company’s image.”

“Unlike our 30-year-old vehicles,” someone called out. (It might have been me.)

Shoemaker stopped grooming his goatee mid-stroke. “I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that.” He continued to pace. “Because of these complaints, we’re going to spend an hour this morning undergoing sexual-harassment training. I’m passing out pamphlets now. Please take one and pass them back.”

I raised my hand. “Can I ask a question?”

Everyone turned to look at me. Shoemaker closed his eyes and sighed. “Yes. Go ahead, Peter.”

“Are you going to be administering the training this morning?” I asked.

Shoemaker tugged at his goatee. “Yes. As the shop superintendent, it’s my responsibility to ensure all employees are appropriately trained.”

“OK,” I said. “And just so we’re clear, you’re also the one who wallpapered the shop bathroom with all those Penthouse spreads last week. Correct?”

The entire company laughed. Shoemaker’s face turned red.

“Everyone turn to page 1 in your pamphlets,” he said, casting his gaze downward. “Maybe we all can learn something this morning.”

Love this job, and love you, too

Love this job, and love you, tooWe were driving between jobs, barreling down Main Street with our overflowing trailer swinging behind us.

One of the guys, Juan, saw an attractive woman walking along the sidewalk, so he stuck his head out the window and whistled at her as we cruised past.

“OK, that crap’s got to stop!” said Crew Leader Carl, turning around with a cigarette dangling from his mouth. “We have a name on the door!”

I was in the backseat, sitting in the middle. Juan was on my right, and an overweight, acne-ridden guy named Slim was sitting on my left. He, too, was a smoker, and between every job he lit up and puffed like a maniac, filling the cab with both the scents of his smoke and his body odor.

“Hey,” he said, turning to me and elbowing me in the ribs. His breath smelled like limburger cheese and Pall Malls. “You want to know something cool? If you take a song — any song — and you replace the word ‘love’ with the F-word, it changes the entire meaning of the song.”

I looked at him, blinking.

“Seriously, try it,” he said. “Any song. Just replace the word ‘love’ with the F-word, and you’ve got yourself a whole new song. It’s hilarious.”

“Yeah, I’ll get right on that,” I said.

We passed another woman, so Juan stuck his head out the window and whistled.

“Dammit!” Crew Leader Carl said, pounding the dashboard. “I mean it!”

Somebody to Love by Jefferson Airplane,” Slim said, hacking on his cigarette. “Let’s change the words! C’mon, man! Sing it with me!”

I shook my head. “I’d really rather not.”

Another woman was walking up ahead. Juan glanced at Carl out of the corner of his eye, then looked out the window and let out a small chirp.

Through the rearview mirror, I saw Carl’s eyebrows rise. “I heard that,” he said.

Meanwhile, Slim was singing Somebody to Love with the perverted lyrics. Every time he changed the word “love” to the F-word, he laughed and hacked on his cigarette.

Just then, on the left side of the two-lane street, we saw a heavyset woman walking alongside the road.

“Hold on a second,” Slim said. Holding his cigarette, he stuck his double-chinned, acne-riddled face out the window and bellowed “Moo! Moo!”

“Dammit!” Carl said, slamming the dashboard. “How many times do I have to tell you guys? We have a name on the door! A name on the door!”

I sighed, closing my eyes. “These morons are loved.”

Slim looked at me. “What’s that?”

“If you change the word ‘love’ to the F-word, then it makes sense,” I said.

Redheads are notorious

Redheads are notoriousWe were driving between jobs one afternoon, cruising through town with the windows down.

As we went through an intersection, we all noticed an attractive young woman up ahead walking along the sidewalk. She was wearing high heels and a short skirt that showed off her long legs.

As we drove past, one of the guys, Juan, stuck his entire head out the window and whistled. The woman jumped, startled.

“Well, that was subtle,” I said.

Juan elbowed me in the ribs. “She was hot, no?”

I shrugged. “Yeah. She was OK.”

I didn’t want to state the obvious: that she was way out of my league.

“No,” said Crew Leader Carl, shaking his head and puffing on a cigarette as he drove. “You wouldn’t want her, Pete.”

“Why not?” I asked.

Carl looked at me in the rearview mirror. “Isn’t it obvious? Because she’s a redhead!”

We drove in silence for a moment.

“Um, OK,” I said, shaking my head. “I don’t get it. What’s the deal with redheads?”

“Oh, man,” Carl said. “Don’t you know? Redheads are the nastiest of them all! They’re gross. They’re dirty. They’re notorious!

I stared at him, blinking. “Carl, what are you talking about?”

“Well, let me explain,” Carl said. “The only reason I say that is because the first redhead I dated gave me the crabs, and the second redhead I dated gave me the clap.”

I’m sure my mouth was hanging open. “But you can’t just impugn an entire class of women based on your personal experiences!”

“Sure I can,” Carl said. “They were miserable experiences.”

“Maybe it’s not so much redheads in general as the type of women you date?” I suggested.

Carl shrugged. “Crabs and clap. I think the math speaks for itself.”

Teamwork gets the job done

Teamwork gets the job doneBryce and I drove to the job site together. It was an older house with a dirt yard in front and an aged paver patio in back.

We hopped out of the truck. I grabbed both a pick and a shovel.

“OK,” Bryce said, “I want you to dig a three-foot-deep trench from here—” he walked the entire length of the front yard — “to here.”

“What are you going to do?” I asked.

“I got to run to the supply store for spray paint,” he said. “I forgot to grab some at the shop.”

So he left, and I started to dig. An hour later, he returned with the paint.

“OK,” Bryce said, “now that you’re done with the trench, I want you to tear out all those old pavers in the backyard. Put them in a pile by the sidewalk.”

“What are you going to do?” I asked.

“I got to run to the supply store for a couple of bags of sand,” he said. “I forgot to grab some at the shop.”

So he left, and I ripped out all the pavers. I hauled them in several wheelbarrow loads to the front yard and stacked them in a pretty pile by the sidewalk.

An hour later, Bryce returned with the sand.

“OK,” he said, “now that you’re done with the pavers, I want you to dig a four-foot-deep hole by the front of the house. Make sure it intersects with the trench.”

“What are you going to do?” I asked.

“I got to run to the supply store for a valve box,” he said. “I forgot to grab one at the shop.”

So he left, and I dug a four-foot-deep hole. An hour later, he returned with the valve box.

Just then, Benito pulled up in his small truck. He climbed out and inspected the site.

“Good job!” he said, walking toward us. “You guys get a lot done!”

“It’s all about teamwork,” Bryce said. “Together, Peter and I kick some serious butt.”

He looked at me. “Isn’t that right?”

I glared.