Friends of Wayne

For about six months while I was in school in Denton, I had a roommate name Chris who had a friend named Paul.  Chris and Paul had become best friends while working at the Piggly Wiggly and the two of them were together all the time.  I had worked with both of these guys at the Piggly Wiggly but the two of them had both moved on to an up and coming restaurant company that was headquartered in Addison, Texas at the time.  They had graduated from high school and had gone from stocking shelves at the Pig to moving inventory in the restaurant company’s warehouse.

Every night when I would come home from school or work, Chris and Paul would be sitting on my couch smoking pot.  These guys had become your classic potheads from the 80’s.  They never accomplished anything because they were always stoned or worrying how they were going to get stoned.  The pot smoking had robbed them of any initiative they might have had to accomplish anything other than their desire to ingest more pot.

These guys were so creative in how they actually smoked their pot that they would have a different delivery system every time I came home.  One day it would be a rolled joint, the next day it would be a wooden pipe, the next day it would be a glass bong with water, and another day it might be an empty one liter Pepsi bottle that they had converted into a bong.  They were constantly coming up with new ways to smoke pot.

It got so bad that they could no longer wait until they got home to smoke their refer.  To help bridge the gap while at work, they had both purchased a little piece of wood about the size of a cigarette lighter that had a compartment just big enough for a pinch of marijuana to go in.  They called this miniature pot pipe a “one hitter.”  They would have it stashed in their pocket and all set up and ready to go so they could duck outside the door of the warehouse and step behind a trailer and pull their one hitter out and light up.

This went on for a few months until someone told management they had employees getting high at work.  Chris and Paul were worried about it and showed true concern that someone was wise to them getting high on the job.  They weren’t worried about it enough to quit smoking pot at work, because the real problem was they were more worried about someone keeping them from smoking pot at work.  You could tell they were worried about it because they talked about it all the time while they were smoking pot on the couch after work.

Finally, a rumor came down to the warehouse employees that the company was going to administer lie detector tests to find out who was smoking pot in the warehouse.  Chris and Paul then became concerned that not only were they not going to be able to smoke pot at work but that they might actually lose their jobs.  Eventually, they figured out if they lost their jobs, they couldn’t afford to buy the pot they were smoking.  I think their love for the weed might have actually dulled their senses.

As time went on and it became more and more apparent that they were going to have to take a lie detector test, Chris and Paul then went about the business of talking to everyone they knew who might be able to help them “beat” the lie detector test.  The problem was, most of the people they knew who professed any knowledge on the subject of beating a lie detector test was invariably a stoner, like them.  My favorite was the refer addict that told them to “take a Lude and that will help you to relax enough to beat the test, man”.  With the Lude of course being drug lingo for a Quaalude.

You have to appreciate the irony of having to take a drug to help you beat a lie detector test while the main purpose of the test is to determine if you are taking drugs while at work.  So I asked Chris, “Are you really going to go to work stoned to try and prove that you aren’t getting stoned at work?  Or, are you going to take the Lude and actually be guilty of getting stoned at work?”  I followed that sarcasm with “I guess if you are showing up for work stoned, that you technically aren’t getting stoned at work, so if I were you I’d take it before you clock into work.“  Because he was stoned at the time, he just paused for a good twenty seconds and finally said “What’s your point, man?”

If you’ve been in the restaurant business or retail long enough, you’re going to encounter the Polygraph test, better known as the lie detector test.  Back in the 70’s, it was routine to have to pass a Polygraph test in order to get a job that you had applied for that involved handling money or expensive inventory.  It was also common place for hiring companies to administer a Polygraph test if there was suspected theft or unusual shrinkage of the gross margin, or both. 

However, when it wasn’t routine to administer polygraph tests, management would often threaten employees with a polygraph test to achieve a desired outcome by management without having to actually administer the lie detector tests.  At Wendy’s, we threatened to administer Polygraph tests if we were incurring a lot of cash shortages on the cash register.  Almost always, someone or more than one someone would end up quitting.  Some of the people quitting, were leaving to take a “better job”, but the vast majority were quitting because their integrity was insulted by the suggestion that they were stealing from us and we were going to give them a Polygraph test.  Then, like a Christmas miracle, the theft of shrinkage would end and everything would return to normal.

Chris and Paul, presumably when they were high, decided to take the indignant route because they were insulted by the suggestion that they were smoking pot while at work.  Never mind the fact that they admitted that they were indeed smoking pot while on the job, this is the route they chose to go.  Chris and Paul even went so far as to play the indignant card with me when they had already confessed to me on numerous occasions that they were smoking pot at work.  I guess the irony of getting high to beat the “getting high at work” rap wasn’t ironic enough.  Now you have to be indignant about being accused of getting high at work when you are admittedly getting high at work.

For the next few months after they indignantly quit, I would come home from work or school to find Chris and Paul sitting on my couch smoking pot.  I would ask them if they had found a job yet, and there typical response was “No man.  We were going to go look for a job, but we got high instead.  I swear we are going to go look for a job first thing in the morning.”  It was the same response every day.  After a few months of not going to look for a job, Chris and Paul both had to move back home because they were out of money and couldn’t afford the rent.

The following year, Paul moved to Colorado and took a job at a pizza place.  When we heard this, we went wild with the Colorado Rocky Mountain high jokes.  Soon after he took the job, the place burned to the ground.  The fire supposedly started in the dumpster area right behind the restaurant.  Anyone who has ever worked fast food knows the dumpster area is the place where potheads go to get high.  Anytime Paul’s name was mentioned, someone would always start humming a few bars from Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.”

 

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