Hear Me Out


October 24, 1998


"Do I really want dog pee in my Tupperware? Maybe Tupperware makes a dog pee holder. Hope they make one for small dogs."

"What happens if the cup overflows?"

"Water-spring rains-babbling brook in a misty meadow - melting ice bergs...)

These are just some of the urine related topics that have come to mind in the last few weeks. Personally, I think I've had too much contact with urine, both mine and others, than is healthy for someone not in the medical field.

It all seemed to start with my new job. The company, based in Arkansas, required drug tests for all it's new employees. The existing people can be smoking huge joints in the cubicles and that's fine, but I eat one lemon poppyseed muffin at the wrong time and I'm history before I even start.

So, I call the number to get the test and it turns out to be a chiropractor. He's a nice guy and I have nothing against chiropractors but I was hoping for something a little more medically intensive. Perhaps someone with a nurse and, maybe, experience with the various gross bodily fluids. But, if peeing into a chiropractor's cup is going to get me the job - then by God that's what I'm going to do. I made the appointment for Monday afternoon.

Sunday night, the night before my first day in a new job, my dog Basil sensed that this would be the worst possible time to get sick and does so. Actually, her adventure into internal excitement started on the previous Friday when she ate 3, maybe 4 Power bars: Chocolate flavor. She ate most of the wrappers for good measure.

I was appropriately concerned when I found her in a chocolate and bran haze with the bits and pieces of what remained of the wrappers spread out around her like the unwanted fur and hip bones of a big kill. When she didn't throw up right away, I thought we lucked out. How foolish.

Saturday morning found most of the Power Bars and the wrappers coming out the other hand in a very rapid and liquid form. Leslie, (and isn't this so typical) was at some sort of teaching-related meeting. I spend the morning following the dog around with a spray bottle and a wad of paper towels. Needless to say, I was making her a little self conscience.

Her stomach calmed down in the afternoon and I thought we were in the clear. Once again, how foolish of me.

Sunday rolled around. We watched the football game on TV and then did some gardening. Right around 4 o'clock, she started peeing. Now, this is normal behavior for most dogs, to pee in the afternoon. It is not normal for a 16 pound Schnauzer to pee every 5 minutes.

After watching her pee for about an hour and determining this was not normal, we took her to the all night vet. She peed right before we got into the car and again after the 10 minute car ride. We went in and waited about 10 minutes. The vet looked her over and said he needed a sample and proceeded to hand Leslie what looked like a fast food French fry holder. One of this rectangular things with the flared edges. Leslie immediately handed it to me and we headed for the door.

Leslie, being the friendly person she is, started chatting with the receptionist right as we got to the door of the clinic. Basil headed outside and since it had been all of 15 minutes since she last peed, she went. I had to push Leslie out of the way, run the length of the super long retractable leash, dive toward the dogs butt with the French fry holder aimed between her little bow legs and catch her urine while she squatted.

The whole thing took less than 2 seconds. I walked back in the clinic with my sample and Leslie was still talking. The dog was freaked out and I had pee on my hands but God damn it I had my sample!

After picking up the medication for the dog, we went outside, peed again and headed home. The next day was my turn.

I understand that a drug test pretty much means that they don't trust you and that it will be administered in a way to keep you - an untrustworthy person to begin with - from cheating. I understand that but I don't have to like it. I arrived at the office and found that there was no staff, no receptionist, no one but me and the chiropractor guy. He was very cordial and professional. He unpacked the box that contained the specimen bottle, the sample cup and the directions. I had to sign a form that said A) I wasn't a junky and B) that this whole thing was fine with me. (At least one of those things was true.)

He handed me the specimen cup and explained that I had to wash my hands before gathering the sample but could not wash them afterwards and could not flush the toilet. I understood and asked where the bathroom was and he grabbed a key and told me to follow him. His office didn't have a bathroom. I had to use the general office building bathroom. That was bad enough but then it turns out there could only be one door between us: The stall door.

There I was, standing in the stall with this chiropractor about 5 feel away, waiting for me. I read the directions on the cup to distract myself. 1. Wash hands thoroughly. 2. Fill cup to line. 3. Do not wash hands, do not flush toilet.

Surprisingly, this wasn't a big comfort. Let's face facts here, I could not see the line on the cup when the cup was positioned where it needs to be for me to pee in it. How was I supposed to know when I had filled it to the line? What happens if I get it over the line? Do they simply refuse to do the test and I have to come back again? Do they determine that I must have had a beer bladder to produce that much?

My solution was to pee a little, check the cup and pee again until I reached the line. With that done, I put the cup on the floor, the whole time worrying about tipping it over with my feet and put myself together again. I left the stall, feeling guilty about not flushing and smiled my best, "Here I am as an adult in the bathroom with a perfect stranger holding my urine in a small plastic cup." smile.

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Copyright 1998 by Laura Jiménez.


Updated 10/27/98
D&S Associates