For a period of twenty years I continued to tell myself I was middle aged. But I finally accepted the fact that the only way I could be considered middle aged was if I were dirt. I have found only one major benefit for getting old. And that is no longer having to rise at dark o’clock and travel to a job; something I looked apon as a continual annoyance that always got in the way of really fun things to do. But knowing that employment was what kept my family and I from being homeless and hungry, (or better phrased, kept my family from dropping me like a bad habit, and me being homeless and hungry,) I faithfully did my forty hours a week for countless years. But other than retirement, the negatives of getting old continue to sneak up and pounce when I least expect them. The old people jokes I used to laugh about are now becoming my realities. For that reason I have compiled a list of old people rules to combat these negatives; a list that seems to continually grow. This is my number one rule: Never trust a fart. I know, everyone has heard it. But why beat around the bush and write about the other lesser known rules when this is an old person’s worst nightmare. Case in point….
Last summer the wife and I made a short two-day camping trip down the coast. Pulling our camping trailer with my truck, my gas gauge was doing a tap dance on the big E as we pulled into a town. Believing I was running on vapors, I pulled into the first gas station I came to. Getting out of the truck, my first observations should have been my warning. It was a run-down building with pealing paint, and had two gas pumps that looked as if they had been installed back in the 50’s. To match the building, a very unpleasant looking man stepped out of the door. He was wearing a pair of coveralls so grimy and crusted over that they looked as if they could stand on their own without a body in them. He gave me a grin through yellowed teeth obviously lacking their original count. “Can I help ya?”
“Yes, fill it up.” Needing to use the bathroom, I asked him where it was located.
“Around the corner to the right,” he replied with a pointing thumb. “The women’s is around to the left.”
My wife decided she needed to also use the restroom. So I headed right, and she left. When I opened the door to the men’s restroom I was immediately hit with a gagging reflex. In comparison to this bathroom, a boat launch San-I-Can would have made a wonderful substitute for a hospital operating room. Never had I seen a restroom so filthy. But because I wouldn’t be touching anything, and the horde of flies buzzing around had other delicacies far more tempting than me, I decided to relieve myself….
What happened next I did not feel coming. I certainly wasn’t guarding against it. And I had no ominous lower intestinal grumblings to warn me. In fact the feeling even promised me it was innocent. So it was on that fateful day that I personally experienced the penalty for breaking the first old person rule. Never trust a fart. And the penalty was swift and without mercy.
It was over in an instant. One moment I was enjoying the relief, the next moment my face was etched in the horrors of disbelief. I had slammed the proverbial back door, but I was far, far, far too late. I gingerly pulled down my trousers and shorts. It was not a pretty sight. The shorts were far beyond savable, the trousers not much better. Needless to say, being barely pinched between my thumb and finger, I deposited my shorts in a small garbage can in the corner. As I looked at the ugly remnants left on my person I thought life could not get any worse than this. Of course I was wrong. My eyes scanned the room, growing more darting and frantic with each turn of the head. There was no toilet paper! All that I saw were a stack of sanitary toilet covers. I would have laughed out loud under any other circumstances; sanitary toilet covers in a room that had to be heaven and everlasting life for every form of bacteria known to man, and probably a few not yet known. But I had no choice. They were the only wiping materials available.
I soon learned that sanitary toilet covers have all the absorbent qualities of wax wrap, doing far more smearing than cleaning. Seventy-five toilet covers later I and my trousers were cleaned up as best as possible, which certainly was not saying a whole hell of a lot. I then washed my hands in the disgusting sink, the first spurts of water being a wonderful brown color. Of course at this point, who gives a rip about rusty water? As I walked outside my only hope of revenge was that the toilet would plug, spilling my nightmare all over the owner’s floor. But looking back, with their sanitary cleaning policies, the soiled shorts are probably still in the waste paper basket fossilizing, and any toilet overflow simply evaporated, leaving behind their dried remnants.
Returning to the car, I walked in a fashion somewhat mimicking a penguin. My wife looked at me in total revulsion. “You should have seen my bathroom! It was absolutely disgusting! And not one sanitary toilet cover to be had!”
“Did you have…toilet paper?” I replied, my voice taking on a strange quiver.
My voice rose with each word. “Then quit your bitching.”
She raised her hands to her waist. “Well, you could show a little more….” She stopped in mid sentence as her face began contorting. “What is that smell!”
“I shit my pants!” I blurted. “And there was no toilet paper.”
“What did you use?”
I gave her a sarcastic sneer. “The sanitary toilet covers missing from your bathroom,”
“Oh great!” she said while rolling her eyes. “And who was it who said, why do I need a change of clothes? We’re only going to be gone for two daaaaayyyys.”
With all windows rolled down and heads hanging out gasping for fresh air, we drove to the nearest Wallmart. On the way there we passed no less than a dozen four-star gas stations with luxury bathrooms, the first hidden by a hedge less than a hundred yards away from the gas station from hell.
My wife went into the store to purchase clothes for me while I stood outside the truck, passing the time by watching my vapor trail of stench rise into the wind. As I saw her returning I couldn’t help but smile. It was a blessing to have a wife that understands that accidents can happen without pouring salt in a wound by throwing out demeaning jokes.
As she handed me the shopping bag her angelic face suddenly broke into a smirk. “I would have bought you a box of Depends Adult Diapers, but I thought someone in the checkout line might have thought they were for me.”
Unfortunately, I do not have such a wife. Sigh!
COMING NEXT: Rules For Old People-Rule 2