I don't know what it was.
Maybe the undercooked blue crabs with meat only won by navigating through raw intestines and other slimy guts.
Whatever it was we'll just have to chalk it up as one of those moments to file under "something interesting, new and memorable can happen at any point in your immediate future."
Yes, that's a first for me.
We're barely one hour into the 10-hour drive from West Palm Beach back home. Nice visit. Memorable, you could say. But not as lasting a set of memories as the drive home.
My stomach begins to rumble. It's one of those gas attacks that makes you feel a boiling even in your back.
I enjoy gas. It's liberating.
It comes non-stop. It doesn't stink, which is good for everyone else in the car and allows me to do it without a shred of guilt.
Then comes what is affectionately referred to as a "shart." Defined: a fart that surprises you with a quaint little leakage of shit.
This has happened before. You know, just find an exit. Pull over. Most likely hover over a toilet because men's public restrooms are so disgusting (the one benefit women having to pee sitting down is that none of them are ever standing up to piss on the seat).
Then, suddenly, the absolute pain sets in. This is dire(rhea).
Within a short amount of time, my enjoyable case of gas turns into a little case of the squirts into a fell-fledged mud butt crisis.
I pull off, begging cars to move out the way. I yell. Lift my butt off the seat and beg my intestines to hold off until I make it to the McDonald's.
Somehow, it always seemed to work out. I always just made it, barely getting my pants off before the explosion.
Not this time.
The light was green, but I was turning left. Instead of heading to the Exxon on the right, I was arrogant enough to think I should at least try to use the bathroom in the McDonald's and grab Happy Meals for the kids afterwards. You know, multi-tasking like my bosses always beg me to do, with little success.
I prepare for my turn when here it comes. The explosion outdone by no Fourth of July fireworks display.
I shit my pants. Big time. I was so out of control of it I screamed.
"Ahhh, it won't stop! I'm shitting myself!"
McDonald's is not an option. The shit is creeping up my back.
My wife tells me to head over to the LaQuinta Inn.
Walk in with my bag, she tells me, like I'm going to my room. Then clean up in the bathroom.
The shit is dripping down my leg as I walk in bow-legged. A woman looks at my gait and smiles as she enters some kind of office.
Luckily there's a bathroom in the lobby. And luckily it has a private stall with its own sink.
It's a disaster. The boxers go in the trash. The shorts ... well, I like those too much. I'll just have to figure something out. There's an undigested piece of corn in the floor. I throw it in the toilet.
I clean up.
Buck-naked, I open my bag.
No underwear. No pants. No way in hell I can put those shorts on and no communication with my wife for her to bring my jeans and a pair of boxers out of the dirty clothes bag.
It's like an episode of "Fear Factor" in here:
"OK, this is your challenge. You've got shit all over you. You've got a private bathroom with a public gauntlet outside to brave. All you've got are three t-shirts. The clock starts when you pull the first shirt out. Ready ... and ... go!"
I have to have a shirt to wear. That leaves me two to formulate some kind of semblance of pants. My Mason Jennings shirt is a little to tight for that, so I go with the muscle shirt I use to play basketball and go to the beach in.
I stick my legs through the arm holes. Tie a knot in the front. It sags like a diaper, a big huge neck hole hanging down in case I just want to unload again.
All I can hope for is that 1.) There aren't a whole lot of people in the lobby and 2.) I just look like any other strange-looking German tourist in Florida with a curious fashion sense.
It's time to go.
I walk like there's nothing to it.
Past the front desk. The attendant says "Hello." I smile and give him a "How ya doin'?" nod.
I make it to the sliding door. A Hispanic lady is staring at me.
My wife's jaw drops as she sees me emerge with a smile on my face. My oldest son, 6, is ... perplexed.
We race from the LaQuinta. She's cleaned up the mess in the driver's seat, and that seems to be upsetting. We drive over to a gas station. A Starbucks is across the parking lot. I tell her to get herself some coffee and calm down.
She gets some cleaning supplies. I put the shorts in an Old Navy bag and seal the contents with a double knot.
I go in and get some gas-station-brand Pepto.
I'm a Wal-Mart boycotter. I don't shop there, and I don't let my family shop there, because Wal-Mart is evil.
"There's a Wal-Mart," my wife says, sheepishly, seeming to understand the utter humiliation and insult to injury of what she's about to propose. "I could get you ... well ..."
We head over to the Burger King. They're out of the good "Superman Returns" tie-in toys, so we head over to the original destination, the McDonald's.
As I drive out, with my two Burger King chicken sandwiches, preparing to get back on I-95, I realize: This could all go bad again, and this time I don't have any more pants.
"So, you could get me some Depends at that Wal-Mart, right?"
"I'll go in. Go to Starbucks and get me an Iced Latte while I'm in there."
I drive up to the Starbucks window.
"Hello, sir. How was your Fourth?"
"OK, I guess."
"Well, actually it was pretty good. Just today, I don't know ... How was yours?"
"Oh, you know, I didn't have to work all day. We were going to go out on a boat, but it broke down. The fireworks were going to be nice. We just got some from the stand and shot off our own."
"Daddy, what's Mommy doing in Wal-Mart?"
"Getting me some diapers, son."
"Are you teasing?"
"No, son, actually this time I'm not."
"Why do you need diapers?"
"Because I crapped myself."
"OK, here they are. They're not Depends. They're called Assurance. And here's flushable baby wipes and hand sanitizer."
"Thanks. I'll go to Starbucks and put them on."
There's something about wearing a diaper you bought at a place you refuse to shop as your son is working through the whole Dad-crapped-his-pants revelation and your wife is laughing about the sagging muscle-shirt-shorts with the huge neck hole in the middle.
Something ... humbling.
And something that made me want to have to go again -- knowing that it would be OK this time, because now I've got it all figured out.
I can only imagine how many times the Palm Bay LaQuinta staff replayed the surveillance video.
Guy comes in bow-legged. Leaves wearing a muscle shirt for pants. Something to make the day go by faster.
So, here's a big "Thank you" to the LaQuinta Inn. I'll be sure to frequent your establishment under more favorable circumstances in the future.
And, if you need anyone to vouch for your slogan, I'm your guy ...
Friday, July 07, 2006
I don't know what it was.