Sunday, November 28, 2004

my Thanksgiving: the untold story

It was unfortunate to have to keep blogic silence during Thanksgiving, but part of this past week was about seeing whether I could make it through five weekdays without blogging. I did just fine, though my site visit stats have taken a major hit. On the plus side, I suppose this means my readers are quick to adapt to adversity: they knew I wasn't going to be posting, so they went on with their lives (a hint of what the world will be like after I get splattered by a careening cement truck). This also means my readers take me seriously: they stopped coming because I told them not to expect anything.

That's power. The power of the dark side.

One of my closest friends sent me a triumphant email describing his new crapping prowess, now that he's on Metamucil. I did Metamucil while back in the States, and I can vouch for the power of that amazing, magical orange dust. You might have been shitting watery rabbit raisins in your pre-Metamucil phase, but once you start down the 'Mucil path, forever will it dominate your asshole. A single serving of Metamucil will produce shit that's denser than a neutron star. It's the kind of stuff Shakespeare would have written about, had Metamucil been available in the England of his day. Imagine shit that sinks immediately to the bottom of your toilet and stares evilly up at you, slowly breathing toilet water like a moray eel. Poke it once with a stick and it curls in on itself as a defensive reflex. Poke it again, however, and it leaps out at you in fury, going straight for the throat.

My own Thanksgiving, Metamucil-free, was nevertheless dominated by my asshole, which ruled the day with an iron polyp. After my morning shift ended I walked, alone, to the local Bennigan's (much nicer than the ones in the States, let me say), in the hopes that they might recognize America's special day by offering a one-day-only platter of turkey and stuffing and veggies and pumpkin pie.

No such luck.

I therefore opted for one of the lunchtime specials: the Southwest Sampler.

For those of you who don't know, the Southwest Sampler is a large appetizer, ideally meant to be eaten by several people. I'm only one man, but I too am large, and my stomach can easily store the screaming multitudes. All the same, the Southwest Sampler is a mostly-fried mess of greasy Mexamericana that will leave an impression on even the most inveterate glutton.

Undaunted, I ordered the Sampler and a Coke. I then followed this up with a Brownie Bottom Pie for dessert.

I finished the awful slaughter of my meal sometime around 1PM, got home, peeled off my skanky clothes, and then prepped myself for some Net surfing and a nap. Around 5PM I got up and prepared for the evening half of my split shift. I had to leave my place by 5:25PM to be on time.

Now that I'm 35 years old, I've got a pretty decent idea of some of my body's major rhythms. Digestion is a case in point. It takes roughly six hours for the food to do the Olympic bobsled ride from my mouth to my anus. My guts are pretty reliable on that score.

You see the problem already, yes? I'd made a costly miscalculation, having finished my meal around 1:00PM. My evening classes were to begin at 6PM, and I had a brief interval from 5:00 to 5:25PM in which to get dressed, brush my teeth, reinsert my contact lenses, un-muss my hair, and take a pre-shift shit.

That, friends, left about a 10-minute window just for shitting. Not much time for those of us who prefer to take long, leisurely dumps, the crap sliiiiiiding out of our asses like the Titanic leaving its berth. Compounding the problem was that only four hours-- not six-- had passed from mealtime to departure time.

So, based on what you now know: do you think the shit was ready to come out?

Aha, you guessed correctly!

Like the world's most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, my shit was deathly afraid of its own shadow and refused to emerge from its burrow. But I was not to be deterred. Intestinal coaxing commenced. As a master of hangmun-do (the Way of the Anus), I'm able to manipulate the peristaltic process to some degree, and can produce a load of shit where others would simply explode from the effort. I grimly settled into the ancient breathing, tummy-rubbing, push-hrrrrrgh-push rhythm of hangmun-do's most advanced form.

As you know, forcing your shit out is never good policy; it produces hemorrhoids, distorting the appearance of your anus and making your girlfriend unwilling to take core samples of it with her tongue. "Eewww, it's like the Mars landscape!" she'll squeal. After all that grunting and straining, your once-proud "brown starfish" (as one of my other friends calls the anus) ends up looking like an angry vampire squid.

But when you've got only a few minutes, and you know that you're not going to have time to shit while at your job, you make the effort to launch as many glistening ass-babies as possible. I did so, and was rather impressed with the results.

So I skipped over to EC, blissfully unaware of the danger I was in. I had badly, badly underestimated the size and malevolence of the Southwest Sampler which, coupled with the equally evil (and aptly named) Brownie Bottom Pie, was about to wreak some major havoc on my evening.

Of late, EC teachers have all experienced a marked spike in student attendance. The Kangnam branch of EC isn't that old, and business is now starting to pick up. Way up. In July, when I first arrived, I could expect a few breaks during my evening, but now... it's routine to teach eight 25-minute classes in a row. If I'm lucky, I get a 5-minute break between classes, but sometimes I or my Korean partner teacher will run a little overtime, which means I occasionally have to teach nonstop.

Thanksgiving evening was an 8-class-in-a-row whammy.

The seismic activity started somewhere around the third class. I could feel it: something down there was screaming to get out, pummeling my poor hangmun with increasing desperation. Maybe there was a fire in the transverse colon. Maybe a fight had broken out between warring factions of E. coli. Whatever it was, the Brown Slug wanted out.

And now, a personal note: if you ever see me in a cold sweat when no normal human should be sweating, it probably means I'm trapped in a situation where I need to take a fucking shit and can't. Outwardly, I might appear mildly uncomfortable, or even a little sick. Inwardly, though, my mind and my ass are going:


I started sweating.

My student either didn't notice or didn't care to bring up the fact that I was suddenly looking mighty constipated. I was finding it hard to concentrate on the lesson, but somehow I managed. We finished a little bit overtime; I had about three minutes to flee to the restroom and let fly, but I knew myself: I would need at least five minutes for a proper shit and wipe-down, and there was always the possibility that not everything would come out at once.

Should I stay or should I go?

Should I stay or should I go?

This happens to me a lot. I often wonder if I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a condition that normally strikes women and is often linked to stress. I'll be sitting there on the crapper, the shit seems to be flowing freely, and then... nothing. I can feel that there's more to come, but for some reason, my sphincter has decided that it's Ian McKellen as Gandalf, screaming, "Yoooooooouuuu shall not paaaaaass!"

Consistent with this Tolkien analogy, the remaining shit acts like the menacing Balrog and waits until Gandalf has turned around before striking. I'll shit out a log, then wait... then suddenly the urge to shit will strike again a few minutes later. This cycle usually occurs in threes. When I talk about this problem with my little brothers, I call it "writing a novel," first chapter, second chapter, third chapter.

The timing of all three chapters was awful that evening, and none of my students cancelled on me, which meant I had to run to the bathroom THREE FUCKING TIMES to obtain temporary relief, as opposed to having a 30-minute break in which to proceed at a more leisurely pace. I faced the horrible command decision-- to shit or not to shit-- several times. The front desk ladies looked concerned. I told them I was a little sick. One shit session ran about a minute too long*, and a student had to wait for me.

By the time 10 o'clock rolled around, I was a beaten man. My ass had won. I could feel it vibrating in triumph, grinning that vampire squid-shaped grin.

And that, Gentle Reader, was how I spent my Thanksgiving. I've since learned my lesson: no more big meals between shifts. Luckily, I start a block shift on Wednesday, but now I'll have to persuade my intestines to adjust to a new rhythm. That ought to provide fodder for a few more blog posts.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Don't get trampled by the shopping hordes. Think about doing a lot more online shopping this year (hint hint).

And watch your ass.

*Ever had one of those unwipeable craps, where you're sacrificing sheet after sheet of toilet paper, but an equal amount of brown is being dispensed with every wipe? Those take time to defeat, and that's why I ran overtime.


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