Customer Service Scientist

When I wrote Sperm Donor for a Cosmic Paradox, I intended for it to be a one off story. For every reader who wanted more from the story, I humbly thank you. I really wasn’t prepared for the question what happens next? So I gave my readers the obtuse answer, “I guess you’ll just have to wait for the next one.” After giving the obtuse answer more times than I care to count, I realized I more or less committed myself to seeing this story through to completion. So here is the next installment in the series. As for what happens after Customer Service Scientist, I guess you’ll have to wait for the next one.

Len’s decision to enter the field of genetics was a mistake quantifiable by the noose around his neck, his hands bound around his back, and a horse under his haunches. He’d seen the horse hangman death hundreds of times in movies and television, but the actual reality was quite different. The rope burned his neck and hands. The sun drained the spit from his mouth and scorched his pasty white skin. The horse let out a snort. Len only recently learned to ride a horse, and muscles he never knew existed ached just by being on the horse.

He was used to sitting at a desk. His shoulders were hunched, his eyesight was poor, and his hands had the beginning stages of carpal tunnel. Len’s aspirations as a geneticist didn’t really involve any sort of desk jockeying. He started college in the nineties at a California State school. During his freshman year, President Bill Clinton announced that they had officially decoded the human genome, and Len knew he wanted to be a part of it. He declared his major in the sciences and continued for a PHD with a focus on genetics. He pooped out and the school gave him a master’s degree for the time served.

PHDs would consider his mater’s a failure but his family considered it a triumph. As the son of a restaurant manager and a medical assistant, Len was the successful one. As a geneticist, he was at the bottom. Most people pictured scientists as people working in a lab, surrounded by high tech equipment. He had the same impression during his freshman year in college. Len pictured himself in a white lab coat, explaining to President Bill Clinton about the important work Len was doing. Genome sequencing by the time Len got involved was less laboratory and more computer sequencing. He would interpret graphs and numbers all day.

Len worked for a company that provided cheap genetic heredity tests by the thousands. Most of the lab work was done in India where even skilled labor was a bargain. Most of the results were interpreted by the doctors in India and Len really acted as drone to double check the work of a perfectly competent workforce. The tests only came across his desk when customers had a question and/or most likely a complaint about their results package in the mail. Customers felt better when a person with some official looking credentials from their own country of origin checked the work. Even though the Indian workforce was just as skilled, the company hired Len to make people feel better about their results.

That meant all of Len’s education and study dedicated to genetics, even though short of a PHD, was really just to be a customer service scientist. There was very little science involved. He looked at a test and explained the results. That was until he got the test. It was the only test to ever come across his desk that added any sort of excitement or interest to his work. Most genetic tests were pretty straightforward. Every person had a percentage breakdown of their ethnic origins and places where their ancestors came from. For the most part, his job was to officially tell someone the family lore about the Irish relative and the Cherokee decedent were actually incorrect because their genes didn’t lie about their English, German, and French ancestry. Despite Len’s fancy sounding master’s degree and the high level of accuracy of the test, people still didn’t believe him. He realized pretty early that he couldn’t argue with family lore even when family lore was wrong.

To continue reading click here for the Kindle edition.

Advertisements

10 Ways to Spend the Time While on Hold

What's his other hand doing?

“Thank you for calling sex-aholics anonymous. May I have your name, number, and the time you get off work please?”

Waiting on hold sucks. Here are some ways to have it suck less:

1. Plan World Domination – Most people think, “I’d love to rule the world, but when will I have the time?” If you are waiting on hold, you can easily make the time, and you will have no moral objection to the slaughter of innocents after enough hold music.

2. Clean Your Desk – Most desks are organized in the black hole method of piling stacks of paper anywhere they fit. You can use that hold time to genetically  engineer bacteria that feed on paper, thus leaving your work area squeaky  clean. You can also make paper hats for annoying co-workers in hopes the flesh eating bacteria will mutate the moment they put on the hat.

3. Give a Shit About the Environment – Most people don’t really have time for the ocean because we live on land. Who cares about plastic build up in the ocean? When the algae that produces most of the oxygen we breath die, we can always wear space suits. And space suits are badass. Who wouldn’t want to wear space suits? This one should actually be Space Suits Are Awesome.

4. Talk to the Voices You Hear During Hold Music –

Voice: Did you know you can lower your mortgage payment?

Me: No I didn’t!

Voice: With our home buyer’s plus plan…

Several cycles later…

Voice: Did you know you can lower your mortgage payment?

Me: I love you too!

Later…

Voice: Did you know you can lower your mortgage payment?

Me: I think our relationship is getting stale. We always have the same conversation.

later…

Voice: Did you know you can lower your mortgage payment?

Me: Don’t bring your father into this!

later…

Voice: Did you know you can lower your mortgage payment?

Me: Can we at least be fuck buddies?

Later…

Voice: Did you know you can lower your mortgage payment?

Me: I’m so lonely…

5. Read a Book – When I was at jury duty, I saw bored people staring into space waiting for the boredom to end. Books filled those hours for me. I just don’t understand why I wasn’t selected to be on a jury when I was reading the Anarchist’s Cookbook.

6. Masturbate – Bonus if the person picks up mid-jack. Chicks really like random men who make sexual noises over the phone. And by chicks, I mean no one. Whereas if you are a chick making sexual noises, you’d probably have an attentive audience.

7.  Poop – There are plenty of things we do in a day that’s just a time sink. Why not combine them?

8.  Write a Blog Post –  HAH! I made a meta-joke!

9. Help Organize Your Community – Making a meth-lab profitable is hard today. You used to be able to buy over-the-counter drugs used as ingredients in Meth in mass quantities without showing your ID.  Now you need to wrangle all the local meth addicts to buy the product. You can help by creating a spreadsheet with a schedule.

10. Write Your Own Hold Music – That will show them…