Thursday, October 23, 2008

Workin' in a Coal Mine

Here is another story from the request line....Laura, this is for you.

People are always surprised to hear that I worked in a coal mine one summer. I'm surprised that they are surprised the same way I was when I realized that a camel was a weird high school mascot. I honestly never thought about it until I got to college and people started laughing when they found out. I grew up in a mining community in Wyoming, where the high school mascot was a camel. Seemed normal to me.

Anyway, everyone and their dog worked for the mines in one way or another. My dad was not a miner. We had no direct connection with the mines. This wasn't an issue until it came time to find summer employment. My friends whose parents worked at the mine had the necessary connection to work at the mine. The job certainly wasn't glamorous, in fact and think freakin' scary and dangerous would best describe it. The drove trucks literally the size of my house, around filled with coal or dirt. Yikes. Oh, did I mention they got paid at least double what anyone else was making. Yeah, that's what made that job worth it, I remember now.

Anyway, I digress. The summer after my freshman year of college I was out looking for work. I was late coming home because I had stayed for first summer term at school. I had missed out on most of the summer work. I would have loved to drive truck for the mine, but my dad worked for the city and didn't believe in helping his children find work. Don't even get me started on that one.

I finally got a mine related job. I worked for an independent lab that contracted with the mine. My job was to analyze the coals content so it could be regulated. Translation: I had a job that was mindless and boring, I worked at the mine, but not for the mine so I made $4.00 less an hour than my friends driving the trucks. The work was dirty, dirty, dirty, and I had to wear a respirator so I didn't get the black lung. *cough*

One day I came home at end of a 12 hours shift, plus commute, and I was tired. I mean dog tired. I made my way down to my bathroom and prepared to embark on the de-coaling process. I swear that coal dust chemically fuses to the human skin. I think any of my coal mine workin' buddies could back my up on this one. You have to use a washcloth in order to make sure you get the dust off of your body. When the cloth was black, your face was not. You get the idea.

So this particular night, I was moving at a snail's pace and I got into the shower and started the cleaning process. I quickly realized that I had forgotten my wash cloth. I stood there for a minute debating whether to get out of the warm shower to get it or not. Being as worn out as I was, I decided to go manual. BIG MISHTAKE! (name that movie). So I started the vigorous scrubbing process. Things went fine on the body area because that was mostly covered with clothes during the day. The neck and face are another story. I loaded up my hands with face wash and just went to town. I mean, I was scrubbing hard. When all of a left pinky got shoved so far up my left nostril I thought I might have brain damage. I mean I was scrubbing furiously and all that force went straight up my poor nose. I screamed out in pain and dislodged the foreign object. My nose immediately started bleeding profusely, so much that I had to finish my shower with one hand plugging my nose.

I was more annoyed than anything, but after a little thought decided it was a pretty dang funny story. I mean really, who does these kind of things? So I write up the story and e-mail it to my friend Brad who gets an enormous kick out of anyone injuring themselves. As I'm writing the e-mail I am just laughing hysterically, and the more I think about it, the harder I laugh.

The next day at work I decide to tell my trainer about my experience. I figure she has probably had similar experiences, having worked at the mine a while and all. So I relate the whole hilarious tell, laughing myself silly in the process, and she never even cracks a smile. All she said at the end was," oh." as she looked at me questioning my mental competence. I guess I wasn't surprised, I mean she had the personality of a fence post, but come on. This is top quality stuff.

For whatever reason, her indifference to the story made it that much funnier to me. I laughed myself silly again recounting the story to Brad, whom I knew would appreciate the social blunder associated with sharing it. Picture in your mind telling someone a story that you KNEW was funny and them just looking at you like a moron. Classic, I tell you. Classic.

I learned a few things at the coal mine. 1) finish college 2) don't waste your best stories on the unappreciative.

Any dear readers...hold onto your knickers, soon to come

My mom is the devil
Shamu the 20 year old girl
And countless other stories of humilation


Becky said...

Thanks for the laugh! I really needed it! Hope you are doing great.

Stephanie B said...

Well, done, Kim! Well done!

The Coatney's said...

i actually laugh out loud when i read your blog. thank you. also, i had a similar experience with a straw

Scott's Blog said...


Last Action Hero
Arnold Schwarzenegger

Maybe you can actually test me next time.

Kim said...

I'm sorry that is incorrect. Any other takers?

Stephanie B said...

I believe it is Mystery Man and it is the actor is Paul Rubens - a.k.a Pee Wee Herman a.k.a. The Spleen.

Challenge me!

Abby said...


But seriously, my nose hurts now. Thank you.

Abby said...

Also, this is why I always tell my funny stories to your sister first. She is a very appreciative audience. She even makes my B-matierial seem like A-level stuff. She's great for that.

Brittanie said...

Funny funny stuff. I don't know how you have so many stories!!

Amy said...

Holy cow.

p.s. email.