Welcome to the inaugural edition of Intern Horrors, a weekly feature in which interns (and the people who hire them) get to complain. Today we have an MLB legend, a cooking accident, poop in a bank, and good old-fashioned menial labor.
Let's kick it off with a story from Adam:
When I was an intern at a Chicago Sports Television station in the summer of 2007, Barry Bonds was coming to Wrigley Field to continue his chase for the All-Time Home Run Record. Since he was such a dick, none of the normal talent even wanted to attempt an interview with him, especially with the game being broadcasted on ESPN. So they sent me, a lowly unpaid intern, to simply stick a microphone in his face along with the dozens of other media outlets so they had some sound for the pre and post game shows.
Fortunately, I was able to get into the Giants dugout relatively early and the crew set up the equipment on the right side end of the dugouts box. I was located next to ESPN's Pedro Gomez who couldn't have been a nicer guy and who's skin had literally zero pores (like a cereal box). I asked him how this normally works and Pedro said, "You never know with him." When I asked him to elaborate he just said, "You'll see in a second."
Dozens of media outlets had all of their stuff set up on the right side of the dugout. A couple of random players, including a semi-recently called up Tim Linecum (who couldn't have been more uncomfortable) sat in front of the media and spoke. It was all going smoothly and I did my role as the dummy holding a microphone. Then Barry came out.
While all of the media was on the right side of the dug out, Barry sat on the complete opposite end of the dugout, forcing everybody to pickup all their shit and bring it over. I can't begin to explain how much of an inconvenience this is, especially with dozens of media outlets crammed inside of a tiny Wrigley field dug out.
Two things you must know about when you are with Barry Bonds this close: #1 His head is fucking huge. He looks like an NBA Jam character, and you can't stop looking at it. #2 Out of all the athletes that I got to meet, he certainly had the greatest presence to him. But this presence was that he was just such an overwhelmingly huge asshole. He wouldn't answer simple questions, he would shake his head, and actively not try to give the outlets a quote that they could use on their news shows. Just a huge prick.
After a few minutes of hearing him half-assedly answer questions, I decide I'm going to ask a question next time there's a pause. After another dick-ish response, I chime up and ask, "Would breaking the home run record at a place like Wrigley Field make it any more special for you Barry?" He glared at me, a 20 year old kid who looks 18 and asked quite dick-ishly, "Why would that make it more special?"
My heart is racing because this big headed animal is now looking at me dead in the eyes. "Uh...um...you know, because it's historic?" He kept glaring at me. "Why would that matter?" At this point we just simply had a stare down for a few seconds, which was the scariest stare-down I had ever been in (Number 2 was with Scott Skiles during a press conference).
Thankfully Pedro Gomez asked a question to break the tension and save the day and from me shitting myself. At the end of the interview session, I asked Mr. Gomez, "Jeez what's it like to follow this guy around from city to city?" Pedro looked at me with a 100-mile stare and just said, "After the 3rd inning there's free hot dogs in press box".
Fuck you Barry Bonds, Fuck you for ruining Pedro Gomez's dreams.
I received a fairly competitive summer internship at an advertising agency when i was a junior in college. It was the first "real" job, and I was eager to impress my new bosses (when you're an intern-everyone is your boss). My third day on the job, I was invited by my office to participate in a team building exercise in which everyone in our department helped prepare a six-course meal at a local culinary school to help build team cohesiveness or some shit like that.
My job in preparing the meal was to chop lettuce and drink copious amounts of wine in the process. After about 4 or 5 glasses, I was pretty shitcanned and yucking it up with one of my new bosses when someone from across the room called my name to ask me a question. I turned my head to respond mid-chop and when I turned back, a piece of my finger lay separated from my hand amid a pile of lettuce. Maybe it was all the wine, maybe it was the fear of embarrassment, but I think I reacted pretty well by not screaming and spurting blood all over the food and my coworkers.
Fortunately, I had only cut off a centimeter or two (including some of the fingernail). I spent the next hour or so trying to stop the bleeding while some poor soul had to fish through the bloody lettuce to find my fingertip. When I showed up to work the next day, the entire office had heard of my "contribution" to the team-building exercise. It wasn't exactly the best first impression for an intern, but hey—everyone knew my name.
I show up for my first day as an intern with a large bank here in the northwest. I had interviewed with a few people at the bank, but I was going to spend my first day with the guy who was going to mentor me through the summer (who I hadn't met). After a few minutes waiting in the lobby I was greeted by a very nice and gracious late-40s guy. Only problem: he could barely speak.
He had some kind of mouth or throat cancer, and a large portion of his tongue had been removed. I am not exaggerating when I say I could understand about one in every 10 words. I was doing my best to keep up while he explained what I would be doing for the summer. When he led me to my office a couple hours later, I had no idea what the hell was going on. I had completed about 60 head-nods while he spoke, so maybe in his mind I was up to speed.
I had an hour or so to unwind from the intense concentration it took to listen to him, then we went to lunch together at a place a couple blocks away. I had a sandwich and he drank a couple cans of grey sludge which he had brought with him – he mentioned something about his digestive system at this point but I didn't quite catch what he said. We ate lunch (more head-nodding on my part while he spoke) and headed back to the bank.
We were walking at a normal speed, and then all of a sudden he started running without explanation. I jogged to keep up. He made it inside the revolving door and it was at this unfortunate moment that he lost control of his bowels…all over his pants and the floor. I learned later that whatever medication he was taking for his treatment caused this problem. I watched in horror as his insides were dragged around the floor by the revolving door.
He sprinted to the elevator and went directly to the bathroom on our floor. He motioned for me to follow him, and once inside he apologized and asked me to go to his car and get a spare set of pants he had in his trunk. I wandered around the parking garage for 15 minutes until I found his car and delivered the pants to him.
The rest of the summer was much better, and let me reiterate that he was one of the nicest guys you could meet. He passed away a couple years later, but this story will live on forever.
Finally, Brandy sends in this story that is the most intern-y intern story ever:
I interned for an artist management company once where my boss asked me to burn 1,000 copies of a DVD. Again, 1,000 copies. It took me days. God, I learned so much.
Are you an unappreciated intern? Have you ever hired a real mouth-breather to be your intern? Email me your stories. Subject line: Intern Horrors.