If there is one thing that connects all human beings, it is our desire to control nature’s way. It’s what we are good at… well, some of us are good at it. Others of us just walk around with the inside-out umbrellas of human progress; we know there is technology out there that will give us an edge, we just can’t figure out which to use and how. I can see her thought process on the laxative thing (we are from the same gene pool, after all) but, I can’t help but feel a bit of “how-could-you-be-so-stupid” as she described to me the dehydrated hell she faced during the race.
Her story reminds me of a situation I was in with a slightly different goal and outcome. My good buddy and I were preparing for a three-day, outdoor music festival full of beer, second-hand pot smoke, and the body hair and odor of hippy ladies. As we approached the gates, many of our contemporaries were ingesting various chemical enhancements no doubt to bring enlightened experiences and transcendence. My chum and I were toting our own little pills of modern convenience. As we approached the grounds of debauchery and indulgence, he handed me my blue soldier as he popped his before returning their box to his pocket - a box that read: Imodium AD.
We wanted to fool Mother Nature and stave off (for a bit) that ancient daily human ritual. It worked... for two days. Unfortunately, it is a three-day festival and Mother Nature does not like to be fooled. (Please, dear reader, do not judge. Yes, it was stupid in hindsight, but have you seen a Port-O-Potty lately? The horror of it is worth a science experiment or two in order to avoid.)
So, day three started and it was going to be the best of the bunch. I saw The Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans play on the small stage and they threw tiny tubs of ice cream to the audience at the end of their set! (You know the ones, with the round cardboard lids and the flat, wooden spoons. Remember birthday parties in elementary school?) I wasn’t close enough to get one thrown at me, which, considering the circumstances and the challenge I had going on, was probably a good thing.
The day proceeded beautifully… until Murphy and his merry band of legislators showed up. Apparently, the good times had gone on long enough and it was time that I drop my bread, butter side down… in the dirt… in the scorching sun… in heavy foot traffic. (No, I did not have an accident. Not yet. But it was time to go to the place I had been avoiding.)
After waiting, what seemed hours, in a line that was more like the scrum to get into Target on Black Friday, it was my turn to approach the dreaded plastic blue door. I’ve never waited so long to see something I despised so much. I got inside, and, of course, no supplies. In a panic, I opened the door and pled to the masses.
“Is there anyone out there who has toilet paper?!” All at once, a thousand people pretended to get a text and looked away. “I am really needing it and I am not kidding! Does anyone, ANYone have something I could use!?” Nothing.
I looked at the woman who had been standing behind me for the past decade and bluntly asked “M’am, do you have anything in your purse? Anything at all?”
“No.” she said, staring at the ground.
“Ugh, ok, here!” and she pulled out a package of wet wipes, took one out, and handed it to me!
Seriously?!?!? You made me beg?!?!? In front of thousands of people?!?!?
But, I was gracious. I got back into my third-world poop hut with what seemed inadequate equipment, still. But, I am telling you I was like Jesus with the loaves and the fishes that day. I don’t quite know how, but I used every bit of that wipee and did not leave wanting. I killed that buffalo and used even its eyelashes for warmth. I wasted nothing and was rewarded! Cherokee, be proud!
Here is the moral: Plan ahead, share your things, and don’t mess around with chemistry if you are not a chemist. And whatever happens, it’s ok. It’s a music festival. Or it’s a marathon. Either way, the lady behind you stinks too!