Nathan's Laserium: Say No To Drug Tests

There's no smooth way to say, "Here is a cup of my pee." I tend to go with quiet dignity mixed with refusal to acknowledge the transaction. Followed by a sweet smile! I think the Germans call this shäkeitoffundmovon.

I've been piss tested at work three or four times now. Sorry, this is polite company, presumably, so I should say drug tested. We have both a random drug test policy and an incident-based drug test policy, where the company can test you at its discretion following an incident. An incident is anything that results in damage or injury or even just has the potential to have done so. An accident, essentially, only they don't call it that because there's no such thing as an accident, don't you know. Everything happens for a reason, and as countless Facebook memes have shown us, very often that reason is because you are stupid.

Or on drugs.

At least that's what the company seems to think.

I've never really liked drug tests, and for most of the usual reasons. Let's see, there's privacy concerns- i.e. what you do on your own time is none of the company's business. They're easy to cheat, if you have something to hide. If you have nothing to hide, they're just intrusive. I've heard, anecdotally at least, that some people have moved on to harder drugs like cocaine which don't linger in the body, rather than risk getting caught with marijuana, whose metabolites stay in your system for much longer.

Some of my coworkers start TALKING IN ALLCAPS when the drug test policy is brought up. I don't really get angry about it. I recognize the need to keep a minesite full of moving heavy machinery drug-free. I just think the method of achieving this goal could be tweaked.

Here's a story.

Once upon a time I was a pumpman. I hated it so much. As soon as I could, I bid off. Went back to driving haul trucks. So easy, so relaxing. Springtime at our mine is wet. Very wet. So I often found myself press-ganged back onto the pump crew. One night there were four of us- two guys to actually do the pumps job, and two guys just to fuel all the pumps we had running. I was one of the fueling guys. Had a pickup with a slip tank in the back. Since it was so muddy, the transmissions would get all gunked up and they wouldn't shift very well, or at all. So I went to the washbay and washed out the mud so I could actually drive the truck.

Later on, I went down to this one pit bottom to fuel up a pump. I knew it was good to go for the night, but I decided to be conscientious and top it up anyway. I backed the truck down, parked and stepped outside to fuel up the tank. I had the fuel cap open when I heard a thunk sounds, and the truck reversed into the sump. It was quite the thing to see. But now I had a hike to do, since no one knew I was down there. I walked a kilometer and half up out of the pit, found my foreman, and explained why I no longer had a pickup truck.

A few hours later they were drug testing me.

Then I got written up, which is a thing that carries no consequences whatsoever but still, it really pissed me off. Almost gets me into ALLCAPS mode just thinking about it, but I'm fine. It's just that,

A) It wasn't even my job.

B) Springtime is terrible on pickups, and everyone knows it

C) I tried to mitigate the effects of the mud

D) It was only because of my due diligence as an employee that I was even down there in the first place

E) A mechanical failure occurred when I wasn't even in the truck

The point is this- it was a shitty situation. You could even call it an accident, but there was nothing about this situation that even hinted that drugs could be a factor. So why drug test me? It makes no sense.

Even with all these reasons, there was always another thing that always bothered me about drug tests, but I could never quite articulate why, until recently. There was another situation at work. I won't get into details because I don't want to call anyone out, but it also led to a drug test. The guy passed. It was an incident that seemed eminently preventable, and it was hard to see how it could have happened in the first place.

Buddy's free of drugs, company's happy, everyone back to work no problem.

And here's why I don't like drug tests- because if someone does something that is completely inexplicable unless you invoke some sort of drug influence, and then that person turns out to be drug free, what does that mean? It means you have an idiot, not an addict. Addicts can go into rehab, but idiots, well, what do all those Facebook memes say?

There's no cure for stupid.

- Nathan Waddell