Monday, May 17, 2010

A small sample size

I was scrolling through Facebook this morning when I ran across a status update from a friend who said she had to pee in a cup for a pre-employment drug test. That got me thinking about one of the most bizarre mornings of my life.

There was a time when my physical ability to produce another human being was medically questioned. There are tests for that, and the male version calls for providing a sample of a certain substance that serves as a cozy-comfy home for the little buggers that do the work for you. Free of charge, too.

Generating such a sample requires an act that ordinarily would get you arrested if you attempted it in an office building during regular business hours. This is the one grand, happy exception. There are even laboratories that cater to this sort of thing. They have rooms equipped with a comfortable place to recline, magazines and videos. Now, in my case the best magazine for the job would have been Beckett's baseball-card value guide, but they went for a baser, least-common denominator group of publications.

In any event, you produce your sample sheepishly (watch the sheep jokes, perverts) and await the results.

Well, my big day came and I drove to an address in Concord. The problem was, my doctor did not send me to a center where these sorts of samples are produced and the staff becomes inured to the requisite behavior of the clients. No, this was a place where such samples ordinarily arrive in boxes to be analyzed.

When I walked in the door and told the receptionist what I needed to do, her eyes grew wide and she had a look of terror on her face. She said I couldn't do that there and I replied, "Look, this is a tough enough process as it is, and I just want to get it over with." She conferred with someone in the office behind her and finally handed me the plastic cup with instructions to use the men's room.

I have to believe that all office work stopped for the 30 or 45 minutes that I required to complete this medical procedure. There was no wine, no soft lighting, no magazines to get me in the mood. If I recall, there might have been a travel poster of Italy hanging on the wall and maybe a framed cross-stitch of a cat.

I really thought about having some fun with the staff and periodically shouting, "Oh mama! Bring it home to papa! Grind it! Grind it! That's right baby! Crank 'er home!" But I didn't have the guts to do it.

I finally emerged, sample cup in hand, and barely could look the receptionist in the eye as I handed it over. I have to think that company quickly sent a stern warning to doctors not to send them any more patients unless they walked in with the evidence already collected.

To this day, I can't look at a cross-stitched cat without snickering.


  1. Not really sure how to respond to this....i guess i will go was my hands.

  2. Oy vey.

    I knew you'd come through in the clutch.

  3. "My big day came" he wrote...

  4. right there with you hank...


  5. If you can't use a pee test for a segue, you just can't call yourself a writer.
    Atta boy Hank!

  6. Hank, you gave this blog an NC-17 warning? All I can say is, I think you need to get out more. I would say more like PG (Perfectly Gross)!

  7. 35-40 minutes? Bless you, Sir