When I started my new job, I made a real concerted effort to not be the office weirdo. Truly, I consciously decided to not do things that normal, polite people also do not do. I didn’t want to beg for food, or drop down and do push-ups whenever I got a free minute, or tell people when I go poop. I wanted to keep my head down, do my work, and get my paycheck.
I’ve been doing well. During the day I eat only my own lunch and my own snacks and my own $900 worth of hardboiled eggs and Raisinettes from the cafeteria. I’ve only ever tried doing one push-up—but it was on my standup desk and when it almost toppled over, it reinforced my vow to not do that type o shit. I poop four times a day and—while everyone must suspect something’s up, especially when I leave immediately after stinking up our 10-foot shared workspace with, u kno, a cloud of diarrhea air—I’ve yet to tell a single person about my bathroom schedule.
I’m normal now. I’m courteous and hygienic from the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. From 4 p.m. to 8 a.m., though, I remain a goddamned monster. And unfortunately, sometimes there’s overlap between hours.
I don’t clean my water bottle that much. It only ever has water in it—and since water is what I’d use to clean it—I figure it’s pretty much a wash. I do notice that it sometimes/always has a rusty film on the inside. To counter that, I bought a darker colored Nalgene. Problem solved, son. It’s still hella scummy, but peoples can’t tell. Bugs can, though. Bugs can tell very well.
This past Monday, I got to my job around 8:15 in the morning. I sat down at my desk, pulled my water bottle out of my backpack, and took a pull of sweet, scummy H2O. I set down the bottle, leaving the cap unscrewed, and logged onto my computer. Then I picked up the bottle to take another sip, and that’s when I saw it. A little ringworm-looking-ass-bug* coiled on the inside of my water bottle cap.
I gagged. Bugs don’t normally gross me out, but this bug was way up in my personal space. Plus, DUDE WAS A WORM!!!! WORMS THE TYPE OF MOFOS THAT KILL BITCHES!!!! WHAT IF I’D ALREADY SWALLOWED ALL OF HIS BRETHREN?!?! I plucked him off the bottle to get a better look. He looked dead as hell, so I left him on my pointer finger while I quickly Googled:
those worms that eat your stomach
those worms that kill bitches
I thought I was onto something with that last search when I looked at my finger and the homeboy Wormy was fully unfurled. I muffled a scream in the middle of my silent, open office. I didn’t know what this worm was capable of. He could have burrowed into a hangnail crevice and eaten my bones before I even had time to flick him off.
I couldn’t flick him off, though, because what if he was a real bad bug and I did eat some of his family members? I’d need to know what type of evil I was fuxxin wit. Or what if he was a perfectly decent bug, minding his own business, and I was going to flick him into oblivion, effectively murdering a nice ass worm in cold blood? My solution was to run to kitchen and grab a paper towel. That way we could both chill safely while I Googled whether or not my stomach was going to get eaten from the inside out.
On my way to the kitchen, I walked past my boss on her way in. She asked me how I was, I said a shaky “I’m aiight,” and then ran to the sink. I got Wormy into a paper towel and brought him back to my desk. My boss was looking at me real confused like and said, “You look like you bout to cry.”
“Yeah gurl, look at this. YOU SEEN THIS? I had a worm in my water bottle, peep it.”
“Oh, shit.” (She didn’t really swear, but she might as well have.) “I would die. You got to take that to the doctor. First let’s take some video real quick.”
The doctor! I’ve only been at my job for a few months and had forgotten that we have a free walk-in clinic onsite. My boss and I took a few videos and then I folded up the paper towel and brought it down to the clinic. I walked through the doors, saw two receptionists sitting behind a counter, and slapped the paper towel in front of them.
“Hi, nice to meet y’all. Um, I found a worm in my water bottle. Here it is.” One of the receptionists gasped. A third lady, who I think was a nurse, appeared. “I don’t really clean my water bottle that much… but, you know, sometimes I do. I’m afraid I swallowed this worm’s people. I’m tryna find out if that’s a problem or … just a bit of extra protein in my system.”
The receptionist who didn’t gasp unfolded the paper towel to examine it.
“This isn’t a worm,” she said. “See, this bug’s got antenna plus all types of little legs. It’s a centipede, I think. A centipede-like bug.”
I exhaled. “Word? I saw those antenna, totally forgot worms don’t have those things. Same goes for the legs. I dumb. You think I’m OK then?”
The nurse answered. “Well, let’s put him in a specimen jar so we can show David, then we can tell you for sure.” I don’t know who David is, but I assume he’s an entomologist they’re cool with. The receptionist grabbed a specimen cup.
“Come here, little buddy.” She struggled a few seconds to get him in the cup, then said, “Uh-oh. I lost him.” She dropped him on the desk or the floor or down her sleeve, we never found out. He was gone.
“Well,” the nurse said. “You’re probably fine, but let us know if you have any abdominal issues. Cramping, upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, anything like that.”
I said I would, thanked her, and returned to my desk.
Once again, I am the office weirdo. I’ve now been ordered, by a medical professional, to tell people about my poop.
*I know ringworm isn’t actually a worm.**
**At least I know that now.