Life’s mysteries and the Poop that goes with them

mr-hankey

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.

Coach

baseball

I let the ball go, knew it was wide right and then BANG on the tempered glass of the gym office. It was my worst throw of the day and it came too close to nailing one of the coaches. Somehow it didn’t break the tempered glass of the office.

“Simers!” Coach yelled. “I was just talking you up.”

I heard that phrase a lot over the next three years of practice and games. Mr. Beadle believed in me. Enough to make me believe in myself. And I often let him down. I once dropped a foul ball off the third base line and he asked me what happened. He had turned away because he just expected me to catch it. The ball got caught in the wind and I didn’t get underneath it. It was hard to explain to Coach. He told me how to play it next time and I never dropped another ball like that.

Another time I took a hot grounder at third base and short hopped the throw to the first baseman. “Throw the damn ball!” he yelled from the dugout. I was pissed, pissed at myself for the throw, pissed at Coach Beadle for yelling from the dugout, pissed at the world. I hoped the next ball would come to me. Let me make up for the god damned throw, I’m going to break our first baseman’s hand with the next one, I thought. And the next play the ball bounced right to me. I scooped it up and threw it as hard as I could. The ball popped loudly in the first baseman’s glove for the last out of the inning. We jogged off the field and Coach Beadle called to me again, “I was ready to holler at you and then you make a throw like that.”

“Sorry Coach.”

I often needed a kick in the ass and Coach Beadle was there to give me one much of the time. He met my grandpa on the day I hit my first over the fence home run. My grandpa had been sick and couldn’t stick around for much of the game, but he got to see that and Coach Beadle helped make it happen.

He wasn’t always the coach we wanted, but his players, the ones I played with at least, really loved playing for him most of the time. He was a smart baseball mind, but more importantly he was a genuinely good guy.

He tried to get me thrown out of a game one time for saying fuck after a strikeout. I said that’s fucking bullshit, to be fair, and the umpire sent a warning to the dugout that he didn’t want to hear that word again. “Throw him out of the game,” Coach shouted to the umpire. “I’m not going to throw him out, I just don’t want to hear that anymore.”

I was benched for the last inning of the game and had to run singles, doubles, triples and a home run after the game. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is not fun at all. You run hard or you run it all again and it’s exhausting. I mostly learned my lesson from that. Later on that year I got thrown out of a game for saying that’s terrible while walking back to the dugout. The umpire later said I swore at him for the reason I was thrown out. He was full of shit, but there was no arguing it. I met with our athletic director and Coach Beadle to talk about what happened. Our AD didn’t believe me at all, even after I asked him to talk to any fans at the game or any teammates in the dugout. I don’t know if Coach really believed me; he knew my mouth and my occasional temper and a few games before he had me run for swearing during a game, but he never looked at me like our AD did. He never looked at me like I was some punk kid trying to cover his ass. Belief or not he looked at me with respect.

And that was a great thing about Coach Beadle. He respected his players and students. He made me want to be a better ball player for him and myself and my teammates. He gave me confidence in myself that I didn’t have before my sophomore year of high school. He put trust in me that I would play hard and play smart and I tried to do that.

We lost Coach Beadle about two weeks ago. I’d been putting off writing this since I heard. It’s tough to think about a man dying that meant a lot to my growth through high school. It happens to us all at some point, unless you are a highlander and even then you have to avoid getting your head cut off, but it doesn’t make it less sad. And it’s okay to be sad. It’s been a long time since I wrote down any old baseball memories and it takes me back to a good time in my life, being on that old ball field, smelling the leather of my Nakona baseball glove, kicking dirt over spit and sunflower seeds, hollering out two down to the outfield, trying to find the sweet spot for my cup to nestle. Being 15, 16, 17 is not often a good time in life. Adolescence is a confusing time and often tricky to navigate, but for me, I had baseball. And I can still hear Coach Beadle yelling out “Simers!” when I fuck something up. Just like in the games I always hope for the next ball to come to me because I’m going to throw is as hard as I can so I can jog back to whatever dugout will have me, just to see him shake his head and say good job. Not much beat that look from Coach Beadle. We’re going to miss you Coach.

The Hangover Beer

Pint Beer Glass on White

The first beer takes a while. It doesn’t taste good. It’s not at all what your body wants, but it’s what it needs. It’s not the flavor, or the carbonation, the malt, the hops, the bitterness; it’s the dehydration. It’s you body saying, “seriously, dude? Seriously?” Last night was a rough one and the body is all too aware of it. It doesn’t matter that you drank as much water as your stomach could hold. It helps, but it’s not a cure. No, you’re paying the price today and that’s why beer is the only option.

It may take some time, but once the first beer is down, ideally with something fatty and greasy, the real game begins. That first one begins the road back to normalcy. The second goes down much easier and puts the world back together. By then the hangover feels like a thing of the past and life feels like it normally does, albeit with a slightly hazy gloss. It’s possible to smile again, at least without grunting first. That buzz in the head has mellowed into a satisfying hum. Once the second one is down is when the real game begins.

By this point if you haven’t taken a quality dump yet, you will, especially if you’ve eaten. Think of it like your body dispersing all the toxins you put in there last night, it’s a comfort where there is little when you’re agonizing on toilet seat. Now it’s time to cut the snake off at the head. A third beer means a new party begins and the whole damn thing will be waiting for you tomorrow. It will be a fun day, but the price goes up each day evading the fallout.

It’s not a perfect system. It’s really not even a good system, but sometimes it’s enough to get you through and in our instant gratification society, sometimes two beers is all anyone needs.

A False History of Nashville

catapult

If you’ve ever walked or driven around Nashville for any substantial amount of time you’ve likely smelled what smells like a city-wide collective fart. Nashville stinks some of the time and in some neighborhoods, depending on the time of year, most of the time. Many cities have this issue to varying degrees, but Nashville’s history offers some insight to why it stinks so often.

In 1864 the Battle of Nashville took place and during a two week break in the fighting, with rations dwindling and temperatures plummeting Union soldiers were unable to bury their feces as was the norm. As the feces piled up Union army commander General George Thomas had an idea to end the battle with a controversial strategy; they would collect the feces into a cannonball and fire it at the Confederate Army. “I cannot get that stench out of my mustache,” he said. “We shall fire it unto our foes.”

And fire they did. As the poop ball sailed from a catapult, across the Cumberland River, a scent was laid that would haunt the region from that point on. It was the turning point in a decisive victory for the Union, but the loss of dignity and incomparable scent would change Nashville from that point on.

So if you’re ever driving across the Cumberland River with your windows down and wonder if the river actually shit itself, the answer, in a way, is yes. But at least you’re not the guy the cannonball of poop landed on. What a way to go.

Clickity-Clacks

huffy-logo

It was bound to happen one day. He knew he’d get old, he just thought it would take a little longer. The time just went by too goddamn fast and he was on the wrong side of the hill. Nothing ran quite as smoothly as it used to, the gears would slip occasionally, the seat would settle, the clickity-clacks wouldn’t click or clack much anymore, the tires were worn with a racing stripe down the center and the paint just didn’t sparkle in the sunshine like it once did. Huff knew he was slipping. He could feel it deep inside, the knowledge was still there and the memories of being able to pull off impossible feats lingered, but it was a young bike’s game and he was no longer a young bike.

Huff, the teal colored Huffy with worn white tires was depressed. When everyone was asleep he would sneak out of the garage and attempt wheelies and bunny hops and sliding stops that just wouldn’t stick like they used to, but every night he was out there, giving it his all. It didn’t help that the neighbor kid got a new bright yellow Schwinn that made him look and feel even older. That Schwinn would meet old Huff out at night once or twice a week and hot dog circles around him, making it all look so easy. Huff remembered those days and that was why he was out there every night putting in work.

“Hey old timer,” the Schwinn said one night, confident going on arrogant.

“Hey Schwinn.”

“Why are you out here every night?” he said, popping a wheelie. “What’s the point? You’re old.”

“I feel lucky that I made it this long and I’m not ready to put my kick stand down for good just yet.” Huff, always serious, always honest.

“Whatever dude.”

“You’ll understand some day,” Huff said, although Schwinn couldn’t hear him as he flew down the street at top speed.

The next night Huff was back out there, riding out a wheelie that lasted longer than they usually did these days, when he heard a tire screech and the sound of a chain slipping off it’s gears, a sound no bicycle wanted to hear. As Huff turned the corner he saw Schwinn barreling down a hill towards him, out of control and scared.

“Help Huff.”

“I’m coming,” Huff said, turning down the hill in front of Schwinn.

Schwinn was gaining fast, but Huff was pushing as hard as he could, gears warming, tires wobbling, clickity-clacks sticking to the edges of the rims. Schwinn was pulling even with him as they reached the bottom of the hill where a sharp turn awaited them. Huff stuck his tire into the front of the frame of Schwinn, pushing him gently into the turn.

“Ahh,” Schwinn yelled as he gained control of himself and made the turn, just missing the curb. He felt relief as he took a sweeping turn back toward the bottom of the hill when he saw Huff on the ground. Huff had saved Schwinn from certain danger, but couldn’t save himself from the large oak tree at the foot of the hill.

“Why? Why did you save me?” Schwinn asked, pulling up to Huff.

“You’ve got your whole life ahead of you kid,” Huff coughed out.

“You’re a hero.”

“Not a hero, just an old bike.”

And with that, Huff grew silent. Schwinn looked down at the bruised and broken bike at his tires for a long while before pulling up his kick stand and lying down beside him.

When he awoke hours later his boy was pushing him back to his home in the garage and away from the scene. He knew he wouldn’t see old Huff again, but he wouldn’t forget any time soon as the sound of a solitary clickity-clack played the sound track to an otherwise quiet glide home.