Today, at the office, in a stunning display of athleticism and physical prowess that would have made my 4 year old proud, I managed to spill an entire bowl of chicken soup on myself, soaking my clothes from my shoulder down to my knee. I was eating lunch at my desk when this happened, so I’m officially calling it a failed attempt at multi-tasking. Unfortunately, the soup was no longer hot so I don’t get to sit at home, surfing the internet and sending prank emails to elected officials while I collect on the stupidest worker compensation claim of all time. Dammit.
The problem with royally fucking up your work clothes is that it’s not an acceptable excuse for going home. Well, I take that back. I once worked with a guy who got comically drunk on Jaegermeister and tequila one night (Jesus, what a combo), and shit himself the next day at the office. He got sent home. I don’t think there was a single person in the office who thought that he should have showed up in the first place, let alone stuck around after the pants-shitting.
But chicken soup on your shirt and pants is not an excuse for missing work, so I had to “improvise”, and by “improvise”, I mean “go to the mall across the street looking and smelling like I survived an explosion at the Campbell’s Soup factory”. Making matters worse, I was wearing a white shirt, and so from a distance I’m sure it looked like I’d had a firehose-like problem while standing at a urinal. “Haha!” I found myself saying at 140 decibels. “This sure may look like I peed my shirt up to the shoulders, but really I just spilled chicken soup all over myself! Haha!” It’s hard to tell if people believed me because I couldn’t read the expression on their faces as they ran away from me.
Now, I’m white, so I went into Old Navy (this mall doesn’t have a Gap). I spent about 14 nanoseconds picking out the clothing and was on my way to the fitting room, where I planned on putting the clothes on, taking off the tags, and paying at the register. This is when I remembered that Old Navy, like all clothing stores, has a staff of hired perverts watching for just this kind of behavior in the dressing rooms, and once I started removing tags, I was likely to wind up covered in chicken soup in a mall holding cell, which, frankly, would have been so depressing that suicide would have been the only viable option.
So I took the clothes up front to the teenage cashier who looked me up and down, wrinkled her nose, and said, “How are you today?” with the tone of her voice clearly conveying the fact that the real question she wanted to ask was, “Did you just piss yourself doing a fucking handstand or what?”
“Haha!” I replied, rapidly beginning to wish that I was dead. “I’ve been better!”
When the clerk didn’t take the bait and ask me why I wasn’t having a wonderful day, I felt the need to explain.
“I was eating lunch at my desk when I spilled soup all over myself.”
Nothing. No reaction, whatsoever.
“And… Uhhh… Can’t go around smelling like chicken soup all day! Plus it’s kind of uncomfortable, and…”
By this point, she wasn’t even trying to bag my clothes, she was just staring at me the same way you’d stare at any garden variety lunatic who was doing something incredibly stupid in public.
This entire scene would have played out no differently if I had showed up wearing a safety helmet and said, “Hi! Because I’m mildly retarded and can’t eat anything more complicated than a juice box and a pudding cup, I need to get some new clothes please! I left my accident bag at home.”
I don’t know why I was so self-conscious, to tell you the truth. I was dealing with someone I don’t know. Who is she going to tell? “Hey, you’ll never guess who showed up at the store today, soaked in what looked like piss? Some guy I don’t know! Isn’t that amazing?” Who fucking cares? Well, apparently I do, because I felt like a Grade A asshole waiting for her to ring me up.
I should take lessons from my 4 year old. He can be walking around in public, visibly having pissed himself, finger up his nose, and he could give a flying fuck.
Me: Hey, did you have an accident? You did! You had an accident!
Finally, after several Presidential administrations had come and gone, the cashier finished ringing me up and handed me my new clothes. “Thanks,” I said, as I tried to shrink away from the register.
“Uh-huh,” was her reply.
I think the only face-saving move at this point is to burn down Old Navy, but I’d probably end up spilling gasoline all over myself and wind up at the same register. “Boy! Two days in a row!” I’d say.
“Uh-huh. What are the odds?”
Fucking Old Navy.