(For the full joke, just imagine this with a big rasta-colored lightning bolt hitting it)
So, several months later than originally planned, in a new town, in a new (well, new to me) house, and with a new job, (with the same company) I make my triumphant return to an Internet that probably forgot I existed somewhere around mid-2001. In future times, I’ll actually make substantial updates to this site again, with a bunch of ideas that popped into my head at various times when I was either too busy moving or too disconnected from the internet to act on any of them, and eventually, I’ll make a complete return to normalcy, where I completely ignore this site I pay actual money that I need for and just talk about how much I hate Mike Martz on Armchair Linebacker. But for now, I’ll give you a quick rundown (or one that was intended to be quick until I actually started typing) of some of the ins, outs, and arounds of the first new job I’ve had since late 2003.
Travelin’ down the road, flirtin’ with disaster
The new job (the specifics of which I’ll get to in a minute) involves some pretty psychotic hours and is located a few towns away, so four times a week, I get to make the 45-minute drive to work not too long after 3:00 in the morning. Thing is, it really should be a thirty-minute drive, but I’ve learned to take things pretty slow. Why? You see, this is a pretty ruralized area, and in addition to not exactly being the most well-traveled road in the world, even in the daytime, Highway 29 pretty much goes by nothing but farms and wooly-ass woodland-type places, aside from a brief pass through the town of Wynnewood. (and if you’re not from Oklahoma, the first five letters of that are pronounced like Winnie the Pooh.) This means that for about thirty minutes every working morning, through a single bloodshoot eye of being half-asleep, I get to endure a complete death-ride into terror. Between possums, raccoons, skunks, dogs, cats, deer, snakes, coyotes, feral hogs, what might have possibly been a cougar this one time, and another time, something that was either the biggest wild hog ever, an escaped bison from a nearby farm, or the mighty Torosaurus, it’s like the worst game of reverse-Frogger ever. So far, the only thing I’ve actually car-smashed was a snake that might have already been dead, but I did have a pretty legit-traumatic near-miss with an airborne deer that the guy in the other lane was in the process of hitting. Good times.
Fast times on the ice planet Hoth.
The place I work at is what is known in ~THE BIDNESS~ as a “high-velocity distribution center.” What this means is that when I’m loading up ice cream and frozen dinners for the stupid customers who used to torture me for the last seven years to stuff their fat faces with, I’m doing it zooming around at like a million miles an hour on this crazy double pallet-jack doohickey. The problem is that somewhere around thirty other people are doing this at the same time, resulting in an insane dance of near-death where blind intersections are zoomed past, rules of safety are constantly being ignored, and when you hit something, you just sort of back up and continue on your way. Actually, it’s a lot like what I imagine driving in Texas is like. If Texas was constantly held a minus-twenty degrees and absolutely covered in a fine layer of dust.
Humanity’s lowest point.
What with my job involving so much frozen food and all, my fingers is pretty much on the pulse of what’s going on in the world of all things microwaveable. And man. Somewhere out there, there are these people. Regular people, out there in the streets, and not locked up in cages or being looked after in a group home or anything like that. And they’re buying frozen oatmeal. Seriously. Look, high-speed oatmeal technology pretty much hit its apex sometime like a hundred goddamn years ago when they took regular oats and somehow made them instant. You just add hot water, stir, and eat. That’s it. Hell, if you’re lazy enough and have a functioning hot water heater, you can just use hot water straight from the tap. But god damn, if you’re eating frozen oatmeal,that already has the parts involving hot water and stirring previously done for you, I’m going to just go out on a limb here and assume that the desk you’re sitting at right now has at least three urine-filled Mountain Dew bottles on or around it.
Too much information.
When I’m exposed to extreme cold temperatures, my nose tends to get runny, for reasons that escape me, but I’m sure science could explain if I bothered to look it up. Anyway, sometimes, it runs more than other times, and when I’m in the ice cream freezer (which stays twenty below zero), my face gets so cold, that it actually goes numb. So that I don’t know that my nose is running. So that the fact that my nose is running is a thing of which I am not aware. A thing I do not know about. Until it runs and runs. Into my mouth.
Voices in my head.
Also, my job has some relatively high-tech shit going on, so it’s not like they just hand you a sheet of paper and tell you what to go grab. Instead, you get this little voice-recognition computer thingy clipped to your belt that’s constantly feeding you instructions through a headset (with what I’m pretty sure is the “Microsoft Mary” voice from the text-to-speech program that you don’t ever use) and completely garbling or ignoring the responses it requires of you. Seriously, this might sound bad, but with the Rise of the Machines on the horizon, violence against robots will be what saves the human race from extinction someday, so I’m just going to go ahead and say that thanks to the Vocollect Talkman unit I’m forced to use, there have been times when I’ve wanted to absolutely choke the shit out of Microsoft Mary. That infernal devil-machine thinks I’m saying “six” when I’m saying one, absolutely does not register the phrase “say again” as any sort of human speech, and takes the slightest sniffle, cough, burp or fart as a cue to bust into a minute long summary of the trip through the warehouse that I’m in the middle of. And I swear to god, the soulless robot-voice changes to this malevolent-sounding, sneering tone whenever it’s in the process of telling me that I’m about to have to throw around fifteen of the 60-pound caes of frozen turkeys. Like it’s telling me “pick fifteen,” but what it’s really saying to me is, “pick fifteen… motherfucker.” Also, the couple times that Sarah has said something I couldn’t hear, to which I reflexively replied “say again,” like I’m talking to that Satanic voice-box might have been the lowest points of my life.
Hell and fire was spawned to be released.
Another aspect of the talking hell-box I’m strapped to is what’s called a “check digit.” Basically, every slot on the giant steel shelves lining the warehouse has one of these five-digit numbers, and every day, there’s a pattern of three numbers that you’re supposed to call out into the microphone, so the computer knows you’re in the right place. So for example, if the check digit for the slot you’re getting the frozen oatmeal out of is 54321 and that day’s pattern is 135, that means you tell the computer “five, three, one” when you get there. I don’t know if that makes any sense to any of you, but I guess it doesn’t have to. Just know that I’m calling out little snippets of three numbers for about ten hours a day, and all day, I’m noticing little patterns in almost all of them. I mean, yeah, of course, there’s the obvious mental associations of numbers like 911, 007, 420, 227, or any three numbers in sequence, but the way my weird-ass brain works, sometimes I notice numbers way less significant to the human brain than ones involving emergency phone calls, James Bond, weed, or 80s sitcoms featuring Jackee Harry. All day, I keep finding myself thinking “oh man, 843! That was my phone number prefix twenty years ago! Wow!” and other similar crap like that, as though this is somehow a significant happening. Also, I’ve pretty much figured out already that one of these days, I’m finally going to give in to the temptation to throw in an “…on an undercover cop” following a check digit of 187, or instead of calmly calling out “666” like I’m supposed to, I’ll just belt out “SIX! SIX-SIX! THE NUUUUMBER OF THE BEEEAST!” in my best Bruce Dickinson voice, and somehow, this will lead to my downfall. I have to admit, I already discreetly throw up the devil horns when this happens.