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First day on the job

“So,” he said, leering at me over the table, messy sandwich in hand, “how long have you been eating yogurt?” My yogurt laden spoon paused in mid air, and in the moment it took me to think, (how long had I been eating yogurt? When was my first time?) I watched oily, shredded lettuce tumble from his sandwich onto the table. The question seemed loaded.

“Oh, probably only the last couple of years; you know, like, seriously.” I said this airily, as his tone of voice had implied that this yogurt-eating habit of mine was a potential hot spot in our relationship. He said nothing, but continued to peer intensely across the table. His eyes might even have been narrowing. I felt, justly, exposed. I turned the yogurt cup nervously in my hands, and my averting eyes settled upon the nutrition facts. I suddenly began to read them off, and espouse the healthful qualities of yogurt, not for its defense, but for my own. He leaned back in his chair with revulsion as I finally dealt with my full, hovering spoon.

Sadly, the nutrition facts were not terribly long, and it was difficult to launch into a full defense pontificate of a mere four lines. I finished my reading lamely—“It’s really just a great source of calcium in my life” before his dismissal of me registered fully. He made a show of looking past me, out into the street and took a giant bite of his leaky sandwich, setting more shredded lettuce and a maverick tomato slice loose onto the sidewalk. I finished my yogurt quickly. This man, was after all my employer. He had rescued me from a relaxing fate of lying in my yard drinking beer in the sun two days prior. Oddly, he had seen my extreme lassitude and borderline drinking problem as ideal aspects of an employee, but he seemed to be having second thoughts, now that he had discovered I was an out yogurt-eater. I sat still, and idly ate some mixed nuts I had with me, which he had also violently eschewed earlier in the day.

That time, we had been in the supermarket, on our way to Squam Lake, where we were to begin the fieldwork he had hired me for. We stopped at the Shur-Fine, ostensibly to purchase lunch, which I had packed in advance. It was just as well. I had been careful to select only foods I felt were practical for a day spent languishing in the sun on a raft, waiting for a computer to tally up bathymetry numbers, which the project for the day. My first choice had been bananas. Very good for you, inexpensive, and loaded with potassium to combat electrolyte loss. He had squinted at them as if I were holding a rotten fish carcass. I didn’t thought much of it(perhaps they were bruised?) but my next choice, the mixed nuts which I was now eating, had been treated as if they were half-sin, half-virtue. He was excited by them, but did not want to touch them. Or bring them with us on the boat; suggesting instead that I leave them in the car, “so we can have them later.” while I went up to the register to reconvene, armed with mixed nuts and bananas, he met me with no less than four boxes of little Debbie products, a box of shortbread, and ten one-liter bottles of Poland spring. Lunch, evidently. We returned to the car, and threw everything into the cooler, where my turkey sandwich was crushed by the long boxes of twinkies and cookie sandwiches. We then set off again for the lake.

Over the course of the afternoon, I watched Mike drink every one of the bottles of water, a feat in itself, and also inhale an entire sleeve of shortbread. He was a skinny man, with high albedo and prominent veins, which brought to mind the plumbing of the Centre Pompidou. Where he put the water and sleeve of shortbread I shall never know. In between pieces of shortbread and fierce water consumption, he found time to mock my honestly anemic sandwich;
“Boy, they must have killed a whole turkey farm twice to make that one.”  I took it all in stride as I was being paid, and his charmingly awkward conversation was lulling into me a false sense of hope for humanity. If only everyone were so corny, we could all get along.

This evaporated when we got to shore and I was reminded not only of harsh and irreconcilable conflict in the Middle East, but of Mike’s unbelievable need to eat something. So we had found ourselves at the sandwich shop, and I had unwittingly exposed my inclination towards that demon culture, yogurt. When he was done spreading vegetable on the ground, we went back to the car. On the way, I discovered that the bottle of sunscreen I had in my pocket had exploded, and I now smelled like a summer camp, and had oily white goop all over my shorts. The car we had taken was Mike’s new Prius, and my condition was, understandably, unacceptable. So I sat on my backpack for the remainder of the ride, and was unexpectedly consulted about housing markets and property speculation.

In a way, it was flattering, as a twenty-two year old, I enjoy being treated as if I have some clue, but in another way, it was kind of a bizarro-world experience: talking to me about the best way to navigate the housing bubble would be like hiring a spitting, raving derelict to defend your case, or calling up your local chimney sweep to install your cable. I’m just a little unqualified, is all. Plus, I had white discharge all over my pants and I ate cultured yogurt. Despite this, we had a pretty active conversation on the way home, except for one usually long awkward pause in which I fell asleep suddenly and knocked my head on the window.
We arrived home (incidentally, Mike is also my neighbor) and agreed to meet again to discuss the bathymetry data we had gotten that day. I offered to help unload the car, which was laden with crates of little Debbie still, but his eyes narrowed again, and backed off. The Little Debbies it seemed, were to stay in the car. The mixed nuts however were another story: as I left, he tossed them to me, pleading with me to take them. “I’ll never eat them”, he said, “really. I don’t even want them. You take them—you love nuts.”

I guess idle picking passes for love these days, but I took them off his hands because they were clearly causing distress. We parted with his brief, but wholly unsurprising concession that he was unavailable the following day because he had a “Mondo-dentist appointment, if you know what I mean.” With the empty sleeve of shortbread and cache of sticky cookie sandwiches in the car, I did indeed know what he meant.
so i got a job...sort of. i was thinking in the shower of how odd my first days was, and it's sort of food based. dunno where it's going, really. maybe nowhere at all.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2006-09-17
It's obviously very difficult to navigate lunchtime with a surveyor when you're a closet yoghurt-eater with a side fetish for mixed nuts. ~strokedbc's columns exhibit a flair for humour, a love of the absurd, and enough food to make you think you must have skipped breakfast. Have a giggle at his calcium-enriched New Job. ( Suggested by zebrazebrazebra and Featured by adrift )
:icontoby-chan:
Toby-Chan Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006
Entertaining little story; and congrats on the DD. I did spot some technical errors though, (Those pesky little tense errors that slip under your nose when you don't re-read thoroughly) for example "I didn’t thought much of it".
Reply
:iconstrokedbc:
strokedbc Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2006
yeah, i need to become a better editor. little embarrassing now that everyones looking at it:)
Reply
:icontigereyey3k:
tigereyeY3K Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006
Haha, that was quite entertaining. :) A cute little story, with a cute little theme. And you're writing's great. Congrats on the DD - well deserved.
Reply
:icondmbadcat:
dmbadcat Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006   Digital Artist
Haha!-- this is the first piece of literature that I have ever favorited (and I have hundreds of favorites: inspirations to unique moods to simply humorous flash cartoons with loads of work put into each!)
This piece definitely stands out from the rest- and I hate reading... but I loved this! Haha, from bananas to sunscreen this was rather entertaining-
Reply
:iconstrokedbc:
strokedbc Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2006
thanks! i'm flattered to be the first lit fav.
Reply
:iconyagak:
YagaK Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006  Professional Digital Artist
Great piece. Nice work. :clap:.
Reply
:iconshinitama:
shinitama Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006   General Artist
absolutely brilliant. I love your writing style! :D Congrats on the DD.

(And oh man, food. I just got hired at McDonald's, but I don't/can't eat fast food. That interview was mighty interesting... xD)
Reply
:iconstrokedbc:
strokedbc Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2006
thanks! and that's probably for the better...otherwise you'd probably end up that way eventually anyhow, i feel like that happens to most people in the restaurant business.
Reply
:iconearthbound2005:
Earthbound2005 Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006
I like yogurt...

I like this story.

You win.

:+fav:
Reply
:iconstrokedbc:
strokedbc Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2006
yay! thanks!
Reply
:iconein-kaltes-herz:
Ein-Kaltes-Herz Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006
oo bad luck with the sunscreen eh
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:iconredsalsa:
redsalsa Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Lol, you poor thing. For all those things to happen in the first few days of employment would be awful! The sunscreen would've been especially nasty... x_o I would've died! lol. Anyway I like the way you write, it is really very clever! =P
Reply
:iconstrokedbc:
strokedbc Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2006
thanks! and getting covered in sunscreen isn't so terrible; i never would really get around to wearing it otherwise.
Reply
:iconredsalsa:
redsalsa Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2006  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
ha ha... you have a point there. But then I don't reckon you'd put it all over your pants...
Reply
:icontheglome:
TheGlome Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
*Chuckles*

Love it. The first two paragraphs had a sense of... comedic tension to them. Hahaha.
Reply
:iconsolaric:
solaric Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006  Professional Writer
This is extremely hilarious. It really makes me wonder what will happen later between these two food-obsessed people.
Reply
:iconstrokedbc:
strokedbc Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2006
a clash of healthy and sticky titans.
Reply
:iconwhorified:
whorified Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006
this rocks. it makes me happy that dA is featuring more and more prose, so that people can begin to acknowledge the existance of writers :D

you missed a capitalization on "little" for Little Debbies, in the fourth paragraph, but thats minor.

"If only everyone were so corny, we could all get along." that line is awesome. +fav.
Reply
:iconstrokedbc:
strokedbc Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2006
thank you!
Reply
:iconphifty:
Phifty Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006   Writer
Haha, clever and well written. You deserve the DD.
Reply
:iconevilwarrior:
evilwarrior Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006
Oh man.. This was so cool! I liked it very very much! hehe... I just love the way you said the words and all... very good! 11/10 (eleven out of ten)!
Reply
:iconsylverstrike:
SylverStrike Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006
I really, really like this.
Reply
:iconmerrwizard:
Merrwizard Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006
Albedo and Bathymetry? Good for you.

"[W]hich the project for the day" seems to be missing a "was" or something, though.
Reply
:iconstrokedbc:
strokedbc Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2006
thanks for pointing that out...i wish i had edited this before everyone read it. oops:/
Reply
:iconcowsrgood:
cowsrgood Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006
Wow... this made me smile. :] :giggle: You seem to have an eye for the funny things in life; I like that. Something about reading this just made my day a little brighter. ^^
Reply
:iconimfetish:
ImFetish Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006
mm i love yogurt :D lol nice story though.
congrats on DD award n stuff. i do not no
what its like to have a job though..hehe..to young :D
Reply
:iconstrokedbc:
strokedbc Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2006
working is simply awful, and i suggest you avoid it as long as possible. and my jobs not even that bad...sitting on a raft.
Reply
:iconimfetish:
ImFetish Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2006
wait.all u do is sit on a raft? :D sounds VERY boring actually.. lol i wanna be a cosmologist, or an astronimer..
Reply
:iconboogiewoogie749:
BoogieWoogie749 Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006
Hahah, the quirks of life.
I like how you write, makes me smile.
It seems you're corky, but serious and know your nutrition, lol.
Reply
:iconstrokedbc:
strokedbc Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2006
it's a fine line. i wish i were more serious, though.
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:iconcloverx:
cloverX Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006
Heh. That made my day a little brighter.
Reply
:iconcloverx:
cloverX Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006
Heh. That made my day a little brighter.
Reply
:iconlovetodeviate:
lovetodeviate Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006   Writer
FUN-ny. Congrats on the DD.
Reply
:icontheskald:
TheSkald Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006
Your skill with written word is very impressive. I know I've read something great when I don't even realize I was reading, it grabbed me and made me care about the characters in a second and had me smiling the whole way through. This is a fine piece of writing.
Reply
:iconstrokedbc:
strokedbc Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2006
thank you! noww i just have to work on my typos:)
Reply
:iconkrzyii:
KRzyII Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2006
Thats hilarious^_^ Makes me glad that my employers in my first job are fantastic people! But that yogurt thing....*chortle* is pretty funny...
Reply
:iconsankatze:
sankatze Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2006
Dammit, it's always the same with your stories. I read one, I enjoy it, I decide to write something well thought-out at a later date, and by the time I come back I realize it's been weeks since I first read it.

And I don't want to be repetitive, yet it's usually the same aspects of your writing I enjoy: You're good at the short and punchy, and you have that lovely eye for the funny details in everyday life. Which may be what makes you such a good serial writer... I suppose you've developed that during your column writing time.
Reply
:iconstrokedbc:
strokedbc Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2006
i'm glad you said "serial writer." i feel like that's something i would like to do(having had practice), i just know nothing about it.
Reply
:iconsankatze:
sankatze Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2006
What happened to the idea about a "Things that happen after Sex" series? Too tacky, after all?
Reply
:iconstrokedbc:
strokedbc Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2006
possibly. but i also haven't had an aberrent sex lately, so i haven't been too inspired.
mostly though, i get distracted and do something else.
Reply
:iconsankatze:
sankatze Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2006
The Vineyard is doing a "Betrayal" vintage. Might that be something to spark up your imagination on the Sex series? You'd make a good winegrower, I think.
Reply
:iconstrokedbc:
strokedbc Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2006
i would love to be a vintner. i write this with my lips blackend from the wine i've been drinking all night, whichc might go a little distance towards explaining why i've not finished the post coital series. i have a couple others i wanted to write though...maybe i'll start now.
Reply
:iconsankatze:
sankatze Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2006
Well, will I see you on [link], then? :-)
Reply
:iconstrokedbc:
strokedbc Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2006
maybe, but i can't make it load :/
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconlazylinepainterjohn:
LazyLinePainterJohn Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2006
This is rather wonderful. The zebra made me read this, and she knows what's good for me. You are evidently quite brilliant.
Reply
:iconstrokedbc:
strokedbc Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2006
thanks, i wish i had edited it better before i posted it though. sorry about the typos:)
Reply
:iconzebrazebrazebra:
zebrazebrazebra Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2006  Professional Writer
...oh, NO.

Tell me this isn't genuine. Honestly. I'm paranoid enough of employment as it is! :lmao:
Reply
:iconstrokedbc:
strokedbc Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2006
it's pretty real. but it's not so bad. gives one something to write about anyway:P
Reply
:iconzebrazebrazebra:
zebrazebrazebra Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2006  Professional Writer
Well now, this is true. But it's still damn scary!
Reply
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