Some of the other titles I considered for this piece included “Ruination; My Favorite Pants” and “Ruination; My Favorite Linen Pants.” I went sans 'favorite' and 'linen' mostly for reasons of accessibility for you, the reader. I am unsure if all people have favorite pants – if not, you should – and I am even more unsure if all people have linen pants – again, you should and they would be your favorite. If you have linen pants and they are not your favorite then most likely those pants have a draw string and aren't actually pants. You sir, are wearing a skirt with two holes instead of one, essentially a factory reject. Or you're wearing pajama bottoms. Pants don't have drawstrings. Ever.
My linen pants are very much like a pair of jeans, only where one would expect denim there is linen. They are my favorite and it is not even close. Another title I considered for this piece was “That Time I Shit My Favorite Linen Pants.”
A few weeks ago I was at the grocery store, shopping for ingredients I would be using to prepare a delicious brunch for Wife and Mother. I had everything on my list except for shallots and had been looking for them for about 5 minutes when my stomach fluttered a bit. I thought little of it and continued my quest. Then it turned and fluttered again. At this point, I decided I should just forget the shallots and head to the check out. I was about half way down the aisle when I realized things were exponentially more serious than I had first considered and I quickly turned around to head to the restrooms at the back of the store.
Fearing I wouldn't make it, I began to run. Fearing I wouldn't make it, I abandoned my cart and clenched my buttocks. As my fear of not making it rose to epic proportions, time and distance seemed to be frozen – as if this bowel movement was approaching the speed of light. I felt I was getting no closer to the restroom and yet the shit was getting closer and closer to being in my pants – my favorite linen pants. I realized that I had finally discovered that there was indeed a wrong time for linen, something that I had been arguing about with some coworkers for several days, and that I had stumbled across a most interesting real world example of Einstein's theory of relativity. Almost simultaneously, I realized that I cannot shit these pants. I must not shit these pants. I would rather die than shit my favorite pants, my favorite linen pants.
As an avid and frequent participant in feats of strength, I knew I was mentally prepared for the challenge. I was not, however, very confident in the physicality of my sphincter, as it had been some time since it had really been tested. So I clenched and tightened as much as I could. I clenched and tightened so much that my mouth and eyes were pulled wide open in some sort of muscular chain reaction. And then, as I ran down the spice aisle of my local grocery store with my mouth and eyes wide open and turned the corner toward the restroom, my stomach gurgled and the feeling passed.
After a huge sigh of relief, I looked the gift horse right in mouth and went back to looking for those elusive shallots. About ten seconds went by before that gift horse kicked me right in the gut and I realized I needed to check out immediately and that those shallots can go fuck themselves.
Of course, there were only two registers open and both had lines. So I waited. And perspired. And waited. And perspired some more. Then I handed the man my coupons and after a brief inquiry as to why my coupon for Land O' Lakes butter didn't get doubled, I paid and was out the door. As I loaded the groceries into my vehicle, my stomach made many noises. I briefly considered just going back into the store to use their facilities but I figured the worst had come and gone and I was only five minutes from home. I knew I could make it.
While I waited to turn out of the store parking lot, less than a minute after I was sure I could make it home, my stomach gurgled and I was no longer so sure I would make it to the house. As I drove, I realized I was clenching so tough that my ass was about a foot off of the driver's seat. With my eyes and mouth now wide open, I clenched and tightened to the point I was standing up as I drove -- the top of my head smashed against the roof of my car.
At some point I began screaming at the top of my lungs. My colon was trying to escape from my body and I started to get really frightened, hence the screaming. It didn't feel like I was just going to shit my pants -- it felt like the worms from Dune were going to burst out of my asshole and swallow me whole.
Finally home, I jumped out of the car and immediately felt better. The feeling had passed. I had survived. I didn't shit my pants – my favorite linen pants. I grabbed the groceries and walked toward the house. After about six steps, I knew I was just another overconfident asshole that had tempted fate one too many times and once again was in a full sprint, eyes and mouth wide open, screaming. I exploded into the house, throwing bags of groceries across the kitchen floor, and rounded the corner into my bathroom.
The dream died one step into the bathroom and two steps from the toilet. And then the dream died again and again. With each step toward the toilet, the dream died over and over again. My pants, my favorite linen pants, filled with shit. Ruined.
Or were they?
I'll spare you the terrible details of what followed, but it involved a 3 gallon bucket, a shower, several plastic bags, rubber gloves, and a grown man scrubbing the shit out of linen pants in the very toilet he couldn't make it to, in that order.
You have no idea how much hair is actually on the back of your thighs until said hair is saturated with diarrhea.
You have no idea how much I love my favorite linen pants. I love them so much that I cleaned what I roughly estimate, based on the volume of the bucket Wife brought to me in my time of need, to have been about 2 gallons of shit out of them. I love them so much that I wore them to work two days after this happened.
Oddly enough, after the whole ordeal, after all the cleanup, I felt quite giddy. Exhausted, but giddy. Much like how I felt after running a 5k race, back when I did physical activity. Or after a strenuous hike where you encountered several timber rattlesnakes and yet you survived. Maybe it is the feeling of perseverance or the human body's reaction to feats of strength and fear – whatever it is, it is a great feeling. I shit my pants, my favorite linen pants, and yet I was alive and I was pretty sure the pants weren't ruined. It was a moment in life that calls for a beer. And I just so happen to have the perfect one for the occasion...
Stone's Ruination IPA was in my fridge and it seemed too perfect for the situation to pass up. I was slightly nervous that a beer might not be the best thing for my unpredictable stomach at the moment but I also read that hops can actually help an upset stomach, among other things. Ruination IPA is amazing and the two bottles I had in the fridge quickly helped me forget the trauma of the day's events.
It pours a nice golden color with about an inch of white head that dissipates quickly, leaving a thin white layer floating on top of the beer that stays with it for the entire glass. Considering the smells I had been dealing with prior to this beer, Ruination's aroma was wonderful – full of citrus, grass and resin. You can practically smell the bitterness. The taste follows the aroma nicely with grapefruit, lemon, and pepper notes. You can feel the ring of bitterness travel through your mouth, from front to back, with each drink. The malt compliments the hops well and is most noticeable at the very beginning of a sip before the bitterness takes over and then again at the end as the bitterness starts to fade from the sides of your mouth and focus its attack on the back of your tongue. About half way through the glass, as it warms, the tip of my tongue starts to hold on to the subtle booze of the beer and that, combined with the perfect carbonation and the bitterness traveling through your mouth like sonar with each sip, is extremely satisfying.
This beer made my tongue feel like a bat – as in the blind, silently screaming, winged mammal. A bat that wears pants and uses a toilet. Or, at least, a bat that strives toward toilet use.
The next day Mother and Brother T-Bone came over for brunch with the family and Wife told them what happened. Mom laughed and said that was something Jack, her late husband, my late stepfather, would do pretty frequently – think he could make it and get so damn close – like shitting your pants is now a family tradition, some torch that I now bear. But I do remember laughing as he told the stories to us, his sisters and brother-in-laws, and his parents all seated around a huge table for some family get together. So after brunch, I told my story in graphic detail, much like he would have, and we laughed hysterically. And it was extremely satisfying. And oddly sentimental.
Beer numbers sidecar: 4.45