Hello and welcome back to Intern Horrors, the occasional feature wherein browbeaten office lackeys complain about having their brows beaten to various degrees. Today, explosions in close proximity to a stash of rhinoceros testicles, Black Monday, old-man nudity, and more.
Back in the late eighties, I was looking for an internship in my major, criminal justice, and somehow got an internship with the Fish and Wildlife Service. I remember thinking the internship had potential to be pretty cool, investigations about poachers and exporters of endangered species; fantastic. But the office was in New Jersey and the job turned out to be inventorying things seized at the port, which turned out to be mostly shoes with animal and lizard skin, furs and other women's clothing. The people were nice but not too busy and I spent most of the summer counting shoes and belts. But I was an intern, so I didn't have much to complain about. I asked about being able to go out and see what the agents did a couple of times; then one day I was invited to go out "into the field" on a case they were preparing for trial.
It was mid July and hot as hell; I couldn't complain because I asked for it; but I was dressed in my only suit and tie, bought in the winter and made of heavy wool. To my surprise we went to a military base; we drove on the base and out in the woods where there was a building that they used for storage of evidence I was told it had to be inventoried for the trial. The storage facility was a small metal building, surrounded by sand bags. The agent who drove me out there told me he had to go to the port and would be back in a couple of hours. There was no electricity, he gave me a battery powered lantern, a water bottle, a pad and pen and pointed me to a bunch of large boxes. He told me to open them up and count the boxes inside. On the boxes were Chinese lettering and I asked what the case was about. The agent opened one of the little boxes and there was a vial with liquid in it. He told me the vials contained a drink with ground up rhinoceros testicles. These were sold in Chinatown as an aphrodisiac, who knew? He left and I got down to business.
I was sweating like crazy but counting away. All of a sudden there was a huge explosion outside and the building shook. I went to the entrance and started to walk outside to see what the hell happened when there was another explosion. I didn't see anything but the explosion was loud and close enough to shake the ground and the building. Hoping I was safer in the shed, I went back inside. We had driven pretty far onto the base so there was no where else I could go. Then I started thinking "Does anyone know I am in here? Are they going to blow up this friggin shed? Was my epitaph going to be "He died covered in rhino ball juice?" It was pretty unnerving; for the next two or three hours there were sporadic explosions with no warning. I didn't know what to do so I figured I would just keep counting to take my mind off being killed.
A couple of hours after the explosions stopped, the agent came back and got me. I was drenched in sweat and dust. I asked him what the fuck that was all about. He told me they stored their evidence in old bunkers at a former munitions depot close to an artillery firing range. He apologized saying no one at the gate told him they were firing that day and that I had nothing to worry about anyway because I was outside the range, but added, laughing at me, that their aim was usually pretty good if it wasn't guys in basic training.
The only other thing I remember from that summer was some a-hole trying to get a pallet of shoes released by convincing the agents what a scumbag he was. He said was too cheap to use engendered species because they cost too much; he wouldn't lie to us, but of course the boxes that said "crocodile skin shoes" were frauds; and as further proof that he was too cheap to use actual endangered species, he didn't even pay the children who put them together more than 30 cents an hour.
Alec Baldwin has the story of a stock market crash he had no idea about:
While at SMU in Dallas, I interned at Lehman Brothers' office in Dallas from 1986-88. It was a great job; I did everything from grab lunch order to cataloging bond purchases by CUSIP #. But on Black Monday (October 19, 1987), I arrived about 1:15 PM after gone to classes that morning. As I sat down at one end of the trading desk, I turned on my Quotron machine and noticed the DJIA was down about 500 points and the share price of Shearson Lehman American Express was down about 50% or so. Having not listened to the news that day, I had no idea a stock market crash was underway. I said (like a dumbass) to one of the bond traders — "Did you know the market is down 500 points today?" One of the traders responded by saying "No fucking shit, jackoff !" or something to that effect. And before I knew what was happening, two of the money market traders put several strips of FedEx packing tape on my carefully coiffed mid-1980's hair. Needless to say, it took me about 45 minutes to peel the strips off my hair without going bald.
Here's an anonymous submission from a Congressional intern who lived to tell this tale:
So I was interning in the U.S. Congress for a House Representative during the fall of 2007. I was a poly sci major, and getting an internship like this was a major coup. My job duties entailed your standard secretarial work (making the coffee, sorting the mail, kissing ass, etc.) as well as giving Capitol Tours. When I tell my parents about the Capitol Tours part, they immediately book a trip to D.C. to visit, thinking they will be able to get an "insider's" tour.
Immediately upon arrival, my mother ask me if I know of any secret places that are inaccessible to the general public (Looking back on it, I presume she was thinking bombs shelters and top secret hangouts like the one shown at the end of "Spies like Us.") Instantly, a thought pops into my brain. As I was doing my bullshit secretary duties one day (this particular duty involved a delivery to another office), I stumbled across an unmarked room on the basement level of one of the House buildings. I entered and, low and behold, there was this big fancy gym labeled "Congressional Members Only." I decided to walk in and there was full size tennis/basketball courts, hot tubs, etc. You name it, it was there. So I immediately decided this would be a great "top secret" thing to show my mom.
Now, one thing important detail about this "secret" gym: Upon entrance through the unmarked door, there were two locker rooms flanked on each side of the main hallway that leads toward the cool shit. So, with my mother, two little sisters and father in hand, we enter this top secret location. As we are walking toward the gym area, I notice the locker room door to my right is wide open, and there stands a Congressman, butt ass naked on this glorious day. He immediately questions who I am, and why I have visitors with me. I decide to tell him the truth (I was too shell shocked to say anything else) and proceeds to curse and admonish me. About a week later, I received a chewing out from my Chief of Staff, but that was the whole of it from my end. As for my family, they are probably scarred for life from seeing such a wrinkly ball sack in the flesh. I know I am.
In 1997, I was three months into my year-long internship with the Indianapolis Indians when I suffered sun poisoning and lost my contacts on spring break. Little did I know the repurcussions this trip would have on the outcome of a game played more than one month later.
The season began and I didn't get my contact lens prescription refilled before the long intern hours began. One day early in the season I lost my last set of contacts and was informed soon after my duty that night would be to operate the scoreboard. Though I informed the staffer who made that decision I would not be able to see the scoreboard, let alone the umpire calling balls and strikes, there I sat messing every pitch count up.
In the bottom of one inning, Pat Watkins stood on second, Brian Hunter (the chubby one) on first. With the pitch count one ball and two strikes with two outs, a ball was thrown. Apparently I hit the ball button twice, because the scoreboard then read a full count with two outs. Unfortunately, Brian Hunter watched the scoreboard like he would a post-game buffet table as he went the the pitch and ended up on second base where Pat Watkins stood, ending the inning and scoring threat. Soon after the home manager reached me via the dugout phone and proceeded to "voice his displeasure". After being relieved of my scoreboard duties between innings, I watched the Indians lose the game by a run. The rest of the year I was told by said manager if we miss the playoffs by a game, I would be blackballed from baseball - as a young intern, I thought he was serious. As fate would have it, Indy made the playoffs that season, I would work with this manager on a daily basis in another city three years later, and was called 3-2 for the next three years.
That concludes Intern Horrors for the time being. Kids are back in school it seems so we're going to put this on the back burner for a while. Hope you've had as much fun as we have.