We all have stories. Stories we share with friends. Stories we share with family. However, there are some stories we don’t share. Some that are just too embarrassing to ever even think about, let alone repeat. Out of sight, out of mind and it never happened.
For days I’ve been kicking around the idea of sharing one of those un-repeatable stories with you. Finally, today, I’ve mustered up the courage to write it, as I’m pumped with drugs that are fighting an ear infection.
This story is brought to you by the letter p – you’ll see why in a minute.
I’ve been extremely lucky to work in some of the coolest offices throughout my career. The top spot goes to this non-profit organization based in North Miami Beach. Although we were far from the actual beach, our office was an original Miami Beach house made of coral rock. The house, originally located somewhere closer to the ocean, was going to be demolished until the community preservationists got wind of the plan. In the style of a Coke commercial only aired during the Olympics, at least fourteen different groups, from both the private and public sector, got together to save the house. They actually rolled the house on a semi-truck down the beach and plopped it down where it lives now and turned it into the headquarters of this not-for-profit, which later employed me.
The living room was our lobby. The dining room, the conference center. The kitchen stayed the same. The upstairs bedrooms were converted into offices. And I, I had the master closet as my office. Our office home was maintained by an older gentleman. A wonderful man, who I can only imagine has since passed. He took care of making sure that house looked tip-top. He also helped you if you were having car problems. He was a really nice man. Only he smelled. He smelled really, really bad. Like a dumpster. Only it wasn’t food. More like what pigeons smell like. Millions of them. If they were all living in a dumpster.
Nice guy, though.
And I was incapable of saying anything about his stench. Because he was so nice. Until one day. When the stink just got out of control. It was my fault. I should have never hugged him. But, he brought me doughnuts. How could I not?
Anyway, that day with my belly filled with sugary delights from Dunkin’ I couldn’t stop smelling him everywhere. I mentioned it to a couple of co-workers, probably with chocolate frosting on the side of my mouth, and they agreed that in fact, he was a bit of a stinker. Yet, they were reluctant to confirm that he was particularly stinkier that day. “Maybe we’re just used to it already,” one of my co-workers hypothesized.
My work day ended and I returned home. To my real home. Not made of coral. Where I’m greeted by hugs and kisses from non-stinky people, including my, at the time, brand new puppy. The puppy we were training. The fucking puppy.
“Iris, smell me,” I said.
She proceeded to sniff my hair and my face unfazed. Until she got to a section of my jacket.
“Oh my God. That’s…” and she interrupted herself. I saw the panic in her eyes. The quick thought process of how she going to cover up that the smell on my jacket was indeed puppy piss. Afraid of what I could be capable of doing to the dog, she continued, “…That’s weird. What is that?”
It was Chilli pee, of course. And it was on my jacket. The jacket I wore all day. The jacket I hugged that sweet old man with, when he brought me doughnuts. The jacket I kept on when I asked my co-workers if they smelled anything funny.
I ended up burning the jacket. And, for revenge, I peed on the dog.