Ernest Hemingway, says “Write drunk, edit sober.” But he’s just another dead old asshole. Plus he had to rewrite the last page of A Farewell To Arms 47 times. I think he should have just written it sober. Then he would have just had to rewrite it 20 times.
I was on acid, of course. One of the only times I did drugs at work. I had to dig a hole in someone’s front yard. A pond. Twenty five feet long by eight feet wide, four feet deep. We’d eaten some acid the previous night and as is known to happen, we just kept eating more acid until we had to go to work, or be fired, whatever we wanted. Inserted of being fired, we chose to go to work, and just deal with it, make the best of it.
So my friend Jay and I were out there in the sun, middle of summer, tripping our balls off. Just digging. He’d scoop a shovel of dirt on his side of the hole and I’d scoop a shovel full of dirt on my side of the hole, and we’d just laugh and sit down in the hole and sweat and he said something to me like, “I think we’re digging our own graves out here.”
“We’re not digging our own graves.”
“Then what are we doing?”
“A pond, for fish,” I said. We were throwing the dirt in a pile next to the hole, and we’d use that pike to stack a waterfall that we’d have to build when we weren’t wrecked. It was known: you could do manual labor wrecked, but doing creative work wrecked didn’t come out so hot.
Behind us, in the shade of an oak tree was a holding tank as big as a middle pool, but with walls three feet high. The holding tank had a small motor that was keeping the water aerated for the fish that had been taken out of the old pond, and would go into the new pond that Jay and I were digging, if we ever finished. Because enow we were just sitting in the hole, talking about nonsense. Laughing. Staring at nothing and everything. The sun was getting brighter and the sky more blue.
And then the homeowner came out of the house and stood over us outside of the hole we were digging and said, “The fish are all dead.”
The pump in the holding tank had sucked a koi into its impeller and then with the sun and the heat, the rest of the fish died.
At work, someone fails their drug test because the urine sample comes back ‘Not Human’. This is at the oil refinery. You have to pass drug tests to work here. I’ve had a job for ten years that insisted I didn’t come there high on anything other than life. They insist I have to be able to stand up straight, am not drooling, am not hallucinating. I have to have human piss to work here.
This person that just failed their drug test … they’re fired before even getting badged in. They don’t get issued a security badge and get to swipe through the turnstiles, join us here in all our producing-human-piss glory.
The word goes around the job site, Who is it? Where are they from. Word comes back, not anyone we know. A person booming out from another state to man the outage. Kentucky. Tennessee. Louisiana.
“If it wasn’t human urine what kind of urine was it?”
“What kind of animal piss would be the easiest to gather, that’d most likely be what it is.”
“Dog piss or cat piss?”
“My guess is a cow.”
“Why a cow?”
“If a cow doesn’t care if you stand there and steal it’s milk you could probably nab the other stuff easy too.”
We have to take yearly drug tests to work here. We also get random drug tests. A computer picks a name on a Wednesday and here you go. We also have to take a drug test immediately after we are hurt or anyone in our vacuity is hurt.
So if you’re stoned and someone drops a wrench on you and splits your head open, first thing they do before taking you to the hospital is give you a piss test.
So sometimes people have to piss for you.
“Hey are you clean, can you fill this bottle for me?”
The problem is if you start pissing in bottles for people because you’re a nice guy, then everybody wants you to do it for them, so you spend your whole life just pissing in bottles. It expands out exponentially, then everyone else is free to get wrecked on the weekends except for you.
I haven’t done hard drugs in a long time, and I still get nervous every time I’m asked to take a drug test. I guess everything I do, I expect to fail at and I’m thrilled at the things that work out, even if it’s just a drug test.
That’s why some people buy synthetic urine and bring it with them inside a Whizzinator.
A Whizzinator is a realistic dildo, attached to a belt that a persons wears around their body in order to take a drug test if the medical people are insisting on watching you pee right then and there.
I’ve never encountered these mythical medical techs who insist on going into the same room with you, and insist on looking closely your junk as you fill up a cup. Usually the medical tech is on their cellphone scrolling through Facebook and like, “Here take this cup into the bathroom and fill it up. Whatever whatever. Don’t flush the toilet, don’t whatever whatever run the sink. Whatever.”
After you’ve filled up the test cup, you take it back to the medical tech and they pour the vial into a larger cup, with a cap that screws down and there is a test strip on the top that shows the tech if you’re a pass or a fail. If you’re a pass, the test strip didn’t turn a color that says the fluid in your body isn’t 50% THC, opiates, or meth mud also that your body temperature is normal … you’re on your way back to work, but they’ll still send the sample out to a lab, to get it tested more throughly.
A lot of guys I work with go and get their yearly drug test at a chiropractic office in north jersey but it’s a weird place because the chiropractor is definitely on drugs himself, he’s out of his mind, one of those chiropractors who thinks they can heal the entire human body and all its ailments by cracking your back. Imagine that.
But the real reason we think he’s weird is the fact that he doesn’t wash his hands ever, even after pouring your urine from vial to test cup, and when you leave he goes to shake your hand and then when you’re leaving, he goes into another room and gives someone else a back adjustment with his dirty urine hands.
Sometimes we get random breathalyzers too. This is at 7am. You go into this trailer and someone asks you, “Have you had any chewing tobacco in the last ten minutes?”
“Have you used Listerine in the last ten minutes?”
They might look closer at your mouth and say, “Have you ever brushed your fucking teeth in your life? Have you ever flossed? Just kidding. I know you don’t floss. You have a junkyard behind those lips.”
Someone with a humming device and tube, has you blow in the tube until it beeps. A little screen tells him if you are an alcoholic.
So far, I am not an alcoholic. But I remember one of my first car pool experiences driving up from the beach in NJ, go northern NJ, a power plant in jersey city, and the guy who was driving on the first day had a Gatorade bottle full of straight scotch that we was sipping all the way up the parkway. I figured that out about halfway to the job and got a different ride home that night.
The car had a court appointed tube you had to blow in to get the car to start. I didn’t get a chance to be asked, “Hey, kid puff in this device so I can drive to the bar.”
I just read a hoax news story that reminded me of that car pool.
It’s too bad it’s fake …
But If you want to get away with drinking beer on the job, you could disguise the can of Budweiser behind a Pepsi can. All you have to do, is use a cut off wheel grinder to slice off the top of the soda can and the bottom of the soda can. Then you slice up the seem of the soda can. Just slap that over your beer can, and you can walk around out in the open sipping to your heart’s content.
Drinking on the job is one thing. I can’t do that because I work with hazardous chemicals and fire and I’ll either light my self on fire, which is bad enough, but I’ll also probably burn down the whole plant along with myself.
Getting high at my job is something I lack the skill set to fully and wondrously excel at.
It’s no surprise then that I also suck at getting wrecked and making art.
If I sit down at the computer and start to screw around with a piece of writing while drinking, I might start to get somewhere with what I’m working on, only to blink and find myself on instant messenger talking to somebody I haven’t caught up with in a while.
Some writers can snort likes of adderall all night long and write half of a novel, but I’m not built that way. As soon as I start to party with anything heavier than a single can of beer, I need to rip my fun attention completely away from a piece of writing, art, or music that I am working on, and instead, give my full attention to getting marvelously trashed and laughing with other humans that are overflowing with the accelerated heartbeats of earthlings in love.
Plus I have work in the morning, I get up five am, watching the sun rise as it pops up over the industrial waste lands of New Jersey as I make my way out of New York City in my shaking car. I can’t snort this line of adrenal with you on this Wednesday night, but if you get in a jam later on, good luck to you, I’ll be the guy you can call to piss in the bottle. I’ll gladly fuel your Whizzinator.
Michael Seymour Blake is an art creator and admirer, person who says “hello puppy” in a weird voice whenever he sees a dog, and hypochondriac extraordinaire. He has lived in New York his whole life and has a love/hate relationship with it. He likes talking at length about movies, books, and comics, he also enjoys toys, food, and old stuff (but not old food).