“This above all: to thine own self, be true.”
Polonius, Act 1, Scene 3
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
One of the ways I chose to lead when I was in the Air Force was never to pretend I was infallible (worst kind of leadership). I chose to expose my weaknesses, to show those who worked for me how I failed in my youth, and what I did to bounce back. And, yes, I would often use myself as the butt of the joke. Because you have to learn to laugh at yourself.
So, anyone who suffers from an irritable bowel will appreciate what I am about to say. Those who don’t, well, just laugh along as I tell you about the three best times when I almost shit my pants as an adult. I will break this segment into three mini-essays to be released over time. And now, I give you #3.
The Bank Forest Ass Blast - January 2014, 0600
On the road at 0515 (that’s military talk for fucking early in the morning). 45 miles from home to work. Between the two interstates to work is a 10-mile stretch of dark, desolate 2-lane country road. For some reason that morning, everyone and their mothers was on that stretch of road trying to save time. The only problem?
The previous night, as a late-night snack, I’d had Quaker Oatmeal Squares. Or, as I call them, Fiber Time Bombs.
I can’t help myself. They’re delicious. And I am weak.
Drinking my coffee while stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I lit a cigarette in frustration as we crept along between 0-to-25 mph. That was when my stomach started churning.
Oh no...the oatmeal squares. The time bomb was active. I looked at my lit cigarette and hot coffee. Oh fuck me. I’d lit the fuse. Rookie mistake. Now? Now it was just a matter of minutes. Ahead of me...nothing but a sea of brake lights and miles to a bathroom.
Frantically, I started the stalling process. Anyone who suffers from IBS knows what I mean. Roll down the window, crank the AC and start cooling off the body. It helps lower your core temp and buys you a few precious minutes.
I felt my body respond, but not well. I had...10-minutes max. But I still had 7 miles to go until I hit the next interstate and then 12 miles to get to work. After that, I would still need to park and then duck walk into the first bathroom I saw. Best case scenario with this traffic: 30 minutes to a toilet with only a 10-minute stall time.
I was going to shit my pants.
I looked to the left and the right. I could pull over on the side of the road. It was mostly unpopulated forest with no street lights. I could pull over, park, and run into the woods. Sure, I would suffer the humiliation of people watching and honking. But it was better than soiling myself.
Wait! The cars were picking up! We were driving faster! At the end of this 2-lane road was a gas station at the interstate junction! Saved! I put the foot down on the accelerator and hauled ass.
NO! NO NO NO! More brake lights! Damn you, vehicular accordion effect! And now the unpopulated wooded stretch of this road was replaced with residential homes. I couldn’t just shit in someone’s front yard. Could I? And it wasn’t quite 6am. Would a stranger let me in before 6am to destroy their bathroom? I was in uniform. Perhaps I could say I was commandeering their toilet?
OK Gibson...time to summon all the lessons learned from watching old martial arts movies. You summon your chi-power, control your breathing and will your asshole to obey you.
You shall NOT shit!
Heh...nice Gandalf. But I’m going to spew this fiber sludge all over your clothes and seats in, oh....2 minutes. In the meantime, enjoy the cramps and sweating!
Why asshole? Why? Aren’t we friends?
Eh? You only talk to me when you’re in trouble.
I don’t deserve this!
You’re the idiot who ate a bowl of oatmeal squares before bed. You know what they do to you. How many times do we have to go through this?
Asshole...you’re an asshole.
But, during my completely sane metal/rectum conversation, I see it. The lights of the gas station ahead! HA! Fuck you asshole!
I managed to pull into the gas station, only to see the sign on the door: “Closed until further notice.”
I wanted to cry. I was literally seconds away from exploding and there was nothing I could do about it.
No. I refuse. I will NOT shit myself. Not this day!
I look at the intersection. Three routes. One way was back to the interstate. No time. The other direction was residential with street lights. No go there. But in the last direction, I saw it. A bank. A bank which was closed, but had private parking, lights off, outdoor lights off and several rows of decorative, 15ft-tall pine trees. A great place to hide.
Time to make a deposit.
I pulled the car around and hopped out, reaching into the back seat for a small hand towel. Why did I have one? Because I’m the asshole who keeps taking the “free” ones from the gym. The ones you’re supposed to return when you’re done so they can wash them. And because people like me take them, it causes the gym to no longer hand them out.
The cold, winter winds of the frosty January morning hit me in the face as I backed into the row of pine trees, while I looked to my left and right, keeping an eye out for prying eyes. No one. The coast was clear. I dropped my pants as the wind picked up and the frigid air hit my nutsack, causing it to slingshot up into my body while the near 20 degree air was shriveling my junk. I looked like a six-foot 4 year old.
Squatting, I said a little prayer to whatever deity was looking out for me, while simultaneously muttering a Haitian-Voodoo curse on the bastards at Quaker Oats for making their delicious cereal so inviting, but so rectally deadly.
I cleaned up with the hand towel and fled the scene of the crime as fast as possible. The rest of the day went much better. And did I keep it a secret?
I told all my co-workers (I ruined lunch for several people). I believe in laughing at yourself. It is how you stay humble and it lets people know you’re just as human as they are.
~Number 2~ The Urinalysis Failure & the Gynecological Waiting Room