The worst thing that can happen as the result of a drug test is not to fail it. It’s something much more intense and nerve-wracking, and I’m about to tell you a story about it.
I’ve taken two drug tests in my life. I’ve passed both, or at least I assume I did. I never got a report card afterwards with an “A+” on it, I just got both jobs.
I got incredibly nervous before both tests. The hardest drug I’ve ever done is alcohol. I’m not saying that to brag or be judgmental – I’m no better or worse than anyone who has – just to give you the proper context. I got nervous anyway, even though there was no reason for me to be. It’s not like anyone’s ever said, “Ya know what? I’m so sorry about this, but I plum forgot I did a bunch of crack last week. Can we try this again next week? Maybe after I get all these bugs off my skin?”
The first drug test I took was right out of college, which is an appropriate time for drug testing. Employers want to make sure you’re not still getting high like you did back in your college or high school days. I get that. But as someone who again, has never done a drug, I don’t think anyone over the age of 30 should be drug tested. Call it the “C’mon…Give ‘Em a Break, Life is Hard!” law. Plus it may make them better at their job. I know I personally would rather buy auto insurance from soneone who is super chill.
After that first test, I don’t take another one until about 8 or 9 years later. Again, I’m nervous for no reason. I get to the lab, the lab technicians brief me on the process. All I have to do is pee in the cup, fill it to the line on the side of the cup, put the lid back on, and hand it back to them. As soon as I got in there, a wave of calm washed over me. “Relax,” I told myself, “All you gotta do now is pee. You’ve done this thousands of times. And quite well, I might add.”
So I peed. And that, my friends, is when I received the worst result you can possibly get on a drug test.
I didn’t fill the cup.
Like an overconfident sports team gliding into a championship game resting on their laurels, I hadn’t prepared enough. I cursed myself thinking back to earlier in the day. I could have chugged another bottle of water. I could have refused to pee when I got out of bed that morning. I could have listened to clips of running water. I could have bought one of those motivational posters, only this one has a picture of a waterfall over the words “LET IT FLOW.”
My brain went into full-on panic mode. Now what?
Do I wait in the room until I have to pee again? Of all the places to wait for an uncomfortably long time, that would be one of the weirdest. How long could it take to pee, and what else could I possibly be doing in there? I’d be waiting for an exasperated lab guy to knock on the door: “Sir…just give us the pee. We’re not sure what you’re doing in there but it’s not the right venue. Not jumping to any conclusions, but the sperm bank is two blocks over.”
Do I go into the waiting room and subtly try to convince someone else to donate pee to my cause? What if they’d done drugs? What’s my rationale, that since I only needed a little pee from them, maybe no drugs would register? Also…what stranger would just give you some pee? “You look like a decent enough guy…you know what, I’m going to pee for you. Let me finish this coffee and let’s do this.” This idea was stupid and I was playing with fire.
I just had to go to the lobby and confess. But what if that makes them judge me even more? “What? Who can’t fill the piss cup on a drug test? This seems fishy. Automatic fail, junkie.” Then they use that circumstantial evidence to jail me on heroin possession charges.
Once I told the guy at the front desk, he said I could just wait and fill another cup. So they were cool about it, but it presented another problem. Now I’m standing there next to the water cooler, chugging dixie cups full of water until I have to pee again. I feel like I’m obligated to make conversation with the guy at the front desk and I have no idea where to go with that. “So…what’s it like handling pee every day?” “Do you get a lot of people who can’t fill the cup?” “Would you mind just saying I passed? I’ve never done drugs in my life. Seriously, here’s a link to a blog I wrote about this very experience where I mention that fact three times. That means it has to be true.”
I ended up filling the cup on the next try and I passed the test. The lesson here? I’m not sure how funny this story was, or how interesting. From those perspectives, I’m not sure how much of an impact it had on you. But there’s one thing I do know: if you’ve made it to the end of this post and read the whole thing, you most definitely have to pee right now.
This post has been sponsored by the National Association of Getting People to Pee More to Aid in Urinary Health (or the NAGPPMAUH, for short).