Nature’s call

In looking over some notes that I have been jotting down ever since the idea for this blog sprouted in my brain, I realize that I have been avoiding writing about the most common topic that runs throughout my dad’s vernacular; hence, the title of this post. You’ve been warned.

Where to start? Maybe with finger-pulling, a little joke Dad has been pulling  on kids for as long as I can remember. Now that he has great-grandchildren, I’m sure this practice will continue. Of course, we thought it was hilarious when we were little, and we learned that farts are funny, despite my mother’s tongue-clucking and scolding. She didn’t fool us; she would smile in spite of herself, and it just spiraled out of control from there. If you fart audibly in front of Dad, he might tell you, “That’s the smartest thing you’ve said all day,” or declare, “If they don’t pay the rent, kick them out.” And then there’s the one about the talking horse that, when asked if he wanted any oats, lifted up his tail and said, “A-phew.” Obviously, some farts are more noteworthy than others. There’s the 40-yard fart and the best sound ever to come out of a one-inch speaker. But, the piece de resistance when it comes to flatulence humor is undoubtedly “The Crepitation Contest.” For those of you that have never heard it and who are not already completely offended and have stopped reading this, you can listen to it here: Just the mention of Lord Windesmear or Paul Boomer sends my family into fits of laughter.

I’d say my family is pretty much obsessed with the scatological. Maybe all families are the same in this regard, and you just never see it, because people tend to clean up their act when there are “outsiders” present. Inevitably, at our family gatherings (yes, even at the dinner table) the conversation turns to favorite old stories of family lore, such as the time when somebody crapped his/her pants in an elevator, took a dump between two parked cars in downtown Duluth while waiting for a red light, be-shat him/herself while out for a walk or while watching his/her kids play in the park (and then shook the turd out of his/her pants leg onto the sidewalk and walked away), occasions when the extra undies carried in the glove box/purse/backpack just in case came in handy, where the best trees and large rocks are located on familiar driving routes, etc. To my dad, there’s nothing funnier than someone (else) shitting their pants and how they deal with the situation. He firmly believes that, whether they admit it or not,  everybody does it, because, face it, the urge to purge is “the most powerful thing on Earth–not even an elephant can hold it back.”

Granted, there are times when one must be a bit more polite and less graphic about Nature’s call. At those times, my dad might excuse himself to “go do something I really understand” because “a big fire makes a lot of ashes.” So refined. Dad used to be a pretty big “fire,” 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighing 225 lbs. or so in his heyday. He was a big man with big appetites and spent a fair amount of time every morning “driving the porcelain bus” or “feeding the white rabbit.”  And, that was just normal. Not normal is when your “bowels get locked–locked in the open position,” also known as “slippery bowels.” At such times, you want to be sure to have an adequate supply of “corn cobs” on hand. The opposite problem, bowels locked in the closed position, can necessitate the administration of “stump-blower” or “dynamite” to unlock them.

For some reason, urination is not as funny. While there are many funny expressions referencing piss in one way or another, (sounds like the topic of another post), the actual act of peeing in one’s pants does not seem to provoke humor, but rather pity or disgust. The only funny comment I know of that Dad makes regarding good old number one has to do with diuretics, an unfortunate reality at his stage of life, about which he states, “If I keep taking those, I’m going to have to change my name to Pee-air.”

I’m hoping this post stimulates some memories of other funny expressions about our favorite topic from my siblings, so I can catalog them here. And, maybe someone else will confirm my contention that most families talk about this shit, and the ones that don’t are the weirdos. Please.