I was in year three of the four years I spent at the World’s Worst Office job when I realized that my Big Girl Meeting Pants were feeling a bit … small. I couldn’t understand it! After all, it wasn’t like I was leaving work every night at five (or six, or seven, or a million o’clock) and going straight to bed, maybe with a short interlude of weeping in the bathtub. It wasn’t like I spent every weekend training for the How Much Cheap Wine Can You Drink On This Couch competition. It wasn’t like Gossip Girl and the guy on the other end of the Chinese delivery line were the only people who were still talking to me, because all I talked about was WORK and how AWFUL it was. (It was exactly like this. All of this.)
So I decided that the answer was Healthy Snacks. No more office birthday cake—and in an office of 65+ people, it was always somebody’s goddamn birthday. We must have kept Kroger’s sheet cake elves very busy. No more converging on the stale leftover meeting bagels like a carb piranha. No more sitting in the bathroom with my feet up on the bowl, hiding with a bag of Dove chocolates, reading the inspirational quote on each wrapper and whispering “THAT IS SO TRUE” to myself.
“Almonds!” I thought to myself. “Almonds and water!” In my hazy memories of my mom’s Self magazines, that’s what was usually printed next to the pictures of post-workout chicks. Friends, I hurried myself to the Nut Hut in the Randall’s near my house, which was staffed by the world’s most garrulous and creepy Mickey Rooney lookalike this side of an Our Gang cosplay sketch. After I listened to him talk about his many girlfriends for several minutes, he finally gave me half a pound of raw almonds in a plastic container. I even ate some on the way home. “These are kind of good,” I tried to convince myself. “They kind of taste like little bits of tree bark. Tree preemies! I’m eating tree preemies!!!”
But beneath, there lurks an unimaginable horror.
Well, I kept them in my snack drawer, next to the Smart Pop and Smart Chips and Pop Chips and every other goddamn lady chow brand that has “Smart” or “Pop” or “Skinny” in its name. And steadily, throughout the next couple of weeks, I’d down them for my afternoon snack.
One day, I was standing up in my cubicle, chatting with the girl next to me, when I noticed something … moving. On my blouse. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw this vague white … shape. And when I glanced down, there it was.
A maggot. A maggot just sitting there on my blouse. Although screaming the scream of a thousand girls inside, I ever so casually brushed it off onto the floor, then sat down and put my head on my keyboard. WHAT DID THIS MEAN. WHAT. Time to Nancy Drew it to it.
By the way, when you type “maggots in” into Google Images, here’s what comes up:
Maggots in nose
Maggots in mouth
Maggots in teeth
Plus a very popular story about a middle school warning kids that snorting Smarties could lead to maggots in your nose. That’s one for the ages.
Quickly, I scooped the offending insect off the carpet on a piece of printer paper and … threw it in the trash. What else? What else could I do with it?? Then, I peeped into the nut container.
Hello, my baby, hello, my darlin’, hello my snack time giiiiirl!
There, on what can only be described as a bed of husks, squirmed ten to fifteen maggots. My healthy tree-snack had turned, seemingly overnight, into DISCO RICE.
How many had I eaten? Did I even want to know?
Hyperventilating and retching at the same time is a real treat, let me tell you. I briefly considered barfing right into the trash can at my desk, but then I remembered there was one of THEM in there. If there’s anything worse than a maggot, it’s a maggot swimming in puke.
I ran to the bathroom, lost my snack, and vowed never to turn my back on pre-packed, non-organic, unhealthy snacks. And to write a sternly worded letter to the Randall’s, letting them know that the guy who mans the Nut Hut needs to spend a little more time waving the flies off the merchandise, and a little less time thinking about all his honeys.
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