Monday, May 01, 2006

Confessing The Miracle

10,000 Days is tomorrow!

I thought for a change we would take a trip down memory lane. It's also somewhat of a confessional for me so that you can get a better idea of the kind of man I am.

Now I wasn't always the metropolitan cultural demi-god that regularly updates an internet blog with stories of donkey punching, mushroom stamping, and Cleveland steamers. Once upon a time yours truly found himself growing up in a very small town in Alberta that shall go nameless for the purposes of this post. Why nameless, you ask? Really, this is a story that could come out of just about any small Alberta town, so keeping my hometown nameless makes it just a bit more universal. Secondly, by "universal" I mean "universally shameful." Many of you who know me on a personal level know which town I'm from and can probably remember this story. For those of you who absolutely have to know the name of my town and if there are any corroborating photographs documenting the following you only need to ask and I will most likely provide you with all the answers I can give (well, not so much with photographs because that would just be sick on so many levels as you will soon see).

In my high school days I was quite a scholar. As such I earned a lot of credits toward my high school diploma early on, which meant that I didn't have to take as many courses in my later high school years, meaning I ended up with gaps in my school schedule, which we called spares, all the time. One year (I can't remember which year it was exactly as it was, indeed, a long, long time ago and seemingly in a galaxy far, far away), during one of my spares, I found a source a secret shame, not so much for me, but for my hometown. I didn't really realize how profoundly it would affect my life from there on in.

I want to tell you about the Miracle In Stall 1.

See? Now while many of you out there who visit this site might not get an instant mental image of where they were when the Miracle In Stall 1 happened, I bet there are probably a few of you out there who recall it like it was only yesterday. It's funny how some things just become a part of your identity that you never thought could become such a defining moment in your life.

Back to my spares. So there I was sitting in the school's student lounge. To give you an idea of how big my school was, it was educating 248 students from grades 7, through 12. A lot of graduating classes in urban areas were bigger than the entire student population in our dinky little backwoods school, but that's more of a descriptive aside. And I was sitting with Larry and Martin, a couple of buddies whom I was fortunate enough to have spares with at the time and Larry excused himself to go to the washroom as he was wont to do when he had to perform bodily functions because even though he was from a dinky little Alberta town he wasn't incontinent.

After a minute or two an exasperated Larry ran back to the student lounge to inform Martin and me of something he had discovered floating in the toilet in one of the stalls in the washroom. He had found what would later be referred to in hushed tones of reverence and marvel around my town from then on as The Miracle In Stall 1. Now, when I had first heard of the miracle I actually could not bring myself to actually go and view it, but from how Larry described it, it was, indeed, a piece of human fecal matter that was about the size of a baby's arm, and thick like a deli salami. The reason why I couldn't bring myself to go and view the miracle was partly because staring at somebody else's shit makes me want to gag and, more importantly, it was a piece of shit and really not something that should be held in such high regard as to turn it into a public exhibition.

So anyway, I could overlook the fact that there were already a few people who were gathering yon washroom to take a gander at the huge log left behind by some anonymous gargantuan of a man, but it got to a point where classes were getting interupted as kids just had to go and see this huge piece of shit that everybody was talking about.

That's one of those moments when I decided that I was going to evolve into somebody rather scholarly. Because there I was, a resident in a town that would, in all likelihood, bronze a large piece of fecal matter, mount it on a plaque, and turn it into some sort of point of interest for locals and tourists alike.

[insert town name here]: Home of the Human Miracle in Stall 1!

Larry talked of giving sober consideration to rescuing it from its toilet prison and preserving it for posterity. The school janitor spoke of how badly it clogged the toilet when at last the novelty of a huge piece of shit in a toilet had worn off and the curious bystander traffic to the boy's washroom had diminished somewhat. I suppose it doesn't matter what actually happened to that huge, huge turd. But it was kind of an earth-shattering moment if you think about it. If it had never happened I probably would not have been as put-off by small town life as I was in the aftermath and you might never have seen me move to the city. If that had never happened I might never have really learned to do something with the English language (sure, I wrote a lot back then, but not nearly as well as I can sling words now), and, if that had never happened, I probably would not have started this blog, or if I had it would probably be some kind of internet shrine to a huge steaming turd that's been bronzed and mounted on a commemorative plaque over the toilet in Stall 1.

Somewhere in a parallel universe that is exactly what happened in my hometown. In that parallel universe the town stopped championing cartoons and it started championing fibre diets, staying regular, larger toilets, and distended rectums. Elsewhere, in some other parallel universe that piece of shit was flushed successfully, got lodged somewhere in the sewer system and became a sort of niche for millions microbes, becoming, in essence, a living organism unto itself, maybe kind of like the Great Barrier Reef of shit, or maybe sprouting legs and evolving into some sort of entirely new organism, making the man who took the giant dump in the first place a sort of catalyst for new life forms to emerge.

And sometimes, and this is in this universe, you can sometimes go to my hometown and utter the words Miracle In Stall 1 and somebody in your vicinity will not only know what you are talking about, but they will probably acknowledge it with their own tale of where they were when they first heard that it happened kind of like people remember where they were when they learned JFK was assassinated of Lady Di died in a car accident. Except it would all be about somebody's giant B.M.

And, begrudgingly, I owe a lot of who I am to that lump of human misery. In a way it made me who I am today.

So whoever you are, mystery layer of said baby's-arm-long, thick-as-a-deli-salami, piece of shit, you have my gratitude for making me want to flee to the city all those years ago.

Thank you.


Mike said...

This brought a tear to my eye, Michael.

Martin said...

Ahhh.... Good times.