Sunday, December 17, 2006

an ass-blasting Sunday

It sucks when my rhythm's off.

I'd known for a few weeks that I would be (1) meeting my Korean buddy JW at my place today, then (2) trundling over to his place in Huam-dong to see his wife, son, and parents, and then (3) cooking them dinner-- my fettuccine alfredo special. But as I'm still recovering from the book marathon (no news yet, by the way), I was woozy at 3pm when JW arrived. The visit went well; the fettuccine alfredo (which JW's wife had apparently been craving) was a hit. JW's parents live downstairs; it was when I went down to visit them that all hell broke loose, gastrically speaking.

When my rhythm's off, I usually get the shits. Perhaps my condition is simply a low-grade version of traveler's diarrhea. Whatever the hell it is, it interrupted a discussion I was having with JW's mother about a Ben Jonson poem, "Oak and Lily." As Madame was talking, I heard the telltale rumble of thick liquid pushing itself through large pipes, and I knew: I knew I had only minutes before disaster (a word that means "bad star," by the way) would strike. Madame heard the rumble, too, and her shrewd eyes flicked down to my massive gut. I was already sweating-- another sign of the end times.

Soon enough, I had to excuse myself. Although I had already visited JW's upstairs bathroom once, that was purely for urination purposes. This, I knew, was the real deal. Belly gurgling threateningly, I dropped the denim vestments, performed a quick docking maneuver to align my anus with the toilet's throat, allowed my buttock fat to create a tight vacuum seal around the bowl's rim, and executed the first of three courtesy flushes.

Fire one!

As male wisdom attests, diarrhea cannot be measured in loaves. In my case, the preferred unit of measure is the pitcherful. I did myself proud as I sat there, emptying out my innards as noiselessly as possible, applying only gentle pressure so as to avoid accidental trumpetings. Whatever foulness escaped my bowels had roughly the consistency of pancake batter. Don't think too hard about that image.

The first flush, it turned out, did not last long enough to catch all my output, thereby necessitating the second courtesy flush. My output neared its end and became distinctly gassier; it was becoming increasingly difficult to modulate the noise output, and after thirty seconds, I stopped trying, having decided that quick and noisy was better than prolonged and burbling.

Fire two!

The second flush caught almost everything, but did not last long enough to mask all the noise I was making. Luckily, the TV was on in Madame's living room, which I can only hope saved her from unnecessary auditory distress.

As I've noted before, courtesy flushes serve a dual purpose. First, they provide acoustic cover. Second, they rush the fecal matter out fast enough to avoid odor buildup, and in my opinion, that's only polite. Nothing says "gauche" like a dude who sits on the pot for twenty minutes with a rapidly evolving swamp burgeoning beneath his butt-jowls.

After a few more end-of-session hisses and squirts, the foul deed was done. Cleanup was comparatively easy; there was surprisingly little spatter, though a few floaters looked as though they might try to resist the final swirlie.

Fire three!

I flushed a third time; it was over. The sweat had stopped; I lumbered out of the bathroom and was able to discuss the Jonson poem a bit more rationally, and all was right with the world.

Five hours spent with some of my best friends, and that's the stuff I take away from the experience.


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