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Smelly People I Have Known, Part Two: Marvin Ming

9 Jan

January 10, 2013

Marvin Ming is no stranger to this blog.

No! No, sorry, what I meant to say is that there are none stranger than Marvin Ming in this blog.

He shanghaied me on a bizarre trip to Atlantic City, and the rest of the Eastern Seaboard, with his family, none of whom got along with any other family member.

He more or less somehow pulled a Valentine’s Day prank on himself.

He pranked me with a phony phony ticket to a sci-fi convention. (No, that it is not a typo. It was a false counterfeit ticket.)

He brought me to a complete stranger’s birthday party where we were the only guests.

He worked as a general manager at a brothel.

He once, in a traffic dispute, drop-kicked a taxi.

He made his own XXX Gumby Claymation cartoons.

And I have only just scratched the surface of Marvin’s Brooklyn Public Library Underground Pornography Sharing scheme.

I’ve described him in the past:

Marvin was (and may still be) Chinese.  He also hated being Chinese because he had many very weird and bizarre family issues, mostly dealing with his mother. He also had a strange sense of honor and likened himself to a Klingon. This is true. Worf from Star Trek was his role model. He occasionally slept on a workout bench instead of his bed to remove himself from “temptation.” Being very leery of the answer I never asked him to explain further. Once, to pay off a debt, he brought his brother in to work for him in the clothing store. He just ordered his brother to do his work and for some reason the bosses let him get away with it for a while, until they realized that, insurance-wise, they were in a position of extreme liability.

Marvin had strange speech patterns and strange voices that he would put on. Imagine Ted Baxter as a short Chinese guy who is worried about appearing honorable and is in love with Star Trek and you’ll only be sort of wrong. He also speaks in a higher register.

Why must I be dragged into this?

Why must I be dragged into this?

As you may imagine, I have nothing to do with him these days.

So as you read yesterday, Audrey, whom I worked with, had a bit of a B.O. problem. I mean that in the same sense that Snoop Dogg (neé Lion) has smoked a bit of pot. About the same time, in the same department, I worked with Marvin Ming. This was quite an auspicious time in that store’s history, since also at that time, working along with myself and my friend Marc, there was a complete burnout named Eddie working there. Eddie will come along in part three of this trio of odoriferous tales, coming Tuesday, next week. The less I tell you now about him the better.

So Marvin was working the same job as Audrey- unloading trucks, cleaning bathrooms, hauling trash. The good thing about working with Audrey was that if you both worked the same shift, she had no problem doing all the smelly bathroom cleaning and trash lifting while you did the less smelly tasks of sweeping the floor and locking the gates.

I was once sitting in the break room. (Truth be told, I could often be found there during this era. Of course I made my own schedule and was my own boss so no one could say squat about it, but that was later on.) As I sat there, a group of girls who worked in the store came in looking for me.

I wasn’t the most well-liked guy in the store. I had, I admit, a bit of an attitude and just generally felt like I was better than the rest of them. To put it bluntly, I was a sort of a jerk. So normally these girls would not come in and ask me for anything, unless it was work-related. This had to be bad. And it was.

“We want you to talk to Marvin for us.”

Since this a post about smelly people you can figure this one out for yourself.

I refused. No way. How could I be expected to tell a guy who was marginally a friend that all the girls in the store think he smells like old tuna? (Yes, that was a quote.) What’s worse, and I asked for no details on this, it seemed that it was his… pants… and specifically his… crotch… that smelled the worst, though he stank all over.

Would you really want to tell anyone that?

Well somehow I did. I took him aside in the maintenance area and, with great embarrassment and shuffling of feet and completely avoiding eye contact, made it perfectly clear that I was only the messenger, that I had no clue what they were talking about, etc, and yada yada yada, he stank like old tuna.

It did not go over well.

He roared. Not screamed, roared, like a tiger would. Then he started yelling, not at me but at the world at large, that he showers every night, except last night, but it was ok since he rinsed himself in the sink that morning, and that he always changes his pants but it looks like he doesn’t because he owns a dozen pairs of the same colored pants and they all have the same stains, and his crotch does not stink any more or less than their crotches, and a bunch of stuff that had me slowly backing away from him and into a less deserted part of the store.

The rest of this I only saw in flashes as I kept looking away, and I only know remember it in bits and pieces as my mind keeps trying to erase it.

As he ranted, he yelled “I want to you tell them I did this!” and grabbed a can of Lysol. He then proceeded to give himself a thorough decontamination shower with the Lysol. His head, his shoes, and everything in-between was thoroughly drenched with Lysol. And I do mean “everything in-between” since he gave special attention to his pants and crotch, going so far as to drop his pants and, while standing in his boxers, give special, um “scrubbing” attention to his crotch, both above and below the underwear.  

This must be my blogging Viet Nam since as I type this I am having horrible, PTSD-like flashbacks to that day.


Well it was done and I staggered out and found the girls and told them “I did it.” I then went outside for some fresh air,

Of course Marvin now smelled even worse, like he was swimming in lemon-scented disinfectant and smelled so much worse that the manager first asked him what he did to himself, and them sent him home. The girls came to me later to find out what the heck happened and they were appalled.

In Marv’s defense, I do not recall thinking he smelled at all. And I wondered then, as I do now, how they knew it centered on his crotch.



And as I did some image searches, I came across this great meme that I had to post here too:


Smelly People I Have Known, Part One

9 Jan

January 9, 2013

(I am open to any suggestions of a better title, BTW.)

In the comment section of Imponderable #75, Zathra brought up an issue that reminded me of three occasions in which I worked with people who had, shall we say, questionable hygiene.  See the gems you miss if you skip the comment section?

I’ve written about Audrey only once before, back in 2007 on my old MySpace (remember that?) blog, and later reprinted that post a few years later here as the best practical joke I ever played, The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. You can read the entire scheme here. In short, it began as a joke in which my accomplices and I sent flowers from a dim-witted friend named Marvin Ming to his crush and nearly ended with a restraining order.

One of the accomplices was a woman named Audrey, and this is what I wrote about her at the time, slightly edited:

Audrey was the security guard/garbage man of the store. Imagine a 300 pound black woman in her 30′s who cheerfully did all the heavy lifting, trash hauling, toilet-cleaning, and smelled like a rhino and you are getting warm. She was extremely nice though, and most people liked her. She also had a crush on a guy there. One day the guy was showing off his new electronic organizer (this was back in those pre-Blackberry days where if you had a two-line display and could input a phone number and a name you were cutting edge.) She wanted him to put her number in. This was her slick plan to get him to call her. He said he couldn’t, that he ran out of space for women’s names and could only fit men’s. She said “put it in as Aubrey, that’s French.” He replied that the organizer would know that she isn’t French and it wouldn’t work.

And yes, that fooled her.

Anyway, everyone liked Audrey, despite not being able to get too close to her. As I said, Audrey was the “security guard/garbage man” of the store. She began as a security guard and when it came to stopping shoplifters or breaking up a fight she was great. Security didn’t earn her much money though (it was a contracted position and she was not paid much by the contractor) and since she liked everyone at my store, and everyone liked her, she was hired. Problem was, the only position was in stock and maintenance, meaning that she would have to mop the floors, clean the bathrooms, and haul garbage. That was in addition to unloading trucks. The manager tried to talk her out of it, on the premise that it was not a job for a woman.  (The manager was a woman too, by the way, and no one at all liked her. One day in the future I’ll write about her, all the stuff she did to the staff and the hateful things the staff did to her.)

To Audrey’s credit, she did the job with just as much dedication as she did her security. She was an asset to the store.

Other stinkers of note: Joe Besser as Stinky on the Abbott and Costello show, Pig Pen from Peanuts, and Pepe Le Pew from smelly old France.

Other stinkers of note: Joe Besser as Stinky on the Abbott and Costello Show, Pig Pen from Peanuts, and Pepe Le Pew from smelly old France.

And a detriment. While she may have been smelly before, now that she cleaned the store’s toilets and handled huge bags of trash, she stunk to high heaven. She wore the same stained sweatshirt on the job (when she wasn’t in her security guard uniform) and never seemed to shower. The manager, in one of the only nice things I ever knew her to do, took her aside and then outside, to lunch in fact. They discussed (the manager talked and Audrey listened) what it was like to be a woman, how to present yourself, how to take care of your body, etc. She even presented Audrey with a bath set.

Now I heard all that first hand from Audrey. We worked together in the same department and yes, I cleaned the bathrooms and hauled trash same as her (until I worked out a promotion and therefore was able to schedule myself out of the shifts where I had to do most of that.) Hearing the story I felt very embarrassed for Audrey, thinking about how embarrassed she must have felt hearing all that from the boss. Were I on the receiving end of a speech like that I would have wanted to crawl into a hole.  But my attitude soon shifted to feeling embarrassed for Audrey, because she seemed to feel not a shred of shame or embarrassment at all. In fact she proudly showed her gift to many people in the store, telling them “the boss wants me to take care of myself.”

You may think, based on that last paragraph, that Audrey had a slight mental problem or something was wrong with her, but as far as I know she had no problems, and as the department supervisor I worked with her as much and probably more than anyone else. I believe that for whatever reasons, she had no one in her life and no one in her past ever was as “thoughtful” as the boss appeared to be, caring about her wellbeing and wanting to make sure she took good care of herself. She was truly touched.

I do admit though, that Audrey was a bit blind to A- how it appeared to everyone else and B- her own odor.

After that, Audrey did wear cleaner clothes and she did seem personally cleaner herself. However, she remained pretty smelly for as long as I knew her.


The next person who was told he stunk was Marvin Ming himself and who had to tell him? Me.



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