What follows is a cautionary tale. Be not fooled by the title; there is serious wisdom to be gleaned from the sentences and paragraphs that will be presented to you on this computer screen, unadorned, raw, unedited, bare and naked before your eager eyes and wanting mind. The author recounts this event at the risk of ridicule and embarrassment but considers this a small exchange if even a single person be saved from a similar fate as a result of this telling.
Let us go back now to when the author was just a young lad, capricious and full of wonderment…
The conditions were formidable. Frigid. Arctic-like. Indeed, had the temperature dropped another 32 degrees or so it would have been right around zero. Makes the author shiver just thinking about it. The location was remote, on the outskirts of the outskirts of town. This was before the dawning of the age of cheap cell phones so contact with civilization was not feasible.
The landscape was desolate. With the exception of the free-roaming cattle and the occasional screech of a buzzard or crow (aka “black bird of the devil”), it was barren, lifeless, and eerily silent. For all we knew the cattle had evil intentions and would devour us at the first opportunity. Sure, they looked all cute and cuddly but they were large and outnumbered us significantly and one could never know what was going on the mind of one of these beasts. They were not to be trifled with as far as the author was concerned.
Nothing was to be taken for granted here, one’s guard never to be let down. Without the industrial size cooler full of hot dogs, chips, sodas, cookies, granola bars, and other rations, undoubtedly we would have resorted to unspeakable acts of desperation to avoid starvation. The author shudders at the possibility of what might have transpired.
The sky was black and most were sound asleep in their tents. The author however was in a conundrum. Nature was calling. And when nature calls this author answers faster than you can say “Flomax*”. But he was safe and snug in the comfort of a warm tent and the air outside was icy and potentially vicious livestock lurked nearby. There were occasional strange and unidentifiable sounds that rang out in the night, like banshees or pterodactyls. The author was dismayed at the prospect of venturing out to do his deed. He remained in his sleeping bag, pondering his predicament. Natures urge became increasingly more difficult to ignore but the author was firm in his conviction to not venture out of the tent. He wrestled with the issue in his mind for an un-recalled length of time.
Then it came to him; an idea, a possible solution to this dilemma. The author clearly needed to relieve himself but was determined not to set one foot outside of the safety of his tent. Perhaps there might be a way to satisfy both requirements. His tent-mates were fast asleep and it was worth a shot. He carefully and quietly slipped out of his sleeping bag and eased his way to the doorway of the tent. Yes. This could work. Quiet as a mouse he propped up on his knees, slowly unzipped the opening to the tent and then unzipped something else.
But something was awry. What the ?…it was no sooner than the author was experiencing the best sort of relief and basking in the glory of his ingenious idea that he felt a warm and wet sensation on his leg that signaled trouble. Uh-oh…big uh-oh. The author, true to his legendary reputation in technical and mechanical ingenuity, had failed to realize there was a second tent zipper that required unzipping; an outer screen that was virtually invisible in this darkness. But he was past the point of no return and the damage had been done. This was no flat surface and the damage was spreading and affecting other people in it’s wake, poor souls fast asleep and completely unaware of the peril they were in.
The author felt unbelievably better but now had a bona-fide moral dilemma on his hands. The decision was an easy one. Quietly he re-zipped the doorway (and his trousers) and eased back in to his sleeping bag. Mission accomplished though not without some collateral damage.
When daylight arrived it was obvious to everyone that something terrible had happened. It must have been a funny scene; all the commotion and not a single confession, a campfire mystery that would endure. The author was somehow one of the least likely suspects and managed to escape this entire incident unscathed, reputation unvarnished, though not without some guilt. To this day he considers it one of his greatest acts of deception and feels some twisted sense of accomplishment for pulling it off.
The author needed to get that off his chest. He feels better now. That secret has been with him a long time. He feels lighter, freer.
At this time it might seem appropriate to throw it out little phrases like ‘Tis better to be pissed off than pissed on’, and other epithets, but the author will spare you. One might think of R-Kelly also but he won’t go there either.
There is a moral as well as practical lesson to this story and the author hopes that it has been presented clearly and concisely. But just in case it has been lost in the delicate subtlety of this prose, he will spell it out for you one final time. Pay close attention and take heed. Re-read this several times daily if need be. Post it on your refrigerator. Whatever.
And never, ever forget….
If you’re going to piss out of a tent make sure you unzip the mother#$%!ing tent all the way.
(Now if you’ll excuse the author he’s got to make a quick run to the Al-Qaeda**.)
* The author is perplexed as to why a drug intended to help bladder control is called Flomax. Reverse psychology he presumes.
**Al-Qaeda is actually Arabic slang for “toilet”; specifically ‘foreign toilet’, indicating an actual commode as opposed to a hole in the ground. Seriously.