Thursday, April 27, 2006

Coworkers: Part 79 - Lenny

   Once upon a time, there were three distinct strata of mental disability.
   Moron, imbecile, idiot.
   I learned this during a college course. Speech Communication, something like that.
   " ... if someone calls you a moron, this could be considered a compliment," the instructor smiled, "because a moron is the most intelligent of the three."
   The class laughed. This was at Cal State, obviously long before more sensitive modifiers such as "challenged" or "victimized" were applied to 100% of humanity. In our more enlightened era, everyone is special.
   Lenny, screaming at the Listening Bar, had floundered his way to imbecile level. Not quite the dumbest.
   Maybe I should have said goofball, that sounded more gracious.
   Lenny knew diddle about music, he had the attention span of a startled kitten, and people skills of a sea sponge. Typical late Blockbuster hire.
   He passed the drug test, and was agreeable. The newly mandated psyche test supposedly gauged honesty, sociability, openness, stability and conscientiousness. Not intelligence, not expertise, not the ability to comprehend instructions, let alone predict cause and effect.
   Evening crew forgot to empty trash cans so Lenny drew the morning assignment. To be efficient, to save bags, he compacted. Smashed his foot deep inside the trash box at the Listening Center. Foot got stuck in the box. As someone up front rang for assistance. Clip clop, up to the front.
   "Duhh, can I help you?"
   Another moment. The time he gazed towards the ceiling, balancing a bellboy bell on his forehead. Dancing the Macarena. Tripping over a stool, annihilating an end-cap, stepping on his glasses.
   For reasons unexplained, he drove a staple into his thumb. That's why he was screaming at the Listening Bar. On one hand, it hurt like hell. On the other hand, he was terrified of the resulting gusher if he yanked the wayward metal. He could die! No one would care because everyone around him was laughing. Stacey had tears in her eyes.
   After much self debating, Lenny summoned his nerve and asked Stacey to yank the staple out.
   She gripped the metal and tugged furiously. Lenny went with her, howling like a stuck bunny rabbit.
   "Did that hit bone when you drove it in?" she finally asked.
   "Oh my God! I can't believe I did that. Pull it out! Pull it out!"
   Couple more jerks, direct from the Inquisition, and the staple was free.
   No one had thought about bandages ahead of time.
   The copious leakage surprised everyone.
   Especially Lenny, who passed out.

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