Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Whiz Kid





Citizens of Toronto are on the alert for a band of pickpockets who distract their victims by strafing them with fecal matter. The perpetrators work in concert, one flinging poo, one pointing out the flung poo, and one executing the robbery, and presumably all share the profits, although I should think that the one in charge of collecting ammunition might rate a bonus. Underpaid employees of Forensics have confirmed the fecal matter to be human. Which brings two observations to mind. One: Evolution is not all it's cracked up to be. Two: at least they're not using the fake stuff.

There is a disturbing trend towards the use of phony bodily humors and something really should be done before it gets out of hand. Faux poo, vomit and blood are still mainly used in the novelty industry, and the mock mucus market is still in its infancy, being mostly confined to a single storefront in Pittsburgh. (Its product, "I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Booger," has remained stuck on the shelves, and the proprietor blames slow sales on the economy. He rigorously denies that his product is illegal. "That blows," he told reporters recently. "It's not," he is believed to have added.)

The most egregious use of fake humors is the trade in false bile, truckloads of which are off-loaded to the Republican National Committee daily, which resolutely defends its use. "We have way too much legislation to thwart to be limited to authentic indignation," a spokesman said.

But the fake fluid most alarming in its implications, for my money, is the thriving market in false urine. Perhaps I take this a bit too personally, but Dave's and my entire lifestyle is built on a foundation of genuine American pee.

Dave recently retired from a career as a refractory hod carrier, a position that frequently required him to work long shifts in boilers so hot that the wheelbarrow tire would explode and the plank it was running on would catch fire. Workers were sealed up in these areas and given a gallon of water an hour and let out only after their juices ran clear when they were poked with a fork. It's not a job for everybody, but union wages did attract a small number of men to sign up. Then, in the eighties, drug screening tests became routine. Of the tiny subset of humans willing to do Dave's kind of work, an astonishing number at any given time were lacking their driver's licenses or their freedom, and although many could still pass urine, far fewer could pass a urine test. Dave might have been among these except for his foresight in developing a broad and diversified portfolio of vices, so it was a simple matter of re-balancing these and presto--full employment for Dave. "Crap," the foreman would say, "we'll be needing a dozen drug-free guys for the Hoffman job," and our phone would ring, and Dave would join a small group of other men who were probably sleeping it off when they got the call.

Ultimately, it was not his stellar work ethic, his stamina, his strength, or his willingness to endure pain that got him these jobs, although all of those became important in his marriage. It was his pee. Dave's pee was golden.

But now, it turns out, workers have been cheating the tests with false urine for years. Some have employed the urine of other animals, resulting in a workforce that tests negative for marijuana but positive for hoof-and-mouth. But most have purchased, legally, vials of synthetic urine. Sometimes these can be detected by underpaid lab employees by smell alone, but not always. It's scandalous. It's changed the whole game.

But for thirty years, Bromley Masonry, C.H. Murphy Refractory and I all had something in common. Dave was our number-one guy.

24 comments:

  1. Wasn't/Isn't there some sort of "I flung dung" club? I dunno, the very thought pi$$es me off.

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  2. Obviously none of the people WE tried to hire had the money to buy clean pee - I was always amazed that they thought they could pass a drug test. "I was just in the room with a bunch of people smoking weed. Really."

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  3. Um. Gross to the "poo" pickpockets. Where do they come up with these ideas??! I bet their mommas are proud.

    The ways people come up with to cheat the system never fail to amaze me. I guess desperation is the lazy mother of ingenuity.

    Thanks for the snickers (she said "poo"),
    ♥Spot

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  4. I read and I enjoyed reading but I can't think of a darn thing to say. I mean you just about covered it with pee, poo, bile, vomit, blood and boogers.

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  5. Congrats on your retirement Dave! Now you get to spend ALL your time with that lovely loony wife of yours. I suspect we will hear even more about you in her blogs now. I'm so excited I could pee!
    Murr, you've done it again girl.

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  6. My wife always chastised me for bringing up various bodily functions during the dinner hour. One evening we had guests over for dinner and as we sat down she admonished me: "Bob, you are not allowed to talk about anything below the neck".

    Without missing a beat I repled, "Great, that still leaves boogers and ear wax".

    Whereupon our guests spewed their evening meal.

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  7. I just want to know what makes synthetic pee synthetic. Do they even bother putting different nutrients and expelled toxins in it? Do they make different "flavors" so the underpaid testers won't get suspicious? Do people who are sexually in to pee find that a sprinkle of this boosts their pleasure?

    Who do I ask to think through this with me without sounding creepy?

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  8. Brother Dave is my hero. Not only was he a hod carrying stud, he is a great source of material for your blog.

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  9. Hod carrying I know, refractory I had to look up. Wow, sounds like a really fun job -- materials maintaining their properties under high heat. Makes you just wanna pee to try out that profession.

    I'm still trying to figure out that second picture with the guy on the scaffolding...

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  10. Vivi darling, it's way too late to avoid sounding creepy.

    Goose, tune in next Wednesday (probably) for more classic Dave!

    Welcome cowango, and yes, I'm sorry about that pic. There are only about three pictures of Dave working available. People in those places are trying not to murder each other, not take pictures of each other. In this one his head is cut off, but I'm told that he was exiting in a fat hurry from a hole above him and about to swing down off the scaffolding before he was Well Done.

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  11. Hod carrier in a refractory? Bet the school guidance counselor didn't have that on her list.

    You have to admire the ingenuity of bandits who'd come up with that plan. Flinging feces and robbing people has got to be a lot easier and more fun than mowing lawns or flipping burgers. Kids do the darndest things! (chuckle).

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  12. Elizabeth BrewsterJuly 11, 2010 at 9:14 AM

    Dave deserves a billion foot rubs. Murr?

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  13. I cannot think of a single thing to say. I am chortling too much. But I'm glad that a man's outpourings can be useful for something.

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  14. We've let Dave off the hook for far too long. Now with all the teasers you've let out I do believe it's time for him to have his own blog. Perhaps with you as a ghost-writer?

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  15. Another opportunity missed. My urine is as pure as the un-yellowed snow, so to speak, and I probably could be making thousands of dollars selling it to refractory hod carriers, assuming there's still a market for that sort of work in our depressed economy.

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  16. Damn, here I've been making ersatz pee for the last six years and never knew there was a market for it beyond the college biology lab!

    Vivi RR, yes I do make it in various flavors. Normal, low pH, diabetic, high sugar, high protein, and bloody (blood provided courtesy of an anonymous bovid). I could also make high pH and I suppose I could add various fun toxins, but the usual six are enough fun to make one day each summer and one week each fall.

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  17. MikeWJ, how's your delivery system hangin'?

    And look, folks. Thanks to Bruce, we now know that the select subset of humanity that reads Murrmurrs includes a man who makes flavored pee. I couldn't be prouder.

    Reminds me of the time in chem lab when we were all extracting various essential oils and Phil had to fart so he politely went over to the ventilation hood to do it, and just as he cuts loose someone said: "Oooo, I smell somebody's anise!"

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  18. Well, that's a very personal question, Murr, but I'll answer it honestly: It's 50 years old and showing some signs of wear and tear at this point. But I'm still fond of it, and so's my wife, so I'm don't fret much about it.

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  19. Attaboy. For some reason your comment reminded me of a headline I saw once in a tabloid: "Parts of Cher turn sixty today."

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  20. Another opportunity missed. My urine is as pure as the un-yellowed snow, so to speak, and I probably could be making thousands of dollars selling it to refractory hod carriers, assuming there's still a market for that sort of work in our depressed economy.

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  21. MikeWJ, how's your delivery system hangin'?

    And look, folks. Thanks to Bruce, we now know that the select subset of humanity that reads Murrmurrs includes a man who makes flavored pee. I couldn't be prouder.

    Reminds me of the time in chem lab when we were all extracting various essential oils and Phil had to fart so he politely went over to the ventilation hood to do it, and just as he cuts loose someone said: "Oooo, I smell somebody's anise!"

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  22. Well, that's a very personal question, Murr, but I'll answer it honestly: It's 50 years old and showing some signs of wear and tear at this point. But I'm still fond of it, and so's my wife, so I'm don't fret much about it.

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  23. Congrats on your retirement Dave! Now you get to spend ALL your time with that lovely loony wife of yours. I suspect we will hear even more about you in her blogs now. I'm so excited I could pee!
    Murr, you've done it again girl.

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