[PHOTOGRAPH WITHHELD DUE TO INTESTINAL DISCOMFORT]
The most prominent spot on the front of the refrigerator in my employer’s home…the very spot reserved for exclusive preschool art projects…is the permanent home of the most repulsive photograph ever taken in the history of mankind. It would have been destroyed long ago, had it not been such a source of pride and personal achievement for one of my young charges, a tender four years of age, at the time of the dreadful incident in question. The spindly 24 pound boy spends many hours recounting the story, carefully saving the big “wow moment” of the visual aid for very last. The retelling never fails to produce just the right mixture of choke, gasp and strangle, that fills my young charge with utter triumph, and inflates his esteem, until it is in danger of rupturing.
It all started, as I remember it, in a small, odiferous bathroom, standing in front of the toilet, flanked on either side by my two, pint-sized charges (ages two and four). The three of us, wordlessly staring down into the porcelain abyss with wrinkled noses, lost in individual thought. My own sounding something like this…”Yes Mr. King, I too had a dream. I was going to save the world…holding an extremely high level position in ‘Worldwide Health Initiative,’ or some other fabulously influential, humanitarian organization. Wearing a stunningly professional, yet feminine suit with tasteful heels, saving the world from disease, hunger and social injustice, without ever mussing my hair.
But alas…it is not meant to be. For here I stand…a fabulously un-influential, Professional Nanny, wearing jean shorts and a white t-shirt, with splatters of chocolate milk bedazzling the front, staring down into a toilet, wondering where on earth my life went wrong. The shivering four year old boy breaks my trance, as he carefully slips his thin hand into mine. “What are we going to do with it, Nanny?” He asks, in a shaky voice.
The “it” causing all of the befuddlement, is a solid pile of waste matter, comparable both in size and odor, to one that might be expelled by an elderly, male rhinoceros. This particular mass, however, has miraculously escaped from the body of the scrawny four year old boy, standing at my right. The child is looking from the heap, to my face, trying to decide whether or not he should be afraid. The boy’s sister (age two), standing on my left, IS frightened, as she stares at the smoldering pile with wide eyes, repeating an elongated form of the word “wwwhhhoooaaaaa,” over and over again.
I must admit to being thoroughly perplexed by the thing, having never witnessed such a voluminous expulsion in my life…with the possible exception of the zoo. However, it is not merely the size of the beast that is so mystifying. It is the fact that it is one, uninterrupted, extremely elongated mass, coiled like a thick, brown snake at the bottom of the bowl. I look down at the hideous mound and back to the spindly boy. Physiologically impossible!
“Let’s flush.” I announce cheerfully, after what seems an eternity of contemplation. I do so. The thing remains motionless. Both children look from the sitting mass, then up to me. “Oh Crap!” I think. Literally! The three of us gaze down into the bowl at the monstrosity until the water stills.
A stinky silence hangs in the air.
“Let’s flush again.” I offer, a little less confident this time. I do so. The gigantic “it” moves approximately 1/8 millimeter, then is once again motionless. My thoughts begin to shift at this point, as I am now faced with what to do with this mutant. Does one shove it down? Does one break it into more manageable pieces? And more importantly, with what object would one accomplish such a task? Is there a specific product already in existence…The Poo Poker 2000, only $9.95 plus shipping and handling?
“Nanny?” The four year old whispers in a quivery voice.
“Don’t worry, Sweetheart.” I say, comforting the lanky tot. “It’s no big deal. Nanny will fix it.” However, as I say these words, I notice a huge smile, slowly spreading across his face.
“But Nanny,” He says, pride now twinkling in his eyes. “THIS IS THE BIGGEST POO IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD!”
“I think you’re right, Bud.” I reply.
“I want to take a picture to show Mommy and Daddy!” He shouts excitedly, running to grab the camera. He hands me the camera and I shoot a picture of the putrid mass, stubbornly stuck to the bottom of the bowl.
“I will name him, “MR. BIG FOOT,” he proudly announces, arms spread wide, as if introducing the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
“Mr. Big Foot…wwwhhhoooaaaaaa!” whispers the two year old.
Without going into further detail, let’s just say that it takes roughly 15-20 flushes (without the use of the Poo Poker 2000), to dislodge a glued mound of waste matter, approximately the size of a loaf of sandwich bread, from the bottom of a porcelain bowl. This allows a good bit of time for reflection. What are they feeding this child at night…Elmer’s Glue? Should we cut back on the child’s fiber intake? Is this a hereditary trait? If so, it must come from the father’s side.
I thought, perhaps the photo would work as a nice appetite suppressant in it’s spot, front and center, on the refrigerator. Sadly, I can now eat a large bowl of chocolate ice cream while staring at it, without so much as flinching. In the end, I suppose it matters not where we acquire our sense of self worth…even if it is just a big load of crap. What matters is that we build and maintain a big and healthy one. Let us all take a lesson from our shorter, and less polished counterparts, and celebrate more of our personal victories in life…no matter how unpalatable. I would, however, suggest that the photographs remain private.