Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Having gambled and lost, our hero returns

"If you're going through hell, keep going." -Winston Churchill

Under normal circumstances, I'm a big proponent of blogging without obligation.  I'd love to spend my days cranking out brilliant post after brilliant post, but sometimes I get stressed out, or distracted, or I just can't pull anything witty out of my head. So, y'know, I choose not to worry about it.

However, over the past week I've received several e-mails from concerned Strifemongers, inquiring about my general well-being and tactfully making sure I didn't have another break-up meltdown.  And I was all, "The hell? It hasn't been that long since I've posted anything."  And then I looked at my calendar and thought, "Geez, no wonder everybody thinks I'm dead."

Guys, I sincerely apologize for causing any... um, strife. Unintentionally, that is. But as an act of contrition, I'd like to share a quaint, autobiographical tale of personal mortification: A parable of sorts, with a neat little lesson about How Things Work thrown in at no extra charge.

Before I get started, it's important to understand that I have what could be described as an "unpredictable" digestive system. For instance, I can wolf down bacon-wrapped jalapeƱos stuffed with ground beef and cheese to no ill effect, but if I eat a cookie on an empty stomach, I'll wake up in the middle of the night feeling like an alien's trying to claw its way out of my chest. Also, I burp a lot, a side effect of low-grade acid reflux issues. And sometimes I just get bloaty for no damn reason at all. With this in mind...

I woke up last Saturday morning to discover I was out of cat food, an oversight not unnoticed by my precious babies, who were busy staging a formal protest in the living room. (I'm not sure how they managed to make signs without the use of opposable thumbs, but I will say that their spelling was atrocious.) Throwing on some clothes and a jacket, I braved the unseasonably cold weather to trek down to Ye Olde Neighborhood Quick-E-Mart.

The convenience store in question is right across the street from my apartment complex. However, the complex itself is a sprawling, multi-acre affair, and I live in the very back of it. A walking trip to the store and back is a good half-mile hike, but a little light exercise never hurt anyone, so briskly off I went. I made it to the store in good time, picked up a box of kitty chow as well as a few other sundries, and left in happy spirits. But as I jogged back across the street, dodging my way through a barrage of Houston traffic, a low rumbling emanated from my innards, indicating an impending attack of what we in the South call "the vapors."

Not being much of a "pull my finger" kind of guy, I generally try to keep the coarser of bodily functions restricted to the privacy of my own home. Unfortunately, an insistent gurgle had joined the intestinal cacophony: Like it or not, I was, as Geoffrey Chaucer once put it, about to leet fle.  Glancing both ways to ensure there were no witnesses, I relaxed certain internal mechanisms, gave a gentle nudge with certain others, and then...

Oh, Strifemongers.  I miscalculated.

There are a multitude of thoughts that race through one’s mind when one realizes that--as a 34-year-old man; as an upper-level executive; as a High Priest of the Witch Cult--one has just crapped one’s pants in the middle of a busy, metropolitan thoroughfare. Once those thoughts settle down a bit, one is able to perceive the variety of options in front of oneself:

1. Burst into tears.

2. Die.

3. Suck it up (so to speak), ignore adversity and get to where one needs to be to rectify the situation.

I chose door number three.

Slapping a confident smile on my face, I strode purposefully across my complex, waving cheerfully at neighbors as we passed and doing my best not to break into an awkward and obvious duck walk. I climbed a flight of stairs and let myself into my apartment, where the cats, now holding candles and singing "We Shall Overcome", ran to block the bathroom door and herd me towards the food bowl. So I got them fed and settled, undressed, started a small, unscheduled load of laundry, then catapulted into the shower and boiled myself like a freakin' lobster. And then I went on with my day. The End.

Okay, yes, this story should really be filed under "let us never speak of it again" instead of "not at all inappropriate blog fodder." But the point I'm trying to make is this: Sometimes, through no fault of your own, the Universe will make like a caged monkey and throw a surprise volley of shit in your path. When this happens, you can either stand around idly, waiting for someone else to come along and clean it up for you, or you can keep walking.

Keep walking, Loyal Strifemongers; no matter what, always keep walking.

Just don't forget to wipe your feet.


Turner32583 said...

TMI , but we understand..

Pom said...

... Charlotte Poughkeepsied...

Glad to see you're back! Even more glad that you did the laundry and showered first! :o) Thank you for the giggles - you shameless blogger you!

Yewtree said...

I once vomited copiously into my skirt whilst travelling on the bus (good thing I was wearing a skirt, which is unusual behaviour for me).

Sounds like you have candidiasis. Try this test to see if you have it.

Kitty said...

I love you. Seriously, I do.

Orion's doc talked to me about the exact issues you just described and is having us try something called the FODMAP diet. I'll email you with the info, but it's really fascinating, if somewhat difficult to understand without a degree in chemistry. But basically, you avoid eating easily fermentable carbohydrates.

Deinos said...

Being all swaddled in glass as I am, I can't really throw stones. Good to see a new entry from you, though.

Yewtree, thanks for the link. I, too, have mysterious and unpredictable digestive problems. Luckily, I've never (yet) had to deal with strifing in my pants.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

What's that saying about "Never trust a fart" as you get older? Although, frankly, I wouldn't consider 34 to be "older." You're welcome.

Deborah said...

I'm inclined to agree with Turner.

BUT, be it known that you can combine #s 1 & 3.

Anonymous said...


I mean, wow. I think you have managed to crap.... I mean craft the ultimate metaphor!


knottybynature said...

It takes wonderous, shiny balls of brass to tell that kind of story to a general audience.

My hats off to you.

Mainly, glad to see that you're alive and well (well...bizarre interruptions aside) and things are mostly tolerable. ;) just around the corner, and new things, yes?

Red Delicious said...


Brother Christopher said...

No, you see, it was Tlazoteotl blessing you with an awareness of her. Aztec Goddess, name means Eater of Filth. I am one of her children. I know the signs. I also suggest leaving some offerings to the Fu'uru nu Kami (japanese for spirit of the toilet, it does exist I swear I am not making this up). THey like fruit, and incense, and also enjoy being kept up with on family situtations.

Anonymous said...

Honey. I actually know exactly how you feel. I've been there done that. If it helps...

The last half of the long post: