I’m sitting at my desk at work and wondering why I signed up for a job that involves the worst of humanity. Maybe I could deliver flowers. I would be a good flower-deliverer. “ALL PARTIES IN THE JOHNSON CASE REPORT TO COURTROOM NUMBER THREE…” I wish it was the Crosby, Stills and Nash song, “Our house is a very very very fine house. With two cats in the yard…”
A guy hops up on the extended part of my desk. He’s eating cheese nabs and crumbs are falling on a stack of medical records I’m reviewing. He has greasy hair. He’s wearing tattered jeans with motorcycle boots up to his knees. He has a distinct odor, like a combination of mildew and Beefaroni. A large plastic pink flower ring is perched on his index finger.
“May I help you?”
“I’m waiting for my case to be called.”
“There’s a waiting area out in the hallway.”
“The social workers wait in here.”
I’m open minded about appearances but this guy is going to homes to remove children and he presents like Randle McMurphy from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest except not as well dressed.
Later, Katie, one of the attorneys returns from court.
I say, “I met a very interesting social worker today.”
“Yeah” she chuckles. “I was just in court with him. One time I caught him in my office on his knees sniffing my chair. Word at social services is that he steals women’s clothing from the homeless donation box and crossdresses in them.”
“He leaves me sticky notes all of the time. One of them said Leave Muscles. Love, Brains. Muscles refers to my husband.”
I suspect it’s difficult to find quality social workers at this department of social services. The caseload is three times higher than any jurisdiction in the area. They pay squat for the worst job on the planet.
Katie tells me that the social work supervisors won’t hire anyone smarter than them for fear of losing their job. I know one thing for sure: there is an epidemic of wacky – and my threshold for wacky is higher than Everest.