Thursday, March 11, 2010

Origin of the Feces

I was four, maybe five. I had a stomach ache. I didn't want to tell Mom what was going on but had to anyway, because my hiding it from her would be considered dishonesty and bring pain to Jesus. The poor guy had suffered enough what with the lashings, crucifixion and being forced to drink vinegar without benefit of some vegetable oil and a light salad. So I told her. Mom had an immediate solution. A warm, soapy, solution she proceeded to squirt up my butt with an enema bulb.

I knew there was a chance this might turn out to be the suggested remedy, hence my hesitation at telling her. It had happened a few times before. Mom was starting to love filling my colon with water almost as much as she did predicting the end of the world—an ability she claimed anyone could do simply by comparing news headlines to surrealistic images of things with many heads from the Book of Revelations. Sometimes, though, when I claimed my stomach was hurting she simply gave me Pepto-Bismol, which I liked; it really could go either way. Not this time. She fetched her plastic-rubber device built like a huge ear syringe, the tip of which she rubbed on a bar of Dove soap to act as a token gesture toward a lubricant before stabbing me in the ass. What made this particular instance special was it was the first time I fought back. The very first occasion I made clear through body language, no, I do not want hard plastic and a lot of liquid jammed into my nether regions by my mother, one reason--although not the most pressing one--being she would later be handling my food. I tried to jerk away from her grasp. To absolutely no avail. The idea that I preferred not having things shoved up there against my will was a slap in the face to not only Mom's incontrovertible skill at diagnostics but also to our savior, yet again, as one of the ten commandments was Honor thy Father and thy Mother, meaning, simply, whatever crazy thought pops into a parents' head is law, and if it involves forcibly shoving something into a little boy's rectum then God has willed it and anyone who thinks different deserves whatever physical pain they might endure.

"You! Will! Do! What! I! SAY!!!" she screamed, accentuating each word by a hard, forceful thrust of the enema tip, in and out, like I was being sodomized, which I probably was, just to make sure I got God's message of parental authority. She grabbed my hair and slammed my head against the side of the tub with a metallic, cartoon Tongggg! and proceeded to use her bulb to, literally, fuck the shit out of me. I know there are people who will pay good money for this type of thing but as kindergartner, I wasn't one of them. Not that I am now. Still. The least she could have done afterwards was light up a cigarette and pass it to me, but unfortunately most Evangelicals live in non-smoking homes.

Afterward, bright red blood dripped into the cold toilet water, diffusing like spin art at the fair. I peeped between my legs and saw this, bringing on a fresh crying jag.

My father leaned in the bathroom doorway. "Now what's the matter?" he asked, obviously mortified at my being the type of weakling sissy who couldn't take it violently up the ass and show stern, Southern indifference instead of weeping like a goddamned fag.

"I'm bleeding!" I cried.

"Yeah? It'll do that," he said, leaving to go leaf through his well-thumbed muscle magazines and regretting the fact I couldn't catch a ball.

Lesson learned. Don't complain.

Forced enemas became a form of punishment for many non-related offenses. It always came out of the blue, like a sudden afterthought, as though my mother's current anger had nothing to do with my getting hauled into the bathroom once again. "I have told you to keep your room tidy and it looks like a hurricane blew through here! You! Will! Keep! Your! Room! Clean!" she would shout, her voice rising like a radio preacher. "Oh, and by the way, I don't think you've been as regular as you should be. I think you need an enema."

Mom was always good with arts and crafts, so she used construction paper and magic markers to fashion what she called my B.M. Chart and taped it up on the wall in my room. It was then, also, she decided I should become wildly social and started inviting relatives and my kindergarten friends over for play dates, putting us together in the room so that all and sundry could know how often I moved my bowels. Dad would come in and inspect the chart and shake his head, sorrowfully, on the days there wasn't a gold star. He, too, was shamed by my constipation. It was suggested I was doing it on purpose.

The both of them were mystified when, soon after, I started shitting my pants on a regular basis. I was puzzled too, as doing it always got me in trouble, but now I wonder if it might have been my subconscious way of saying Hey, no blockage going on here. No need to trot out the hard rubber and soapy stuff. Everything's in working order with my butt, ok?" I guess this is what they mean by hindsight.

I would let go in my trousers and walk around in it so often that every time I farted Dad was forced to ask, "Did you fill your pants?" He was especially troubled that his five year old son was exhibiting signs of not being properly toilet-trained and would shout "The next time you do that I will run your soiled underwear up a flagpole for all the neighbors to see!" This, it turned out, was no idle threat. He got out a ladder, some nails, rope and a pulley and hoisted my dung-encrusted, child's underwear up a tree. I have to wonder about the sort of mind that would think of, much less do, such a thing. But even at that age I had mastered the art of passive-aggression. I, five years old, stood in the back yard like John-John Kennedy at his father's funeral and saluted it.

The enemas kept coming. After a while I was so used to it that I could calmly chat about my day while hard things were being rammed into my butt. "We saw a filmstrip today about fire safety," I'd say, while mom squirted Mr. Bubble up my ass.

I had a prodigious vocabulary at five. Years of various derelictions has worn this ability away, as reading anything I've written since will make abundantly clear. A family story, which invariably made an appearance whenever a date was introduced to my parents, usually while dining, describes the time I had a massive diarrhea attack on the way home from grade school. Liquid shit was pooling down both legs and into my socks. I'm told instead of coming in the house I rang the bell, and when my mother answered I sobbed out, hysterical, "I'm contaminated!" Kids say the darndest things.

First grade. Many pants-pooping episodes. Second. More of the same. Third, pretty much under control. Except for when I'd ordered a plastic Freddy the Flute off the back of a package of Pop-Tarts.

Freddy the Flute was a character from H.R. Pufnstuf, a children's Saturday Morning show, the plot of which I can't begin to explain without you thinking I've been smoking toad excretions. Visually, it looked like doing just that at a furrie convention, although the TV program probably had fewer musical numbers. What I didn't know then but realize now is, at age eight, I was totally, heels over head in love with it's featured child star, Jack Wild. He had the haircut that is popular once again and still turns me on, was British, and liked to dance. He wore the same yellow, wide-collared, button up shirt and brown corduroy trousers every week. Soon I had the same outfit, and I'd dance about the house singing in an English accent. This might be one of the reasons my father forced me to become a cub scout.

Once in the scouts I was required to earn merit badges. One was given for having a collection of some kind. The other boys showed off their baseball cards, pinned insects, and dried leaves. I had a massive gathering of pictures of Jack Wild, clipped from Tiger Beat magazine, which I described to the rest of the pack in glowing terms I'd pre-written for them as I flipped through my photo albums. "I collect photographs of Jack Wild, the English star of H.R. Pufnstuf. He brings to life the character of Jimmy. He also played the role of the Artful Dodger in Oliver! He is the most talented young actor working in Hollywood today. His performance of I'm a Mechanical Boy, on Pufnstuf, takes musical theatre in a whole new direction. Absolute genius." I think my father, in the audience, would have been less humiliated if I'd shit my uniform at a Jamboree.

This prefigured the imagined scenes now fueling the white-hot fear of fanatics who want to keep gays out of scouting. They can't sleep, tossing and turning in a sweat drenched bed, for repeatedly imagining the highly-valued, prestigious woodworking merit badge of their youth stolen away by a slender, well poised boy who's turned in an exquisitely crafted, miniature doll house. "See the way I put the tiny, carved scouting logos around the floor molding in the breakfast nook? They were going to be tulips until I realized this would be way more fabulous!"

In third grade, I fell asleep every night dreaming of being Jack Wild's "best friend." I wrote to him. I got back an autographed postcard. My mother caught me talking to it.

If Jack Wild and I had met in third grade, I am still certain in my heart, I would have switched him, instantly quit pooping my pants and we'd have grown old together. It would have been a life of high spirits, the pursuit of fun and randy, intimate jokes about his talking flute. This is how it would have turned out. I would have been the one to deal with the fact that he was diagnosed with oral cancer. I would have been the one to say Jack, it's okay, we can work around this when his lower jaw was surgically removed, although granted a few favorites from the funtime menu would have been put to rest. Even his death wouldn't have been a deal breaker. Your first crush is forever. I'd have simply had him taxidermied; Pufnstuffed.

The fact that a plastic Freddy the Flute, just like his, was on it's way in third grade put me that much closer. If we both had talking flutes, we were destined to meet. It was just that simple. I would use the pay phone at school to call my mother.

"Did it come yet?"
"Did what come yet?"
"My Freddy the Flute! Did my Freddy the Flute come in the mail?"

Heavy sigh. "No. Why are you calling me every day about this?"

But the one day came when she answered, "Yes. It's here. Thank God."

Upon hearing these words my anus opened up and everything inside shot into my pants like my colon was clearing a space for Jack Wild himself.

There was still half a school day to get through. I went to music class.

"Do you smell something?" the girl next to me asked.

"I do. I bet someone has filled their pants." I used this ruse for the remainder of the day.

After school I raced home, avoided my mother, then grabbed the box off my bed and headed for the basement. As much as I wanted to rip open the package and assemble my new talking flute, I had business to take care of. Or rather, business to get rid of.

I took off my pants and removed my shit-caked underwear. A half a day had caused it to set like cement. Leaned against the wall in the basement was a stack of plywood that had been there for years. I stuffed my soiled undergarments behind it, then used an old newspaper to halfway clean my buttocks. This I threw away in the can my father used for his basement workshop trash. I put my pants back on and opened my parcel. Following the instructions, I put together a plastic recorder that had the added feature of a face and a mouth you could work like a puppet.

"When is Jimmy coming over?" I said in the same, falsetto voice used in the TV show while moving the flute's plastic mouth up and down.

"He'll be here soon."

"Good," Freddy said. "He really likes you." The flute had the decency not to ask why the hell I wasn't wearing any underwear and smelled like a compost heap.

A few days later my Dad mentioned, over supper, "I think a rat died in the basement or something. It stinks to high heaven down there."

The ritualistic enema punishments had stopped by this time. Maybe my parents had simply come to the conclusion I was too old for that sort of thing, or perhaps had put two and two together and realized a son with an overwhelming interest in hair care and Hollywood stars, combined with systematic stimulation of his prostate, might be counterproductive to the idea of grandchildren.

I had a good six months or so until Dad offered to give away, to a neighbor, the plywood in the basement he wasn't using for anything. They carted it out, piece by piece, until the last slab was removed and revealed my crusted undies, the incriminating but still recognizable evidence now covered by a green, hairy fuzz. After the neighbor had left he stormed into my room, furious, the lobes of his ears blazing red.

"Do you have any idea how embarrassed you've made me?" he snarled.

I ticked them off, mentally: Thin and not buffed. No good at sports. Speaks like people on TV instead of West Virginian. Not mechanically inclined. Zones out during Navy stories. Makes his own puppets.

"No," I lied.

"Bill and I found your drawers full of mess."

Oh yeah, that one.

"He saw it just the same as me. Now everybody in the neighborhood knows just what it is you do."

But do they know why? I'm guessing not. I can't imagine the housewives got on the phone with one another and traded ideas on
how to insert water into their kids' colons against their will if they've done something wrong and are in need of punishment. You know, their enema tips.


  1. On the bright side, the crazy old bitch is dead, and you got a few laughs along the way watching her turn slowly disintegrate into a gurgling vegetable. And your Dad is well on his way to being admitted into an institution. Sometimes life is good. I suggest when he dies too, you take a trip to the cemetery and stretch a couple shit stained underpants over their matching gravestones.

  2. Return the same time every year, like the Poe Toaster, and leave three pairs of poopy underpants and a half-filled enema bottle at their grave.

  3. Lord, folks, I'm just not there. Granted, it took a long time to get over this shit (pun intended) and see the funny side but Dad's still around and I'd like to keep it that way. (Not that I don't spike his holiday desserts with Ex-Lax in hopes of an amusing incident...)