I’m not one to wet my pants. People often say that something scared the pee out of them, so it must not be uncommon. I get scared plenty, so I guess I’m just not that way.
Perhaps the best wet-myself opportunity was when I was at Worlds of Fun, grinding up an impressively vertical hill on my favorite rollercoaster. After a long wait in line I already felt a pressing need to go to the bathroom and was calculating the potential effect of upcoming g-forces, when—kank!—the rollercoaster itself broke, jamming to a halt and stranding us as we faced straight up at the sky. It was scary, yes, but I had this heartpounding crush on the girl next to me, so I wasn’t entirely displeased with the circumstances. Not even when cold raindrops began to drip. . . drip. . . drip. . . into my lap. I suppose if there is a good time to wet oneself, it’s in the rain. But still, I didn’t.
On a long flight to Paris I had avoided the bathroom which had been shared for eight hours by three hundred of my international acquaintances, figuring I could hold it until the plane landed. The landing itself was quite a hard bump and nearly popped my balloon. Then we waited on the tarmac. And w a i t e d . My eyes began to water and my Kegels quivered in stress. I tried to devise a scheme where I’d fall out of line and let loose on the fence behind the plane, but this was just after 9/11 and I knew I’d be shot. They finally boarded us onto a bus which circled the entire airport about six times, hitting every available speed bump and rail crossing. I was squeezing so hard I was afraid I’d pee diamonds. When I finally made it to a bathroom I nearly couldn’t go, because everything had welded itself shut.
I once flicked on a basement light to the surprise of a writhing sea of cockroaches. I’ve been barraged by bats, startled by snakes. I screamed like a girl when I opened the basement door at Mick’s and came face to face with Pirate Pete, an inflatable guy Holli had propped up there for my amusement. So it’s a surprise that the only thing that ever made me give up a squirt was a manhole cover.
I was near Elmwood Park, on a long evening walk with my daughter Molly. I stepped on this big manhole cover and it let loose a hideous growl right between my macho Birkenstocks. My man parts jumped into my ribcage.
Molly didn’t hear it, and laughed at the look on my white face. “Hif…het…hip…” I explained. So I stepped on it again, and it growled again like the Devil’s squeaky toy, half angry dog and half hissing cat. Her eyes widened to the size of fried eggs. We giggled nervously, stepping on it with the tippiest of toes a few times before turning to run. But my Snow White gene kicked in and I paused. What if it is a trapped dog that got knocked into the sewer by a car? Or something. I went around and tried to peer into the gutter, which was perfectly big enough for an alligator to spring out, but I couldn’t get a good look because the sun had set and I was only willing to get within thirty feet of it. Back around to the top. Stomp. Arrrchhhhssst!
“That’s no dog, Dad,” Molly murmured as she backed away.
At least it is nice to be able to tell you that the front door to Hades is on the 700 block of Happy Hollow Boulevard.
Maybe it was a raccoon. Maybe an opossum. Maybe I’ll never go back to find out. At least not unless I’ve gone to the bathroom first.