Illustration for article titled The Grossest Thing Youve Seen at Work
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In the immortal words of Blink-182, work sucks. It sucks because it is gross, and people are gross. The more people, the grosser it is. Coronavirus prep has made office workers and other colleagues less gross, but not enough. Sneezing now makes people suspicious, which seems unfair given that it is still winter and coughing can’t be helped. The hysteria has also lead me to think about other social cues that go ignored year-round. What about all the other bad behaviors displayed in the workplace when there isn’t a public health crisis?

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I once saw a middle-aged woman shave her legs in the communal sink, and that’s not even in the top three worst things I’ve seen at a job. Instead of listing them here, I want to hear from you: What’s the most disgusting thing you’ve ever seen at work? If I don’t get at least one booger-related tale, I will be very disappointed.

But first, it’s time to look at last week’s winners: Here are your worst birthday stories.

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Bananabunny, this is the saddest shit I have ever heard:

My worst birthday (so far!!!) was my 9th. My parents decided that I was ready to help take care of the big dog I’d/they’d always wanted, so as an early gift, they gave me an Old English Sheepdog puppy about 4 weeks before my birthday. I was in puppy heaven for the first couple days until he became very sick, and was diagnosed with Canine parvovirus. With our vet’s help, we nursed him through what seemed to be the worst of it.

And then on the actual day of my birthday, I was sitting on the floor beside him, petting him and just admiring his sweet puppy face while he slept... and while I was sitting there, he had a heart attack in his sleep. My mom loaded us up in the backseat and we flew to the vet’s office just a couple miles from home, but my sweet puppy died in my arms on the way there. I’ll never forget what felt like, or what it felt like to go back home with empty arms.

Every birthday since, I’ve remembered him. My birthday is this weekend (yay?!) and I was just thinking of him earlier today.

Chief Wiggum, P.I., you and your wife are tied:

This may not be seen because I’m gray, but my wife and I were just debating last night which one of us had a worse one (I say hers was worse, she says mine) so the timing just seems too perfect not to put it out there:

Hers: My wife was turning 12 and her mom and aunt set up a nice simple party with plenty of good food in the house with games on the lawn for the kids. Everyone was having a good time except for the future Mrs. Wiggum, who would try to play but kept crying because her dad wasn’t there. This is before cell phones so her mom called people but couldn’t find him, he definitely wasn’t working because his boss was his father-in-law, who was at the party. So she’s crying when her drunk uncle (drunkle?) trips and goes head first through the mirror by the door, bleeding profusely from his head and changing the party location to the ER. After hours of her party day waiting for his stitches the remaining family decided to just hit baskin robbins ice cream on the way home, where they finally found her father, sitting in a booth with a woman and a child- and that is how my wife’s family found out about her dad’s second family. He thought they’d be busy at the party, he said.

Mine: So there was this guy who showed up sporadically throughout my childhood to cause chaos, in order to avoid names we’ll call him my dad. When I was 6 or 7 my parents bought a cabin from a family friend who had it left to him and wanted to unload it fast and cheap, not because there was a problem but they wanted everything off the books. So for a couple of years we would have parties, getaways there. So my 10th birthday my mom gets my friends and we go for an overnight, I’d been making a big deal to friends about the place and as we got there all my friends were all oohs and ahs. My mom is unpacking the van and sends me to unlock the door, but I couldn’t get it to open. I didn’t really think about it and went to the side door that had a trick to opening, I got in and let my mom in, forgetting to mention the lock issue to her. So all is great, we cook dinner over fire, and are doing smores under the stars when we see police lights pulling up. Officers get out and talk with my mom, which begins calmly, then gets loud on her end, then leads to panic and anger/fear I rarely saw on my mom, at which point my friends and I watched as my mother, despite, vocal protest, was handcuffed. One officer drove her away while the other waited with us for another car for us kids. We were taken to a holding area for what felt like hours until finally we were released with my mom, whose eyes alternated between releasing tears and fire. And that is how we found out my dad, who we hadn’t heard from in 7 or 8 months at that point, had not only lost the family cabin gambling, but there were fraud-related warrants out for his arrest tied to the sale and other, we’ll call them business transactions, hence the police (in addition to the trespassing). Didn’t see him again for 3 years I think it was.

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lord of the dense, I’m so sorry. This is the worst:

My worst was my 6th. It was my first year in school and so the first one where a bunch of kids were invited. And a lot of kids showed up. Sounds good, right? Problem was my alcoholic mother was in no way equipped to deal with a houseful of little kids and parents she didn’t know. So she was taking frequent trips to her bedroom for glasses of attempted personality. The inevitable collision of party chaos and drunk happened and she went into a rage over who knows what and threw everybody out. She then screamed at me (remember I’m 6) that I would never have another birthday party and actually took my cake out to the garbage can in the alley to throw it away. I did get my presents....11 months later at Xmas. I knew that because they were wrapped in birthday paper.

I didn’t have another actual party until my 21st.

Throw your uncool coworkers under the bus in the comments below. I won’t tell if you won’t.

Senior Writer, Jezebel. It's facetious. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out July 21.

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