1. The first time was in Taiwan, at a tea house. Tea house makes it sound really grandiose and oriental. A tea house in Taiwan could literally be anything. I went to one that was a front for a brothel and methamphetamine sales, and looked like a Barnes and Noble up front. Another looked like a billionaire's Colorado mountain fuck-lodge, complete with John Denver playing and lots of elk antlers built into the furniture. I didn't actually check to see that they weren't deer antlers, by the way. The person laundering money through this tea house sprung for the damned elk antler, most likely sawed off an endangered species by a drunken Manchurian somewhere on the tundra.
2. This tea house was a weird French pastoral set smashed into three boxy rooms in an apartment block, like a Martha Stewart kitchen dismembered and thrown into an East Asian apartment block. It had really good coffee, however, and at the time that was a really, really rare thing to find in the hilljack corner of Taiwan we called "the hilljack corner of Taiwan we lived in for money."
3. And to this point, it is important to note that unlike most anyone else I knew, my ass had not exploded once. Not once: not after eating street food like a derelict stray dog for six months, not after working with filthy, grub-fingered children for weeks and months at a time, not even after eating whatever wok-hammered insanity I'd eaten while blackout drunk in the night market. I cracked raw eggs into hot pot weekly and ate it before it could have possibly even tickled the weapons-grade salmonella lurking in them. And nothing, not even one dreaded mustard gas giardia fart from swimming in mountainside waterfalls.
4. So if I leaned casually on one ass cheek and hazarded a cautious, well-measured fart, I did so with the confidence of a Blue Angels pilot ripping into a 7 G minimum radius turn. Then, the wings came off the plane, so to speak, and I shit through my pants and into the floral-patterned cloth of the chair.
5. I don't know what scared me more: that this happened, or that it happened in a manner unlike anything I could have imagined as someone shitting their pants for the first time. Losing control of your ass is so horrifying because it is pretty much rule one of autonomy as a person. The word "no" is first, and then second comes "as a human, walking amongst other humans for hours and hours of the day, I have the self-control to not allow my own waste to come flying willy-nilly out of my port exhaust." It's not just a line in human boundaries, it is the line. When you lose control of your shit, they take your car keys, prop you on a couch, buy you a small, sad dog from the pound, and then turn on the Weather Channel until you die. That's how bad shitting your pants is.
6. But that wasn't anything like this. There wasn't the fear sweat of an impending food poisoning-powered torpedo about to leave the tube, or the cramping accompanying an approaching Taco Bell splattercane. This just happened, an small but pestilent cloud blowing through my colon like a rogue bit of fog moseying its way around a London streetcorner. I expected something like the sulfuric acid of alien blood leaking through the chair, then the floor, and then all the way down to street level and beyond. Instead, it almost said, "Ello" as it exited, and then probably went and had some tea and biscuits with its mother at the home where they put people who can no longer control their asses.
7. The next time was Nepal. The neighbors already had on the morning's Nepali Babu movie, blasting at no less than 60 decibels from the television. Nepali Babu is a crime-fighting fat man with a mustache and a gigantic knife, and his understanding of due process in justice could be called appalling at best. I ran to the bathroom, a combo shower, toilet, and vanity with one drain in the middle of the floor and one Western toilet perched adjacent to the drain. I made it to the bathroom, but the Nepali Babu of food poisonings does not respect your due process of removing pants, shirt, or whatever else gets in the way of Nepali Babu thrashing his way to justice.
8. Fortunately, the whole thing was one big drain, you could puke into the drain while sitting on the toilet, and in the end just flush the whole thing down to the sewers and leave your utterly unholy clothes reeking in the garbage can. Clothes are cheap in Nepal, both because labor is inexpensive and because the tourists who buy them explosively shit them off on a weekly basis.
9. The first stateside pants-soiling as an adult wasn't even worth being mad about, because it happened for the most obvious reason of all: naked stupidity. I was knocking around the house cooking lunch, going commando in a pair of workout shorts. If you don't walk around your house shirtless and commando, I don't know what your definition of pleasure is, and I don't want to know. If company comes over I'll but on something, sure. But dickslanging in front of no one, or perhaps your wife, is the right of every castle-owner in the United States, and indeed beyond. It's also hot as hell where I live six months out of the year, and life's too short for too much underwear or modesty in private.
10. That's not the dumb part. The dumb part is eating like a one-man garbage scow, something I have done for most of my adult life. In this case, it was a pack of sugar-free fruit mentos, something that plays into two of my greatest faults as an eater: small grabby edible things (nuts, candy, anything you can crush with your mighty, meat-shearing jaws), and and sugar. Plus, they were sugar-free, so why not devour the entire pack, and not notice the gigantic Sorbitol on the list of ingredients.
11. This is a description of Sorbitol's side effects.
12. My wife was sitting at a table in line with the kitchen. I didn't even misfire on a fart. This just flew out of my ass and straight to the floor with a plop that I understand now, as a parent, is the distinctive sound of some human byproduct hitting the floor. It happened with such horrifying speed, going straight down the leg with such exit velocity it didn't even soil the shorts.
13. I looked over and started laughing at my wife, and for so many reasons.
- WHAT THE HELL EXPLODING ASS
- Have you ever shat in front of someone? You won't be surprised, but I'll say it anyway: there is no proper reaction. None. It's not something your brain is prepared for after decades of conditioning. Laughter, screaming, or weeping are the only real options. Concern would be the logical one, but no one in horror movies ever watches someone eaten by a lab accident and goes, "Well, now, Gary, let me get the shotgun, because it seems like you're in a real pickle, here." They flip the fuck out, just like you would if you saw someone poop right in front of your eyes.
- "I am the man who you married, and I just pooped on the floor in full sight of you. I will now put on "Whatta Man" by Salt 'N Pepa, and clean up the poop I put on that floor."
14. It was terrible. It was also utterly my fault. We all learned a lot of things that day, but mostly not to eat anything that says "sugar-free" by the shovelful, or indeed ever. Diabetes is ugly, but it reserves uncontrollable diarrhea for the bitter end, right around the point where they start lopping extremities off.
15. The last time it happened was another error of planning: during a run. Running is a lot like Will Muschamp football: it takes years to ramp up, isn't very much fun a lot of the time, and even when it's working it takes a tremendous amount of effort just to get competent. Additionally, it may involve sudden and unexpected moments of shitting yourself in public.
16. Having to shit yourself is terrible, but it's actually less bad than the panicky, miserable despair of running and realizing that one mile from home, while jostling up and down the whole time, your body has a powerful and necessary urge to poop. It is as close as I would ever want to get out to living out 127 Hours. While running a half-marathon once, the asshole race organizers put no bathrooms between miles six and ten along a race route in downtown Atlanta, and I started crying real, embarrassing tears considering what bush in front of the BellSouth Building I was going to christen in front of vomiting onlookers. I made the bathroom at the ten mile mark. If you were next to me, I'm not sorry for the loud "OH GOD THANK YOUs" you heard through the walls.
17. I've never gotten the run/poop timing right. It always seems to hit right as I'm passing through a neighborhood where I know no one, have no cover, and no one has opened a business in years. This last time it hit right as I was trudging up a hill in Kirkwood, a good mile from my house, and on the way to meet my wife and son at the playground. There was a fight--oh, a protracted, determined fight--but even Patton had to surrender to the inevitable. You know who understands pooping your pants? A toddler. They just nod, like, "Yeah, Tuesday. Let's go get a popsicle, dude."
18. This is every time I have ever shit myself as an adult.
19. Even though the Gators won, I would rather write about this all day than ever watch Florida's game tape from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette again, for any reason.