Column Number Two

Some people–Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Hearsts– inherit great wealth. Mannings and Andrettis have amazing athletic abilities passed down through the generations, while Barrymores, Carradines and Clooneys display multi-generational talent on stage and screen.

I got a spastic colon.

Apparently my squat, potato-picking, eastern European ancestors passed on many stout traits, but bowel stability wasn’t one of them. While it’s normally a condition that doesn’t really negatively affect my life, there are those times when the call of nature simply cannot be sent to voicemail.

With that simple setup, I will issue the warning that this is the column where I discuss the times I’ve crapped my pants in cars. Consider yourself warned, and save the effort of your outraged letters and emails. May he or she who has never shared my shame be the first to cast stones.

Last chance. There’s 203 other pages in this magazine I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

I see the rest of you are cool, so here we go. Anecdote number one begins behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi Galant. As Mitsubishi has largely decided to remove itself from the American market, I feel the statute of limitations on my relaying this story in print has fully expired.

I can’t remember the exact meal that produced the initial discomfort. Actually, it’s somewhat irrelevant. Typically my gut can take whatever spicy, greasy, lactosey, choc-o-rific concoctions I can push down my throat with little to no drama. There’s just some times, however, when whatever went in needs to take the express train. The train whistle blew behind the wheel of that Galant. I had to go–soon.

Your first reaction upon realizing that—in a very literal sense—shit is about to get real is to assess the situation. Biology, geography and math collide in your brain, and through the beading sweat you do the math on the shortest route to safe harbor. In this particular instance, my parents’ house was closer than mine–and the nearest sympathetic port in my mental navigation menu.

I gingerly removed my phone from my pocket, careful not to flex a single extra abdominal muscle in the process. Thankfully my dad answered on the first ring. I issued my S.O.S.: “Coming in hot. Code brown. Clear a path.” Of course, it wasn’t the first time my folks had been tapped for rescue duty. I imagine by this point in my life they probably had a process nailed down, similar to emergency crews foaming the runway as the wounded jumbo jet limps home on a single engine with 400 souls aboard.

Sadly, this plane never made it to the runway. A few blocks from safety, the event horizon was crossed, and the rescue mission was now a salvage operation. While the event was unfortunate to say the least, I still say it was a legitimate and accurate journalistic assessment of the Mitsubishi Galant.

Anecdote number two–well, technically that describes both of these vignettes–is one that only a select few of my friends and enemies have heard before. So consider yourself an insider. I figured it was time to let it all out.

This one is notable because of the car involved. In a lesser vehicle, this would have been a completely under-the-radar tale of personal failure and shame. But in a swoopy Consulier GTP, it’s an intensely public tale of near-Cronenbergian body horror.

Time and the inevitable development of every buildable inch of Florida coastline has reduced the gap, but 20 years ago there was a long stretch of I-95 south of Melbourne that was essentially a desert. For nearly 60 miles, there were only a few exits and fewer services. And an hour is a long time to stay in what we of the brotherhood know as “the clench position.”

When I finally did make it to some vestige of civilization– and this was long after the initial atrocity had befouled me and Mr. Mosler’s creation, mind you–it turned out to be a closed, abandoned Chevron station. I did my best to clean up the crime scene with goods I found at the forgotten building. This was the day I learned that in the seemingly inevitable event of a zombie apocalypse, toilet paper will be as valuable as 5.56mm ammunition.

The punch line to this condition is that once you have what we refer to as an “episode,” the fun has really just begun. Much like how you feel after an intense workout, your now-stressed colonic muscles are weak, spastic and unpredictable for many hours. This meant frequent stops on the rest of my journey.

Frequent stops in a bright-red, carbon-fiber sports car that attracted a crowd every time it parked. Despite my fervent desire to maintain a low profile, I was beset by throngs of onlookers who probably weren’t entirely sure what they expected to emerge from the Batmobile-like vehicle. However, I have no doubt they understood that the pale, sweaty wretch with the baggy shirt pulled down over the soiled cargo shorts, who came half-sprinting, half-shambling toward the toilets, was absolutely not the Batman.

There. The stories are out. Think of me what you will, and remember our shared pain should you ever find yourself in such straits.

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View comments on the GRM forums
oldeskewltoy UltraDork
5/26/16 10:39 a.m.

great potty humor.... and no I didn't read on, stopped @ the warning...

gearheadmb HalfDork
5/26/16 10:43 a.m.

Best car article ever.

BanzaiBeast New Reader
5/27/16 12:38 p.m.

I am either highly sympathetic or just pathetic. With 4 grandchildren I have done my share of diapers and given care to elderly in-laws. There is only so much seriousness that can be allocated for bowel problems before we let go and just laugh about the crap that happens. May all of your crisis be met with clean restrooms next to an empty parking spot!

Ovid_and_Flem New Reader
6/6/16 8:11 a.m.

I feel your (abdominal) pain. Perhaps its not genetic but more geographic. Seemed to also afflict the early astronauts based at Canaveral. Maybe some localized. parasite unique to the area. Yeah...that's it. An affliction you share with the heroic star voyagers.

Nothing to be ashamed of.

Stampie HalfDork
6/6/16 10:27 a.m.

As someone who's recently discovered that I'm allergic to some processed dairy products, I can feel your pain. I've gotten mine down to a science and plan on being near the throne three hours after eating the offending food.

914Driver MegaDork
6/6/16 1:11 p.m.

Daughter in law's got Crohn's Disease, not as infuriating as your JG, but given the opportunity I'd pass.

You have my sympathy.

revrico HalfDork
6/6/16 1:25 p.m.

As someone who suffers apparently random IBS-D, which has gotten better as I've aged thankfully, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who suffers from this. Was particularly bad at auto-x last month, our portajohn is on the far side of the course, so waiting for intermission, trying to hold good times, then duckwalking across the lot... Barely made it in time. Haven't always been so lucky.

D2W Reader
6/6/16 2:45 p.m.

Great stories, I'll add one of my own.

I'll start by saying I don't have any bowel issues other than I'm not very regular.

When I first starting dating the girl who would become my wife we lived about 80 miles apart. We were both going to school so on friday afternoons I would pack up and go stay with her until O'dark thirty on Monday mornings and then head back for the week. On this particular weekend we ended up going camping with a large group of people. It was a drunken debacle and a lot of fun. However, being around strange people, uncommon location ect. I didn't have a number 2 all weekend. So on Monday morning, I'm driving my hungover self back to school through the rolling wheat country of the palouse. When about half way home the urge strikes. Not a simple nudge, hey its time to go, but a full on peeker who is deciding where to jump off the train. I know there is a rest stop along the way but with the pain of urgency I can't remember how far. So I start to formulate plan B. For those of you who don't know the palouse is rolling hills so I decide my only shot at not being too ashamed is look for a draw where I might not be to visible. I pick one, slide to a stop and head for the bottom. As I'm squatting in the stubble unloading I realize that the draw really isn't that deep and I might as well be in the ditch on the side of the road. Only a few cars went by and only one person honked and waved. I tore the sleeves off my T-shirt, finished my business and got out of there. Oh, and the rest stop was about 3 miles down the road:/

AClockworkGarage Reader
6/7/16 5:43 p.m.

I'll spare you the details, but before any long distance drive or track day, I drink about half a bottle of pepto-bismol to stop things up. just a pre-emptive measure.

paranoid_android74 SuperDork
6/7/16 8:55 p.m.
914Driver wrote: Daughter in law's got Crohn's Disease, not as infuriating as your JG, but given the opportunity I'd pass. You have my sympathy.

My dad has Crohn's, has had it as long as I can remember.

Ten years ago I started to show the symptoms, but I never got the diagnosis.

Bowel problems suck.

mad_machine MegaDork
6/7/16 9:11 p.m.

I have Crohn's.. I know where every public, semi-public, and hidden spot to drop and squat is from here to Philly.

Which onto a funny story, did you know that ticks are scary fast?

I was driving up rt206 towards Trenton. (For those that know this road, it goes through the pine barrens and very few towns towards it's southern end) and the urge to go hits hard.. so driving the work van, I pull off onto one of the numerous sandy roads the lead off into the pines, get a safe distance from the highway, get out and squat down infront of the van..

In what is probably the most vulnerable position you can be in... pants and shorts around ankles, teetering on tiptoes, I notice that the woods are alive... not only are they alive, but crawling towards me. Coming out of the dry pine needles that edged this narrow sandy road, came the ticks. They were homing in on my exhaled CO2 and they were hungry. for about 10 minutes, I led this army of blood suckers down the road. I would move about 10 or 20 feet, empty more of my bowel, and move again.. Of course my intestines were not having a quick day, so this was the stuff of frustration, cramps, and horror.

I did manage not to pick up any of the blood suckers when I was finally done, but the path between me and the van was black with wee little beasties hungry for my warm blood. It is a sight I will not soon forget.

snailmont5oh Reader
6/8/16 10:23 a.m.

My brother and I have a saying; "Live to E36 M3, E36 M3 to live."

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