(Note: This piece actually ran in a newspaper. What were they thinking?)
My new editor probably should have thrown this work of filth at my feet and asked why I was trying to get her fired, but she didn’t.
However, the nail-biting legal department, with their thinning hair and palpitations, urged me—and by “urged” I mean jabbed at me with sharp sticks while grunting menacingly in what I’m pretty sure was Latin—that I must, at the very least, forewarn my readers that treacherous content lie ahead.
So, if you pronounce schedule “shejwool,” faint at the site of luncheon meat, subscribe to the New Yorker, lift your pinkie while drinking or get your wine out of a bottle instead of a box, you might want to pick up a copy of Dog Fancy or watch a rerun of The McLaughlin Group ‘cause we’re going to the loo.
My news junkie pal, who sends me so many column ideas, gave me a double whammy this week.
Not only did Mr. “Please-don’t-squeeze-the-Charmin” Whipple pass away, but a Pennsylvania woman recently won a lawsuit against a major department store chain after they illegally taxed her on bath tissue—what we poor folk call “butt wipe.”
I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right: Lazy writers (like me) and overworked editors do wait for this kind of story to come along so we can print headlines like, “Woman Flushed Over Swirling Controversy.”
A quick check online revealed the punsters going to town on these stories.
All this bathroom oriented discourse got me thinking about my own sordid childhood.
My father’s sense of humor ranged somewhere between Red Foxx and Lenny Bruce.
Bodily functions were his obsession and nothing was taboo.
Dad spent so many years telling us to pull his finger I’m convinced he inadvertently conditioned himself to the point where tugging his digit is now a physical necessity.
He was the Leonardo da Vinci of farts.
And, though he specialized in the “Barking Spider” and the “Greased Elephant” he was well-versed in an array of windbreakers including, but not limited to, the following:
Doppler—this fart sounds like it is coming up and then going away at a high rate of speed; also known as the “Road Runner.”
Trumpet—This one is pretty self-explanatory: it sounds like a trumpet.
Wet Tuba—Also pretty obvious.
Fear Wit—Makes a “Feeeerwhit!” sound.
Harley-Davidson—Harley-Davidson is famous for its loud engines that make a “Potato-potato-potato-potato” sound. This particular fart also goes “Potato-potato-potato-potato.”
The Duck—Sounds like a long, angry “Quack!”
Bombs Away—Emits a high-pitched whistling sound like a bomb being dropped.
Cracker Barrel Kid—Sounds like someone blowing out a mouthful of cracker crumbs.
Deliverance—Quiet like a gentle breeze.
Backfire—Quick popping noise.
Gilbert & Sullivan—To qualify it must cycle through at least three musical notes.
To those of you who feel this subject is going downhill fast, I say: What, Dog Fancy wasn’t doin’ it for ya?
Our white trash circus was worsened by the fact that nine of us shared (unless you count that Folger’s coffee can by the sump pump in the basement) one restroom complete with half-dollar-sized mushrooms growing between the bathtub and floor.
We routinely went without official toilet paper. There’s nothing funny about making the mad dash while scrounging for a sock or book with pages no one would miss—sorry, David Copperfield.
In my defense of the aforementioned unconventional implements, I should point out that people have historically used everything from corncobs (which I can only assume is akin to shaving with a cheese grater) to rag on stick, silk and—allow me to pause for hecklers—yes, even newsprint.
Looking back, there are only really two humorous things associated with a bathroom that I can remember from my younger days.
One involved a short-tempered one-armed Vietnam veteran screaming at a drunken 15-year-old who proceeded to befoul every porcelain receptacle in the man’s cabin during my friend’s 1992 high school graduation party.
The fine young gent began the evening by regaling us with tales of other evenings when he had drunken all the booze on the planet.
So, we did not think twice when he ordered a fifth bottle of 80 proof whiskey for his lonesome.
The result came about 12:30 in the morning when, after consuming only about half of the bottle, our boastful pal had a sudden simultaneous case of projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea.
My friend’s dad only had two rules while we spent the weekend partying and sleeping in his garage: keep the noise down and don’t come in the house.
Well, the Rot-Gut Geyser ignored protocol, and our warnings, and headed in to use the bathroom. We cringed and waited for the sound of gunfire or punches or some other such violence.
What we heard was a lot of high-pitched screaming … but it wasn’t coming from the kid.
We ran to the cabin’s bathroom window and looked in on the scene.
The kid had his pants down around his ankles and was doing what looked like an angrier, less coordinated version of Chubby Checker’s “Twist” as he threw up in the toilet and then spun ‘round to hang his hind end over it.
Our friend’s dad just stood there, holding towels in his good arm and screaming at the kid to sit still while frantically waiving his nub.
The kid was so freaked out by the whole thing he didn’t know which end was firing and what it was hitting.
We laughed pretty hard at the ordeal and even harder as we retold it to the kid time and time again over breakfast the next morning.
The other special bathroom humor memory I have came when I was 13 and my mother summoned me and my brother Hammy to the outer door of her sanitary sanctum sanctorum.
Some of the most meaningful conversations between mom and me were had through that old pine door.
By the time I knocked to see what was the matter she was sobbing.
She cracked the bathroom door slightly, regained her composure and from her throne told us to listen as she read aloud the blueberry pie eating contest from Stephen King’s “The Body.”
If you haven’t already, I implore you to read it.
The story is of an obese and ostracized young man named David Hogan who exacts revenge on the cruel townsfolk by initiating a pastry puke-fest of old Roman proportions.
Mom kept herself together up until Davie, with queasy gullet, opened his mouth with a great blue smile before belching an inhuman amount of castor oil and pie on the previous year’s champion, hence setting off a chain reaction.
I remember blowing snot bubbles, crying great hot tears and shaking while fighting for air and trying not to fall down as she told of poor Miss Norman who, exhibiting good manners to the bitter end, upchucked in her own purse.
To news junkie I say:
“Thanks for dredging up a great childhood memory, and keep sending these strange news bits.”
To anyone I may have offended I say: “Pull my finger.”