Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Poo on the Road

I am a man unafraid to talk some serious poop.

I do not mean s***, because that would be foul and I may get my meanings confused, as I am not talking about talking about someone. Rather, I am referring to genuine crap – the fecal that matters.

Now, I’m a regular guy. And when I say regular, I mean that you could set your watch by my BM’s: one in the a.m. right after rolling out of bed, 90 minutes after each meal thereafter until I hit the sack and a final finale to close out the day, for good measure.

While some my call my frequent, stinky adventures excessive and bordering on colon endangering, I find them to be both healthy (Better out than in!) and delightfully liberating. Every time I leave the john, it’s like a load has been lifted or erstwhile removed, I’m lighter on my feet and the sun shines just a smidge brighter.

However, my digestive tract has a mortal enemy – it cannot overcome airplanes.

Just what, you might ask, does a vast chunk of steel hurtling at 600mph through the skies have anything to do with smaller chunks of digested food hurtling out at a less-than-sound-barrier-breaking pace? Frankly, I’m not entirely sure myself of the exact connection. But all I know is that the moment I step off a flight, I am no longer a free man. Oh, on the outside, I may appear to be the same. But within, I am bound and trussed, my free spirit stopped up.

Constipation: it’s no laughing matter.

Most unfortunately, this stoppage has become an unavoidable part of every trip I’ve taken over the past few years. Try (and try, and try, and try, and try and try) as I might, I cannot escape constipation’s colon clogging clutches.

I have noticed, in the course of my thoroughly scientific research, that the length of the flight is directly correlated to the length of y suffering. For example, I’ll only need a day or two to recover from a 90-minute shuttle flight. But put me on a 15-hour trans-Pacific route and The Works just ain’t working right.

I came on this trip armed with a full bottle of Metamucil capsules (courtesy of Grandma) and a half-bottle of fish oil (courtesy of Mom, who handed them to me saying, “This should grease the skids.”).

Still, despite the best natural remedies available to me, I waited five full days in quiet… urgent… pressing… desperation for sweet release to come. Five days. That’s almost a week and about a 500 percent decrease in going. My lower intestine’s rate of production fell faster than last week’s stock market – ba dum, ching.

Many times, I rushed to the loo, feeling a welcome gurgling sensation in my stomach only to find they ceased as soon as I reached the seat (which, by the way, are often heated in Japan – how did we NOT think of that sooner?). Each time, I sighed in frustration, flushed the folded toilet paper I’d readied in anticipation and zipped my fly.

“Maybe next time.”

As I waited, it seemed like the next time was always the next time. I was Charlie Brown, constantly running up to kick the football only to have Lucy the Toilet yank it away at the last instant. Maddening. Painfully maddening. Good grief!

They say good things come to those who wait. I have no idea who “they” are, but it turns out it’s a smart group of people. Just when I was about to grit my teeth and succumb to the temptation of the quick fix offered by Grandma’s glycerin suppositories (don’t ask), good things did indeed happen. Small at first – like a trickle through the Netherlands’ dyke. But it gave me hope for the future. The dawn was breaking; I was to be a free man.

Not a moment too soon, either.

It’s amazing how much more beautiful this country is when you’re 10 pounds lighter…

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