Category Archives: Stories

Our Hypothetical Heroine

When in the middle of a Poop Horror Story, our hypothetical heroine was faced with these 10 options pointed out by you, my chicken-sh*t problem-solving readers:

  • Flee and hope the next poor sap patron gets blamed.
  • Deny. Pretend like nothing happened and allow the next poor sap patron to deal with it.
  • Pretend to BE the next poor sap patron.
  • Feign ignorance about the source of the problem while pointing out the problem.
  • Grab some towels to clean up. Then do the laundry. Act as if you’re just being extra-helpful this cheery morning.
  • Fix the toilet (butt crack exposure optional) before the overflow starts. (Yeah, right, Casual McGyver and BattyGadget.)
  • Hyperventilate about the disgusting-ness. (“Check!” says our mythical heroine.)
  • Get a nametag that reads The Bathroom Flooder to honor your now-permanent nickname (which will likely replace “Truncation-of-your-name!” from here on out when you walk in the joint.)
  • You would never get yourself into this pickle in the first place because you have a sphincter-of-steel.
  • Acknowledge your humanness, indeed everyone’s humanness (Kumbaya, anyone?) and march out of there like Carrie Bradshaw the time she fell on the catwalk during the fashion show. Ask for a plunger while holding your head high (and your pants-legs up).

As for our hypothetical heroine? She may (or may not) have attempted to pull off the Carrie Bradshaw scene.

She also may (or may not) be doing more and more Kegel exercises these days.

The Coffee Shop

So you’re sitting in a coffee shop. An independent one, with a personality. Your very own caffeinated Cheers.

“Truncation-of-your-name!” the barista says as you walk in, already preparing your Americano with room for cream. You chit-chat with her, perhaps not as wittily as Norm does with Sam, and you get your frequent sipper card stamped.

You set up your laptop and check some emails. After awhile, the coffee starts doing its thing, waking up all parts of your body as it moves through your digestive tract. Hello, Large Bowel!

You go to the stall-less bathroom and do your business. No big deal. And, I literally mean, no big deal.

Are you with me?

You press the flusher and the toilet does its filling thing. And it keeps doing its filling thing and keeps doing its filling thing, but without doing its draining thing. As the water level rises, so does your panic.


You scoop your bag off the floor (even though it’s way in the corner and most likely out of harm’s reach) and step awaaaaay from the commode to protect your new gym shoes.

Now. What do you do?

(Hypothetically, of course.)

Kid Clint and the Pivotal Burrito

“Find out what you can about that guy with the blue eyes,” I said to Don. He  was the teacher of the Improvisational Comedy class I was taking. In addition, he was my contract employee, since I had hired him to teach the class for the adult learning network I ran in the mid 1990s.

One of the perks of my job was that I got to interview all the teachers and observe a 15 minute teaching demonstration of their classes. I also got to attend any class in our 64-page catalog, published 8 times a year. My areas of expertise became broad as the Great Plains and deep as its topsoil during the Great Depression.

I’d been spending my Saturday nights in the lower level of a bar where Don’s improv troupe performed. A team of 15 players rotated 5 in and out each week, and several times I’d caught this very cute 20-something guy with piercing blue eyes. A guy who didn’t always resort to the easy laughs one gets with crotch humor.

In fact, this guy proffered very literate humor. As a business major, I recognized but didn’t get all his references to Dante and Melville, to Cervantes and Scorsese. I just knew he was smart and funny. And had gorgeous eyes.

Hence my request to Don.

“What, exactly, would you like me to find out for you?” asked Don the Monday after a show.

“Just the important things,” I replied. “Find out if he’s single, if he’s straight, and if he’d like to meet me.”

On Thursday, Don called with three answers: yes, yes and yes. And that the troupe was to perform at a street festival Saturday afternoon.

That day we had a brief hailstorm during which I subjected my sister, Tami, to witnessing a trying-on of my entire closet. I hadn’t told her why I cared so much about my appearance.

The clouds finally cleared and we headed to the festival. We found the stage (really just a blocked-off intersection) and watched the street performance, where Blue Eyes ended up playing Clint Eastwood as a kid. On his bare knees in the middle of the street. With a lit cigarette hanging out his mouth.

Don had told Blue Eyes about me. In fact, while offstage, Don pointed our way and said to him, “Remember I told you about the girl who wanted to meet you?”

“Yeah,” said my prey.

“See that girl over there?” Don said. “Oh, yeaaaaah,” Blue Eyes said, appreciatively.

Don was pointing at my sister. My very BUXOM sister.

“It’s the tall woman behind her,” Don finished. “Hmmmmm,” was the response, with perhaps an equally approving head nod (I’ll never know, will I?).

We angled to meet each other after the show. After some misses, we ended up at the same burrito booth at the same time.

Extending a hand that bore a wrapped burrito, he said “Hi, Lori. Don has told me about you. I’m Roger.”

With that, our fate was sealed. 14 years ago this week.