How I Ended Up Waist Deep In Misery

 Surprise. Here's another post concerning poop. 100% true, if not a little bit understated. Also, I used to be blonde. For reals.

You know that show called "Dirty Jobs?" It follows people around that have icky jobs and shows America  how awful some jobs are and all of us watch and heave sighs of relief because we don't have to be cricket farmers and sheep castrators. Well, I truly believe I've worked a job that was just as awful as any of those.

I was a janitor at a waterpark.

 You're probably thinking "Oh, that's not so bad!"

No. You know nothing.

I got the job when I was 17 so I could save up money to go to England for a couple weeks. I thought at first that I would be emptying trash cans, sweeping the concrete and making sure kids don't throw stuff in the pools. Plus, I earned SEVEN dollars an hour! Two dollars more than the other water park workers, including the lifeguards.

My boss was a pretty crazy woman. She had been previously employed as the Head Janitor at Disney World, and always talked about it as if she were the veteran of a war. And that war was Disney World. It took a lot of good people, and she'd seen some things that she still doesn't talk about to this day.

Through her knowledge gained at Disney World, she was able to teach me to clean bathrooms and to distinguish between different cleaning supplies, always remarking on which ones could kill you and then sharing a semi-related story that usually started with  "When I was at Disney World..."

I was then trained to use the radio to contact the other janitors. As she was going over the different radio phrases, I found out an aspect of my job that was never mentioned in the description. She began to explain a "1030", or, as we Water Park Janitors called it - a "ten-turdy." When you get a "1030" from another person with a radio, that means that whichever Janitor is in the area where the accident happened, needed to go to the closet and fetch the long-handled net.

This net was used for scooping things out of the pool, the most common thing at this particular water park being Human feces.

Within the first week I had my very first 1030. I got the radio call when I was in the kids pool area sweeping up somebody's spilled french fries.

They said "We've got a 1030 here in the Mushroom Pool, area 4." I looked over and noticed that the pool was devoid of children, and the lifeguards were blocking anyone from getting back in.

 I felt nervous, mostly because I didn't want a bunch of 9-year-old's watching me fish someone's excrement out of their beloved oasis. Also because I had never fished poop out of water with a net before.  I went to the janitor's closet (which was actually just a nasty trailer that doubled as a "break room" behind the park) and grabbed that awful net.

The only things that were keeping me going was the London Trip, and the seven dollar-an-hour paycheck that would get me there.

 It was like trying to catch a fish in a tank with one of those little green nets. Except the little green net was actually a giant nasty pool net and the fish was a piece of human excrement.

It kept getting away from me.

I'd think I got it but then it would dip under and out of the net, as hoards of little children were watching me.

I felt like a freak show.

Especially because ONE of those children left that nasty, elusive present for me. 

When I finally caught it and disposed of it, I sulked off, vowing to never do it again.  I vowed I would find one of the other janitors and make them do it.

But because I'm the unluckiest person alive, it happened to me a total of 13 times that summer. Apparently people love to defecate in only the pools I'm in charge of cleaning.  I had no idea people went to the bathroom so much in pools. Even children should know they shouldn't go in a public pool! Peeing in a pool is one thing (come on, we've all done it at least once) but poop?!

I should also include the used tampon that three children were batting around in the wave pool one day.

After I fished that little treat out of the water a group of boys my age walked past and laughed at the contents of my net.

Then there was the dead mouse.

It was floating down the lazy river when I got there in the early morning. I used that all-purpose net to snatch it out.

Another memorable time was when one of the lifeguards stationed at the top of the slide tower said he had a 1030 for me to clean up. I left the bathroom I was cleaning and walked all the way to the top, wondering how somebody could possibly defecate at the top of a slide tower and then somehow get it out of their swim trunks and onto the ground.  When I got to the top the lifeguard looked at me and said "Some kid barfed....I didn't know what else to call it on the radio though."

"Some kid barfed" was an understatement. That kid had seen the tallest slide and had, in fear, hurled the contents of his stomach all over the green fake grass lining the floors of the slide tower.

I used this magical powder to clean it up. You sprinkle it on the vomit and it turns it into solid pieces so you can just easily sweep it up.

(By boss nonchalantly explained that they use it to clean blood off the asphalt after a car accident.) But even the magic car accident powder didn't get the vomit unstuck from the fake plastic grass.

The smell of people's wet feet mixed with the kid's barf still haunts me.

After the first 5 or 6 "ten-turdys" I cleaned up, I began to really dread my job. I recall one day when I got to work and spent the morning in a paranoia over what I would be cleaning up that day.

By the afternoon I found myself mopping up someone's pee from the bathroom floor.  I finished and checked to see if my boss was anywhere nearby. Feeling mentally unhinged, I walked across the park to the bathroom located near the break room. It was one room, and nobody ever used it. I locked myself in, turned down my radio and held my knees.

I sat on the floor of that bathroom in the dark for an hour.

I'd like to say the only thing that got me through that job was the idea that I could go to England. But I also made it through because I became a hardened and cold-hearted janitor.

After the first turd, I felt a part of me die. Children were no longer cute.

They were monsters.

They were poop-machines that expelled vomit and who only existed to put me and my fellow janitors through misery. I understood why Ed the Custodian at my high school always seemed like such a terrible old man. I understood why he called my friend the "B word" that one time when she kicked a trashcan over by the drama room.

But the crowning moment of the summer happened a couple weeks before I left for London. I had already taken care of over a dozen ten-turdies in my time at the water park with the notches in my belt to prove it. I was the pro at cleaning up repulsive things.

I got the call while I was hiding in a dressing room in the bathroom. "We have a 1030 in the Mushroom Pool, area 4..."

I fetched the familiar old net and arrived at the kid's pool.

The offender was floating right in the middle.

As I put the net in, the net part of it broke off and floated into the pool.

Everyone looked at me. I reached the handle in and tried to get the net to float back towards me, but it was no use. After a couple of minutes of me trying to fish the net out with its handle, one of the lifeguards said "Well...someone needs to get in and get it."

Of course, they looked at me. I sighed and started to take my shoes off. Kids were laughing and giggling, and a couple of the lifeguards were  all like "ohhhhhhhman!" But someone had to do it, right? Besides, I'd get the net, get the poop and then get out. Easy.

When I was waist deep in the pool with the newly retrieved net in my hand, I reached it out and tried to grab the offender.

To my surprise and disgust, the poop broke apart into a million pieces which then dispersed themselves around me when it touched the net.

I whimpered a little bit as the crowd around the pool gasped and made groaning noises. There was nothing I could do, since the pieces were now so small.

Whenever I swiped the net through the water, all the little pieces would be pushed away in different directions, even when I did it slowly. In retrospect I realize I should have gotten out of the pool and fixed the net first. But it was too late, and I was soaked up to my waist in poop-water.

As I made my way slowly to the stairs, the pieces following me a little bit, I couldn't help but think of what a terrible water park this was. I recalled the numerous threats of Ecoli from earlier in the summer and shuddered. I finally emerged from the pool, drenched, to hear one of the lifeguard's bosses say something like "just turn the chlorine levels up and open it in a couple of hours."

I was disgusted. I looked around for my phone to call my Mom and tell her what happened. But it wasn't where I thought I left it. It was still in my pocket. Waterlogged, and broken forever.

When I got home my Mom looked at me and said "oh, you got in the pool today!" It would have been awesome if I could have said "yeah, someone was drowning and the lifeguard didn't see it so I dove in and saved the person!" But all I could actually say to her was....


Went to London. Every poop was totally worth it.