Well, I have never worked with idiots... But I have some good after-work/ during field work stuff. Also only some bits of it are conversation...
The Field Work Stories.
1. So Adam D., Rick, Josh and Myself were heading to S. California to collect ants so Adam could finish his dissertation, and Rick could gather data for his. The topic strayed to how Rick became an Atheist from his former Mormon-ness.
Me: So Rick, I know you used to be mormon, but how did you actually become an atheist? Long standing doubts or did you just sort of have an epiphany?
Rick: Yeah, actually I was a good little mormon for a long time. Never really had any doubts and I could basically regurgitate the canned answers given to me by the church and compartmentalize away what I was going as a biology major. But one day when i was 22 and just finishing up my undergraduate work I was in borders and decided to actually take an honest look at the other side. So I sat down and started reading. Several hours later I had realized that I had been wasting all this time and been so intellectually dishonesty I was disgusted with myself...
This conversation went on for a while, bashing god, religion, religious people etc until we got out of the Spaceship Hölldobler (Our lab vehicle purchased on Bert Hölldobler's
dime.) to collect Pogonomyrmex barbatus on the side of the road.
Now up until now, Adam had been laughing at the hilarity of the two of us, but Josh, the new graduate student had not said a word. We did not know him very well and we were both somewhat concerned that we might have offended someone who could easily put hundreds of stinging ants into our sleeping bags at night.
Rick: You are not... religious, are you?
Josh: No, no. I am an atheist, carry on. I am just tired.
On this same trip we finally got to a little town in S. California that had the species and particular population we wanted. So we went to a dry grassy field and while Josh, Adam and I were collecting queens who had just mated and were digging their own nests, Rick was digging up existing nests to find sexuals who had not yet gone on their nuptial flights (as it turns out, our annual collection season was 3 days) Now, these ants are small and fast. You have to grab them with an unprotected hand or you dont grab them at all. Now, Rick is very good at what he does. He has been obsessed with ants since he was a small child, and it shows. But when you are picking up hundreds of ant sexuals individually while trying to dodge not just their stings, but the stings of the workers screaming "PROTECT THE FUTURE!!!" you are bound to make some mistakes and get tagged. These ants have an LD50 that is higher than that of a cobra, and is a 2.5-3 on the pain scale used to characterize insect stings (it is a 4 pt scale) and feels like someone is stabbing a lemon-juice soaked needle into your flesh and working it back and forth in the muscle and bone.
So every so often we would hear, across the field
"GAH!, OW, Sonofabitch!"
As it turns out he ended up getting stung 30 or so times on each hand. His hands swelled up and became paralyzed
Me: So Rick, what lessons have we learned?
Adam: Yeah Rick, had enough there?
Rick: The things I do for science....
After Work Story
This has a caste of characters.
Dr. Oliver Niehuis-German post-doc who cries when you mention cattle cars or Xyklon B
Adam Siegel: Irreverent, reform/secular jew graduate student (might be the only theist in our entire lab group, and then only just barely)
Josh: see field work story 1
After work, we all decide to go out drinking with Chris and Jan (who left earlier) two germans who were in our lab for research for a three month period. Josh and Oliver had bikes, Oliver was walking his, Josh was riding wheely circles around us.
Oliver: How are you doing that?
Josh: You have never done a wheely before?
Oliver: no. Can you teach me?
So Oliver hands his bike off to Adam and proceeds to learn how to do wheelies on a bike. Now, Adam and I think this is hilarious. But Oliver has a very nice bike and Adam makes a joke to me about sneaking off with it.
Me: I wouldnt do that if I were you Adam. Oliver knows where you live.
Adam: Actually I just moved and he has not seen the new place yet.
Me: Oh, well... You dont want every german in SIRG (of which there are 10) looking for you do you?
We both think about that for a second, get the unintentional holocaust joke and crack up laughing, but we also know that Oliver must never know we made such a joke at his expense because he (not the jew) is really sensitive about it and has a LOT of "german guilt". Oliver of course hears us laughing and thinks we are making fun of him and rides over
Oliver: What is so funny, are you making fun of me or...?
Me and Adam: No no! Not at all!
Oliver: I think you are lying (he gives us a suspicious sideways glance
Adam: We cant tell you.... Its too horrible...
He obviously gathers that much, but does not press the issue further. He just slumps his shoulders and tries out his new trick some more. He did however make periodic references to that incident for a good month.