Friday, November 29, 2013

my Thanksgiving nightmare story

Koreans have no reason to celebrate American Thanksgiving, so it was business as usual for me at the university: I still had to teach my regular 3PM Thursday class. Toward the end of class, however, I was suddenly hit by the urge to take a massive dump. As normally happens in situations where I have to shit but can do nothing about it immediately, I began to sweat and to act in a slightly more agitated manner than usual, growling and pacing back and forth in front of my students like a zoo tiger impatient to rip apart the deer that's cowering the next cage over. When class was finally done, I hastily dismissed my students and charged out of the classroom with them—something I almost never do. Because I had arrived barely on time at the beginning of class, I had toted my travel bag with me. Normally, when I arrive earlier, I have time to stash the bag in my faculty office. As you'll soon see, the fact that I had my bag with me was rather important.

I rushed down the hallway to the men's room, weaving deftly and desperately among the milling students, envisioning nothing but the sweet release of the raging shit-creatures from the confines of my ass. Unlike the tiny restroom on the fourth floor (where our offices are located), the second-floor men's room was huge, and my introverted self was delighted to see that the stall at the very end of a long row of stalls was empty. I made a beeline for it, slammed the door shut, ripped down my pants, dropped heavily onto the toilet, and proceeded to release the fetid demons from my guts. They screamed wetly as they left me. I closed my eyes in pleasure. Yes: it was that good.

When I opened my eyes again, I instinctively looked right, toward the toilet-paper dispenser... and that's when the horror began.

Almost no paper on the roll.

In my fevered rush to set the monsters free, I had neglected to perform my standard precautionary: normally, one of the very first things I do is look to see whether there's any toilet paper. In this dispenser, there was barely anything—just the wispy remains of a once-proud rouleau, puny and evanescent, like the lingering sigh of a dying man. My mind began, Terminator-like, to calculate all the alternative scenarios in drop-down-menu form. With almost no toilet paper, and knowing full well that the demons had not exited cleanly from my anus, I could:

1. stand up, ass full of shit, and move one cubicle over to get toilet paper. The risk of falling chunkage, and/or of between-the-buttocks smearage, would be unacceptably high.

2. try to scrape the dregs of toilet paper off the roll in the hopes that that would yield enough paper for at least one good wipe—just potent enough that I could safely enact option (1), but with less shit coating the ass. But when I tried scraping, my fingernails were unable to get a purchase on the paper: it was too thoroughly glued to the cardboard cylinder.

3. wipe my ass with my bare hand, as I've heard, time and again, happens at public toilets all over India. But what would I rinse my hand with? The water from the toilet? Flush for clean water, wipe ass, rinse fingers, flush, wipe again... the scenario was just too disgusting.

And finally:

4. create a toilet-paper analogue.

Option (4) seemed like the least repulsive plan of action, and was doable because I had brought my bag with me. I hopefully searched my bag for any sort of tissue-like paper, but there was none. I did, however, have inside my bag a plastic slip-cover in which were stored several sheets of A4-sized printer paper. If I could convert at least one sheet of printer paper into usable toilet paper, I could rip the sheet in half and get two good wipes from it. For you see: along with thinking about how to create toilet paper on the fly, I had to consider my mission parameters—what was the object of the game, here? The object of the game was simply to prep me for a quick move to another toilet stall. My asshole had to be clean enough that, when I began to walk and my buttock cheeks began inevitably to slide against each other, there wouldn't be enough shit to produce massive smearing, like a kindergartener finger-painting the inner walls of my hairy chasm.

So I rifled around inside my bag, found the plastic cover, and took out two A4 sheets. The paper was smooth; there was no way that it would lift any of the shit off. Lifting action required paper with a surface that was rough enough to grab the fecal matter, but smooth enough not to snag and disintegrate during or after a single wipe. To roughen the paper, I had to crumple it thoroughly. I did so, crushing it into a ball several times until the sheet was covered with a million tiny triangles. I stroked my finger across the paper, and came away unconvinced that the paper was rough enough for proper wiping. Something more needed to be done. Then it hit me.

I wadded the paper up, popped it into my mouth, and chewed.

The taste of laser-printer toner was terrible—bitter and artificial—and I imagined all those free-floating toner carcinogens nestling in weird places inside my body, biding their time and blossoming into cancers twenty years later. But when I pulled the paper out of my mouth and felt its surface again, it actually felt like toilet paper. Mission accomplished.

I ripped the paper in half and was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had created a most effective wiping implement. I used both halves of the sheet and realized that I didn't need to crumple the second sheet of printer paper, which I slipped back into my bag. I flushed, pulled my pants back up, buckled my belt, and got the hell out of that cubicle, happy that my fingertips were shit-free. I washed my hands and went up to the fourth floor, dropped my bag off at my office work station, went over to the smaller fourth-floor men's room, and finished the wiping job. As it turned out, there wasn't much to finish: the ad hoc toilet paper had been so efficacious that over 90% of the ass-goblins had been airlifted out of the kill zone.

The whole situation made me marvel at what happens to people in desperate situations. They become clever and inventive, for one thing—their minds open up and consider previously unthinkable alternatives. But people also easily reduce themselves to barbarism: there was a moment, early on in my nightmare, when I seriously considered digging into my quivering asshole with my bare fingers. For a few seconds, that was actually a plausible alternative.

There we have it, folks: the story of my Thanksgiving nightmare. I can only hope that your own Thanksgiving was less... shitty.



Bratfink said...


Shit happens.

hahnak said...

you made toilet paper from printer paper. with your mouth. i salute you.

Kevin Kim said...

Thank you, ladies.

Charles said...

I would have thought of using the cardboard roll with the little bit of toilet paper left on it, much as they used to use corn cobs for the same task (or so I hear).

Probably wouldn't have been as comfortable, though.

Kevin Kim said...


That would have been a good strategy, except that the dispenser was locked and wouldn't swing open, so it was impossible to extract the cardboard roll (which was also a huge, flat cylinder, quite unlike the typical cylinder for a home-scale roll of toilet paper).

You heard correctly re: corn cobs in the 1700s. I lived next to Mount Vernon Estate for years, and the guided tours always swung by the outhouses on the property and mentioned the use of dried corn cobs instead of toilet paper.

Unknown said...

Next time, use one of your socks
(or both of them, if required).

Kevin Kim said...


That is goddamn foul.

Unknown said...

Take it off first, of course... and don't put it back on after you are finished.

Which is worse--an afternoon without socks or the long walk home with crap stuck to your ass,smearing and frothing with every step you take? I'd rather sacrifice a sock than chew A4 paper to soften it up.

(Every cubicle has a trash can and over the years, I've noticed a sock or two in the can.)