Today seems like as good a day as any to start a blog. In fact today might be the best day in my life to date to start a blog dedicated to sharing the things that happen to me from time to time.
I should begin by telling you that once every three weeks I deliver for meals on wheels. I have been doing this for 4 1/2 years now. It is sometimes rewarding and sometimes depressing, but the people I meet are appreciative and it's well worth doing. Today I delivered for the second consecutive week on account of my having played golf a couple of Mondays last month, so I was fresh in the minds of the people on the route which apparently made me more personable.
My last stop of the day is always the 6th floor of a condominium building in Portland. Instead of paying for parking I place my homemade "Meals on Wheels Delivery Driver" sign on the dashboard, park in the 15 minute only spot and head into the building. The young guy who works the front desk always buzzes me in before I get to the door and it's up the the 6th floor for me. I take a left out of the elevator and head toward the smell of cigarette smoke. You see, the gentleman I'm taking food to is a Vietnam Vet who has a rare terminal disease. He spends most of his day in either his recliner or his wheel chair and he smokes like a chimney.
I ring the doorbell and he yells "come in!" as usual but the door is locked today so I try yelling back, but he isn't wearing his hearing aid (hearing loss is part of his disease) and he has the TV blaring so I may as well be a fart in the wind. After some time (I assume he's hoisting himself into his motorized chair) he answers the door and we go into our typical sarcastic banter. This is good because last week he was pretty down about the progression of his disease and I left thinking there wasn't much time left.
We talk for a while and somehow we start talking about mundane world records and he says "have I ever told you this story before?"
Me: "How the hell should I know? What story?"
Him: "Before my brother died we went on a ferry to Alaska. I had to use the john pretty bad but when I went in there some backpacking kid was in the handicapped stall...the little bastard. I tried the other stalls but they were all filthy and I was in my chair so I waited. When the kid had finished I went into the stall and what do you think I saw?"
Me: "I don't know and I'm probably better off not guessing."
Him: "It was the longest turd I had ever seen."
Him: "No, I'm telling you this was the longest turd I'd ever seen. I don't know how this kid saved up for it, but he really did something special there."
Him: "So I had to tell my brother but I knew he wouldn't believe me so I had to take a picture of it."
Him: "So I take a picture of this thing and show it to my brother and we had a helluva laugh over it. The toilets on that ferry reminded us of being on the submarines in 'Nam. It's no wonder he never wanted to crap in there."
Me: "Yeah, no wonder."
Him: "So later on when my brother was living with me (his brother lived with him for 2 years and 4 months after being given 5 days to live by his oncologist) I went into the bathroom and I really had to go. After I was done I looked down and I couldn't believe what I had created. It must have been the medication they had me on because this was more impressive than the backpacker on the ferry."
Me: "We should make you a plaque."
Him: "So I wanted to show my brother but I knew he wouldn't come in from the other room to see so I went and got my camera..."
Me: "Well of course, you gotta document something that monumental."
Him: "...and my rubber gloves. And slowly and carefully I started to pull that thing out of the toilet."
Me: (jaw dropping open)
Him: "Inch by inch I rested it up higher and higher on my arm, careful not to break it. I laid it down on the paper towels I'd put on the floor..."
Me: "Oh my God."
Him: "...and I ever so gently stretched it out next to a tape measure making sure not to touch the thousand dollar camera to it."
Me: "Oh my God."
Him: "And I'm tellin' ya this thing was 18 inches long. So I go and take the camera over to my brother to show him and he won't look. So I just hold it there and finally he gives in and looks at it and he goes from 'I'm not gonna look you sick bastard' to 'holy sh*t! how did you do that?'."
Me: "That's the strangest story I've ever heard. Once my step-brother saw not a long turd, but a thick one in a toilet at Embassy Suites and called me in to look at it. It was as big around as a big burrito (holding up my hands and makeing a circle the size of a Chipotle carnitas burrito with extra cheese)."
Him: "Oh, I hadn't told you that part. Mine was thick like that too. I have the picture over there on that camera if you don't believe me."
Me: "I believe you"
Him: "It's just over there. I oughtta show you."
Me: "That's amazing."
Him: "In fact I will show you...hold on."
So he drives his chair over to the corner desk and grabs his camera and starts skipping through pictures on it. There are 683 pictures on this camera and I'm seeing shots of his brother's wake and his brother's dead dog that also died of cancer. I'm seeing Tom, the guy who owned the bar where the wake was. There's a shot of a white Christmas. Then all of a sudden there is this thing that looks like a dark-skinned man's forearm laying there next to a tape measure. It absolutely measured 13 inches long and there's no way my hand could have come close to wrapping all the way around it.
Him: "You can see I didn't form it at all or put any two pieces back together or anything. It was just one solid turd."
Me: "Yeah, that thing is smooth and uniform. No doubt about it."
Him: "So now you know when I tell you something it's the truth and I can back it up."
Me: "So...uhh...how long does it take to push something like that out? 10 seconds or...?"
Him: "Oh hell no. 10 seconds? It took at least 3 or 4 minutes. I had to keep working to push it out of there. Most turds are self lubricating and slide out easy if you've noticed. Because of the meds, this one wasn't. You can see on the end where it tapers a bit that I just couldn't relax the muscles any more and finally had to squeeze it off."
Me: "Oh my God."
Listen...not all my writing will be about dying men talking about giant pieces of crap.
Keep it Keen,