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Random Thoughts About Pee

One day when I was seven years old, my sister was being a complete butt. I mean, a real butt! This wasn’t particularly unusual at the time, as we could be butts to each other, but that day I was tired of it. When she ordered me to get her a glass of water, I complied, but it was no ordinary glass of water. I used a dirty cup and peed in it before bringing it to her. Fortunately, she saw the dirt before drinking anything, but it was enough to express my displeasure.

 

Pee pranks were a staple of my not so innocent youth.
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For some reason I was going through a phase of pee pranks at that age. I remember when I stayed at my cousins’ house in Santa Cruz, one of my cousins had a miniature plastic picnic basket toy. I peed in it up to the brim, closed it up, and left it on top of the toilet tank. I don’t know what happened to it after that, because we went home, but I imagine it was a most unpleasant surprise for someone.

 

Another time, I watched a movie called The Boy Who Could Fly and saw the scene with the little boy with the squirt gun full of pee. I decided to try this out for myself. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how he got the pee into the water gun and ended up peeing all over one in the process.

 

At school, I didn’t use real pee. However, I used to run out of the bathroom with my hands covered with water, which I’d wipe on a random kid and shout, “Ew! Pee!” Most of the time the kids just looked annoyed and went into the bathroom to wash their arms. For some reason no one ever told on me, I think because they were too grossed out to explain it.

 

I don’t know what my obsession with pee was at that age, but I eventually outgrew it. I’m sure if my parents had been paying attention at the time, they would’ve been relieved, but I doubt they really noticed either way. I discovered that there were much better things to do for pranks, like the time I stole my sister’s towels and clothes while she was taking a shower and left the bathroom door wide open in full view of the family room windows.

 

Dad became obsessed in his own right when I was about nine years old. I told a few innocent potty jokes and he blew it completely out of proportion. He had Mom convinced that I had a problem and that all I talked about was potty stuff, which was far from the truth. Yes, one time I replaced all the lyrics of one of his favorite songs (which I hated) with toilet humor, but I wouldn’t call it an obsession.

 

But no, Dad was convinced that he had to put a stop to this. He dragged Mom as far as having her questioning my sanity and asking if something had happened to me. He also took away my tape recorder for a while because he was convinced I was using it for potty humor. In reality, with the exception of one fart contest I had with my friend Daniel, I used the tape recorder to record my stories and games.

 

He also decided that I was some kind of pervert because I slept naked and started viciously ordering me to put a night gown on at night. I spent many a Florida night sweating in clothing and trying not to twist my night gown around while I couldn’t sleep. Meanwhile, Dad slept nude in his room without a care in the world. The hypocrite!

 

Fortunately, he eventually outgrew this phase. I went back to sleeping naked in my room and he stopped obsessing over my toilet humor. I don’t know what it was exactly that took him in a different direction, but I think it was partially because we started going to church and he became obsessed with religion instead.

 

Dad had this problem with obsessing over things and making them his whole life, all the while losing sight of anything else that matters. He did this with Christianity. One day, all he talked about was religion, he watched religious shows at night, he listened to Christian contemporary music, and he was always doing Bible studies. Even his clothing reflected his religion, with all his t-shirts with Christian messages and his “colors of faith” bracelet.

 

I remember one time I came across his faith journal. He spent several pages lamenting over the fact that Mom wanted to move west again and that we were going to move into “Satan’s territory”, or something like that. He often talked about trying to “win” Mom’s salvation from Hell, and praised God when I considered trying the new church he’d found. (I didn’t, because I realized I was done with Christianity at that point.)

 

That was the church where he discovered the music of Bob and Jeannie, two country gospel artists whose work still makes my skin crawl. Dad would play the tapes in the house and I would shudder as I listened to this high-pitched woman’s voice talk about how she “started living when I started giving to God.” It actually made me nauseated after a while.

 

I remember we took a trip to Mammoth Lakes for my fifteenth birthday and he packed those tapes. I should have thrown them away, but instead I just tried to hide them in the back of the truck. He found them, but he didn’t play them after he learned how much I hated Bob and Jeannie. I never heard him play the tapes again, in fact.

 

His obsession hung on stubbornly for the next two years. He identified himself as a Christian businessman and hung out with other Christian businessmen. He played his Carman tapes in the car. He pronounced his belief that Jesus Christ was his personal savior whenever I questioned the faith or announced that I was no longer a Christian.

 

Then one day it all stopped. Dad became obsessed with multi-level marketing and backed himself into a financial corner, where the creditors started calling all day. He went from listening to Carman and the 700 Club to worshiping Zig Zigler and Wayne Dyer. All he ever talked about were his products, his adventures in sales, and how he wanted a piece of a Caribbean island promised to him by the idiots who ran the company he worked for.

 

He moved through several companies over the years of his latest obsession. First it was something called Life Works, which was some sort of educational program. Next it was Quorum International, a now defunct company that sold security products. He dabbled with a pyramid scheme known as Star-tronics. Finally he settled on Art of Better Living and Airtel, the latter of which made him broke and in debt. And Art of Better Living literally killed him.

 

He started using the weight loss products of Art of Better Living, and he lost a lot of weight in the process. It was dropping off so fast that he was left with a bunch of loose skin. However, it also put him into atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure. He had to be cardioverted once, but the bad rhythm returned, and by that point his heart was so enlarged it was too dangerous to try it again. Worse, he gained all the weight back and then some.

 

By the time he weighed over four hundred pounds and smelled of pickles and dirty vagina, he’d already moved onto his next obsession. The lingering health effects of Art of Better Living eventually caught up to him, though, and he dropped dead from a massive heart attack. His obsessions haunted and killed him.

 

I didn’t find out for some time what actually happened with Art of Better Living. The company eventually went out of business, like so many of those MLM businesses, and the owner of the company was arrested. Why was he arrested? Because he put speed in his weight loss products and he got caught. That’s right, Dad died from taking speed without knowing it.

 

I would sue over this, but it’s been so long now that the statute of limitations has passed. Besides, I would have to show that I actually cared about the man in the first place. Just the thought of that makes me sick to my stomach.

 

I’d had my fill of Dad at that point. For the last few years he’d become obsessed with politics, and his whole life was involved with it. He even had plans to make it to Washington someday, starting with little offices in Washington state. He spent his days shuttling from one event to another, served on the town council, donated to several liberal political organizations, and wrote a political blog.

 

Every morning he woke up and turned on CNN or Air America, which he blasted through the house. He kept the curtains closed and the lights off, sitting at his computer as if he were in some war room and he was battling the evil Republicans who were, supposedly, bent on taking over the country and turning it into a dictatorship, with “King George” at the helm. He wouldn’t get off the computer for anything but dinner or one of his political events or meetings.

 

I remember one time I invited him to go to the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua because I thought he’d enjoy it. When it came time to pick his events, he was annoyed because he didn’t want to go in the first place, because it took him away from his politics and his computer. I got angry because he promised, and he begrudgingly signed up for his events, pouting the whole time.

 

Watching him eat was disgusting. His two favorite foods were Tony’s pizzas topped with green onion and anchovies, or a slab of turkey ham and Velvetta between two slices of bread and an entire bag of chips, and I don’t mean one of the small ones, either. We would go through two chubs of turkey ham in a week, and we’d have to go to the store multiple times a week because he kept eating everything in the house while he worked on his stupid blog.

 

And the actual act of eating… There are few words that can describe it, but I’ll do my best. He would make grunting and gurgling noises while he ate. He’d also take these huge bites, strings of spit bridging the gap between his hand and the food. Most of it ended up on the front of his shirt, where he would bitterly complain that it revealed his gluttonous habits.

 

The man was not all there anymore at this point. He was constantly losing his wallet and keys in odd places throughout the house. It was hard to listen to him because of his slow, plodding speech, persistent stammering, and his constantly mixing up the pronouns “he” and “she”. He would get into these moments where he would struggle to identify a he or she, oscillating between the two words as you saw him visibly struggling to figure it out.

 

I recall one day when I got the chills. We were watching a CNN broadcast where a young eighteen-year-old soldier was heading off to Iraq. Dad was incensed that the military was sending a boy his age in to fight when “he can’t even vote!” Mom and I looked at each other and then reminded him that kids his age had been able to vote since the seventies. Dad tried to pass it off as a “senior moment”, but I knew it was more than just a slip of the tongue.

 

I moved up to Ellensburg for a short time in that period. One day I got a call from Dad asking how things were going. He started talking about this video that had been released online that depicted a reporter being beheaded by terrorists. I was aware of this video and refused to watch it, out of respect for the reporter and because I am not interested in seeing something so disturbing.

 

Dad, as I found out, not only watched the video, he had some choice things to say about it. He gave me a description of the victim’s behavior that I will not repeat here out of respect for the reporter and his family. He said it so cold and scientifically, as if he were perfectly justified to talk about a murder victim this way. I remember I hung up shortly after this and spent several minutes staring at the phone, disbelieving what I’d just heard. Yes, I knew my dad’s moral compass was out of whack, but I never realized it was broken.

 

A year later, I had shared with him some of my spiritual beliefs. I found out later that he was back to “worrying” about my sanity, as Mom put it when she spoke to me. I remember the mix of anger and exhaustion that I felt at that point. Yes, exhaustion. It was the first time I’d ever felt that when dealing with that asshole.

 

“I wish he was dead,” I said. “I don’t want to deal with him anymore. I’m just tired of this.”

 

A few days later, he and Mom set sail for a cruise around the Pacific. In his last phone call, Dad reported that he was sea sick, something I found odd because Dad used to be in the Navy. Mom said he was so sick that he was turning green. The call eventually cut off as they sailed out of range and it was the last time I ever heard from Dad.

 

He and Mom went to Russia, where they were going to take an adventure trip to a Kamchatkan volcano. On the trip out to the cone, Dad fell out of his seat and didn’t get up again. It took Mom a few minutes to realize that he was dead. That untreated heart attack that he’d had a few days before had finally caused his heart to burst. Death was instantaneous. My wish had been granted.

 

The next phone call I received was the announcement of his death. The first thing I felt when I heard the news was relief. I didn’t have to deal with him anymore. No more obsessions, no more abuse, and no more of his strange behavior in the last few years.

 

Dad had plans for his memorial service. He wanted everyone to throw a party and play Cajun music to remember him. We did nothing of the sort. The only thing we did was dump his ashes along the back fence line of my new property, where I refused to take part in the family ceremony. In fact, I turned my back on it. The very thought of touching his ashes made me sick.

 

But this article wasn’t supposed to be about him. It was about pee humor, wasn’t it? I still make potty jokes now and then, sometimes just to spite him. In fact, I used to be involved with a now defunct website devoted to adults who liked bathroom humor. I find myself laughing at the scene in Rick and Morty where Morty and Summer accidentally teleport into a universe that consists of nothing but farting butts, and when Rick manifests a butt in a coffee cup. I shouldn’t laugh, but I do every time.

 

My point, I guess, is that you have to laugh at the base things sometimes. Go ahead and go for that low-hanging fruit now and then. You don’t want to end up like my humorless, soulless father.

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