More Man

More Man

Once I started work at a new place, and I was in that new job fog where I was learning a lot and entirely behind on what needed to get done. I was tired. I had finally made it to the end of the day, and I stepped outside to walk to my car.

The place I worked happened to have a little plant garden out front, complete with little signs to tell people the names of the plants. A square jawed guy and his son stopped me.

"Do you work here?"

I hated this question. I was wearing a uniform that said I did. Instead of saying, I just dress like this for fun, I said, "Yes."

"Does that say Morman tea?"

I looked where he was pointing. Beside the Mormon tea plant was a little black sign that clearly said Morman tea. Mor-Man.

I looked back at the man. I saw the white undershirt. He was a Mormon and he was not into this spelling of his religion.

This was awkward.

"It looks like it does," I said. "You ever tried it?"

"Tried what?" He was aghast.

"Mormon tea? You can pick it and then steep it in hot water. Tastes like dirt. Dirt tea."

"It tastes like dirt?"

"Yeah. You can't pick this bush but there's a bunch over there you can pick, if you want to try it. Have the real Westward expansion experience."

"But it says More Man!"

"Should say dirt."

We looked at the spindly plant.

"Apparently the Mormon settlers used to drink it as they moved West," I offered.

I knew some modern Mormons didn't drink hot tea of any kind, but I also knew, back in the day, they apparently did, thus dirt tea.

"It sounds terrible," he said.

"Yeah, but then you'll have a neat story."

I walked to my car.

The next time I was outside with my boss, I showed him the sign. He immediately snatched it up and pushed it at the person who was in charge of the signs.

That was possibly the best on-sight training I've ever had. He didn't debate anything with anyone, just made the problem go away. I realized I could have done that, just pulled the sign and not talked to the guy, but then I realized, that I hoped, deep down, the guy and his son did try the dirt tea.