I’d like to begin with the disclaimer that this is a story I probably should never tell anyone, much less put in print.
It’s the story of the day I got my job with the Clovis News Journal.
It was a Saturday and my interview was scheduled for mid-day. Overwhelmed with nervous energy, I decided to indulge in my favorite pastime of exploring county roads to photograph and appreciate nature while listening to music.
Unfortunately, I wandered down an access road and as I turned around to head back, I felt a tire go out, cut by one of our county’s abundant metal something-or-anothers sticking out of the ground.
And then there was panic.
Suddenly the clock brightly shone on the dash, rubbing in the fact that I had one hour and there I sat, a few miles from nowhere with a flat tire.
It was a whirlwind …
I drove to a feed lot — jacked up my car — diced tire off — figured out how to drop the spare with help from the owner of the feedlot — changed the tire — and got back on the road.
Only now I was sweaty with black, grungy hands, stringy hair, wearing tattered jeans and 15 minutes to show time.
As I ran through my house, brushing my hair on the move, I cringed and called the editor to tell him I had a flat and was on my way. I then grabbed my most recent set of work clothes from the end of the bed, washed my hands, hosed myself down with perfume and practically flew to the office.
By the time I arrived I was beyond stressed.
After exchanging pleasantries, I was assigned a computer and told to do sample assignments.
Sitting in front of a Mac for the first time since elementary school, I listened to the hurried typing all around me, felt the critical eyes of the reporters on me and felt my temperature rising with a new wave of panic.
It was subdued as I smugly detected the odor of dog urine. Wryly, I eyed the reporter next to me and smirked internally that I may not type fast, or know how to use a Mac, but at least I didn’t smell like dog pee.
My ego trip was short lived.
The longer I sat there, the stronger the smell got and when I rubbed the leg of my slacks I felt an unnatural stiffness in the fabric.
And I just wanted out. Out of the interview, out of the building and off the planet wouldn’t have been far enough.
Thank you, Kaiser.
In his ever-persistent search of this oh-so-flat land for vertical items upon which to stamp evidence of his virility, my darling pooch had marked the foot of the bed — and by extension, my pants.
The more anxious I got, the more I warmed up and the stronger the smell.
It was a losing battle that no amount of tactical breathing was going to save me from.
Somehow I got through the interview without hiding under a desk and practically ran for the door.
I told myself there was no way they would hire the dog-pee smelling girl as I stripped off the offensive pants and tried to wash away the shame of the day.
Two days later when the paper called, I expected they had come up with the courage to just ask me if that smell had been me so they could settle their bets.
The boss later told me the deciding factor in giving me the job was that I knew how to change a tire and to my surprise no one ever said a word about my eau d’ dog.
I got the job, learned to type and use a Mac, the dog lost his hoo-hoo’s, I learned to build in a “pee happens” time-cushion and the rest is, as they say, history.
Sharna Johnson is always searching for ponies. Contact her at: