Let’s make a deal. I really wanted to do one of those deals with God, but I know I shouldn’t. He is already so busy making deals to let football teams win a certain game, for a girl to get a date with a guy, for a cheater to not get caught or for someone to pass a biology test that I cannot justify monopolizing his time or his miracles with my issues. However, if I had one deal to make, I think it would be this: I will go ahead and get old and accept responsibility for the wear, tear and abuse of the equipment, if he will just suspend all bodily functions from age 45 until we die. Now, that sounds like a poor deal because you are thinking that with no bodily functions, we automatically die, but that is where the miracle comes in. I mean after all, it is my fantasy and God is omnipotent, so if I want to still live with no bodily functions, then he could make that happen. The way I see it, we can no longer control any of them anyway, so why have us oldies be burdened. It’s not an unreasonable request. We would still suffer from gravity pulling everything on our body toward the ground, we would still have constant aches and pains, and we would still have wrinkles and cankles and all that other fun stuff that goes with getting old. Plus, we would still have one foot in the grave. We would just be spared the embarrassment of leaking like a sieve from every orifice of our worn out old bodies.
After giving birth to two fine, but rather large, children, and reaching a certain age, I am often, but not always, saved from horrific bodily function embarrassment by my memorization of every public restroom located within a 700 mile radius of where I live. When my memory goes, I am literally SOL.
One time when my kids were young, we were on one of our many road trips, and one of us had to go to the bathroom. As was our custom, we began the encouragement phase of “Hold it until we find a place to stop.” There were a lot of “You-can-make-it” cheers. It was at that time that our son Duncan coined the term “Mind over bladder”, and it has been with us ever since. It can only take an older person so far, though, and then the mind and bladder are both too weak to do any good at all.
As a person who rarely has time to get into a public stall before calamity becomes reality, I have the whole pantsing move down to a poetic all-in-one “pull, turn, sit” (or squat depending on how desperate I am or how filthy the bathroom is). This ballet move should really be incorporated into Swan Lake, and it has surreptitiously saved me from more than one unplanned swim. However, there was one time that it did not save me from being between a rock and a hard place. On this occasion, I had to use what my husband calls my “sexy walk” which, by the way is anything but. The sexy walk signifies great distress and is characterized by a walk attempted while nearly crossing one’s legs, and clamping the thighs and everything else together so tightly that an atom of oxygen could find nary a spot to get through the barrier. Unfortunately, holding the airtight, watertight seal is a goal too lofty for a long walk. As usual, I was in a public place and although embarrassing, the sexy walk was holding out, but barely. I got into the stall and began the famous “pull, turn, sit” motion. It was going to be a close call. Now, I had never experienced this before and did not realize that it was even a possibility, but the seat was one of those that is split in front like a horseshoe as opposed to the full ring version. I am not the daintiest person in the world, and these thunder thighs do their job in the sexy walk, but they have their disadvantages elsewhere. Have I ever told you how much I loathe being pinched? I used to hate it in junior high when someone would grab the inside of your thigh and yell, “Horse bite!” and squeeze like your thigh was in a vice, so just imagine for a moment how it felt when my full body weight went down on the inch squared piece of skin and cellulite filled with nerve endings that was somehow caught between the top seat of the toilet and the bowl. Holy mother of pearl that hurt, and I couldn’t get up because the full force of Niagra Falls had hit simultaneously. Cripes! What does one do but suffer in silence? Can’t swear or scream because it is a public place. My eyes may have watered or not; I may have passed out, but I don’t think I did because I did not fall off the throne. I will never forget that; furthermore, I have instituted more caution which does unfortunately add the greater chance of splash peril into my routine.
Another time I was in a public restroom with one other person. Now let me be clear that I do not to this day have any idea who that person may have been, nor am I even certain it is an establishment that I frequented. But this other nameless patron washed her hands (Kudos for that!) and then out of habit proceeded to turn out the lights on her way out the door. Pitch black is what I saw. This in my experience is truly a “no win” situation. If I chose to stay seated, there is no guarantee that the next person will enter in a timely manner, and what would said person think turning on the light and finding another being sitting there in the dark? Or in a possibly worse scenario, I could make a decision to head towards the light (no pun there), and get partway there before another person comes into the bathroom, turns on the light, and has a cardiac episode or perhaps a loss of bodily function event when I am standing in the middle of the room. I could not have run to the light switch because it was darker than the devil’s promises, and I might have run into something causing injury or even a concussion, which also cannot be explained. It’s a lose/lose people! Think about what you would do. Okay, so it turned out all right. I went cautiously to turn on the light, and no one came in until after I was finished washing my hands. In case you are wondering, I took some toilet paper in my hand to turn on the switch without contaminating anything.
Thus, those are just a few of the reasons that I think bodily functions should go away with age. We don’t really need them any longer, and it doesn’t matter what the offending element (water, wind, or fire), we can no longer control Mother Nature in any of her forms. I recently went with friends on a little trip, and we had such a good time. We laughed and laughed, which caused as many problems with bodily functions as sneezing and/or coughing, and I am pretty sure that every fit of raucous laughter was interrupted with someone yelling, “Stop, stop, I’m gonna pee!”