Thursday, May 31, 2007
You Have My Permission
I can’t believe how many people have come forward with the fact they suffer from IBS since I shared a couple of my stories here a few days ago. I suppose misery really does love company. One comment I received was from Nicole in Portland Oregon. She has a blog dedicated entirely to this dreadful syndrome that most are too embarrassed to talk about. If you are interested you can click here and meet Nicole and read her stories.
I think I mentioned before that I had several of my stories in the transcript of View from a Hearse but they got cut before it was published. I was told the stories took away from the message of the book. Maybe they were right but one of the key messages of the book is we all need to lighten up. IBS and the stories that result will definitely make one lighten up.
Many years ago when the boys were young and the Braves had finally started winning, Kathy and I and our three little ones went to Atlanta for a family wedding. After the wedding we changed clothes and headed to Atlanta Fulton County Stadium to buy some tickets from a scalper at the sold out game. After I had the tickets in hand we decided to go to Underground Atlanta to walk around and eat and then make it back to the stadium in time for the 7:30PM game.
I will always remember the restaurant that night. T-Birds had the biggest and juiciest hamburgers I had ever put in my mouth. I ate mine and whatever the boys did not eat. If you suffer from IBS, eating a lot of red meat when you are not close to a restroom is not the thing to do. After we finished eating, Kathy asked me to take Luke to the restroom. When I walked in the restroom I couldn’t believe the very large and clean restroom. I was thinking that they must have a full-time employee who is entirely assigned to keeping the restroom clean. It was spotless. I helped little Luke go to the restroom and we had some time to kill before the game so our plan was to take our time walking around in Underground.
The five of us were heading down a very long escalator when it hit me. I went from 0 to 10 centimeters in an instant. I explained as calmly as possible to Kathy that I needed to find a restroom. She said she thought there was one on the way out. I knew there was a very large and clean one at the top of the escalator we were riding. I told Kathy I would meet her and the boys outside of T-Birds. They continued down the escalator. I ran up the down escalator. People must have seen the look in my eye because they definitely moved over to give me room.
I did make it to T-Birds. When I got to the front door the lady asked me how many was in my party. I tried to explain to her that I wasn't having a party. I finally made it to the inside of the restroom. I was close to the stall. But close only counts in horseshoes. It certainly doesn’t count with IBS. When I got in the stall, I slid my shoes under the side of the stall into the next stall. I then walked out of the stall to the sink to wash out the shorts I was wearing. I threw my underwear in the trash can. I was standing at the lavatory with nothing on but my tee shirt when a man entered the restroom. The startled man stopped in his tracks and started backing up and out the door he went. I didn’t blame him at all.
There was no way I had the equipment necessary to clean up the mess I made in that restroom. Calling in the fire department would have been more appropriate. I walked out to meet my wife and three kids with wet shorts, docksiders and no underwear. Kathy gave me a dirty look like she was about to question why I let this happen. I told her to keep walking and to not look back. I knew at any moment that full time guy who was in charge of keeping that restroom clean was going to walk in that restroom and he was going to either quit his job or come after me. Or maybe he would call the police and have me arrested.
We went back down the escalator and walked back through underground kind of like a normal family. By the way, I discovered that night that nobody sells underwear in Underground Atlanta. As we were about to leave, one of my boys commented that he thought I had do-do on the back of my leg.
So with hundreds of folks walking by I sat myself in the little pool on top of all the dimes next to the fountain at the Coca Cola building and took me a little bath. Nobody said a word to me but I did get a lot of double takes as people walked by.
Some things only become funny after you look back on it a few months later. This was definitely one of those things.
I’m sure some of you are asking why in the world I’ve told this story. I’ll give you three quick reasons: 1) Those members of the IBS club know exactly what I’m talking about and you need to know you are not alone. 2) I’ve told this story many times to friends and they (for some strange reason) find it very funny, and 3) We all need to lighten up.
And I don’t mind allowing you to lighten up at my expense.
Go for it. You have my permission.