“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 #2.
The Urinalysis Failure in the Gynecological Waiting Room -or- The Gyno-Exam Gaggle of Giggling Girls - February 1996
I’d decided to join the Air Force.
Well, let’s be honest, I was pretty much out of options. I’d partied too much at college and watched my 3.8 drop to a 1.6 in one semester while away at a state school. After which, I had to get my fast-food job back to pay room and board at my own home. In that time I’d also wrecked my truck. Hell, I was one one divorce and a dead dog away from a country song.
So, to the military it was. I went to the Air Force recruiter, signed some papers, took some tests and the process started. My first step to becoming an Airman was MEPS.
MEPS is the Military Entrance Processing Station. It is the place you got before you do your final signature, where they make you go under a barrage of medical tests, humiliating duck walks while in your underwear and aptitude testing. The night before, you get put up in a hotel and allowed free reign for your 18-24yr old hormones to go crazy.
So, after the night in the hotel, you go to the MEPS facility early in the morning following breakfast. Upon arrival, you are herded like cattle from one station to another. Forced to strip, told to pick up a certain amount of weight above your head, checked for flat feet and perform weird acts like bending over to show your asshole to a strange man.
Man...I hoped that guy actually worked there...
... So anyway, they don’t give you much time to do anything but go from one test to another. The stress is kinda high. I’d eaten breakfast, had coffee and I really...REALLY...had to go to the bathroom. After the next idiotic appointment, I stopped one of the ladies who worked there.
“Ma’am, I really need to go to the bathroom. Where’s the nearest one?”
“Which group are you in?”
“What? I don’t know. Why?”
“Hmm,” she said, looking at a clipboard. “You haven’t had your urinalysis yet. You’ll be able to go then.”
“Oh, well, I’m sorry,” She said. “You’ll have to hold it. You can’t do one without the other.”
“This is kind of an emergency.”
So, The Countess Connie Von GoShityourself (as I like to remember her) waddled away leaving me clenching my ass and wiping my brow as the poop-sweats have set in.
Deep down, I hated her and her ugly "I Want To Speak to the Manager" haircut.
Luckily, the next stop in the processing station was the urinalysis. So, when it was my turn I stood at the urinal with my pee cup in one hand, my manhood in the other, trying like hell to mentally shut off one valve while opening another.
With every ounce of will I could muster, along with a minor touch of flatulence, I managed to squeezed out just enough drops without shitting myself. When the guy administering the urinalysis looked at the bottle he had to judge whether or not I reached the line.
Once he confirmed I gave enough, I was free to go.
Or at least I thought.
“Where are you going?” The urinalysis monitor asked.
“I really, really need to go to the bathroom.”
“Well, not in here you won’t.”
I looked around, perplexed. “This is the men’s room.”
“Yes, but we don’t want you messing the place up while the urinalysis testing is going on.”
“Well, where CAN I go then?” I asked
“I don’t know.”
So, The PoopNazi (No Poop for you!...that’s a Seinfeld joke for you young people) banished me from the bathroom to search for another bathroom, with no success. I had about 20ish minutes until my next appointment and with what I had brewing, I’d need all of that time. The pain was starting to set in, with sharp jabs in the guts.
I was at pucker-factor 5.
I ran into the Countess Connie Von GoShityourself in the hallway. I begged her for directions to the nearest bathroom. With a sigh of contempt for this mere peasant, the royal B-word gave me a very circuitous route to take to a bathroom she “thought” was still in use.
With one hand pinching my butt cheeks together, I did my best penguin waddle along the maze of interconnected hallways of the MEPS facility. I reached the office door she described, opened the door and walked in...
...to the reception area for the female recruits gynecologic exam. Needless to say, the small rectangular room was FULL of young women waiting. To my right, was the door which read “Restoom”. To my left, was the door which led to the Dr.’s office.
“Ladies,” I said nodding as I walked past about twenty young women to the bathroom.
To the TINY...single toilet...no fan...hollow core door with a 1” gap to the floor...bathroom.
I turned on the water to try and muffle what was about to happen.
It didn’t work.
As I expelled, what could only be described as a noxious bio-hazard with accompanying sonic-boom flatulence and miasma-like clouds of brown and green death, I could hear the girls outside the world tiniest bathroom, laughing.
I did my best to try and poop with dignity. But, is there such a thing? I was in there for over 15 minutes, as all the backed up pressure released itself in wave after painful, and embarrassing, wave.
When I was done and cleaned up, I washed my hands and prepared myself for what lay on the other side of the door. Would they laugh? Cheer? Hmm...probably not cheer. Thankfully, this event predated cellphones and portable video capturing devices, otherwise ole Gibby would be a Youtube sensation with over a million views for that power-crap.
With a heavy heart, I had my hand on the doorknob, trying to recall the exact layout of the reception room so I could sprint and just get the fuck out of there. I opened the door...to nothing.
They were all gone.
I checked for dead bodies in case one of them had gotten a whiff of what came out of me. I was at ground zero, so I had a built up tolerance. But no, nothing. No bodies, no gaggle of girls ready to laugh at me like I had an inappropriate boner (thanks freshman year Spanish class! No I DON’T want to come to the board and write out Donde esta el bano),
At the end of the day, we were filtered back to a waiting area for our recruiter to come pick us up. I’d put my contacts back in, taken off my outer shirt and put my hat on as I just tried to chill in case I was recognized as the crap-bandit.
A couple of girls sat down in the lounge’s chairs next to me. They were talking about, guess what, “The guy who shit up the gyno office.”
Since they didn’t react to me, I decided to tempt fate.
“Excuse me, what happened?” I asked one of the girls.
“Oh, some dude came into the office during the gynecologic exam. He went into the bathroom and started sitting so loudly we all heard it! It was the funniest thing ever! It was so nasty! What a loser!”
“I feel bad for the guy,” The other girl said.
I decided when I rule the world, she would be spared. I dubbed her Compassionate Kate. That other one though...to the salt-mines with her. “Really? That’s nasty,” I laughed along. “Has anyone seen him since?”
“No,” The first girl, Salt-Mine Slave Sally said. “He’s about your height, but he’s got glasses and a black and white flannel shirt.”
“If I see him, I’ll ask him if he’s had a shitty day,” I said smiling, while trying desperately to stuff my black and white flannel shirt into the couch cushions behind the small of my back.
When the girls went back to their conversation, I hid my face behind a magazine and plotted the demise of Salt-Mine Slave Sally, the Countess Connie Von GoShityourself and The PoopNazi. Meanwhile, Compassionate Kate and I will rule the land! We will be fair, yet firm, with moist, flushable wet wipes in all the bathrooms. This I decree!
Some people in the world need to have a heart. Others a sense of humor. But there is a special place in hell for those who mock another when they are about to shit their pants.
I still have that black and white flannel shirt and I get a good giggle out of it from time to time when I wear it. If nothing else, it left me with a funny story and left a shitty memory for those girls.
Wherever you are out there Compassionate Kate, I wish you all the best and lifetime of happiness.
Salt-Mine Slave Sally...I hope you have herpes.
~Number 1: The Great Gastric Geyser -or- How I Dodged the Police With My Pants Around My Ankles