I actually wrote this about two days ago on a piece of scrap paper while on watch. I thought about keeping the whole thing to myself but decided that pee in a cup was just too rich a topic to ignore... After a midnight docking the crew hit their racks - except for me of course since I enjoy the privilege of standing watch from midnight to 0600. The crew was in for a lovely surprise upon awakening. The 'White Board' (this is where all major shipboard events are posted) had a lovely little note: 'Restricted to vessel due to random drug and alcohol test at 0800 in ships hospital - no crew members to go ashore until testing complete'.
Groans and sighs, groans and sighs....but sea stories galore. The crew might complain that they have to pee in a cup but they secretly love it because it means that every sea story involving a failed drug test or a drug test gone awry must be told! Even I have a drug test story!
Here it goes....one time I had a shipmate ask me if I'd give him some of my pee. I told him it was a bad idea because I was pregnant. Ha! Of course the next day everyone knew I was pregnant...said sailor conveniently forgot to also inform everyone that the reason he knew was because his pee was dirty! Go figure!
Back to more recent events....we waited and waited and no tester arrived. This is tricky because when you gotta go you gotta go - except you know when you go that it means you might not be able to go later - you follow? I was certain that he would arrive as soon as I had peed! By 1100 I gave up and peed for the third time that morning and went to lunch - can you see where this is going? The tester showed up as soon as I had sat down with my plate.
A couple cups of water and a full belly later I'm ready to give my sample. It was a stress free affair. Earlier in the morning I explained to the cadet that my philosophy is to just always be ready to pee in a cup! As soon as I said it we both cracked up because it sounded like a commercial for Drug Free America. The thing is - it's true - just be ready to pee in a cup - it's simple!
This is when I decided that I had to tell the cadet that when I was a kid my nickname was MegGruff the Crime Dog. Remember McGruff?! Take a bite out of crime!! I took great pride in patrolling the neighborhood and reporting the offenders to anyone who would listen.
The Cadet then suggested that we have shirts made that say, 'I'm always ready to pee in a cup' on the front and 'Drug Free America' on the back....then he threw out 'yours can say MegGruff the Crime Dog on the back if you want'. What a sweetie!
However; there always comes a point where you realize that what is about to happen is really quite awkward. By the time I got to the ships hospital there was a line. You watch each other go into the hospital, present your ID, empty your pockets and visit the head - no water can run in the head soooo....no flushing or handwashing, then return to present your pee. The sample collector pours your pee into two smaller vials, seals them, and then has you initial them. Next, you blow into the breathalyzer. Truly, the worst part is walking out of the head and into the common space with your cup of pee for all to see. I always request a flush...because I don't want the guys looking at my toilet paper! There is something just wrong about that. The collector then goes into the head inspects the toilet, flushes, and then adds a bluing agent to the toilet water again.
Have you ever given drug testing much thought?! It's weird I tell you! While I'm not a huge fan of the process - there are some perks...hilarity may ensue, and we know that we are all drug free!
This particular evolution included more hilarity than most.
We have an older crew member (I'd say late sixties early seventies...which is really quite old when you think about the lifestyle). It is possible that he is slightly off his rocker. When I first met him he walked up to me and said, 'Yemen! Yemen! Yemen!' - except he kind of said it like a squeaky voiced gremlin. I just nodded and said, 'oh yeah.' and walked on. Sometimes, he'll walk into the cargo control room and tell me an entire story and I won't have understood one word of it. My Mom and I used to play this game where we would say something while only pronouncing the vowels - the other would have to guess what was really said. Instead of saying Megan, it would be pronounced Eh - Ah. Long story short...this is what he sounds like!
SO. He walks in to the room gets his cup and takes it into the head. He doesn't shut the door - so the inspector tells him he can shut the door....'Oh-Uh-Ah-Ee'. The door stays open. We hear a bunch of banging around and then we hear the cup drop to the deck and roll around. Standing in the line we all kind of look at each other and suppress a giggle. The collector asks him how he's doing.....'Ii-Ah-Eh'. Then he walks out with a cup that hold maybe a tablespoon of pee. Hahaha. (There is a black line drawn on the cup for a minimum sample - it was no where even close to the line.) The collector sends him back into the head where he spends a bit of time and then come back out with his baseball cap cocked sideways and a measly amount of pee in his cup. He is told that he can come back and pee but it has to be done within three hours or it is an automatic fail. There was a lot of chattering away and then he turns around to walk out when the Captain pipes up to ask him to do up his pants! We are seriously doing our best not to laugh hysterically. This is when we hear a large crack and realize that the chair that the sample collecter is sitting in has literally cracked in half and left him sprawled out on the deck. OMG.
The moral of the story - just always be ready to pee in a cup!
Disclaimer: I realized on the retelling of the story that it might not be as funny as I thought it was at the time however; as per usual - I ran with it anyways!