Nov 8, 2005

Photo lab fun.

I used to work in a photo lab years ago. Every day I would walk in there hoping for a new adventure, or at least something interesting, and I was never disappointed. The lab was located inside a large department store that sold shoddy merchandise.

Every time I tell this to people they reply with the inevitable question of "Did you see a lot of crazy stuff?" I just look at them and know they mean nudity. Yes I saw a lot of naked people at that job. Some of you may think that would be pretty cool, but I swear 99% of the graphic photos I saw are nothing you would want to view. Ever. I've become emotionally scarred by some of it and will never be whole again.

I have to give props to some of the people for inventiveness. A lot of times I'd look at the photos and stare in disbelief given the fact that a million years is not enough time for me to even imagine those acts. I won't go into much detail, because I like the two people that read this blog. Let's just say I've never looked at kitchen utensils the same way again.

Most of the people I saw were either old, fat, skanky or all of the above. Given the high amount of white trash clientele at the store we were at times inundated with such foul images.

My favorite was a guy I call Stockman Dan. Stockman Dan was a pleasant chap who was a great worker. He would stock merchandise and help customers with large items such as TVs. The store didn't have a harder worker; however there was just one flaw. He was mildly mentally off. His reasoning skills desired some. For example in the back of the store there were hooks hanging from the ceiling that dangled overstock of bicycles. Instead of getting on a ladder and placing the bike on the hook Stockman Dan was sometimes caught throwing the bike up in the air and hoping the tire would land on the hook. Usually the end result was the bike falling and Dan catching it...with his eye.

Stockman Dan had other oddities as well. He once thought it would be a great idea to use the store break rooms microwave to dry his socks. The break rooms soda dispenser needed labels for it's variety and Dan stepped up to the plate and fixed the problem. Employees then hit buttons that said 'Mountain Daw' and Cherry Pepis'. Yes Dan was not the brightest of bulbs, but his kindness and work ethic made up for it.

He once made a grievous error. He brought in pictures to the 1 hour photo lab. I was printing the pictures when I came upon Stockman Dan's role of film. I put them into the negative tray and viewed the screen to adjust for color, brightness, etc. When I saw the first image come across the screen my jaw hit the floor and I almost screamed like a little girl.

Stockman Dan and his Quasimodo looking girlfriend decided to get freaky on film. Yes I got to witness Dan doing his best "Silence of the Lambs" impression and his girlfriend posing in various states that would make the Hustler connoisseur blush. It was painful I tell you.

I took the prints to his boss and explained the situation and how that was inappropriate. Upon first glance he dropped them and screamed many profanities. I swear he was holding back tears. He said he would talk to Dan about it.

A few weeks go by and Dan brought in another role. Sure enough the same content was there. This time he was more creative and more sociable. I witnessed what was later dubbed as 'retard orgy'. Many products were used in these poses.

I again spoke with his boss. He screamed again.

Another week goes by and Dan drops off film. The guy didn't learn. When I viewed the image of his girlfriend getting friendly with bathroom accessories I flipped. I ran into the back of the store and started yelling at him. He got scared and climbed up a bunch of boxes and wouldn't come down. The store manager came by and demanded to know what the hell was going on. I showed him the pictures. He jumped in quite the Michael Jordan fashion. Pictures were strewn everywhere and all he could do was stare. I left Dan whimpering like an abused puppy and our boss who was frozen with terror.

Dan never did drop off film again, but the damage to my soul has still yet to be healed.

"Nobody takes a picture of something they want to forget." - Sy Parrish from "One Hour Photo"

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