The Poop That Changed My Life
My wife and I have been married for over twenty-eight years. As I think about the obstacles we have faced and overcome, I realize we have truly beaten the odds. No, I'm not talking about divorce statistics -- I'm talking about the odds of any relationship surviving the fecal Armageddon I unleashed one evening in the early stages of our courtship.
Our relationship started in a fairly ordinary way. We worked together, we hit it off, and soon we were going out to lunch and hanging around to talk after work. I was a shy, self-conscious young man, and although it seemed she liked me, I dreaded the thought of actually asking her out. I was trying to ramp up my courage when one day out of the blue I got my big break. She asked me if I'd like to come over to her apartment for dinner the following Friday. Her sister, with whom she shared the apartment, was going to be gone for the evening, so she would have the apartment to herself. Over the next few days, my imagination went wild. Over and over I visualized us in the apartment together, alone... me pouring on the charm... making my move... the romance... the passion... the anticipation was driving me crazy!
Friday was a cold night in the middle of a Minnesota winter. I arrived on time and we chatted as she prepared the meal. On the menu was an old family recipe: beef stroganoff. The recipe had supposedly been passed down to her from her mother, who received it from her mother in turn. It was not too long before we were eating, and it was truly delicious. To show my appreciation for the cooking effort, I had several large helpings, to the point of being totally stuffed. After supper was done, we washed the dishes and continued to chat. She had done some field research the previous summer in a wilderness area, and she spread out some maps on the kitchen table to show me the areas where she had been working. After maybe ten minutes of looking at the maps, I knew our relationship was in serious trouble. No, not the relationship with my future wife -- my relationship with my intestines.
There was some major gurgling, burbling, and vigorous shifting going on in my lower regions. Some ingredient in the old family recipe had obviously overstimulated my intestinal flora, and they were now working overtime. At first, my only concern was to try to mask the gurgling sounds by shifting and shuffling when they happened; but soon I realized I had a bigger problem to deal with. The gurgling was turning to pressure, and the pressure was building quickly.
In my visualizations of the evening, at no point had I made provisions for a timeout to take a dump. This was definitely not going to help with my romantic aspirations. I tried to make the urge go away by sheer force of will, but it was not to be. Gradually my honey's voice became a muted murmur and the maps a blurry image as all my thoughts were focused on keeping my sphincters shut. But the pressure continued to build, and finally it became apparent that my ability to constrict was no match for the beast that was raging within me. My romantic plans were going to have to be put on hold. I politely excused myself and tried not to waddle too obviously as I made my way to the bathroom.
The bathroom was not far from the kitchen, and was located right by the entry door to the apartment. Once inside the sanctuary, I faced my first obstacle. A popular clothing style of the time was button-fly jeans. Unfortunately, I was wearing a pair; and as I had delayed this bathroom visit an inordinately long time, I had essentially no time to properly de-pants. The visual cues of the bathroom fixtures had already started the peristalsis in my bowels. I clawed at the top button, but quickly realized that in my quaking state of emergency I no longer had the manual dexterity to deal with buttons. In desperation and with time running out, I hooked my thumbs into the top of the pants and, summoning up heroic strength similar to those who lift cars off of loved ones after a traffic accident, pushed down on the pants and managed to slither out of them. At the last possible second my ass hit the seat with my knees in an unnaturally close position, and I exploded.
I use this term not in the figurative sense. The expulsion was swift, violent, loud, and amazingly short. The entire process lasted less than one second. Then all was quiet. There were no aftershocks, no feelings of fullness, and no further gurgling. Just blissful emptiness.
At first, I foolishly thought that fortune had smiled upon me. I figured I could quickly return to the kitchen table and carry off the ruse that I had simply had to pee. But within seconds, I realized the depth of my self deception.
I was suddenly overwhelmed with a putrid stench unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I frantically looked around for a switch for a ventilation fan, but there was none. I looked behind me in the desperate hope that there might be a switch on the wall behind the toilet; but again, nothing. There was no fan.
Yet this was only the beginning of my ordeal. As I had been squirming around on the toilet seat looking for a switch, I had felt a slippery feeling underneath me. I checked, and saw that I was now sitting in slimy poop that was smeared all over the seat. Puzzled, I investigated further, and looked into the toilet bowl. It was only then that the full horror of what I had wrought became apparent.
The explosion had literally painted the entire inside of the toilet with a thin film of sticky poop. Not just the sides of the bowl, but, inexplicably, even the underside of the seat, including the exposed part of my ass and nut sack. I cannot explain the physics of how this happened. The only theory I have been able to come up with is the unnatural position of my knees during the detonation may have deflected the spray somehow.
But there was no time to ponder the physics of fluid flow under pressure. I had a major cleanup operation to attend to.
Fortunately, there was a nearly full roll of toilet paper in the holder. I immediately set to work. Cleanup was exceedingly difficult, for if I cleaned off one ass cheek, it got smeared from the poop on the seat again when I sat down to do the other side. And if I cleaned off the seat, there was enough poop sticking to my ass that it kept respreading on the seat whenever I made contact again.
I kept up this Catch-22 routine for a while until I realized I needed to separate the two cleanup operations. I stood up in a semi-crouch and began to work on my ass and nut sack. This too was difficult, because I couldn't see what I was doing, and if I didn't keep a pronounced arch in my wrist, poop would get smeared on my shirt. I literally had to roll up my sleeves and wipe.
It seemed to go on forever. The toilet filled with soiled toilet paper, and I had to flush again and again to keep it from clogging. I wondered what my sweetie was thinking after the fifth or sixth flush.
To make matters worse, the roll of toilet paper was now getting precariously low. And there was no refill anywhere in sight. If I had to poke my head out of this chamber of horrors and ask for another roll, I was doomed.
I felt like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, trapped in the witch's castle with the hourglass running out. But there was no Auntie Em to save me from this predicament. I had to make the roll last.
Each square was now a precious commodity, and I wasted nothing.
Finally, it seemed that I had rid myself of the personal paint job. I then turned my attention to the pot itself. The sides of the bowl below the jets were clean from all the flushing I had done, but the sides of the rim above the jets and the underside of the seat were still a rich shade of brown. Deturding this area took the remainder of the roll.
One final flush and the visual evidence of my transgression was gone. But I was not out of the woods yet. I still had to deal with the cloud of stench I had been marinating in for who knows how long. I reasoned that since exhausting the fetid miasma was not possible, my only two options were 1) containment, or 2) dispersion. Containment -- e.g. sneaking out of the bathroom and closing the door behind me -- had some attractive short-term benefits. I would not be immediately ordered out of the apartment, and the longer the delay between the time I occupied the space and the discovery of the disaster, the more likely it could be blamed it on some other source. On the other hand, the thought of my honey or her sister coming in at any moment, opening the bathroom door, and screaming, gagging, or even collapsing, was not attractive. I decided to risk it on dispersion.
Slowly, I turned the knob of the bathroom door so as not to make any noise, and opened the door a crack. The kitchen was clearly visible. I could see my honey futzing around the kitchen, putting dishes away. I waited... and waited. Finally, she walked into the living room. This was the opportunity I had been waiting for. There was a closet/storage area in the center of the apartment, and the kitchen and living room were on opposite sides of it. This closet area now served as a visual block for me. I quietly stepped out of the bathroom and began vigorously fanning the door. Again and again I fanned it, generating as much air movement as I possibly could. Soon I heard her footsteps coming back into the kitchen. I remained outside the bathroom and quietly closed the door. Playing a game of cat and mouse, I used the closet barrier to circle around into the living room area from the other direction. I fanned my clothes, my shirt, my pants, desperately trying to rid myself of the clinging evidence of my intestinal sin.
I peered around the closet in time to see her heading into the other side of the living room again. This time, I darted back to the bathroom door, loudly turned the knob, gave the door a few more fans, left it open about one inch, and walked into the kitchen.
"Sorry about that. Now, where were we on the map?" I asked, trying to appear nonchalant. In reality, I had no idea how much time had passed, possibly because of the prolonged lack of oxygen my brain had suffered. But now my confidence was shattered.
And to add insult to injury, I could not escape the smell of poop. I didn't know if it was real, if it was psychosomatic, or if my olfactory sensors had been bludgeoned into a state of permanent malfunction, but I was sure I smelled poop. Where moments before my honey and I were sitting practically shoulder to shoulder, now all I wanted was to keep my distance. I didn't want her anywhere near my rancid personal space.
She began to explain the maps again, but maps were the furthest thing from my mind. I watched her face intently, looking for signs of distress: flared nostrils, watery eyes, retching. But I saw nothing. My mind was whirring with a million thoughts. Was it possible that I had pulled this off? Had I actually managed to adequately disperse the evil vapor? Or was it only a matter of time before the malodorous cloud engulfed the entire apartment? And why did I still smell poop?
Breaking through the brown cloud of my distracted thoughts, I heard my sweetie asking if I was interested in going ice skating. At the beginning of the evening, this would have been a crushing blow to my romantic plans, but now this suggestion was a beacon of hope. There could be no better option for the rest of this evening than to escape the cloistered gas chamber I had created and get outside into the cold, fresh air. I readily agreed, and to my great relief, my honey did not need to use the bathroom before we left.
The night was cold, and there was a brisk wind. I had not dressed for outside activities and I was freezing my ass off after half an hour of skating. But with each passing minute away from the apartment, I felt my odds of getting a second date were improving, so I kept asking for just a few more minutes. Yet in spite of the cold and the wind as we skated, I still got a whiff of poop every now and then. I decided poop particles must have imbedded themselves into the moustache and beard I had at the time.
Finally, after I began to exhibit signs of hypothermia, it was time to end this disastrous evening. Arriving back at the apartment, she asked me if I wanted to come in to warm up. This was the moment I had been fantasizing about for days, but I dared not go back in and face my demon. The situation cried out for at least a goodnight kiss, but I could not risk her catching the scent of my poopy cologne. So I awkwardly thanked her for the dinner and said goodnight without so much as a parting hug.
Years later, when a big pile of beef stroganoff was again on my plate, I asked my honey, now my wife, if she remembered that beef stroganoff was the first meal she ever made for me. She said she did remember. I asked her if she remembered anything else about that evening. She said she remembered we went skating afterwards. Prodding, I asked if she remembered anything else. She recalled that she expected me to kiss her afterwards, and she was slightly disappointed that I didn't. But after thinking about it, she realized it showed what a true gentleman I was. She said she realized right then that I was different from the other guys she had dated, and she was excited by the fact that I was obviously interested in her as a person, and not just her body. It left her eager to go out with me again.
I realized at that moment that what had seemed like a dating disaster was actually The Poop That Changed My Life. My sweetie had apparently been oblivious to my suffering, and had I not had to poop, or had it been merely a normal poop, I would have certainly kissed her, and probably tried to do a lot more. I would have been cast into the same category as all her previous suitors, and I may never have ended up marrying her. But luckily a higher power was working through my bowels, steering my life in a positive direction. So the next time you have to poop, do not take it for granted. Open your heart and mind and be aware of the direction your guts are leading you. It may literally change your life.
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