Me: What, ma’am?
Customer: The tear here.
Me: That’s not a tear, ma’am. Moths have eaten away the crotch.
Before working as a gift wrapper and after being the lotion straighten-upper at a ritzy potions and creams boutique, I worked at a dry cleaner for five months. The other low-paying jobs? I took willingly. This low-paying job? The result of maternal coercion.
My mom got the brilliant idea to buy a dry cleaner. She wanted to be the Queen of Dry Clean. Too bad she didn’t know anything about the business.
Rather than saving us both the trouble and just coming clean with the plan, she began her campaign by asking if I’d ever thought about becoming a spy. I was in the middle of watching Little House on the Prairie, so I ignored her.
Since that didn’t bring about the desired reaction, she changed direction by proclaiming that she had found her calling in life. Lady, at 60, the only calling you’re hearing is the Voice of Death.
She convinced me that working at the dry cleaners across the street would be a good idea. I could learn the trade and come home and dutifully report my findings.
It wasn’t psychically shattering at first. I manned the cash register and made a game of closing my eyes before turning on the revolving rack and using my latent skills of clairvoyance to bring the rack to the right place. It worked out pretty well; I was usually only 100 or 200 off. Looking back, I’m pretty pissed I didn’t explore my gifted sixth sense a little further.
I didn’t mind processing the dirty clothes for cleaning. It didn’t bother me to stick my hand into pockets to make sure they didn’t contain any used condoms, hooker phone numbers, money, snotty tissue, weapons, papers containing chewed gum, hairballs, syringes, drugs or any other remnants of daily life.
What sucked was that there wasn’t any hand soap in the bathroom. I got tired of walking next door to Von’s to wash my hands before lunch, so I started bringing a travel-sized hand soap to work every day. I didn’t share it with anybody. That travel-sized buddy was the only way I wasn’t going to ingest syphilis or leprosy with my lunch, and I was willing to shiv anybody who tried to take a squirt.
I just prayed to sweet Jesus that none of the other employees smelled my Moonlit Path handwash every time I came out of the bathroom.
Five months in, my mom decided that owning a dry cleaner was not her life’s mission. Fine by me. I went to work after her announcement intending to give my two-weeks notice. Then, Ms. Jumpsuit walked in.
The single item in her hand had a large gaping hole in the crotch. Like the $8-an-hour brave dumbass I was, I leaned in for a closer look because it didn’t look like a rip. I asked her how long it had been since she had worn her lovely purple silk jumpsuit. She mumbled something about August.
August was seven months ago.
Using the spy skills I had honed during my five months, I pieced together key information. She had worn the silk jumpsuit to a party seven months ago….sans underwear. She had left it in the dark recesses of her closet without getting it cleaned first. When she pulled it out for another party, she noticed the hole.
I told her the hole was moth damage. I tried not to use the term “crotch sweat” while discussing the matter. She demanded we fix the hole. I lowered my head and assumed a subservient stance before telling her that we were fresh out of silkworms that day, and we couldn’t make new silk to replace the damage her dirty-ass habits had caused.
She stormed out.
I gathered my purse and checked my pocket for my secret buddy, Hand Soap. I wanted to be responsible and work my last two weeks, but nothing’s ever the same after crotch sweat.
Psst….Think Ahead. Empty your pockets before you go to the cleaners. Also, don’t wait seven months before getting your shit cleaned. I care, people.
Ms. Jumpsuit’s bad adult behavior makes me laugh…and shudder. Have you seen bad adult behavior?
P.S. I did an interview. Favorite question-Have you gotten any death threats from Tim Geithner?