This time last week I was facing one of the biggest dilemmas of my life.
I had returned from yet another job interview, and the graphic artist position was in the bag. She loved my resume and had already contacted my references without having met me yet. They were willing to train and wanted to hire me on character alone. Apparently, Mary Alys Cherry, Editor for the Clear Lake Citizen, had nothing but good things to say about me. Everything was falling into place, except for one impending detail: it was company policy for new employees to take a drug test prior to employment. I knew this day would come. I had been dreading it months in advance, before it was a true reality. HCN (Houston Community Newspapers) owns 33 newspapers in Houston and surrounding areas. If I wanted to work for a newspaper, I would inevitably have to pass a drug test. I put it off once when the Bay City Tribune wanted to hire me, but I really didn’t want the position in the first place. I really don’t want to be a reporter, but HCN Classifieds needed a graphic designer to build ads and Cyndy was ready to hire me except for a minor technicality. She wanted me to take the test the same day I went in for the interview, but I quickly told her I was about to leave town for the weekend (which was true) but that I could take the test Monday. Monday seemed like years away at the time, but my weekend in San Antonio with my dad was plagued by my mental dread. I knew what I had to do, it was just a matter of working up the nerve to do it. Cheating a drug test can be done, quite easily, and although it’s not an impossible task, it can sometimes get quite messy.
The first step in beating a drug test when your urine contains a high concentration of an illegal substance is finding someone who is absolutely drug free. For most people who socialize among the drug culture, this can be a difficult task, fortunately, my best friend takes no interest in marijuana anymore. Her urine is clean and she (knowing my dilemma) was willing to help me out. My best friend’s urine was a life saver, but I wish to never be that close to it again.
The plan my brother laid out for me was to strap a 2 to 3 ounce bottle full of clean urine to my upper inside thigh. I used waterproof first aid tape, which was flexible, and a mini-bottle I picked up at Wally World. I would be wearing a long skirt so the bottle would not be detectable. The tricky part to this daring procedure is making sure the temperature of the urine is between 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit when you hand it over to be tested. My brother recommends putting it in the microwave for about 15 seconds before leaving the house, others say that it also helps to urinate outside of the cup. The urine sample cups you’re supposed to fill have temperature strips that turn a different color once filled. It should turn a greenish blue color if the liquid is between 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
I collected my best friend’s precious bodily fluid first thing that morning, and before leaving the house, I popped it in the microwave for fifteen seconds. Paranoid about getting the temperature right, I popped it in for another 20 seconds (I had at least a 45 minute wait before the test). When I opened the microwave door, I saw in horror that my little plastic bottle had melted on the side and was now leaking my best friend’s urine all over the microwave. Panicked, I taped up the bottle to the point where I could no longer feel hot urine drenching my hands. I wrapped foil around it, threw it in a bag, washed by christened hands, and made a mad dash for Wally World to buy another bottle and funnel.
After purchasing these items, I drove next door to Burger King where it was less crowded. I parked the car and prepared to make the transition. Luckily, there was still enough urine left to use – I needed at least 2 ounces, and I still had a little over three ounces. While pouring Gwen’s morning pee into the new bottle, I miscalculated how much the bottle would hold, and the precious bodily fluid overflowed out of the funnel and into my hands that were positioned over my lunch cooler where I had it preserved. Once again, I found myself covered in my best friend’s pee. I used Burger King’s bathroom to wash up as best I could, threw away the old bottle, unwrapped the still warm urine around my upper thigh with the First Aid tape, and headed for the clinic.
I got lost while trying to find the place and paranoid of the specimen not meeting temperature requirements, I kept the heater on full blast with the vents turned down facing my left thigh. I sat in the waiting room about fifteen minutes before the moment was upon. I felt confident about being able to pull the charade off, but my nerves were not completely dormant. My jacket was hung up in another room and my purse was placed in a locked drawer. I was given a cup with a black strip around the outside of the cup. I was told to at least fill it to the strip, which was exactly 2 ounces. Before I went into the back, a blue dye was poured into the toilet and I was told not to flush or wash my hands after I was finished. I had 3 minutes.
When I shut the bathroom door behind me, my hands were already shaking. I pulled my skirt down like I was actually going to use the toilet, sat down, and, with much ease, peeled the tape off the bottle, slid it out, and with my hands still shaking, I poured a little more than half of it into the cup, just above the strip. After doing so, I checked the strip to see if it had changed any, and it had. Half of the circles lining the strip were now blue, but I decided to urinate on the strip (which took some maneuvering) as an extra precaution, but I don’t think anything happened. I taped the bottle back to my leg, stopped myself from flushing the toilet, and opened the door.
I handed my specimen to the guy conducting the test, and immediately, after looking at it, he told me I needed to drink more water. I laughed in agreement without asking any questions. He examined the strip on the cup quite intently and even moved in closer to have a better look, and then he wrote something down on the application I filled out earlier. After washing my hands, I used the antibacterial gel sitting on the table next to the piece of paper. I tried to get a glimpse of what he wrote down, but he picked it up, tore off the yellow piece of paper attached to it and handed me my copy. One of the questions on the application was, “was the specimen’s sample between 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit?” There was a check marked in a box next to the word “Yes”. The deed was done. He handed me my purse, put my jacket on for me and told me good luck on my new job. I had flirted with him a little bit beforehand and I’m not sure if this helped my situation, but it sure didn’t hurt. Two days later, I was behind a computer on my first day of my new job as a graphic artist. The hunt is over, and I’m still in shock of how quickly things happened, but that’s the case most of the time. I’m quite proud of myself for having the guts to pull something like that off and feel as though I’ve just beat a small part of the system by sticking it to the man with a cup full of microwaved urine.