Human Resources’ Not So Subtle Hints

There are lots of things that can give a person a complex. For instance, next time you are having dinner with someone, casually wipe the side of your mouth every couple of minutes. The other person is sure to assume that they have a gigantic blob of something on their face. It can create hours of entertainment.

Of course, everyone would agree that’s not nice. A lot of those people would agree it’s an incredibly dumb idea if it is a first date, but everyone would say it’s a bit rude. You shouldn’t have to try to figure out if your friends are messing with you every time you get around them.

That goes double for your company’s human resources department.

My problems started my first day at my current job. At the beginning of the mandated human resources orientation, I was given a big bag of stuff. Now, most of this stuff made sense. For instance, an ink pen is a nice tool when you are on the job. It allows you to write important things on a notepad, also provided in the bag.

When we began discussing the health plan, though, things became a bit harrier. Along with a giant list of ailments they do and do not cover (Glaucoma: Covered, Werewolf Attacks: Not Covered) sat a toothbrush.

This being my first day and all, I assumed that my friendly HR representative, Brenda, was gently sending a message. “You were a great hire,” she was saying, “but your mouth smells like a skunk.” I was very appreciative of this gift and even said thank you. I sounded very polite, but inside there was a whirlwind of confusion.

I knew I had brushed my teeth that morning. It’s part of my morning tradition. If I take a single piece out of this procedure, I could be so thrown off that I become a different person altogether. Not brushing simply was not an option.

Apparently, though, my brushing was not adequate. This “subtle” sign from Brenda had made that abundantly clear.

I spent the next few weeks constantly scrubbing my teeth. I was tempted to take a brillo pad to them just in case I was leaving any scum. My dentist’s office became very confused by my bi-weekly phone calls.

“Mr. Badley, your next appointment is not for another four months,” the dental receptionist would say.

“I am very much aware of that,” I would reply, “But I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed a cleaning. I need it!”

Through my first ten months, I assumed that my mouth problem had been fixed. The scrubbing must have worked because Brenda did not contact me about the aroma of my mouth. I was able to relax a little bit, assured that my breath was not going to clear a room.

Then, just two weeks ago, HR sent “everyone” a gift.


Upon seeing these mints, I immediately ran to the bathroom. I scrubbed my mouth as much as I could. I shoved so many mints in my mouth that my entire gum line began to tingle. That should take care of it, I thought.

Apparently, I was wrong.

Today, we received more information about health care. On top of that information sat a toothbrush.

I nearly screamed, stopping just short because, after all, I was in a place of business. Could I have some sort of radical surgery done to remove the stink glands from my mouth? Are there stink glands in mouths? Even if there were, I bet it would have to be a marginally immoral surgeon who would perform this type of procedure and those surgeons aren’t usually the best. I would probably die on the operating room table.

Why, oh why, was my human resources department trying to kill me?

There are only two options, as far as I can tell. One is to continually gargle mouthwash all day. This seems like the worst of the two ideas.  First, it’s very difficult to talk while gargling. Secondly, I don’t really like mouthwash. It’s usually harsh and unpleasant.

The other choice involves moving into a remote part of Montana. Since there are approximately 15 people in the entire state of Montana, odds are I would never run into another human. I would be surrounded by animals that had even worse breath than me. Even if they were disturbed my breath, they can’t talk because their just animals. Sure, they can growl and hiss at me, but that can mean any number of things. Once there, I would be able to forget all about my stinky breath.

Of course, everyone keeps telling me that “the toothbrushes went to everyone” to “promote health and wellness” and that I should “stop being a paranoid psychotic.” Well, just because HR paid people to pretend that this wasn’t meant to send a message to me doesn’t mean I’m going to fall for it. I’m not going to get played like that.

Now that I think about it, they are sending some very mixed messages. They give us free coffee every day. That stuff makes a person’s breath really bad. Also, they gave everyone a giant tub of caramel corn to share. If they were worried about breath, they wouldn’t hand out a sugary treat that will make our teeth rot out.

Maybe they aren’t trying to send a message. Maybe they think they are dentist’s office and they need to hand out toothbrushes all the time. Maybe they accidentally order toothbrushes instead of staples, so they’re just trying to get rid of them. Maybe the owner of the company has a lot of stock in Delta Dental, so he forced his company to buy a great amount of toothbrushes.

Just to be safe, I’m probably going to yank all of my teeth out when I get home. I really can’t risk it.

11 thoughts on “Human Resources’ Not So Subtle Hints

  1. Love this: “The other choice involves moving into a remote part of Montana. Since there are approximately 15 people in the entire state of Montana, odds are I would never run into another human.”

    Thanks for making me literally LOL 🙂


  2. You know it could be that Brenda has the problem with the bad breath..and by sending subtle hints to you (and it seems to the whole office), she might be trying to plant seeds of doubt and deflect the problem to you…hmmm..did I just make sense?

    Maybe you should instead send her a gift of appreciation..or to the whole HR department..toothbrush, toothpaste and a voucher for a dental appointment? 😉


  3. At my job they took a different approach to this very problem… they now stock a mentholated blend of coffee. Not only does it get rid of bd breath, and the germs that cause it, but if you make a cappuccino on St. Patrick’s Day the green foam is very festive!


  4. They might have just been saving toothbrushes since they first went to the dentist, then they had kids who go to the dentist lots, and now they just want to get rid of all the free toothbrushes and they feel too guilty to throw them away. Or maybe you really do have bad breath. Sounds like you are doing the right thing.


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