Parents tell me there are these character defining moments that you witness in your children. Moments when you get a small glimpse of their very essence, where you start to understand and can conceptualize what type of person this little terror of an offspring might become. My father tells this story, saying that it was at that moment when he knew who I was long before I ever would.
It starts like this:
When I was three, I shit my pants.
I graduated at the top of my class in potty training, so to have such a setback in post-diaper progress was distressing and certainly must be symptomatic of something greater, bigger, some inherent flaw anxiously waiting to reveal itself just looming on the horizon. I didn’t have accidents of this sort, or so I was told.
All the neighbourhood kids were playing in the game-off-free zone of the crescent, where we could play kick the can, hide and seek or double dutch freely and without fear of getting hit by a speeding Ford 150. As the pre-pubescent boys played street hockey, I happily rode my new little red tricycle around the perimeter under the careful eye of my older brother. Soon I was riding with a load of epic proportions slowing down my momentmum only momentarily.
Before long, all the other children understood what had happened, and more importantly from where. All the children ran from me, as if it was the olympic trials for the game of tag where I didn’t know I was it. I don’t blame them for running ; I would have bolted too. Crapping my pants was unplanned and undeniably reckless. No one intends to shit their pants, after all.
I should have stopped. Called it quits. Say goodbye and leave the building. But I didn’t.
Fuck it. I kept on riding. And riding. Staying on that same circular path of the asphalt rink’s perimeter, pedalling my tricycle as I navigated behind each of the hockey goals, from one end to the other methodically.
I didn’t give two shits, because I took the only one I had.
I rode and rode while the children kept running away. At some point my brother did the brotherly thing and stopped me.
He dragged me into the garage much like you would tow in a broken down car, slowly backing me up while keeping his arms stretched straight out maintaining whatever distance he could. He ordered me to stay there. Not to move. He had nothing to fear, I wasn’t going anywhere. The diaper shit tsunami had affected my speed and agility, making every moment feel like it was dragging through mud - which I guess it kinda was.
My brother went into the house and found my dad. Walking into the garage, father immediately pulled his shirt up over his nose. Holding back wave after wave of dry heave, he peeled me from the seat of that red tricycle, doing his best to keep me at arm’s length.
The basement garage door opened to the sound of my mom yelling “ How did this happen?”. Perhaps she thought this failure was a reflection on herself. I understand why she was confused - I was so good and so very potty trained.
“ She was just too busy being ridiculous”, my dad responded.
A garden hose to my ass and many years later, I finally understand what my father meant by that statement. I understand why he pinpointed that moment as a character defining moment for me.I’m no longer embarrassed when they tell this story.
Take a page from my poop playbook of yesteryears. Be “too busy being ridiculous”.Ridiculously talented, motivated, funny, smart, kind.
You can’t let a little shit stop you.