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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

The ‘Call’ of Nature

For the past twenty-four hours or so, I’ve been expecting a phone call. A very important call, on my cell phone. I won’t get into the details of why it was so important, or what the call was about — only that the call was not to be missed, and that the person calling was not about to leave a return number. This was a make-or-break sort of deal.

And frankly, it had already ‘broken’ once. I actually expected the call two days ago, and — with my cell phone in my fricking pocket — got a message that someone had just left a voice mail. No ring. No buzz. No friendly vibratory notification. Just:

Oh, hey — you missed a call. Sometime in the last thirty seconds. For no goddamned discernible reason. Thanks for choosing Sprint.

Bunch of no-signal-having ass-backward jackholes. If I didn’t hate that smarmy ‘can you hear me now?‘ company with a fiery hot passion, I’d have kicked Sprint’s no-good ass to the curb by now.

“I ate with the phone. I slept with the phone. If the missus and I had done any ugly-bumping that day, I’d have strapped the phone to the headboard and kept a finger poised above the ‘Talk’ button.”

(Maybe I could hook up with that company with the still-caliente-but-largely-washed-up Latina actress spokesmodel. If they can just get her to serve margaritas, wear a frilly lace skirt, and play the canastas topless in one of those ads, I’m sold.)

Frothy fandango fantasies involving Catherine Sellout-Jones aside, my cellular reception sucks, is what I’m saying. And I missed the initial call I was expecting, in spite of my efforts, only to find a message stating that a callback would occur in the next twenty-four hours. The call would not be missed again.

So, I took precautions. I carried my cell phone with me everywhere, along with a few pages of notes I needed to reference during the call. I didn’t know exactly when the call would come, and I couldn’t risk being unprepared at any moment. I was like a minuteman, ready to spring into conversational action at the drop of a hat.

Early in the day, I realized what was going to happen. It’s a simple application of Murphy’s Law. The ‘easy’ version would be:

If you’re ready to take a call for most of the day, then the call will come at the first moment when you’re not ready.

Like I said, I was committed to not letting that happen. That phone and I were joined at the hip for the full twenty-four. I ate with the phone. I slept with the phone. If the missus and I had done any ugly-bumping that day, I’d have strapped the phone to the headboard and kept a finger poised above the ‘Talk’ button. There would be no ‘not ready’ moment.

So it was clear the universe would bitchslap me in the next-most aggravating way:

If you’re ready at all times to take a call, then the call will come at the absolute least convenient time imaginable.

I was ready for this. I kept the phone next to the bed, in case the call came while I was sleeping. That would be an inconvenient time. But not the most inconvenient time, apparently, as no call came while I was sleeping.

Then, I took the phone with me into the shower, because that seemed like an inconvenient time, also. I could imagine the guy phoning me up during a particularly sensitive bit of lathery self-grooming, and stopping mid-sentence to ask, ‘Do I hear a loofah in the background?‘ But the shower was not the most inconvenient time, either, as no call came while I was showering.

Around four pm, I let my guard down just a bit. I started to wonder if a different application of Murphy’s Law was in order:

If you’re ready at all times to take a call, no matter how inconvenient, then the call will simply never come.

So I kept the phone and notes on me like a good little Boy Scout, but I’d mostly given up hope on the call altogether. And all that planning and preparedness was making me a bit logy. So around four thirty, I took a quick trip to my favorite stall in our office bathroom.

Thereby putting myself in the most inconvenient situation possible.

Ring. Ring.

Now, you have to understand — this is not a private bathroom. There are three other stalls, a handful of urinals, and two sinks. Any conversation one might have within those walls — especially an important and eagerly-awaited conversation — is likely to be overheard by a number of other gentlemen in various states of pantslessness. Not exactly the forum I was shooting for.

Ring. Ring.

At the same time, I was in no condition to quickly leap from my seat, gather my trousers, and bound breathlessly to a more suitable location. Personal hygiene and potential underpants unpleasantness aside, I’m simply not that coordinated. At best, I’d manage to answer the phone, throw open the stall door with my pants around my knees, and trip bare-assed and stammering onto the bathroom floor. Just like prom night, all over again.

At worst, I’d lose the phone in the toilet, give myself an accidental swirly, or they’d find me there three days later with a smashed phone, a broken neck, and three rolls of Charmin stuffed in my boxers. And while I’m sure that would make a lovely Law & Order: SVU episode, I’d prefer a death with a little more dignity. Something with strippers and tequila and an industrial floor buffer, preferably.

Ring. Ring.

Of course, even if I were in a position to arise from the ‘throne’ and make a hasty getaway, it really wasn’t an option. I had to answer the phone immediately, and the toilets in our rest rooms come equipped with auto-flushers. Very efficient, very loud, and very powerful auto-flushers. At that very moment, in fact, I was perched on the very same shitter that nearly sucked me in just a few months ago. So unless I could make a case that I was standing at the bottom of Niagara Falls when I answered the phone, getting off the pot was clearly off the table.

Ring. Riiiiiiiiing!

So, I answered the phone. I had my notes with me, just in case, and I sat there and had my important, can’t-miss conversation on the crapper. People walked into the bathroom. People walked out of the bathroom. I did my best to ignore them, and soldiered on as professionally and as coolly as a man with his pants around his ankles and an immediate need for six squares of toilet paper and a spritz of Glade could possibly muster. I was quite proud of myself, actually. And later, when the feeling returned to my legs and I could finally walk out of the stall, I did so with my head held high.

Never mind that the intimate details of my conversation may, at this moment, be scrawled in permanent marker on the walls of the other bathroom stalls. Or that there’s a significant portion of the left side of my ass that I still can’t feel. There was a call I needed to take — and I took that call. You can only prepare and plan so much, until it’s time to face the music.

It just happens that my ‘music’ always seems to play in the shitter. Murphy’s Law is a bitch, yo.

Permalink  |  4 Comments



4 Responses to “The ‘Call’ of Nature”

  1. Bethany says:

    You weren’t copied on the damn rules of the phone-call game?

    Damn! Next time, YOU KNOW. The Call always comes in the john. Even for the women of the world. And hell, we’re always sitting on the john.

  2. Kerry says:

    oh my god! that was just… i have no words. i’m laughing too hard.

    you really should have known that would be the most inconvenient time, though. even i saw that one coming.

  3. cheese says:

    Question is…. could you HEAR them?? And how many flushes did you have to try and muffle?? hehhe been there! lol.. great story

  4. Roofie Raccoon says:

    See, when someone’s talking on the phone in the john I always think “I’m going to flush now and the other person on the line will hear that and think ‘EW!’ ”

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