My sister-in-law once told me about something horrific that happened to her: She was in the grocery store looking for a card when she felt a turtlehead coming on. Instead of heading to the loo, she stood there laughing her ass off at stupid greeting cards because she thought the feeling would pass.
And I guess it kind of did pass if you consider dropping a turd the size of a walnut down your pant leg and watching it splat on the floor the same thing as “passing.”
She laughed as she told me she how she thought it was just a fart, but quickly realized farts don’t feel like hot, steamy chunks rolling down your trousers. Apparently it wasn’t a fart. Also, it was a bad day to decide not to wear underwear. Those undies could have contained the wild butt truffle and saved the person who mops the floors from finding the treat after it had a chance to seep in the cracks of the tile floor.
Yeah, hearing this story was funny as fuck because it didn’t happen to me, and at the time, I passed a shit ton of judgment. Who does that? Who craps themselves in public and lets the poop nugget shimmy down their leg then kicks it under the card display, buys a card and leaves like nothing happened?
I understand if you are sick or have a medical condition, shit’s gonna happen, but if you can’t get to the bathroom in time to move your bowels because you are having a Hallmark moment, then you are bad at being a human.
But those feelings escaped me (along with a huge amount of diarrhea) one fine summer morning while on vacation. There I was, bleaching my summer whites while wearing my favorite coral dress and sandals at the local laundromat, when a feeling came over me I’d never had before. Holy shit, I thought. I’m going to shit!
I started sweating, got weak in the knees, and didn’t know who I was for a moment. The spin cycle was making me feel queasy and I had to brace myself by holding onto my daughter’s shoulders. I, too, was experiencing that humbling feeling of mistaking the real thing for a fart. I, too, wasn’t capable of knowing my own body. And probably because I’d judged my sister-in-law for dropping a brown trout on the glistening tile of the grocery store, karma was laughing her ass off, because there I was blowing mud in the middle of the laundromat.
I didn’t even have a pant-crotch to cushion the blow. I was wearing a fucking dress with a thong. A thong that did not stop the force of my load but instead, split it in half and left it running down both legs.
The laundromat was crowded and people started to stare. I was a statue of a woman and knew if I moved, the hot lava would keep running down my legs and pool inside my strappy Tory Burch sandals.
Who shits themselves in public? Me. I do. The woman in the coral dress and overpriced shoes.
I stood cross-legged for what seemed like an eternity. The sweating stopped. I could feel my legs starting to stick together and knew I had to move fast; we had to move fast. My daughter and I needed to get to safety STAT. And I had no choice but to tell her what happened for fear she would not keep up with me as I darted across the street to the nearest grocery store in hopes they had a bathroom.
“Mommy had an accident. I need you to take my hand and we need to run across the street as fast as we can, mmkay?”
She looked up at me, eyes wide with disbelief, confusion, and hot shame. “I mean it, honey. You have to run as fast as you can.”
She knew I was serious. Also, she asked me what smelled like dog poop and puke so I’m pretty sure she was ready to leave the laundromat, which now smelled like an outhouse that had been sublet by a frat house for a semester.
As soon as we left the comfort of the air-conditioning, the hot humid air did not work in my favor. The black pavement was steaming and I had to run faster than I ever had in my life lest the feces start dripping even faster down my legs. Both of them.
Thank the heavens above there was a restroom very close to the entrance of the grocery store and no one was in there. We rushed in, and I pried off my underwear. After wrapping them in 20 paper towels, I threw them away, then used another 40 to wipe down all my body parts while my daughter stood there trying not to watch. She was traumatized, even more so than me, but she was too young to wait outside for the 20 minutes it took me to de-crap myself so I didn’t really have a choice but to expose her to this horrific turn of events.
I explained to her that sometimes adults have accidents too and to please never, ever breathe a word of this to a single soul.
“I won’t. I promise,” she said. “I never want anyone to know my mom pooped her dress. Who does that?”
Oh dear daughter, just you wait. I just sincerely hope you are wearing undies substantial enough to hold your shit in when it’s your turn.