April 1, 2019 · family dadlife

That time I spilled a shitload of milk

There's a long established truth about parenthood: mom's do all the hard work while dad's do all the gross work. I was reminded of that this morning as I was cleaning up a mess from my 2 1/2 year old. I'll spare you the details but suffice to say that the second floor of my house smells like someone died up there. I've been working from my couch all day silently cursing my 28 pound daughter and wondering how she could produce something so foul. The incident got me to thinking "when did I realize dad's deal with the gross shit?". I immediately realized I learned it not from my dad or step dad, both of whom I'm sure have had to clean up some seriously gnarly messes before, but rather from the store manager at the grocery store I worked at when I was 16.

I can't remember the guy's name but I remember he had this sweet ass mane of dark hair that made him look an awful lot like one of the Fratelli Brothers from The Goonies. You know which one I'm talking about – not the short one from the Matrix. The other one. Yeah, that one.

Anyways, if you've ever worked at a grocery store you know it's a honeypot for 16 year olds looking for their first job. Managing one of those stores must be like a glorified babysitting job – except you're not dealing with tantrumy 7 year olds; you're dealing with hormonal teens or grocery store lifers.

Back to gross dad duty, a couple of us were working back behind the dairy section one evening. We were horsing around and we accidentally knock over a rack full of gallon milk dugs. The rack seemed to fall in slow motion with jugs of milk falling from the top like humpty dumpty teetering off the top of the wall. They came smashing down on the ground exploding like a dairy July 4th. I can't remember the exact count of milk jugs that blew up but it was enough to flood this one little section of the dairy department with about 2 inches of milk and water. My coworkers and I stood there wondering what to do. Who would we call? Would we get into trouble? WOULD WE HAVE TO PAY FOR THE MILK WE BROKE?

This is where the aforementioned dark maned manager would appear. He looked at us, the spill, and back at us and said "why aren't you guys cleaning this up?"

"Well, the drain is clogged we think?" we responded with more than a hint of hesitation.

"Ok, so unclog the drain?" he said back to us.

"Um, how sir?"

"Stick your hand in the drain and pull out whatever is in there" he said with more than a hint of "get your shit together boys"

We looked at each other, at him, then the drain, and then we finally said "um, no?"

The next thing I knew he was stooped over this drain fishing around looking for the clog. I wanted to puke when he pulled out some radical looking sludge that managed to free up the drain enough to pull down with it several gallons of milk and other debris.

Now I have no idea if this dude was a dad or not. For all I know he was 22. But I'll never forget watching that and thinking to myself "damn, this is the gross stuff dad's do isn't it?"

And yep, it is.