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The Day a Co-Worker Tried to Poison Me: A True Tale of Survival

The morning started out pretty much the same as any other day– I could hear birds chirping in the trees over the occasional whine of the Metrolink passing by, and the sky was actually a brighter shade of blue for this time of year.

Feeling encouraged that the day would be problem free, I readied myself for work, and not wanting to risk being late I decided to grab a to-go breakfast of a granola bar and yogurt that I could eat at work on my way out the door instead of taking the time to eat at home.

If I had known what sort of cruel fate awaited me, I never would have left my apartment that morning.

Upon arriving at work, it seemed like business as usual, and I was all set to eat my impromptu breakfast when a co-worker asked if I’d like her extra bagel.

While that’s not one of my “normal” breakfast food selections, the idea of a freshly toasted bagel slathered in cream cheese from one of the local bagel places sounded pretty good, so I agreed.

My fatal mistake was not asking what flavor the bagel was before biting into it.

I noticed that it was covered in some variety of seed with white flakes, and just assumed it was some kind of seasonal grain mix, or a specialty available at that specific vendor.

Instead of taking a timid first bite, I took a normal sized bite and my taste buds were immediately assaulted by the pungent taste of onion.

There are few foods in this world that I detest more than onion. (Whenever I visit restaurants and the meal I want lists onion as an ingredient, I always ask to have my meal onion-free– even though doing so probably ensures my food will be spit in on the way to the table, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take since I hate onions so much.)

I tried spitting out the offensive bite, but the damage was already done. I could feel the spread of the vile taste in the back of my throat.

Drinking several bottles of water and trying to wipe my tongue off with a paper towel didn’t help any.

My options were pretty limited since I was at work, so I knew the usual remedy setting a signal fire and then brushing my teeth multiple times and gargling with extra strength mouthwash was not available.

For a few seconds, I debated taking a swig of hand sanitizer or denatured alcohol (something constantly on hand at the tech bench), but thought both of those would be extremely dangerous actions to take.

I longingly glanced at the coffee maker, knowing that a strong cup of joe would override the onion taste, but I resisted knowing that one sip would be a giant fall off the recovering coffee-aholics wagon.

By now, I was starting to get panicked because I could feel the bite of onion making its way down my esophagus and beginning the process of tearing through my stomach lining.

I did the only logical thing left in my arsenal of ideas.

I barricaded the door with empty shipping boxes and made a fort around my desk, creating the perfect nap time cave/nest. In this dark, secluded corner I could curl up in the fetal position and escape from the rest of the world while my immune system recovered from the vile taste of poison.

The offending co-worker, who happens to be one of my bosses, walked in right after the last piece of the fort was put into place.

A look of bewilderment crossed her face, possibly from the existence of a fort, or maybe because I was on the floor curled up in a ball and rocking back and forth sobbing, “Why, oh why is this happening to me?!”

Instead of asking what I was doing, or why, she simply handed me a stick of gum and mentioned that it was almost time to unlock the doors, and asked if I was ready for the first customer.

With weak limbs, I climbed up out of my nest and into my rolling chair, trying to smile despite the suffering my body was going through.

I dreaded speaking to anyone, because even with the gum I feared my breath would reek of the vile onion smell.

As a last resort, I stumbled back to the office mini-fridge where a viable solution to onion-breath was discovered. There, tucked behind an old box of Italian Ice, I found a small stash of frozen Halloween candy.

It wasn’t much, but I knew just one piece would cure me.

Deciding just which piece was the right choice was about as difficult of a decision as Indiana Jones was forced to make in the Last Crusade when selecting the true Holy Grail.

“Choose wisely,” I whispered to myself, because I suddenly felt like I had been transported to a secret cave, and knew if I made the wrong decision my body would go through an extreme aging process leaving only a pile of dust where I stood.

I started to grab the Whoppers, but it didn’t feel quite right, so I put them back and went for the Milk Duds instead.

Before opening the tiny box, I remembered that I don’t like the sticky caramel getting stuck in my teeth with room temperature Duds, and was fearful that a frozen one would break one of my pearly whites.

Clearly the Milky Way was my only option at this point. I let the heat from my hands warm the candy for a minute or two before biting into it.

Instantly, I started to feel better.

No longer was my stomach rolling or my throat burning from the onion. It was replaced with the cool creaminess of melting milk chocolate mixed with the perfect amount of nougat and caramel.

An actual smile graced my face, and the light bounced off my teeth like I was in a toothpaste commercial.

Once again, the sun was shining and I could hear birds sing– over the strange combination of Christmas music mixed with country’s top hits playing at my work.

I had survived one of the worst experiences to date, and conquered the evil onion poison.

A few lessons were learned that fateful day.

Most importantly, never, never, ever accept food from a person (even the closest of friends or family) unless you ensure the vile onion is not an ingredient.

Secondly, always make sure some kind of candy is on hand in the event of accidental onion ingestion. Chocolate being the preferred variety to keep around.

And finally, building a box fort is always a great idea, no matter what situation you’ve encountered.

Oh, and maybe the real lesson to be learned here is to always eat breakfast at home, lest you be tempted to eat strange food given to you by a co-worker.

One Response

  1. […] answering a few questions, and making sure that my preference of “no onions”  was noted by the server, I waited patiently for the first course, and was pleasantly surprised […]

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