I must admit I’ve saved the best Lee story for last. I won’t go too far into the buildup for this one because it wasn’t entirely family appropriate. Suffice to say, there was one day in particular that Lee was feeling ill and had pains in her stomach muscles.
She was threatening to go home which, as understaffed as that workplace was, would have been a disaster for the day’s work, so I decided to share with her an old trick; I would show her how to make a home made heating pad.
The process was simple. First, I sent her to the store on her break to fetch a small bag of uncooked rice. Next, I took a sock (It was a second-hand store, there were an abundance of widowed socks) and filled it with said rice, tying it securely off. Third, I microwaved it until it was sufficiently warm.
I gave it to Lee with these specific instructions:
- Never microwave it for more than a minute at at time.
- Never microwave it for more than two and a half minutes altogether.
- Always take it out and shake it before putting it back into the microwave, to test its temperature.
- Don’t leave it in the microwave unattended.
And in the end it looked somewhat like this:
I hand her the freshly warm sock and this advice. So what, readers, do you imagine the first thing she did was? Gratefully place it against her sore stomach? Grab a belly pack (again, thrift shop) and wear it with the sock snuggled inside? No. She shoves it into her pants.
So it’s gone from me hearing her complain about her pain (mainly on the plain), to hearing her make jokes about how, with the sock in her pants, it looks like she’s got a…well, it’s an easy joke. And a lame one. And she told it every chance she got.
But eventually, like all things, the sock cooled down. So Lee moved to the back room to reheat the sock. However, when she did so, she ignored all my specific instructions and placed it back into the microwave for a solid, uninterrupted two and a half minutes. The sock was already slightly warmed when she put it in, and I can imagine it was pretty scalding once it came out. But, because she didn’t shake it and check the temperature, she wouldn’t know that. Instead, she put it right back where she had it.
Welp, time to shove this in my pants.
Soon Lee was complaining of a new pain – a severe burning sensation. However, since she’d leapt right back into work, she had to help a line of customers before she could get back to the back room and pull the offending sock out. One might say, if she hadn’t stuck the thing in her pants to begin with, she wouldn’t have had that problem. I might also say it.
But the real punchline is not Lee’s burnt biscuits, but rather the fact that she went over my head to file an injury report about it. She was denied. Because it doesn’t take an HR genius to know that when you shove a hot object into sensitive places, you’re going to get burnt.