Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Studied For My Drug Test

When the Post decided to background check and drug test me before deciding if I would be hired as an employee working for a paycheck I was in turmoil as was my family. It was the time when we were homeless homeowners living in a hotel as well as with family and friends for a month and a half. Try doing that with four kids who never wanted to leave their old neighborhood as is always the case. It was a nightmare. The kids figured if they misbehaved wherever we stayed temporarily then we'd get kicked out and have to go back to the old neighborhood. But our old house was already occupied with our renters who would eventually turn into squatters. The kids' plan even seemed like it worked for them as we stayed those last couple weeks back in that old neighborhood with friends until renting a house back in Maryland in Shady Side by the Chesapeake Bay. We would come to call it Shaky Side but it is only another story I will also have to tell.

But before this we stayed one week in the Racetrack Motel in Charleston,  West Virginia. This was the lowest point in my life in a long while. The whole credit thing was beyond me and it would still be a couple weeks before one nice person who was involved in that wonderful finance industry finally leveled with us by actually giving us a print out of our credit report. That was not so easy as it is now with the Internet. While at my bank, for example, the manager was looking at our credit as she denied us the loan that only three months earlier she pleaded with us to be able to write for the second house. I knew something was wrong with our credit but they would not say what was wrong. So I attempted to look at her computer screen to see for myself but the manager swiveled the screen preventing me from doing so. I tried to go around the other side but she turned the screen the other way. Once I understood my credit was confused with my father's credit and it would take half a year to sort out I knew we needed to rent a house and forget about buying a second home in West Virginia.

We got so lucky though and that was the best thing that could have happened. Today we live by the Bay in a great neighborhood that if you told me it would be so back while we roomed at the Racetrack Motel I'd of deemed you crazy. These houses were going for a fortune then before the collapse of the price bubble cased by Federal Reserve firing up the money printing presses. But the mockingbird never sings about the reserve bankers except in the most respectful tones - one that is pleasing to the ear for Americans not schooled in monetary economics. In reality the Fed is giving it to us all in the other end secretly thanks to great public relations compliments of the mockingbird and television networks.

I was told when to report for my drug test - an act that I detest but submitted to for the paycheck. You have to keep the wife happy. Not to take chances I bought a series of natural pills that were supposed to cleanse one's body of toxins to remove any chance of a positive, either real or imaginary. Why take chances? What the hell did I eat yesterday or last week? Was it a poppy seed roll? So I took the pills that numbered in a series amounting to about fifteen tablets to be consumed with pure distilled water. At the time it seemed like forty pills and the amount of water expected of me to drink was a week's worth for my normal needs - including the showers and laundry water requirements! Okay that's a bit of an exaggeration I shall admit but I am only attempting to convey the weight of gravity on one's bladder while consuming several liters of water while choking down more than half a dozen pills. This is especially so when doing it speeding down route 270 south for the fifty mile ride into DC for the test. You hit a lot of bumps.

I know some sneaky ways to slip into Washington having been a tow truck driver for a number of years. It's a good thing too because as I was finally screaming down Canal Road in the F-150 truck - my teeth were floating and my bladder was exploding. Fortunately I was making great time and was ahead of schedule except for my bladder when I came to the construction in Georgetown at Key Bridge. Only one car was getting through per each light cycle and even though the Washington Post was just five minutes down the road I sat there half an hour before my turn to go through the intersection.

I passed Key Bridge, roared down M Street without being sited for speeding by the cops or they would have also sited me for urinating in public as well, then hooked a left on L Street for the final leg of my journey. I pulled up along side the Post building just before 15th Street and parked illegally. I jumped out of the truck and ran into the restaurant on the corner and into their bathroom. I stood there going for what seemed like an eternity but every second was bliss at that point. However, one troubling aspect was the color of my urine was clear as water - because it was mostly water freshly out of a nearly drowned man. But I had taken that last pill while waiting in desperation by Key Bridge. So I was hopeful as I walked past the guards and up the elevator to personnel where I met with a heavy set black gentleman. We talked briefly then he gave me the location of the urine testing site which was about five blocks away on the corner of Connecticut and L Streets. That's just great I thought. I'm ready to go again right now. So we shook hands and I left for my date with the urine inquisitor.

As I said, I had to go again at the Post and that five block walk did not sooth that urge one bit. The fact is when I arrived at the building I had to go pretty badly...not desperation time but uncomfortable heading towards aggravating. But it took a turn towards desperation when I walked into the drug testing clinic and something like thirty people were sitting in the waiting room. No way I would make it that long before having to go again. I've never drunk that much water before at one time and my bladder was not pleased with me. There was even some sign about first come first served as well. The man behind the counter finally walks up and ask how he can help me. I said, "I'm here for a drug test but if I've got to wait for these other folks I'm not going to make it." He asked, "Pre employment screening?" "That's right," I replied. "We can take you right now." The man informs me and my bladder. "These people in the waiting room have Court ordered screening and we give employment screening priority." I turned to look at the Court ordered thirty again and I noticed they all were sucking on a liter bottle of water - probably washing down their pills from the GNC to beat their drug tests.

I go into the bathroom and try to hold the little cup while I go into it. This is an unnatural act for which man is not physically coordinated to do successfully. When I say man I do not mean that in the generic term signifying all humans. I'm talking about just the dudes. We have only recently been adequately reprogrammed to put the toilet seat down after maintaining an accurate downward stream centrally into the toilet bowl. For millions of years we had the whole world to aim at and could walk away freely afterwards. Now after we have only recently been wired by mothers, girlfriends, wives and sisters angry over the late night plunge to aim for a porcelain bowl a foot or so wide we get this dixie cup tyranny. Today we must shoot for the cup barely two inches across. As the cup was filling the good news was the urine was a normal color but the bad news was that cup was filling up and I had to make the transition from cup to bowl. I did so flawlessly even though this was my first drug test and I never even practiced peeing into a cup once.


I passed the test! So I was hired as an employee of the Washington Post. It was the fall of 2000, I was working, we were no longer homeless so I could finally relax. That's when I got sick.


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