There are a few simple truths I've been taught in my time on this earth. No one is in charge of your life but you. Curiosity is one of the greatest blessings in life. Love and generosity are incredible gifts to both the recipient and their source. Those are of the high brow ilk.
A few others for your consideration: Beer is better with friends. Sex is best when you actually like the other person involved. Everyone knows at least one good "Oops, I shit my pants" story.
It is the last of these truths of which I would like to write today. In particular, I am thinking of a story that was relayed to me in college (What is it about those years that a good story outweighs potential embarrassment every time?) and that has stuck with me ever since. Were this story not told to me by a person one degree of separation from its unfortunate protagonists, I might doubt it as a horrifying and ingenious work of fiction composed by someone seeking to entertain, sort of like the Lard Ass story from Stand By Me. However, I have never doubted this story's veracity.
This is a tale of woe, misfortune, and love lost at the hands of a particularly irritable bowel. The protagonist, who we'll call Billy, was a newly appointed youth minister in a prominent church in a small town in Texas. Coincidentally, Billy's name was/is really Billy. I figure "Youth minister who shit himself" is a largely unGoogleable phrase and would likely render no results for the actual Billy of whom I'm writing. Fingers crossed.
Anyhow, Billy was young and single and launching what promised to be a long and successful career in the ministry. If you know anything about Texas, you'll know that this is the type of thing mothers of young, single women who are members of prominent churches in small towns in Texas lick their chops over. Such was the case with Billy. Every mother with a single daughter of marriageable age in this particular town was slyly and not-so-slyly trying to hook Billy up with her daughter. It was only a matter of time before Billy accepted one of these dates (I mean, if he didn't the rumors might start regarding his sexuality, and then where would he be? This also happens in prominent churches in small towns in Texas, sad to say).
The date was to be a traditional dinner and a movie affair with the dinner part taking place at a Casa Ole. Apparently, this was the small town girl's favorite restaurant, which probably should have been a red flag to Billy. Casa Ole is the bane of legitimate Tex-Mex all over the Lone Star state. It's sort of like the Chili's of Tex-Mex, but of lesser quality and with a more obnoxious decor. Jose Lima used to sing the jingle. Some say that, aside from his Cy Young caliber year with Houston, this was his best work.
Enough about Jose, God rest his soul, Billy knew two things about himself that were unconditionally true in all situations. 1: He had to have home field advantage for any bowel movement. It was a hang up born from something that must have occurred early on in life. I can only guess what this was, but I think a lot of people have this hang up, although probably not to the degree Billy did. 2: He was afflicted with irritable bowel syndrome and never quite knew what would set it off. Sometimes it was spicy food. Sometimes it was greasy food. Sometimes it was something he couldn't put his finger on. At any rate, he occasionally experienced regrettable and violent bouts of explosive diarrhea. With those two truths having governed a substantial portion of Billy's behaviors for God-knows-how-long, Billy and his date arrived at Casa Ole to begin their evening together.
According to the version of events that was told to me, the date was going swimmingly. Conversation had flowed easily and familiarly in the car on the way to the restaurant and the two had continued their enjoyable evening over a bowl of salsa and some tortilla chips. Billy was genuinely interested in this small town girl and the small town girl appeared to be genuinely interested in Billy. She was attractive, intelligent, and witty despite her affinity for Casa Ole.
The two had ordered their food but it had not yet arrived when Billy felt a horrifyingly familiar sensation in his lower abdomen. You know what I'm talking about. It's as if someone has reached inside your body midway between your navel and naughty bits and clenched your intestines with an iron fist. You break out in a low grade sweat and wring your hands at the discomfort and begin to asses, with razor sharp accuracy, the most efficient route to the nearest bathroom. Billy, unfortunately, was a prisoner to truth #1 and the most efficient route to the nearest bathroom was not left at the hostess stand and all the way to the back of the restaurant, but straight at the hostess stand, into the car, east on Interstate 20, off at Main Street, through two lights, left, right, another left, into his garage, out of the car, through the utility room and kitchen and living room, down the hall, and left into the bathroom.
Billy looked at his date and interrupted her mid sentence.
"We have to go. Now."
"What?" She replied. "The food isn't even here yet and the movie doesn't start for another hour."
"Now," Billy said as he plopped a fifty dollar bill onto the table.
[Aside: Casa Ole's entire menu probably doesn't add up to fifty dollars]
Billy jumped up from the table and his date, confused, followed after him to the car.
Speeding out of the parking lot, the small town girl tried to ask Billy what was the matter, but he couldn't say anything, such was his level of concentration at keeping what was inside of him inside of him. Even if he could explain, that's really not first date conversation.
They made it to his exit, but Billy knew he wasn't going to make it. He was face to face with a horrifying choice. He could violently shit his pants in the car with his date, a date he genuinely liked, or he could pull over on the Interstate and unleash hell. Billy chose the latter but was immediately confronted with another horrifying choice. Once out of the car, he had to decide, given that there were no bushes or trees to conceal himself behind, whether to face the car and thereby give his date a front row viewing of his expression during the most agonizingly embarrassing moment of his life, or he could face away from the car and give his date a front row viewing of the reason he was having the most agonizingly embarrassing moment of his life. Billy again chose the latter, slightly more modest option. He ran 10 yards away from the car, turned to face his confused and worried date, dropped his pants, and absolutely turned himself inside out while he grunted, cramped, and gasped his way through the ordeal.
When it was finally over, Billy pulled his pants back up and tried to act as professional and appropriate as one possibly can in a situation such as the one he was now in. There was no toilet paper, and despite his date graciously averting her eyes, she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what had just happened. Billy got back in the car and began to head for her house. There's really no salvaging things when a first date goes this route. They drove in silence for a few minutes as they both must have searched for what to say. Finally, the small town girl broke the silence.
"Are you OK?" She timidly asked.
"Did you not see what just happened? Of course I'm not OK," Billy replied.
I would love to say that Billy and the small town girl were able to recover from this epic catastrophe and that they're laughing about it now after years of marriage, but I can't. I mean, I suppose it's a possibility, but this is where the story ended when it was told to me. I like to aim a little lower and think that this is finally what cured Billy of his need for home field advantage. Left at the hostess stand is always the best option.