Thursday, March 22, 2007


Next round.

I broke my elbow a couple summers ago and that hurt. I broke an ankle and a finger and lost two teeth in a drunken brawl and had a bad toothache. But nothing compared to that day at Geauga Lake amusement park in Aurora, Ohio.

I must have been 15 years old because Scott Shinault and I were there by ourselves, no parents, which must have meant that he drove. I have a September birthday and was always the youngest kid in my class and was therefore the last to get a driver's license. Toward the late afternoon we got in line for the cable cars that ran high over the length of the park and ran into two girls from our class. Scott fancied the one so we split up with he and Tammy in one car and me and Marlana in the next. Halfway across the park, the cars all stopped. And they stayed stopped. For ten minutes. For an hour. For two hours...

Now I happen to have a small bladder. I guess this is genetic because my older son shares the same affliction. So shortly into our wait, I find I have to pee. As the wait grew longer and longer, the pain grew more and more intense. I started examining my options. I didn't have a cup to pee in, which I could then dump out. Besides, I knew from our contests at home filling up a plastic container that I might overflow the cup and that would not be cool. But I didn't have a cup anyway. I could pee in the car but that would be disgusting. I could pee over the side, which would bring full relief, but that would draw a great clamor from the gawking crowd below. A crowd had gathered because by now the fire department was on hand, rescuing people using its ladder truck. I was not a kid who wanted any special attention, especially if that attention focused on my flaccid weiner or bodily elimination. The local news team was on site with reporter and camera. So what could I do? I just held it and moaned and waited for that ladder.

Well, my car happened to be stuck at the highest point so they rescued everybody else first. What am I going to do, yell to the firemen, "Hey, I have to pee really bad! Can you get me next?" Before the women and children. And suffer the jokes that would hound me forever. No way. So two hours into this ordeal, and having run out of witty banter about 90 minutes ago, here comes the ladder. It scrapes the bottom of our car. It is not quite long enough. They have to call in a longer ladder. You have got to be kidding.

The pain grows ever more intense. Fast forward 30 minutes. The new ladder is positioned and up comes Fireman Joe. Of course I have to let Marlana go first. Now you know when you really have to go, how you want to contort yourself into a ball to keep the dam from bursting? Try that on your way down a very long ladder. So eventually I'm on the ground, and people want to ask me if I'm okay and apologize and all that. All I want to know is where is the men's room. They point and I gimp in that direction. I manage to make it to the urinal, and of course all I want to do at that point is get my zipper down and unload, and you know how when you're so hyperfocused on something, you don't do it right, and of course I started unloading before my zipper was quite down, but at that point I didn't really care. At that point it was a wonderful transition from the most pain to the most joy.

And that is the most pain I have ever been in. For my trouble, a park official gave me a coupon for free french fries, which irks me to this day.


Tom said...

Great one. How did you overcome your urge to spill once Marlana exited the car?

E said...

Honestly I never thought of that until now. That would have been the right answer. I guess my decision was already made at that point.

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