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Bad Habits

I have worked in some interesting places…but little is more interesting than the people I have encountered. People can be quite strange. And they have really odd habits…


I was waiting for my clearance. For those not in the know, that usually means you are twiddling your thumbs in some basement room with a computer pretending to be busy with “research”.

One morning, I entered the room where they kept us uncleared folk and saw an origami bowl on this guy’s desk. It looked to be made of post-its. I thought, Cool, I guess this is what he does when he is bored.

WRONG. Well, I could have been right…but it was an origami bowl with a purpose.

I have never seen any person collect skin outside of some horror movie where they repurpose it into a mask or a lampshade. THIS guy would chew his fingers while sitting at his desk and flick the skin pieces into this bowl. He would have a pile of skin in this paper bowl. Why collect skin flakes? I mean I guess it is better than sprinkling it all over the carpet?

I don’t feel like there is a good answer here…other than EW!


The horror didn’t stop with the skin bowl…things took a turn for the worse when this individual got a cold.

I walked into the room where I felt like my dreams were dying and I saw a plastic cup on his desk with tissues shoved down into it. Well, this isn’t too strange, some people put paper towels in their mug after finishing their coffee to keep dust out for the next use. Oh, naïve, sweet self… WRONG.

Some kids open their tissues to look at their boogers…I thought this was because kids didn’t know any better and they wanted to make jokes about the Boogie Man and chase their siblings around. Apparently, adults like to examine their mucus too! But wait, there’s more! As phlegm broke up in his throat, he would hack up the goop into the cup. YES. Into the cup that sat on his desk. At the end of the day, he would shove more tissues down in there for the next day’s layer.

There is DEFINITELY no good answer here other than EW!!


Fast forward in time…new lab, new responsibilities, new co-workers exhibiting behavior I have never seen before.

For our case files, we routinely used the folders with the metal prong clip to hold in our paper. I thought that was what those prong clips were mainly used for. They aren’t strong enough to pry anything with since they were intended to bend. WRONG.

These prong clips can be used to clean ear canals. Yes, that’s right. This older guy used to pull one of those bad boys out of a desk drawer and start his dig to Panama.

Wouldn’t that hurt? Gouging around roughly in your ear with a piece of metal? As a small victory for humanity, at least he wiped off the ear wax into a trash can. Still…don’t you have Q-Tips or drops or something at home?

As another disgusting fact, these prong clips can also be used to clean out toe jam. Yes. You read that right. This guy would take off his boat shoes (that he wore with no socks) and use the clip between his toes and under his toenails. Uhm, is your shower broken? Don’t you have some other tool at your HOUSE to use to clean under your nails? Why, oh WHY, are you doing it at work?! Foot propped on his desk and all.

From then on, I would only trust new clips straight from the supply cabinet…and even then, it wasn’t a guarantee.



It is a very strong statement to make that you have one of the worst jobs ever…You know, the kind that makes you feel like you are losing brain cells? I have had one of those but I also met some of my best friends from it. I also witnessed a rather appalling habit.

The “program manager” of three people in this shoebox sized forensic lab may have had narcolepsy. I mean, if he didn’t, it was a good way to get out of answering the hard questions about what the hell he was doing because I’m 98% sure he wouldn’t know the answer. He wasn’t a forensic person, but he was a nap person. I would see him sleeping in his car once in awhile, but mostly I just saw him sleep at his desk.

Napping isn’t the bad habit here, reader. It was that this man had very bad acne and picked at his face constantly. We are talking moon craters in his cheeks that constantly oozed. What an impression he made as a leader with a bloody, pockmarked face. It is his own fault. His face would in no way look like he took a hit of buckshot if he didn’t compulsively pick his face. Bloody tissues in the trash cans, blood smears on his shirt sleeves and desk post-nap.



Facial hair can be attractive. Not so much the never combed kind or the kind that is so long you can tuck it into your belt or the kind only Civil War re-enactors could explain having.

Maybe one grows a beard to hide a facial feature or accentuate another. I don’t know. I don’t have facial hair but I am pretty sure that the beard is not something there for you to flip up into your mouth to suck on, twirl into a tight spiral, and suck on some more. Nope. Definitely not for that.

It is also not a place you can keep food for later. Once, I had this guy come down to help me on my computer. He bent over my keyboard and food fell onto my desk from his beard. Did he apologize? Did he quickly clean it off and throw it away? In case you are already cringing, you guessed it. HE ATE IT.

I froze and just stared wide-eyed down towards where that morsel used to be. When he left, I used several disinfecting wipes.

I just can’t even…EW!!!


If you made it this far, you may be at your limit for weird habits so I will close with this one of the mild variety.

I love going into work early. Earlier in the morning, the office is quiet and I find comfort in the silence while I enjoy the first sips of my coffee. Know what is not part of this bliss?

Listening to someone trim their fingernails. Clip. Clip. Clip. WHY?! What is wrong with your home that you didn’t think to clip your nails there instead? Ok, maybe one broke on the way here or you jammed your finger on your desk. I keep a nail file in my bag in case a nail breaks so I don’t scratch people when trying to shake their hand. This guy just waited for work to trim all of them. Perhaps his wife would have preferred them clipped last night. Who wants their G-spot scratched instead of stroked?

Why are you doing it here? WHY? And while I am questioning you, why didn’t you move a trash can over to where you were clipping so at least I don’t hear the faint noise of the nail fragments hitting the linoleum?


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