In May.

From 2005 to 2008 I maintained a blog about my experiences working in the drug test industry. Every Sunday I revive one of those experiences here. The following was originally posted March 21, 2007.

In May.

One of the pieces of information I put on your drug test form is your birthdate. I’m not precisely sure why this little morsel is the least bit important to the drug testing process, but then again I suppose I’ve never thought about it or cared enough about it to ask. In any case, it stands to reason that the odds you (as a donor) share a birthday with me (the collector) would be roughly 1 in 365. That’s a relatively common occurrence when you consider how many collections I conduct.

Trying to calculate the odds that any given donor is a lunatic is a mite trickier. I’m not sure how I would go about it, but it works out that one out of every three hundred sixty-five of these lunatics shares my birthday. I was lucky enough to meet just such a woman on Monday.

Ms. Orange, so named for the impossibly orange sweater she was wearing, was a nice enough lady, but she seemed a little off. She asked a lot of weird and irrelevant questions (“Do you think they drug test the animals at the zoo?”) and offered up a lot of not-particularly-helpful information (“I only eat organic food and drive a hybrid car — will that affect anything?”). About the time she started asking if the doctor at our office used “healing crystals” I realized that she would never shut up unless I simply interrupted her, and that’s exactly what I did.

“Oh, sorry,” apologized Ms. Orange. “Didn’t mean to take up so much time. I can’t be here that much longer anyway, I have to get to class. I teach flute.”

And with that she vanished into the bathroom.

I was just finishing up her paperwork when she emerged with this curious observation: “You were born in May, weren’t you? I can tell.”

“Come again?”

“Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that. You just seem… impatient. Not rude or anything, just all-business, you know?”

A pretty fair assessment of my mood on any given day, I suppose. “I wasn’t born in May.”

“Are you sure?”

Are you kidding?

“Yeah, pretty sure.”

“When were you born, if you don’t mind my asking?”

Having just copied her birthdate onto the paperwork twenty seconds prior, I reply: “Same day as you.”

Ms. Orange frowned. “I’m serious.”

“It’s true. Same birthday, except six years apart.”

She looked offended, and impossibly sad, as though sharing a birthday with someone who was impatient and all-business were some terrible thing. She didn’t say anything weird after that, just silently signed the form, collected her belongings and left.

I tried to piece together what had happened afterwards. I’m almost perfectly sure that the month someone is born in has no bearing whatsoever on their personality — and what’s more, I’d never even heard anyone make such a claim before. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Ms. Orange was into astrology, but then she would have identified me by a zodiac sign and not a month. I think.

Maybe she was just insulted that I pointed out she was six years older than me. Who knows.

In any case, if you’re reading this, and you have a May birthday, let it be known that Ms. Orange (and probably everyone else who reads the same pseudo-astrology garbage she does) believes you are impatient and all-business by nature. That shouldn’t irritate you, but if it does, just do what I do: picture Ms. Orange curled up in her beanbag chair inhaling a tub of organic ice cream because some kid pointed out that she’s thirty years old. It certainly cheered me up.

According to my boss, we collect birthdates on the paperwork to serve as an identifier. I guess this is useful in case we spontaneously lose the donor’s name, social security number, telephone number, employer information, and the sample’s unique specimen ID number.


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