Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Freak co-workers from the past

While preparing for work this morning, for some strange reason I was thinking about past jobs I've had and some of the odd-ball characters I've worked with. A couple stand out in my mind as being truly bizarre.

First up - Tammy

Many years ago in a past life, I worked in a hardware/department store. It was a really great work environment as far as co-workers go. Everybody got along, we had a lot of social activities, and we often went out for a few drinks after work.

One day a new hire was introduced. A short, plumpish little woman in her mid to late twenties with a penchant for excessive make-up. Due to this fact alone, we came to call her (behind her back) Tammy Faye. She was a pleasant enough person to work with, but she had this annoying habit of trying to one-up everyone's statements about the status of their lives. For example, I was requested to fill in for our department manager because a family member of hers was rushed to the hospital and she was unable to come in to work. When Tammy Faye came in for her shift, I explained what was going on and told her that our department manager wouldn't be in.

"Well, THAT'S okay," she said dismissively, "my nephew got into my make-up case this morning. What a mess he made!"

That was her thing. No matter what was said to her, she replied with "THAT'S okay..." and carried on with the current disaster of her life that rendered the original comment null and void.

"The doctor confirmed this morning that I have an inoperable brain tumor."
"THAT'S okay, I got up this morning and realized my clothes that were in the dryer were still damp!"

There was a song out around that time by a group called The Thrashing Doves called Jesus On The Payroll. The chorus was "That's alri-i-i-ight, we got Jesus on the payroll", of course other co-workers and I changed it up and would often sing "THAT'S OK-A-A-AY, we got Tammy on the payroll" any time we heard it on the radio. I still sing that when I dust off that little gem.

I do have one funny memory of her that still gives me a chuckle. We were at opposite ends of an aisle one boring evening, and as she shuffled down the aisle toward me, she somehow wound up kicking up her foot and launched her shoe into the air. I'm not sure if she slipped or what happened exactly, but I just recall seeing that pink shoe sailing through the air toward me and landing on a pegboard hook. She couldn't pull that one off again if she tried.

I recall going to a reception after her wedding. As I recall, the whole ordeal was a bit of a nightmare. The couple fighting, the family having disputes leading up to the wedding. Grief all around. I would say that we went for the entertainment and the free booze, but I'm pretty sure it was a cash bar. Or was it a dry wedding? Either way, I don't recall much of it, so that should give you an idea of how good it wasn't.

Shortly after the wedding, as I recall, they split up and she moved up north. We actually stopped in for a brief visit while on vacation in the area the following summer, and I haven't seen her since. I occasionally wonder what ever became of her. Did she ever get back with her husband or anyone else for that matter? Is she still up north or did she head back home? And most importantly, is her nephew still getting into her make-up case? He would be in his twenties now. Now THAT would trump a lot of other stories!

Next - Karen

There isn't a whole lot to say about Karen. She was one of the on-air hosts at a television studio I worked at for a while. She was one of those nose in the air types. She was a very attractive woman, but the problem was that she knew it.

One day she was in the control room, yet again expressing the grief of growing up as a minority in a white neighbourhood. Apparently she did this a fair bit. Always talking about her experience as a minority. To be quite honest, I didn't know she was a minority. I just thought she had a nice tan. After she left the control room, the surly Caucasian woman who ran the audio board came out and said "What the fuck was that all about? She's whiter than I am!" Kinda cracked me up.

I'll never forget one day while Karen was on the air talking with a guest about some health and medication issues. Several times she tried to show her knowledge of certain medical ailments, but the one that topped it for me was when she spoke of the unending pain and fatigue caused by FIBROMALAYSIA.

Leave it to Karen. Always getting the minorities in there somehow!

Finally - Annie

Where to begin with Annie? Annie is physically very much like Tammy. Short, plump, with curly blond hair, but with very, very ample breasts, not to mention a bit of junk in the trunk as well. I recall one day someone pointed out to me in the lunchroom that Annie had her pants on backwards. Angled pockets in the rear, square pockets in the front. Sadly, they fit that way quite well.

Annie was a middle aged woman in a 30 year old body. She used phrases that nobody says anymore. When she would leave for a break or for lunch, she would always say "Toodle-loo". Who says that!? I am at a loss for other examples, but she would say things that you would only hear on TV shows from the 70's complete with those inflections that bad actors use. Things that might be said by Gloria Stivic on All In The Family, Anne Romano on One Day At A Time or Edna Garrett from The Facts Of Life.

There's something about Annie that seems just a bit slow. She is extremely close to her mother. They lived together until her mother started seeing some guy and moved in with him. Annie would frequently call her mother from work and called her "mamma" or "mommy". When I finally met her mother one day, I realized that the nut didn't fall far from the tree. Very spooky.

Another disturbing thing about Annie is that she didn't have the best of social graces. One day Annie was in the lunch room, zoned out, staring into space, and began picking her nose. After her digging was completed, she actually wiped her finger under the lunch room table. Steph, a co-worker who was in the lunchroom at the time, followed her into the hallway and said "I saw what you did in there and it's disgusting. Get back in there and wipe that off of the table and don't do it again!" Annie said "I'm sorry", went back in and cleaned up her mess under the table and thanked Steph for being discrete. She wasn't TOO discrete because everyone knew about it by the end of the day.

Annie had a real love of baking, and would often bring in cheesecakes that she would make to share with the staff. Nice gesture, but quite frankly, people who were willing to take her up on the offer were few and far between. Like I said, everyone knew about the nose picking, and the way she would serve the cake was less than appetizing. She would cut a slice, put it on a plate, wipe the knife with her fingers and lick that off her fingers. Then she would cut another slice, steady it with her freshly licked fingers and repeat the process. As time went on, there were virtually no takers. She would just exclaim in her 70's sit-com tone "Everybody must be on a DIET or SOMETHING!"

The last I heard of Annie, she had snagged herself a man on the net. Or did I hear that wrong. Maybe it was "she snagged herself a man WITH a net". Ya, that might be it.

Love old co-worker stories!!! There used to be a girl in our group of friends who had to one-up you on everything you said. She made everybody crazy. I wanted to say to her, "Dear, you're 15 years younger than me, let's just assume that you haven't done everything I've done."
LOL...ya, that has a Tammy ring to it. The sad part about working here on my own is I don't get to meet freak co-workers. Just freak customers - and believe me, there is NO shortage of that.
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