So I got my first gig outside of the umbrella!
I know it’s not much, and it’s not a paid gig, but someone expressed a strong desire to own some of my spit.
Before your brain goes in the perv gutter, they didn’t find me through Craigslist nor did I attempt to sell my saliva on eBay. Nor was it through one of those emails that shows up in your spam folder every morning where the subject line slips through your spam radar because it spells out words by using a clever mixture of letters, numbers and symbols. (ex: h0t g|rl$ needed 4 sp!t).
I got a phone call for my first gig from none other than the CDC.
Center for Disease Control, for those of you not familiar with that ominous acronym. It’s a big building in Atlanta that is featured on every American germ-themed/biological warfare/zombie apocalypse based horror movie.
I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I’ve been scared spitless of the CDC ever since I saw the movie “ET.” They are a government organization that have the power to mysteriously show up at your door and commandeer your life by quarantining you inside of a huge inflatable bounce-house like structure that fits around your whole house. Ominous looking people in HazMat suits then traipse through your house collecting your toothbrush and cellphone to put them in biohazard bags. iPhone touch screens are rendered useless in biohazard bags.
I know this is off-topic, but how cool are HazMat suits? I totally want either the white or light blue model that has the built-in filtered air tube. It would be so useful at the pediatrician’s office or my son’s fraternity house…Aventura Mall during flu season…the DMV…those vomit-covered norovirus-infected cruise ships. Come to think of it, if I ever get one, I’ll also need a back up cell phone with push buttons because I won’t be able to use my iPhone’s touch screen to take a picture of myself in my awesome suit.
I digress. When the CDC calls you, you answer.
They called to inform me that “based on some of my blood work that they were privy to from my doctor’s office” (yeah, THAT’S not scary), I “qualified” as a perfect candidate for a saliva study they are conducting. Since this is a double blind study, I won’t go into detail about the study but just share with you that I agreed to participate.
Plus, they know where I live. I know this because within hours of the phone call, a Saliva Collection Kit arrived mysteriously on my doorstep. This alone made me question whether or not I really wanted to give my spit to the government, along with the thought that I’m really excited for the day that I can order sushi by drone.
Shortly thereafter, my husband witnessed a sick bird execute a kamikaze death mission into my glass door, leaving a bloody, feathery, possibly SARS-infested head print. Coincidence? I think not.
Yeah, I’m in the study now.
So this morning was Official Spit Collection Day. I read my a three-page manual on “how to spit” (in case you were wondering where your tax dollars go). I had my BioHazard bag. Four test tubes pre-marked with my lab number. Four spit absorbers (which are basically sterile versions of those gauze thingies used by dentists and Marlon Brando when he played Don Corleone). A gel ice pack (because everyone knows that spit is best served chilled). And a scary looking envelope made from the same material that those above-mentioned house contamination tents are made of (at least we know the government is repurposing/recycling).
All that was required of me was to:
Collect my spit for two minutes on each gauze thingie at 15 minute intervals over the course of one hour
Carefully spit them into the labeled test tubes without touching them
Record the time I spit.
At midnight, I laid everything out on my night table. Seemed easy enough, right?
Except, it wasn’t.
According to the manual, you cannot get out of bed, drink coffee or brush your teeth during the entire one hour process.
I’ll let you chew on that for a minute. (…like how much better your life is than the lab tech who is smelling vials of morning breath spit. Or how badly you have to pee when you wake up ESPECIALLY when the CDC tells you that you have to wait an hour. Or trying to perform fine motor skills like spitting a fat, spit-soaked piece of gauze into a tiny, little test tube without using your fingers before you’ve had your morning coffee…as if this skill even mildly improves with the help of coffee).
I was so
excited freaked out that I woke up at 4 am. I contemplated starting the procedure then, but according to the CDC manual, I had to record the time I woke up. The thought of sharing this information made me worry that I would then qualify for another study based on my insomnia. Plus, I was afraid I’d fall back to sleep, mouth filled with spit-soaked gauze, in the middle of my spitting hour and piss off the CDC (remember the bird?).
So I laid in bed and tried to become one with the soothing sounds of my husband and my dog snoring. When that didn’t lull me back to sleep, I spent some time thinking about the ramifications of giving my spit to the government. What if I get framed for a crime I never commit based on the DNA that I am about to send off to the government? What if I come home from the grocery store one day to find the big white tent around my house? If this happens, will they at least let me back in to get my dog and my phone charger?
No, I was not going back to sleep.
Which led me to google “selling my spit”. I don’t recommend this google search to anyone. Ever. In fact, this reminded me that I need to erase my search history when I’m done with this post.