Ramblings From an Apathetic Adult Baby

From Justin Gawel: Eccentric Dirtbag

Tag Archives: work

The Overweight Coalition Plans Recruitment

“Easy, easy, simmer down, there’s plenty of scraps for everyone in this office fridge.

“No one’s actually talking, but if the louder chewers could keep it down that’d be appreciated. We have actual business to discuss—Friday Fridge Cleanout isn’t just grazing this week.

“I don’t need to tell you guys; it’s on the tip of our collective tongue just as much as this still-okay, three-day-old lasagna. It’s the new guy, Alex. Ever since that trim motherfucker first sauntered up this office’s half-flight of stairs without panting or dry heaving two Mondays ago he’s been cramping this workplace’s happily-fat habits with his blatantly healthy lifestyle.

“Okay, slow your rolls. I’m noting a mist of anger and mouth crumbs forming and we don’t need anyone to pull a jowel here. We’ll all have a chance to speak out about Alex; no one needs to risk choking on these mildly-stale macaroons we foraged.

“Alex is the real deal, burley brothers and stout sisters. Restraint, pants in normal sizes, self-respect—this kid’ll be tough to break. In just ten days here I’ve watched him turn down donuts on numerous occasions. I overheard him ask for vegetarian options during Meat Tray Monday. And he smugly declined my offer of drawn butter yesterday. He left me looking like the one asshole in the break room with no self-control who puts drawn butter on his tuna salad sandwich.

“Enough is enough. I’m tired of his passive fat shaming—every time he turns something down it’s like he’s stating he’s too good for our high-calorie, high-fructose, high-flavor lifestyle. I ask you all, how can we be expected to feel comfortable gorging in a den riddled with his unspoken, skinny judgment? Our life-shortening practices deserve support, and this time I don’t just mean from our girdles.

“We’ve been lucky with the apathetically-hefty hirings the company’s made over the last two years; however, I’m afraid we’re going to need to begin active recruitment.  It can be done, people. Henderson here was the last one we converted and look at him now: face-deep in container of four-day-old pasta salad that he’s doused with Thousand Island dressing.  You’re an inspiration to us all, Henderson; glad to have you on board.

“Henderson, you went willingly. Alex might be tougher. But, much like our champion tug-of-war team, if we all pull together I think we can effectively guilt him into gaining through a covert artery-clogging assault.

“We’ll start each morning.  I’ll get here early with cream-heavy donuts or cream-heavy bagels and leave one at his desk on a napkin with his name on it. The draw will be too great. Only a diabetic sociopath would be able throw anything that sweet away. Soon he’ll be hooked and it’ll be part of his routine.  I’ll dispense the butter misters, too. All of us can stealthily tack on calories whenever he leaves his food unattended.

“Further, we’ll begin holding a ‘raffle’ each week and of course we’ll fix it so that Alex always wins the gift cards to T.G.I.Friday’s.  That place will be perfect—even just a side salad and a glass of water will run him north of 1,000 calories at Total-Gravy Indulgence Friday’s.

“Last, and I think this should go without saying, we’ll start up the perpetual birthday racket.  I’ll run point, but I want everyone here claiming a ‘birthday’ within the next three weeks. With this we’ll be able to peddle heaping mounds of cake and ice cream on him daily and justify it all with ‘inclusiveness’.

“Of course, if our scheme to fatten him up doesn’t take, we’ll just do things the old-fashioned way and send him an anonymous series of menacingly sexual threats before setting his car on fire.”

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In the Valley of Econo Lodge

“I was there, the second floor corridor trudging behind the one rickety cleaning cart. On top was my coffee, trembling, spattering and, much like myself, allowing its cheap, unhygienic aroma to permeate everything in the vicinity.


“Leading up to it, I can recall almost everything. Every trivial cigarette break, every irrelevant bit of gossip, every inconsequential guilt-riddled pang for me to give my mom that now-three-days-overdue birthday phone call was vividly preserved. As far as housekeepers go, the troop I served with at the Econo Lodge was by far the brashest and cockiest. Sure, we were good; we’d swarm through that two-story filth harbor daily with a jackrabbit-like quickness. Stoic and desensitized, we saw ourselves as a fearless machine, but, ultimately, we were only children toiling against impossible odds.


“Morning rounds that day were normal; they’d gone as expected. A few tips here, a pair of once-white-but-now-rubber-glove-worthy briefs to incinerate there, an abundance of caked after-love and chicken bones in 203’s bathtub, you know, pretty much the standard. Twenty-minutes ahead of schedule and already four-podcasts-deep, I stopped my cart outside 207—”


“Sorry, yeah, no, I’ll just take the entire Kleenex box, Doctor.


“From there on my memory’s only snippets, like a disc skipping or a partially developed roll of film. Wreckage and grime covered everything and immediately I thought I was going to be sick. The grubby, favela-like air clung to the inside of my lungs as I stifled the impending panic-vomit. Recklessly but instinctually, I charged into the fray. I thought I could be a hero and, foolishly, I underestimated the power this hygienic holocaust wielded.


“Second thoughts soon clouded my mind; this visceral frontier had assaulted every sense from every angle. I persisted, though, hoping I could clean my way out of this ambush. White-hot revulsion coursed through me. I’d never know the parents and their litter of children who had left this litter bonanza for me, but I knew then that they would always be a part of my life.


“No, no, I’ll be okay, Doctor; just give me a minute.


“Okay, sorry. Part of me remembers striping the one bed’s nest of blankets to find a trove of half-eaten Gobstoppers corralled in an empty pillowcase and from there I saw the dark red splotches smeared up and down one side of the fitted sheet. It could’ve been pizza sauce. It could have been tomato soup. But the lack of pizza boxes or discarded soup containers suggested this was nothing but chunky toddler blood from a Gobstopper-heavy disagreement or a game of The Floor is Made of Lava gone awry. I was only twenty-two; I wasn’t ready to piece this grim truth together.


“I had no backup; I’d moved in too fast and now had no cover. I needed to get away from the overwhelming mess of Dorito shrapnel, the broken toy that was still dripping with fresh child tears, and the TV remote with the partially-enjoyed Jolly Rancher in place of the usual pair of AA batteries. Frightened, I couldn’t remember any of my training, but that was nothing new. That day I’d been pretty hungover and nowhere near lucid during the four-hour orientation on sheet folding and sexual harassment policies. At this point I staggered to the bathroom, probably hoping to retreat into solace and get away from 207’s ground zero.


“No, it’s okay—I just need to get this all out.”


“I chose wrong. I was so wrong. The bathroom, that repellent coffin of gross, was the pinnacle of the nightmare. The tub was coated in hair, like a barbershop or wig factory floor.  At one end of the hair-carpet was a crumpled, fetid towel and at the other, God, I pray that was only chocolate speckled into a Jackson-Pollack-like buckshot. Pair that visual abhorrence with that mound of ill-fastened dirty diapers strewn around the overflowing garbage can and, yeah, you could say this tour of duty had quickly progressed into a tour of doody. Overpowered, that had to have been when I collapsed, either from the smell or a stress-induced aneurysm.


“Next thing I remember, I was in the hallway. Alessandra, another housekeeper, must’ve pulled me out. Relieved, my lungs filled with fresh hallway air.  I was now freed from the wreckage and smoldering horrors confined within 207.


“Nothing prepares you for that kind of mess. The Econo Lodge wasn’t prepared either; the manager destroyed the room through a controlled burn the following day. I can’t face an Econo Lodge hallway anywhere anymore—they’re all too similar and I’ll uncontrollably tense up. I had to step down from my post; I could handle 99.9% of this job, but you never know what’s going to be on the other side of the door and, eventually, everyone draws a 207. I’d clean up ten, no, ten thousand honeymoon suites from plushie weddings if you could guarantee me that I’d never face another ravished room from a family of six vacationing on a budget again. However, that’s not the reality, Doctor. I’m sorry, I can’t keep fighting the good fight.”




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