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Someone once said life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes, as though it were the bubbles in your bath all tra la la and lavender scented. Truth is, life is a series of harrowing challenges, each one more dynamically designed than the last to make you look like a schmuck. For proof I invite you to film yourself at the moment of orgasm, watch it sober and with friends, and tell me life isn't tailor-made to make you look like a fool. That being said, at least we can look to history for some idea how to manage a lot of these terrible challenges -- first dates, job interviews, grand larceny trials. But what about those unseemly incidents, those moments we feel are best forgotten so we never mention them and thus future generations have to handle them as virgins? What's up with that bullshit? My pain is your gain; suckle from my knowledge teat and be wise.

Showering At Someone Else's House


Everyone wants the home-court advantage; that's a given. I've known people who will drive over an hour out of their way to get back to their own houses just to poop for fear of using a toilet in public. Generally speaking, a shower is not really in the same ballpark. You never eat a Grand Slam at Denny's and within a half hour feel like you need a shower. Wait, that's not true. What I mean is the need to shower rarely creeps up your backside like the ever-puffening fingers of doom. You can usually plan them.

If you're out of town or spending the night at a friend's or some such, the shower predicament becomes real. And a solid 50 percent of the time it's no problem at all. But only 50 percent of the time. So if you're sitting there thinking, "Every shower I have ever taken was refreshing and crisp and I have well-coiffed pubes at all times," then good for you, mister. Why don't you go model some fuckin' Diesel jeans?

I can't even afford a stock photo of Diesel Jeans.

The rest of us have had that trepidatious moment when we find ourselves in the shower of, say, the parents of the person we're seeing now. Maybe it's the holidays and this is your first time meeting them in person, and now you're naked and cold in their bathroom and their faucet looks like it was designed by NASA and there's more than one shower head and at least one knob on the wall that you've literally never seen in a bathroom before. But here you are, naked and in the stall, and you don't want to be the moron who asks for help bathing, because you don't live in an institution and all of us are supposed to know how to do this by the time we're about 5 or 6.

So you stare at the assorted knobs and such for a moment and rely on history to guide you. Left is hot and right is cold. Only that's never, ever true if you're in a place with unlabeled faucets. Why? Because plumbers hate us, I assume. But the moment you think you can attain warm water with ease is the moment you scald your genitals like a German man on holiday in Amsterdam.

Wish you were here!

The only possible way to actually come out ahead in this situation, barring not taking a shower and hoping to mask your stink, is to literally see it coming and prepare in advance. If you're at your significant other's parents' house, you need to ask your special someone in private how to use the shower. They're OK with you looking and sounding dumb, so it won't harm anything. You can't ask your partner's dad, though, because that's a one-way ticket to dipshit street.

Farts In A Dignified Situation


The thing that united all of mankind is not thumbs or language or a love of tacos; it's the fact all people, from babies to the elderly, find farts hilarious. We have written works of poetry so moving they can bring a grown man to tears. We have mastered technology that can take us to other planets. We have crawled by tooth and claw from the primordial ooze through the rigors of hunting and gathering to farming to industrialization and beyond, and throughout all of this, farting has made us laugh.

But, flying in the face of what I just said, not every fart is funny. If you're on a road trip with a friend who's eaten three bags of corn chips, his 15th fart in the sweltering heat of the day isn't funny at all. It's motive. And you'll come across these fart instances here and there that are not so much funny as gross, as is to be expected with what amounts to a draft from your asshole making itself known in the room.

The most awkward of all farts one has to deal with is the serious or dignified fart. This is your high-profile job interview or funeral-type fart.

A fart so bad it causes additional funerals.

I've experienced only one, and it was brutal. It was in a hospital room as a doctor explained the condition of family member who was not going to be getting better. Imagine that somber moment, when you hear a loved one's accident was worse than you had feared and they're not going to make it. And someone cuts a ripper that sounds like rubber being dissected with a chainsaw. Not a long one, just a quick "braawp!" Loud, unmistakable, poignant. It was as though someone had pulled a gun and was choosing a victim and the rest of us could simply wait to see what happened next.

First: No, it wasn't me. I mean, often it's me. You would have been smart to put money on me if you were playing the odds, but it wasn't. I don't know who it was. I only have suspicions. No one came forward, because why would you?

Anonymous shame is your only option.

You can't lighten the mood after such an apocalyptic fart; the mood isn't meant to be lightened. The fart itself was an inappropriate mood lightener. There's literally nothing appropriate to say at that moment unless the person you're all just freshly grieving was ironically hospitalized by a fart, but what are the odds of that?

What did we do? After an agonizing pause, the doctor cleared her throat and just kept talking. We opted for fantasy, to believe in make believe. There had been no fart and we would not acknowledge its existence. And so it was.

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Misidentifying Someone


Ever find yourself in a store with a friend and you're sauntering along looking at the Jell-O molds and tea cozies, chatting away about the really long hair you found adjacent to your nipple the other day, then you finally turn to your friend and realize you're walking with an old man and your friend is on the far side of the store buying jerky? And you look at the old man and he looks at you and you know the son of a bitch could have said something but didn't. He let you keep going thinking he was someone else, who knows for how long. What an asshat.

Nice cane, loser.

Thinking you know who you're dealing with when you don't is just awful. You see someone across a room as they wave and think they're waving at you, so you wave back just as you realize it's a complete stranger waving at the person next to you, who will inevitably give you the "Don't bogart my wave, creep" look before running to meet their friend. It makes you feel like a complete tool. And it'll happen more than once in life. Depending on your luck, it'll happen too much.

There's no good excuse for this. Literally the only excuse is "I thought you were someone else," because that's what happened, and that in turn means your thinker is broke. You thought a stupid thing that was wrong. Sometimes super wrong. And the other person never feels awkward, because they don't give a shit. It's always all on you. The best way to deal with this is to give the mistaken person the stink-eye, as though you do blame them for being the wrong person, and then rush off. That way you'll leave them thinking maybe they did somehow screw up. Shake a stranger's confidence and the day is yours.

Clogging A Public Toilet


It was about 2 in the morning. My friends and I had made the trip up north about four hours to see a massive, all-day outdoor concert. There were literally dozens of bands on three stages, acts ranging from indie bands no one had ever heard of all the way up to headliners like the Foo Fighters. Tens of thousands of people attended. It was a good time. But now we were on our way back home, traveling the back roads late at night. I was in the passenger seat, while three friends were already passed out in the back. I remember traveling past cornfield after cornfield and a low-lying fog rolling onto the highway. It was becoming harder and harder to stay awake and to navigate the road in the fog. What looked like dozens of cars on the horizon would turn out to be a single car, its headlights reflected through the fog over and over. It was tense and tiring. And I had to shit.

I told my friend Uggums to pull over. He looked at the dash and said he needed gas, so the next time we found a town he'd stop at a gas station. I smiled at his naivety and reiterated my command. This was no request. This wasn't "when you have a moment would you mind pulling over?" This was "Stop the car now or we're about to pick up a sixth passenger that no one is going to enjoy." He looked in my eyes and he knew. And suddenly, as though Heaven itself had pierced the fog with a miracle, the cornfields gave way to a single building, lit bright against the dark night. A 24-hour truck stop/doughnut shop. Saints be praised.

It's like Heaven, except for shitting in public.

We pulled to a stop and I practically Dukes of Hazzarded my way from the car window, sprinting into the building. A handful of truckers and a waitress looked up at me. The waitress began to say something but my feet were already blazing a trail toward the promised land. I muttered something incoherent like, "Med the fritz," and barreled through the bathroom door and into a stall.

The events that followed need not be detailed with any great specificity. To maintain my own dignity and your own sanity, let's not delve too deep into the Cthulhuian bioterror that laid waste to that poor country doughnut shop, for legend says to invoke its spirit is to invite it into your reality across both time and space, and let me just assure you, that's not a thing you want. Suffice it to say a day of high-heat dehydration and abundant fried foods had merged to create the perfect storm of high-density regret. It wasn't pretty -- not that it should have been. And then I flushed.

Time slows to a crawl in those moments when it dawns on you a bad situation is about to get worse. In this moment, as I stared at the toilet bowl, at water that didn't even pause to consider going down the drain, rather it began to rise like the Mississippi in flood rains, I knew I had erred.

And soon, this will be my life.

Through no fault of my own, I had created a monster and, like the good doctor from Mary Shelley's novel, I was absolutely in no way equipped to deal with the repercussions. And so I fled.

I ran like a bitch from that bathroom. I'm not proud of it. It was late and I was sore and tired and young and stupid. And as the waters crested the bowl and crept across the tiled floor like a thing possessed, I said nothing to anyone. I fled the shop and returned to the car.

"Drive!" I commanded. Uggums looked at me perplexed until our eyes met, mine a frenzy of panic, his briefly hooded and sleepy.

"What did you do?"

"Drive!" I hissed. And, having known me for many a year, he questioned my motives no further. We drove. We never looked back.

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