It’s no secret that most of the people I work with are Class A Winners and Whiners. This trend in poor hiring practices permeates every level of the hospital, all the way over to the Maintenance Department where a ragtag crew of rednecks romp about like grownup versions of Peter Pan’s “Lost Boys”—minus the charm and likeable qualities. I doubt a single one of them could properly define or pronounce the word “misogyny” but they make no secret of their disdain for women.
I once asked if I could borrow an extension cord to hang Christmas lights for the patients. Our electrician looked me dead in the eyes and said “Fine. But when you’re done, go ahead and hang yourself with it.”
I might have been upset if it weren’t for the fact that I already knew him as the guy who roared around the campus in his van, yelling the N-word out the window and disappearing for hours at a time.
The fact I could tell him apart from the others was something of an accomplishment, as they all look like different versions of the same dirty old man. Every single one of them wears tight wranglers, is always scowling, and harbors an unkempt beard full of food crumbs.
When I first got this job, I didn’t realize it was unreasonable of me to expect them to actually perform any sort of maintenance work. I was renovating an old house on our campus from the 1920s and needed some final touches before it was to be inspected. They reluctantly showed up on the site, but refused to do anything because I was scrubbing a refrigerator and they simply could not work with me there. Instead, they took turns standing in the doorway, making jokes about what kind of sandwich they wanted me to make for them. I reached the breaking point when Redneck Santa #4 sauntered in and started listing the various toppings he would prefer.
“Ask me to make you a sandwich and it will be the last thing you ever say.”
They left me alone after that, but I earned the nickname “Princess Red,” which I suppose isn’t any worse than “That Whore.”
About a year ago, I was standing in the doorway of my coworker Mandy’s office when a troop of Maintenance Workers passed by. I do my best to avoid them since I can’t help offending them with my womanly existence, but Mandy pulled such a look of disgust that I had to see what had caused it. I turned around and a plumber named Jerry was standing to the side, openly leering at my ass.
“Jerry wants to climb Big Red,” Mandy whispered.
I made vomiting sounds, as expected.
“Seriously though, he was in here earlier, giving a detailed account of what he’d do to you.”
I’d never known his name was Jerry—he was just another creeper who should have been fired decades ago. But by the next day, his name was all anyone was talking about.
“Have you heard? I saw it on the news, it’s so awful!”
Apparently Jerry had gone home that night and died in a tragic house fire. Let’s not forget that I have a history of houses burning down in my wake, but thankfully more details began to emerge.
“It was arson, but the fire isn’t what killed him! He was shot!”
Eventually we learned the full story. He’d gone home from work the day before and procured a prostitute off of Craigslist. Unfortunately for Jerry, she also brought her boyfriend, who shot him, stole his truck and wallet, and burned the house down. Obviously this is terrible no matter who you are.
Mandy’s theory was that he was so hot and bothered by his encounter with me that he’d had to hire a working girl to ease the unfortunate burden my sex appeal had placed on him, making it my fault that he was dead.
Jerry’s killers weren’t the brightest and had gone on a spending spree, using his stolen credit card at a casino where cameras were able to capture their faces. When Mandy pulled up the photos online, her theory became rock solid: The hooker was wearing a long red wig. And here we have come full circle.
Have you ever felt indirectly responsible for something bad happening? Do you find yourself being objectified based on your gender? Anyone have similar coworkers that somehow manage to NOT get fired?
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