Life’s mysteries and the Poop that goes with them


I was reading Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs on the toilet today when the idea of this story hit me; it’s all about poop. Life, dreams, existence, all of it.  My goal this week was to the write the comprehensive ideology of how after such a vitriolic election we can still get along and learn from one another, but my thoughts, as usual, eventually turned to poop. I blame this, only slightly, on Burroughs insanely entertaining way of describing his anxieties and inner monologue.

I’m a 35 year old man that still looks forward to a quality dump, laughs at poop jokes and believes butthole is one of the funniest ten words of all time. I’m not ashamed of it. In fact, I think it may be why I get along with kids so well. Some of this came about because of a podcast called Stuff You Should Know. If you haven’t heard it, it’s great. And it’s not all about poop. Honest. Anyway, one episode they did was about poop and it was much more interesting than you may think. They talked about color, consistency, the importance of going when you feel like you need to, constipation and much more. It got me thinking. Sometimes I know I have to go and I do, sometimes I’ve been farting for a while and I want to squeeze one out just to get rid of said farts and nothing comes, sometimes I think I might have to go and sit down and I lose four pounds. We can describe the feeling of needing to go, but it’s likely a different sensation for everyone of our body saying, “hey buddy(or lady), you should really go pop a squat.”

I work in food service and a lot of times you just have to hold it. There’s not much of an option. And it suuuuuuuucks. Anyone that has done customer service or been a server or bartender has dealt with this at some point. It’s terrible for your body, like a lot of things food service employees endure, but it’s part of the job. So you clench and pucker and squinch your toes and hope it passes without a loud fart explaining what you are going through. It can be a tricky prospect.

And different foods react differently for each of us, although spicy food will likely make your butthole angry the next day no matter who you are. We’re all creatures of getting out what you put in. Especially in the service industry, you’re often eating very quickly, often food you’re not hungry for and eating so fast you can barely taste it. Eventually your body catches up and the old b-hole decides that it’s time to shine is now.

Pooping can be a wonderful thing. Occasionally it’s terrible, but when it is it reminds you of the good times. Much like life. And poop jokes are still funny. I hope I don’t reach the age where I take life so seriously that I don’t find humor in them. And still, butthole, try and say it without smiling. Okay, you cheated, but it still makes me laugh. I’m not ashamed of it. And I hope I never will be.


Indoor Plumbing

Indoor Plumbing


In the 20’s my great grandfather was in the building outhouses trade. He built a lot of them in the town he and my great grandmother grew up in. Then, as indoor plumbing started making its way into the town, driving the value of an outhouse down, they moved further out into the country where there was no indoor plumbing in sight.

They followed this cycle for several years as more and more sewer lines were laid, pushing them further into the wilderness. At each stop great grandpa would build a house for the family, which grew as it traveled. Each house looked like a larger version of his classic outhouse design, but they always held up and kept the family safe.

My grandmother met my grandfather in the town the family finally settled in. Great grandpa was getting tired of relocating and with no son to pass the business along to he hired my grandfather fresh out of school. As it happens in small towns, my grandfather began courting my grandmother for a couple months before they got married. They all lived in the same house for a time as grandpa and great grandpa built the newlyweds a house of their own. Grandpa updated the design of the house and they finished just as my mom was born. Grandma always used to tease grandpa about flying into the hospital 100 miles an hour when he got the news. The hospital was two towns over and grandpa and great grandpa were making finishing touches on the house when they heard grandma was in labor. Great grandpa swore they’d never get his butt clenched prints out of the bench seat of the truck after the death ride to the hospital.

When I was younger I used to love hearing great grandpa talk about joists and framing walls and polyurethane. We would sit on the back porch listening to a ball game on the radio and he would sometimes give me a sip of beer. That was our secret. But he would tell me stories of moving from town to town, building buildings for people to shit in; his words, but poetic nonetheless. It all sounded so adventurous and exciting, so much different than my fairly stable childhood.

Great Grandpa died last winter at the ripe old age of 97. He outlived most everyone his age, including my great grandmother. After she passed, much of the romance left his story telling, but I always loved visiting. I’d help out around the house as he was getting too old to do much and he’d watch to make sure I fixed everything correctly. ‘This house has been here damn near 70 years’, he’d say. ‘You keep it up it’ll be here another 70 more.’ And I have, I’ve tried at least. I want that to be the place I can take my grand kids some day and tell them stories of my own. Stories of their great great grandpa.