There are few experiences so pure in life to compare to how
you feel after a marathon. You feel exhilarated that you completed
it. You recollect on the endless hours and endless miles of training
you spent to get to this point. You wonder if the pain you have
in your legs will ever go away or if you will have to jam an ice
pick in your eye to divert the pain.
Such was the case at the end of this marathon. My legs felt,
well, like they had gone through a marathon. I stumbled around,
wobbly legged and on the verge of a total life threatening cramp-fest
that threatened my every step. If I had the strength ever again,
I would have to remember to throttle Gary until his eyes popped
like so many water balloons.
In this state, we piled into the Caravan, which seemed much
smaller now. We looked like escapees from an old folks home
being rounded up. We very ungraciously wheezed and ambled our
way into the vehicle with every movement looking like we were
merely giving suggestions to our bodies and hoping for the best.
All of us just wanted to get home and to that end, we headed
down the road. I laid in the back seat, thankful for somewhat
of a horizontal position and not daring to pull my legs all
the way into a bended position for fear of instant mutiny. A
somewhat restful peace came over me and I dozed lightly.
Then it happened. Suddenly, I shot up in my seat and announced
“Gentlemen, I am at SHITCON 4.”
If you read Forsaken, you already
know what I am talking about. Yes, the tremendous amount of
food I had eaten in the last 24 hours was now ready to travel.
Being men, the others completely understood. But for those
of you who do not know the conditions, let me explain:
SHITCON-4: this is the least serious stage but still not
one to ignore. It means that dumperage is imminent but there
is still time. You need to start looking for the can because
this is a very transitionary stage and could last mere seconds
depending on the situation.
SHITCON-3: The Eagle has landed. This condition is when
the mass has dropped and is a membrane away from daylight. This
stage is usually triggered when you actually see a facility
containing a restroom.
SHITCON-2: also known as the point of no return, this stage
surfaces as you touch the door to the bathroom and enter the
authorized dump site. In extreme cases, it is simultaneous with
the unbuckling and unzipping process.
SHITCON-1: Good Lord, there better be white porcelain within
your personal space. This is when your butt actually touches
the seat. There is absolutely no return even in the gravest
With these stages in mind and my announcement that SHITCON-4
had materialized, Gary immediately started looking for what
he knew would be the land-o-relief for the old Groseman.
Our first target of opportunity was only minutes away. It
was an AM/PM that we had stopped at on the way up and we knew
it had a bathroom because we had already used it the day before.
We pull in and very painfully and sadly unfold ourselves out
of the Caravan to what must have looked like to the average
bystander as a group of epileptics out for a Sunday fumble.
Using the guide above, you can see that I immediately transition
into SHITCON-3 as I enter the store. Looking across the tiny
store I see something that freezes my blood. A big white sign
that says “Bathroom Out of Order.” Oh, now this was just too
comical? No way could this really be happening. Didn’t they
know what shit condition I was at? Did they not realize that
it took Herculean effort to get out of Gary’s van and now I
would have to reverse the process still with pounds of feces
knockin’ on the door?
I came back out and explained my misfortune to my comrades.
With a mixture of laughter and understanding of my current condition,
we sped off to the next possibility.
Down the road about 2 miles there was, by the grace of God,
another AM/PM. Why two of the same store are so close together
I neither knoew nor cared. All I knew is that my SHITCON was
not getting any better.
As we pulled up and with relief in site, I am once again
painfully in motion to get out the door. The promise of relief
was almost intoxicating but I will not use the analogy that
I could almost smell it because that would be, you know, gross.
I enter the store and take a quick look around but saw no
restroom. I knew the damn toothless loser behind the counter
had to go somewhere and gambled the question. With all the intelligence
a junior high education could muster, he points outside. So
I bolt out the door and hobble around the corner to see, for
the second time in 10 minutes, a site that horrifies me. As
though in a movie where the scene seems to stretch out before
you, I saw at least a dozen people standing outside the lone
door that read “Restroom.” I could have cried.
Back to the van and the snickering assholes that resembled
my friends. I was so angry that I jokingly asked if there was
a hotel that I could rent a room just to take a dump in.
What are the odds? We got back on the road and sure enough,
the law of averages took over. There was not another bathroom
in site as we meandered through an industrial area. A sign showed
that there was a town about 7 miles ahead and at this point,
I was just a quite little concentrator not wanting to make any
sudden movements. No one spoke.
Finally, there it was. I was weary because it was yet another
AM/PM (how many of these damn things does this area have?).
For the third time, I resembled a scarecrow getting out of the
van and went to the side where the other store had hidden its
bathroom. Nothing but a brick wall. So I followed it around
and found it in the back. Incidentally, all three AM/PMs had
their bathrooms in different locations within the confines of
This time, no sign. This time, no line. There it was, free
and clear and I was on my way to… but wait. What is this? A
lady walking at a tighter angle towards the door. There was
not a men’s and women’s but a “universal” bathroom. She had
the same thing in mind but no way could she have known or even
been in the same league as my situation. This bitch was going
So, I bolted to the door like the ass that I was and felt
no shame whatsoever. I scrambled through the door, and slammed
it shot, locking it. There I was, SHITCON-2 and ready for action.
The room was a long one with the toilet at the opposite end
of the door. As I turned around, I saw what I could not accept.
The vision was not fair. How could there be yet another obstacle?
The toilet was there, yes it was. But what did my eyes tell
me? That it was stopped up and there was yellow water clear
up to the lip of the bowl. If I wanted to unload this train,
I was going to have to earn it!!
“OK, COME WIT IT, MOTHER F*****!!!!”
A man has a certain anatomy that those of you reading this
know so I will not go into the vulgar details. But suffice it
to say that sitting on a full bowl introduces the problem of
certain appendages dipping dangerously close to the putrid water
line. Therefore to alleviate said problem, it is necessary to
provide support. So with absolutely no self-respect left, there
I sat mere microns above someone else’s diluted urine on a public
toilet with what makes me a man firmly held at bay from the
To further exacerbate the situation, I needed just a little
more breathing room because what I expected was sure to displace
some water, to say the least. So leaning forward I had to support
myself using the only muscles in my body that I had just put
through the ultimate test. My hamstrings, which were already
on fire, were being asked to support my weight in order to get
me away from the foul brew below. Oh, the humanity!
Just then, I hear a voice. “So, you waiting to use the bathroom?”
It was Gary talking to the lady I had just rudely beat to the
door. And they were right outside! Three thoughts came to me
1. Shut up, Gary!!!
2. They are both going to hear the dam burst!
3. The result is going to be left when she comes in because
the toilet won’t flush!
But folks, we were officially at SHITCON-1 and all sensory
input ceased. I was in my own little world and the moment had
arrived. It was not easy and there were obstacles but the moment
was at hand (the other hand being otherwise engaged, as you
You would think that trumpets would blare. You would think
that with some much anticipation that the finale would be something
that legends are made of. You would think….
FINAL RESULT: ever see a Twix bar?
I think the term is anticlimactic. Another phrase for it
is God’s little joke.
As a final kicker, the only toilet paper was on the deck
which was damp due to the overflowed toilet. Not only was the
experience less than glorious, I had to live with no post-clean
I unlocked the door and opened it in one motion, ducking
right and making no eye contact with the lady who would soon
see the result of my efforts. As I got back in the van, what
could I say? “Hey guys, no joy!”
As I recovered over the next couple of days, my system cleared
its way out and all was good again. But take it from a guy that
has been there: either don’t eat a lot before a marathon or
be sure you can evacuate before the run. No one, and I mean
no one, should have to go through what I did.