69: When Nature Calls

69: When Nature Calls

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just for Preteens

When Nature Calls

Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it and then move on.

~Bob Newhart

Have you ever had the experience of being on the verge of panic because you couldn’t find a restroom? I have, and one particular incident that comes to mind took place at my elementary school when I was in the fifth grade.

When school let out every day, the entire student body would spill out onto the playground, running, skipping, playing ball, and generally exhausting themselves until their parents came for them. I was no exception, but on occasion, my mother would be a bit late picking me up from school, as she had transportation duties in addition to her work as a classroom teacher. This day was one of those occasions.

It was getting late and most of the other children had already been picked up. Only a few stragglers, including me, were left on campus. It was at about this time, every day, when the school’s student restrooms were locked for the evening. Of course, this was also the time when my bladder decided it needed to empty itself, immediately.

Having no place to answer nature’s call, and exhausting every other possible option, including banging on the office door, I did what any self-respecting ten-year-old would do. I went in the garden. Carefully avoiding the flowers and small shrubs, I found a little corner of dirt and breathed a sigh of relief. What I didn’t realize, at the time, was that I was standing in front of a large tinted window that looked into the boardroom of the school’s office, where a meeting of the board of directors was in full swing. You would think I could have, at least, turned away from the window, but nope... I was facing the window in all of my God given glory.

The principal was a very kind and understanding lady, and would have let the incident slide, except for the fact that the whole school board had borne witness to my indiscretion. She had no other choice but to suspend me for a day. My mother, not blaming me for the incident, never told me about the suspension and took me out for a day of Southern California fun instead. After all, my heart was in the right place, if not the rest of me.

As a result, I can imagine doing my own version of the famous commercial, “You’ve just dropped your pants and peed in front of the entire school board. What are you going to do now?” — “I’m going to Disneyland!”

~James Crowley

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