up shit creek
Once upon a time I had a job that took me to the east side of the state of Michigan. Specifically, I spent weeks on end in the Detroit metropolitan area. Now, Detroit sucks ass, for a number of reasons. For now, all you need to know is that I was in a northern suburb of Detroit. Actually, I was in one of the most pretentious and ritzy suburbs of Detroit.
When you travel for work and are essentially a salesperson, you eat out on your work's buck often. By the time I made this trip, I had learned some valuable lessons about eating out. One was that you should always have reading material to avoid looking like a serial killer--everybody knows serial killers eat alone. Another rule is that you should drink a glass of water before ordering--damned flawed hunger reflex. And then, there were the 'Me specific rules.' These were rules that I had figured out so that I didn't get sick, one of these rules was to NEVER, not under threat of torture, or even death, to EVER eat salad from a salad bar.
Why no salad? Good question. In dining establishments it is often the practice to drench lettuce and other vegetables with a preservative to keep them from turning all shitty looking. This preservative and I, well, we're not friends. More on that in a bit.
One day, I see a place called Montana's restaurant. After having lived in Montana for a while, I thought that it would bring back some great memories--and would probably have large pieces of red meat for the consuming. (This was a time saving technique I picked up--rather than to order off the menu, it was quicker to just have the wait staff bring me, "The biggest piece of red meat that you offer, rare.")
I didn't have anywhere to be right after lunch, so I thought I would be okay eating a salad. I assumed, after all, that if any digestive pyrotechnics of the anal variety should ensue, well, I was close to a men's room. Thus, I partook.
Well, friends, anal digestive pyrotechnics ensued, shortly after said salad was partaken of. Fortunately, I was near the men's room. And, all was well in my-ass-ville.
Unfortunately, that's not where this story ends.
I left the restaurant at about 12:00 noon after my early lunch. I had about a 20 minute drive to my next appointment which wasn’t scheduled to begin until 2:45. I decided I'd take the long way (surface streets rather than the freeway) on over to my appointment at Troy High School. It was a beautiful drive. It was autumn and the trees were turning bright shades of orange and red. Gorgeous.
At some point during the trip from point A to point B, I started feeling a familiar sensation. You probably know the feeling, I imagine. It's that bubbly feeling. Kind of like whatever is sloshing around in your descending colon is building up both gas pressure and loose sloshy shit pressure all at once. You have to fart, but you know that if you do, you'll shart. (For those of you unfamiliar with the term 'shart'...well, you're probably all farmiliar.)
No matter; I thought. I assumed I should be able to find a restroom soon, after all, I was in a major metropolitan area. I kept one eye peeled for an establishment that offered a restroom. As I drove, though, my need to relieve myself grew exponentially. Finally, I spied an oasis. Somerset Collection.
Somerset Collection is the trendiest, swankiest, and yuppiest-est mall in Michigan. By the time I made it to a parking spot in the garage, I was no longer in need of a men's room. I was in DIRE NEED of a men's room. The bubbling from deep within me had escalated from a gentle slosh reminiscent of waves lapping peacefully against the shore, to an all out perfect shit-storm with full blown 20 foot swells. My colon was pressurized, the only thing keeping its contents in check a rapidly tiring sphincter muscle.
Anyway, I walk into Somerset Collection on the second, of three floors. I walk around for a while--looking desperate I'm sure--on the second floor. It turns out that there are no restrooms on the whole damn second floor of the Somerset Collection. I found a map. Restrooms third floor. Perfect.
I walk to the escalator. Okay, that’s a lie. Calling what I was doing at that point 'walking' is a just about as much a stretch as George W. Bush calling himself compassionate. What I was doing was more of a waddle crossed with a sprint. I had to go so badly that I actually considered plugging the trap with a finger, and I would have done so had I not been nervous that all the commotion could have served as the last straw causing a premature blow-out.
To this day, I feel a little bad for knocking over that lady in the walker and shoving the mother pushing her stroller out of my way, but you really don't know how you'll react until you're in the heat of battle. By the time I crested the top of the escalator I had broken into a cold sweat. My sphincter was about to go on strike from being overworked for the past 15 minutes. I was doing all I could to help matters down there by clinching my cheeks together...with my hand.
And then, like in a holy vision, there on the horizon, just through the food court was the men's restroom. I could see it now. I would make it. I strode confidently--if one can, in fact, stride confidently after having made a mad dash through a food court whilst clenching one's ass cheeks with one's hand--toward the men's room. I reached out my unoccupied hand and pushed the door open.
Friends, I know what it's like when a sphincter fails. One might imagine that you have a little time, and with that little time you may imagine that you can pull some manual override switch to stop said sphincter failure until a containment barrier can be put in place. This is, rather unfortunately, not the case--or at least it wasn't the case for me. For just as I strode through the door to the men's room, at that very moment, my sphincter released.
I grabbed the first open stall to survey the damage. The damage was extensive. There was crap everywhere. Now, you may think that by everywhere, I'm using the literary device of hyperbole. I am not. There was shit all over my boxer-shorts, and my khakis. These you would've expected. However, you may be surprised to find that in addition to my boxers and khakis my socks were ruined. I even managed to shoot some splatter up onto my undershirt and dress shirt. The only unsoiled items I owned were my shoes—God only knows how they were spared,--and my sport coat. Had I been wearing a ‘manpon’—usually defined as a crumpled up wad of toilet paper a man uses to line his underclothing in case of anal leakage of any sort—there may have been less of a problem.
I sat down on the toilet (now, also covered with diarrhea) and surveyed all I had done. And, for what seemed like a good three or four minutes was in shock.
They don't cover this in training, I thought. I mean, there's no place that trains you what to do in such a situation. I couldn't go out into the mall like I was now, but I couldn't get new clothes to go out into the mall without any clothes on.
The only thing I knew I needed to do was to clean up, somehow. So, I disrobed: Top to bottom. I got completely, totally, bare-ass naked. There in the stall in the men's restroom. First order of business was to clean a place to stand (I got shit all over the floor in my haste to drop trow in order that I could finish up business.) So there I was, a completely naked 25 year old man using toilet water and one-ply sanitary paper to clean the floor of the stall.
Once the floor and the stool were clean I sat down again (still naked) and tried to figure out how to clean myself up. First order of business, give the undercarriage a splash. (Yes, using toilet water. Trust me, at this point the last thing I cared about was sticking my hand into the toilet water.) Once I'd given myself a bit of a toilet-water bath, it was time to see if I couldn't get back into some clothes. I'd already thrown my underwear out (it was a lost cause), so I began work on the khakis. I adopted the 'dunk and flush' method for clothes cleaning. While I wasn't able to entirely remove all traces of the events of the past 15 or so minutes, I was able to remove the big chunks.
Eventually, I was able to dress myself, at least to a degree. I had on my shit-stained khakis, my t-shirt, my sportcoat, and shoes with no socks.
Some of you may think you know what it's like to take a walk of shame. I would dare to wager a reasonable wager, though, that my walk of shame trumps yours. The slow stroll through Somerset Collection to Marshall Fields, with the 'dripping wet from toilet water' shit-stained khakis, was probably one of the most humiliating I can imagine.
When I got to Marshall Field's men's department, I walked directly to the counter and requested a piece of paper. On that paper, I wrote down a list of things I needed. It went something like this:
Boxer shorts - Large
Khaki's flat front - 38Wx34L
Dress shirt that matches khakis
Socks that match khakis
Tie that matches shirt
The man who helped me, his name was Juan. I, to this day, love Juan. Here's how Juan and my conversation went:
Me: Juan, I need you to do me a favor.
Juan: What do you need?
Me: I need you to give me a plastic bag, a big one. Then I'm going to go into that dressing room.
Me: Great. Now, what I need you to do, is take this credit card and ring up everything on this list. I don't care what colors you pick. Then, when you've got everything, bring it over to that dressing room that I'm in, and slide it under the door.
Me: And if you wouldn't mind not asking any questions, I'd really appreciate it.
Juan came through, and in the end (after an Italian bath of cologne from the tester tray at Marshal Fields) I came out alright, too.
In the end, this is what I take away from the situation: It's probably never going to get worse for me, everything's probably downhill from here.