How Low Can I Go?

by pjmcbride


WordPress has a feature called “Writing Prompts,” which is a word-of-the-day designed to give you ideas for a blog post. I’ve avoided these because it feels like cheating (if I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed!), but Blog School made it an assignment, and who am I to disobey a direct order?

The word of the day was “conundrum,” and you’re in luck, because I had one!

I was in the restroom at Walgreen’s. This is an achievement in itself, because you have to bother the pharmacy staff to let you in. (If you hear “Code Q” over the intercom there, that’s what it means. And “I.C.3” means there are 3 or more people at checkout and someone needs to come up and help. “I See Three”–get it?) (I will report back on any more of their secret codes as I decipher them.)

The lock on the stall door had been broken long ago, and replaced with one of those slide-a-cylinder-into-a-hole ones. (Sounds dirty, doesn’t it?) It didn’t align exactly right, and I had to shove it in forcefully to get the lock to engage. (Sounds even dirtier.) So I did what I’d come to do, and then found that I couldn’t get the lock back open with any amount of shoving.

I gave my conundrum a moment’s thought. One of my thoughts was the embarrassing awareness that my FanBase might think the restroom at Walgreen’s was the most appropriate place for me to be confined. Then I thought, Do I just stay in here until they let the next customer into the restroom, and then yell HEY, I’M TRAPPED IN HERE? Do I call 411 to get Walgreen’s phone number and call the pharmacy? (“It’s coming from inside the building!”) Do I call 911 and say, “I’m stuck in this restroom and need extrication”? (Note to coworkers: Refrain from any constipation-related remarks.) Or do I just panic and start screaming?

What I ended up doing was what I’d once heard an employee there say she’d had to do. I dropped down and, thankful I was wearing a slick-finish rain jacket, slithered under the door like a serpent. So I suppose I could crawl under barbed wire/enemy fire like soldiers do in the movies, although I can’t imagine how I’d get that opportunity. Oh, wait–Trump was elected President.

And the entire adventure was actually unnecessary, since the room door locks, so I didn’t need to lock the stall door at all.


The other day at work, I unwrapped a Fun Size (as opposed to the Work Size I should have had) Snickers bar. I popped it into my mouth, and tried to casually toss the wrapper into the trash, but it refused to go. It clung to my hand, and then to my other hand, like a Harpo Marx routine, or like putting tape on a cat’s head. (Not that I’ve ever done that, but I understand it’s been done.) I struggled in silence, hoping my colleagues wouldn’t notice I was being beset by snack food, and with a final violent effort, cast that sucker into the trash like Satan hurling a soul into hell. It came back out. I kid you not, it ACTUALLY FELL UP and reattached itself to my hand. The LAW OF GRAVITY had been broken on account of me. Disbelieving, I repeated the process, and it did it again. The third time, having proven its point, it finally agreed to go in the wastebasket.


Have you ever had a piece of fried chicken go up your sleeve? I didn’t think so.


“If he said he’d beat you up if you went over there, why are you going over there?”