In honor of Labor Day I thought I’d share a little something from my first real job out in this big bad world. It was the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of PA. FYI: I didn’t even know what a Bankruptcy was at this point.
I was fresh out of serving my sentence at an all girls catholic high school. At the tender age of 18 I was officially thrown to the wolves. I was literally out of school 4 days so the wolves were sympathetic.
Needless to say my worldly experiences up until this point were void. I grew up in a cookie cutter section of the city. Attended school with a group of girls who were also raised in this environment and my exposure to urban life was slim. Until it was slammed in my face all in one day.
I’ll admit going into this job could easily be compared to a lamb being led to the slaughter, but I survived. My boss was a wonderful mentor and the co-workers … well … they were certainly an eclectic crew. Some I’m still friends with, others just provide flashbacks of shock & awe.
Since this was a Government job they didn’t always hire the sharpest tools in the shed. Let’s just say there were the brains and the who the hell knows whats, but somehow it was a good balance. This is where Judy comes in …
Judy, which is her real name … sort of. You see, Judy was born in India so I’m not sure if her parents were huge Wizard of Oz fans or she just Americanized herself upon arrival. It really didn’t matter to me Judy was easy to pronounce.
At the time Judy came on board I had a good two years under my belt. At 20 I was already a seasoned employee. Judy was a nice middle-aged woman assigned to the desk behind mine. She would be working with me to send out mass mailings to creditors. Easy enough.
I knew the proper etiquette when it came to new employees. You introduce yourself, make some small talk about marital statuses, kids and education before going silent. Idol chit chat … no more.
It was clear early on that Judy did not receive the memo on this procedure when she summoned me to turn around, because she wanted to tell me something. I had an odd feeling that I was about to hear more than I needed to know when she kept insisting that I roll my chair closer. Baaaa Baaaa …. off I went.
In her broken English she introduced herself with this opening:
Judy: “I once had frostbite on my feet.”
Me: “Oh” Translation: WTF is frostbite? A shoe designer?
Judy: “My toes can fall off at any time.”
Me: ……………………. Translation: Wait … What!?
Judy: “I could just be sitting here and loose a toe.”
Me: ……………………. Translation: Umm, I don’t pick up loose toes!
Needless to say I spent the rest of the day staring into space patiently waiting for a toe or two to roll on by. Once the initial shock wore off I thought that maybe I didn’t understand her correctly through her broken English, so I went back to the slaughter-house for round two. Probably not one of my better decisions.
Honestly, at 20 years old this information could barely be processed. I was not schooled on the health hazards of frostbite. For god sakes I was too busy preparing to marry Mr. Wrong!
Me: “Excuse me did you say your toes could just fall off?”
Me: “Oh …. like …. when?”
Judy: “It can happen any time.”
Obviously this occurred before the hype of suing anyone who dared to infringe on your personal space, especially with their loose toes, otherwise I would be writing this from my beach front home. Stark & Stark missed the boat on this case!
I just continued being a good citizen by going to work with the added unpaid duty of checking my workspace for random toes. No piggy that went to the market … good. All clear on the piggy that stayed home … check. The dynamic duo one with roast beef the other with none … nowhere in sight. That little rascal that went wee, wee, wee …. back at home.
It really is ironic that I now work for a Podiatrist and Judy is not a patient … with or without her toes.
Enjoy the Ride!
Isn’t it amazing that we survived early work? I worked with all old people. At the time anyone over 40 was really old. I went home with stories as I’m sure they did too. Isn’t it hard to get frostbite in India? Or did I miss a geography class?
Apparently the frostbite came when she came to America! So funny I actually asked that very question.
How the hell did we survive … really?
Oh that is brilliant. Just hilarious. I have been on both sides of the linguistic divide (this side is WAAAAAY better). But never did I worry about toes.
Did you burn your skirt when you got out of Catholic school?
I would have been fired the first day from the hysterical outburst! She must have been full of them, not toes, crazed stories…
I’m no expert on frostbite, but I thought if they didn’t fall off during the initial attack, then you were good. That being said, I don’t think that would be my opening line to a new coworker. Awkwarrrrrrd…
That is so funny. In the 70’s when my daughter was ready to start high school, her mother thought she was boy crazy and would get knocked up if she attended public school. She made her go to a Catholic girls school, which cost me a boatload of money. When she was a senior, and threatening all kinds of mayhem, I intervened on her behalf and she finished the last semester at my alma mater. She burned her skirt in the backyard and never got pregnant at either school.
We had jumpers … hideous jumpers and I was very fortunate that my year was the year of the maternity jumper …oh yes, because the more you tell a group of girls to stay away from the boys, the more we want them.
What’s with burning the skirts? I always thought those little skirts were adorable. I longed for one. Unlike the burning of the bra, which there is not a woman alive who longs to wear a bra. Hmmm, I think I got off topic.
how funny! I can just see a toe on the loose! Thanks for this post, I have missed reading your writing.
Eeeyew. Did she wear sandals???
I love the comment about burning your skirt after Catholic school. I wish I had a story like this…so funny. Notre Dame School For Girls came back in spades. White polyester blouses that felt like a hair shirt it was that starched…navy pleated skirts and the navy blazer we’d hide our pot in…finally the nuns got smart and started to check them. I had visions of them smoking en mass in mass saying things like, “This is some good weed…we better not expel her.”
FUNNY ESSAY TOP!