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The devil on my shoulder.
The devil on my shoulder.
I had been supplying one of the major food suppliers with Germicidal hand soap for quite a while, when our production manager came to me one day and said, “Mr Jones we’re out of germicide.”
I said, “What the fuck do you mean we’re out of germicide. How the hell could you let that happen? So what the fuck are we going to do? Tell the customer they can’t get their soap because we fucked up? Lose the customer? Close down? ---- Shit.”
I was really pissed off, really desperate, and so it didn’t take long before it occurred to me. “Hmmm, I wonder what would happen if we supplied them the soap without the germicide?” I of course immediatelly dismissed that idea as being ludicrously dishonest, but it didn’t take very long before the little red devil was back on my shoulder again. “Who’s going to know? How could they find out? Do you want to lose the customer? You’ll probably never get them back. What about your reputation? And ---- what about the money”
It’s just a matter of time. When a man want’s something that doesn’t belong to him, he can’t take it because that would be dishonest, but given enough time he will twist it and turn it, mould it and shape it in his head, consciously and unconsciously, night and day, awake or asleep, until he has everything justified in his own mind. He’s not stealing it, he’s only taking what is rightfully his.
It only took a few days before I decided, with one eyebrow raised and a grin on my face, “Heh heh heh, -----lets do it!!!”
It was like taking candy from a baby. The fools, they were so fuckin’ stupid, what could they possibly know. Infact why should I even bother to put germicide in the soap ever again? They would be paying money for nothing. “Hah hah hah, all the more for me!”
A week or two had passed before I decided to drop in and see how the “germicidal” hand soap was going.
When Mr Smith saw me he frowned. “Oh, Mr Jones,` I’ve been wanting to see you. Concerning that “germicidal” hand soap.”
“We tested it you know”
I froze. I felt the blood drain from my face. “Oh please God, No, No.”
I just stared at him.
“Oh yes.” he said, “We tested that “germicidal” hand soap of yours for germicidal activity.”
I started to sweat, to stammer. “Ye, ye, ye, ye, you could do that?” “Oh God, please let me off, just this once, I won’t do it again, I promise, I promise”.
“Of course we can test it, we have a fully equipped laboratory here you know.”
I swallowed hard. A big black hole opened on the ground in front of me and I wanted to dive in. “Oh.” I said, “That’s ---- great.”
“Oh please God, please God, please God... Help! I’ll never do it again, I promise, I promise”.
“Yes.” he said. “First we took a swab from one of the workers hands and applied it to a culture dish. Then we made the worker wash his hands with your “germicidal” hand soap before taking another swab. We then placed both of the plates in an incubator for forty eight hours before subjecting them to microscopic analysis.”
“That’s it.” I thought, “That’s it, this has gone far enough, better I just come clean. No point in continuing this farce any longer. I mean they know.......... they know.”
I started to talk, I was going to spill the beans, tell them everything and then let them decide what they were going to do with me.
But just as I started to talk, Mr Smith interrupted me. “And do you know what that analysis showed Mr Jones? Do you know what it showed?
“I can guess.”
“It showed Mr Howie, that your “germicidal” hand soap is highly effective!”
-----------------”What?.....What did he say? "Effective"? Surely he made a mistake, surely he must have meant "Highly ineffective”."
“Yes Mr Jones, the test proved that your “germicidal” hand soap killed ninety eight percent of the bacteria on the workers hands. Not perfect, Mr Jones but pretty damn good.”
I was in state of shock, disbelief, I didn't know what to say (you have to bear in mind that in them days I wasn’t so full of shit like I am now).
I didn’t actually want to say anything, I didn’t want to tempt fate or put my foot in it by saying something stupid. I just wanted to get out of there.
I mumbled a few things, made an excuse, told him I’d be back later and jumped in my car.
My mind was racing.“What the fuck is going on? What the fuck is he talking about.? Highly effective? There wasn’t even any fuckin’ germicide in the fuckin’ hand soap.”
It sounded crazy, but there must be a logical explanation.
And then it hit me.
“Wait a minute, he washed his hands! He washed his God damned fuckin’ hands! That’s what happened! You don’t need any germicide, you just need to wash your fuckin’ hands. ------ Every asshole knows that!”
What a sense of relief. The day seemed all of a sudden brighter. I was driving up the highway with the wind in my hair and a big smile on my face. “Hah, all of that worry for nothing.”
“But wait a minute, if washing alone gets rid of ninety eight percent of the bacteria, then I can still call it an anti bacterial hand soap and nobody can prove otherwise, right?
Yes, yes, yes, that’s it, business as usual, I can have my cake and eat it too.”
POOF, --------a little white angel appeared on my shoulder. “But Michael, you can’t do that, you promised.”
“Promised? Me? What did I promise?”
“Michael, you promised God that you would never do it again!”
“God? What does He have to do with it. He didn’t do anything, the man washed his hands, that’s all.”