The Dog Ate My Homework (and other excuses)

Working for a road construction company has its benefits. Winters are magnificently slow and we have the pleasure of crossing paths with some interesting characters throughout the busy season. Sometimes these guys get past our loose screening procedures and they end up gracing us with their presence for a few weeks or months. Others are odd enough upon initial consultation that red flags are raised, torn up, and burnt to the ground.

We had a bright gem who worked with us for a few months last season. Not only did he call in sick every other day, but the days he decided to show up, he was chronically late. This gentleman listened to Eminem on his iPod while wielding a flag paddle, trying to direct traffic. When approached by his Supervision about the danger of not being able to hear his surroundings, he explained why it was kosher for him to continue his antics.

“I know Eminem’s daughter.”

Supervisor: “How do you know her?”

“I met her once and we keep in contact. Actually, we dated for a while.”

Supervisor: “I don’t believe you.”

“Well we did, and I met her Dad.”

Supervisor: “That definitely didn’t happen.”

No. Kidding.

Since we do not perform pre-employment drug and alcohol testing, this is one of the things we screen for during the interview. We are not allowed to directly ask someone if they have an addiction, but we can casually mention pre-access testing as a job requirement . . . and wait for a positive or negative reaction. One cool cat said he could pass a “piss test”, but last time he almost failed.


“Yeah, people were doing drugs in my building and I went outside to have a smoke. I was close to it so I almost failed the test for coke.”


“I have never even seen coke before.”

Bull. Shit.

There is no such thing as ALMOST failing a drug test. Sometimes preliminary testing has to be sent away to a lab because results were “inconclusive” for a number of reasons. But when it comes down to the results the worker receives, it’s pass or fail. You either did drugs or you didn’t. You didn’t just walk by someone “smoking coke” and now you’re unsure of your ability to piss clean. Something’s not adding up for me here.

This guy is probably sitting at home wondering why he hasn’t been offered a high paying executive position somewhere. His next excuse will be he “lost his licence because someone hit his truck out of nowhere.” He was “completely sober and parked safely in a parking lot.”

Maybe the dog ate his homework too?

YOU sir, are not a good candidate for this position.

YOU sir, are not a good candidate for this position.


Sorry, Sister

Sometimes nuns are in disguise

In November of last year I had been working with Jack of Most Trades for about a month. He hired me on for some office safety responsibilities and we got to hang out like best buds almost every hour of every day. Cool, huh? We are still working together and although it has been close, we haven’t filed for pre-divorce . . .yet.

Jack and I are the first to admit we don’t “fit in” with the main floor crowd at the shop. Maybe it’s our fault, maybe it’s theirs. To strengthen the downstairs employees’ case against us (Jack specifically), one day Jack needed a hole punch and he didn’t have one, so he body checked a locked door to retrieve someone else’s. When questioned about the incident, he told me he just really needed the hole punch. To this day, there are little round pieces of paper scattered on the stairs leading to our office – a reminder of Jack’s grand theft hole punch “WTF moment”.

But there is more to the story, of course. Jack is a patient man when it comes to my obsessive cleaning and random crying fits; when he gets to work he transforms into a militant hot mess. He will lose his shit on a weekly basis. Where he rarely yells at me at home, he completely makes up for at the office.
He always scream -asks me all these hard questions like:




In the construction industry swearing is acceptable. You can even call someone an “F’n A-hole” and they won’t be offended. I don’t like it when Jack scream questions me with swears. And I don’t think I’m alone.

Back to November . . .

I was having a conversation about Windows 8 with a lady from the aforementioned main floor crowd, when Jack walked in.

MF Lady: “We were just talking about you.”

Jack (jokingly): “Why, what the f#cked I do?”

While speaking with the main floor lady, I had noticed a mild mannered, grey haired lady sitting on the couch in the waiting room. After Jack threw out the F bomb, I instantly felt very awkward and motioned my eyes from him to the lady sitting in the waiting room. She wasn’t just any little old lady. . .

MF Lady: “There’s a sister behind you.”

Jack: “So there is.” Turning to the nun sitting on the couch he said apologetically, “I’m very sorry about that”.

Jack quickly turned on his heel and mentioned something about “going to go pray”.

You see, Jack was raised a good Catholic boy and had he known a nun was sitting behind him, he would have never peppered us with profanity.

Jack is a good man; hole punches are hard to come by, and sisters just don’t dress like they used to.