This is a story I’m compelled to share. This is a tragic tale of failure that needs to be passed on from generation to generation. This is a harrowing narrative of how an automatic flushing office toilet robbed me of my stool sample.
Gather ’round, gang! Here’s a story about poop!
The company I’m working for scheduled our annual physical examination on a Monday from 10am to 7pm, and again at 10pm to 7am the next day. My work schedule is from 7am to 4pm so I decided to do it after work — because there’s nothing like ending your day with strangers reminding you that you’re fat and you have high blood pressure.
After a grueling workday, I went through the usual process of corporate sponsored APEs.
I had blood taken on the very first try! A few years ago, a nurse had to puncture several parts of my arms and hands just to find the right vein or something. Because I’m fat. It was not fun. So having blood drawn from my arm on the very first try is always a victory for me.
My height and weight were measured. I fumbled through the eye exam because the eye chart was all the way on the opposite side of the conference room, damn it! I gave a cup of my urine to some dude who’s probably constantly doubting his career choices.
I had a nice little chat with a physician who told me that my lungs and my heart are fine. For a non-exercising person who smokes (I’m trying to quit!), knowing that there’s nothing funky about your heart rate and your breathing is great news. And then off I went to the mobile x-ray van where, for the first time in a long time, somebody asked me to take my shirt off.
Hey, girl. How you doin’?
Everything was going great until I reached the very last step: the part where you have to provide a stool sample. For me, this part of the process always feels like a sick ritual where you’re forced to offer your feces to Satan. I’ve already given stool samples several times in past APEs but I’ve never gotten used to it. I always struggle with the logistics of it all, not to mention my body is never ready to poop when I need or want it to poop. But this time? This time would be different, I thought.
The second stretch of the APE schedule extends to the next day, so I decided to wait until the last hour. My plan was to go home, hold my shit in until the next morning, go to work early, bring a plastic spoon, then acquire the stool sample from one of the office toilet cubicles. It was a perfect plan. I was monumentally wrong.
The following day, I went to the office an hour early. Around 6am, the office restrooms are almost always devoid of people even if there are night shift teams. It’s the perfect time to drop turd bombs and collect a sample. Armed with a plastic spoon and a plastic cup, I confidently sat in one of the office toilets.
“This would be the best stool sample collection experience ever,” I said. “I am so proud of myself. So clever, this one,” I said. I would’ve patted myself on the back if it wasn’t too much work.
The bombs dropped. There was a lot of it. How exciting! With a grin on my face, I slowly lifted myself up from the toilet to clean myself, knowing that in a few seconds, I will unlock a major life achievement. I was smelling poop, but also success! But mostly poop. Victory was within arm’s reach! And then I heard the toilet flushing.
I was using an automatic flushing toilet.
The sensor realized that my butt is off the seat and it was time to get rid of the poop. I stood there, still holding a plastic spoon, with my pants down, just staring at the quickly disappearing pile of crap. Shit. If there was ever a perfect time to use that expression, that was it. I haven’t felt a sadness like that in a very long time. I was devastated. I felt like I was cheated out of a glorious victory — one for the ages.
After cleaning myself up, I went out for a smoke. I kept thinking about how life can screw you over in a heartbeat. I spent the first couple of hours at work dazed and in disbelief, lost in thought. You put so much effort into something and it gets taken away from you at the very last moment. You believe — with all your heart and with the very foundation of your soul — that everything is going to be alright, but still, things go spectacularly wrong.
It’s just something that can shake a man to his core, you know? I always thought that if you just try to be noble, if you work hard, if you care for people, and if you just strive to be a good person, good things will happen to you and you will never feel like a total failure.
That’s not entirely true. Not when a fucking toilet just stole my fucking feces.
That’s my story. You’re welcome. And now, here’s a GIF where I’m played by the kid and Life is played by the dog: