Shit Rock

i shit you not!  ha!  I crack me up.  This is not a story for the squeamish or faint of heart.  It is a terrible, disgusting story…but it needs to be told.  Our family and friends know this story well, and it has always brought laughs, but it is disgusting.  You have been warned.  Don’t bother telling me i am a terrible man.  Sticks and stones.

When our family first started coming up north, we roughed it.  We did not have the cabin, so we eventually bought a trailer and set up at a lake we had been told about by friends.  Enough people around if we needed help with something, but usually people only showed up on weekends, so we were alone for the most part.

I can fish, but i am not a fisherman.  Since my bones have started seizing up in the cold, i find myself less inclined to sit in an aluminum tub surrounded by ice cold water.  Couple that with how lame i am at backing up a trailer and launching a boat.  If the line gets too long, i have to ask one of the other guys to back it up to the dock.  Yeah.  No comments when that happens.

But there is just us here and Sarah is more of a kayak girl.  My size limits my kayaking, not to mention i feel a little uncomfortable in a boat i need to learn to “upright”.  WTF?  My understanding is that boats are supposed to be upright.  So,once in awhile if the mood strikes me, i fish.  A few times a year at most.

But when we were camping, we usually had four of our children with us.  This time it was the “tail end twins”.  I may discuss family at some point, but it is irrelevant here…the boys wanted to go fishing.  Two wonderful boys and they are easy to manage most times.  Much calmer than their father.  They wanted to go fishing.  I am a father.  So we go fishing.

I do not like fishing in the hot sun, and the Walleye (Pickerel) don’t bit in the bright sun.  if i am going fishing, it needs to be cool out and i want some fish.  Nothing like a shore lunch of fish and potatoes.  i declared that we would leave at 7:00 am, after i had my first coffee.  Yay.

It was a bit of a trip to get to the larger lake.  The boys wanted to go there because- of course- that’s where the fish were…at the farthest point from our camp.  And we needed to go through a creek so narrow the boat barely cleared the lumber below to get to the lake.  Fishermen.  Asshats.  Back to being a good father.

The drinking.  i forgot about the drinking.  The night before.  Sitting with a wonderful woman and two kids around the campfire relaxing, joking around and watching the bright stars.   i asked Jack to join us.  Not our son, Jack.  My good friend, Jack Daniels.  You may have met him.   You may have spent time with him.  Nice fellow.  doesn’t say much, but nice fellow.  Jack and i don’t see as much of each other these days, but we remain acquaintances, nonetheless.

I got drunk.  Simple.  There are two things i cannot drink too much of without serious side effects the next day.  Red wine or Jack Daniels.  Most other things have not been a problem, except that Guinness night with some brits in London, England.   I just stay away from Guinness.

The main effects?  Headaches, tiredness and all that.  And loose bowels.  Told you it was disgusting, so feel free to bail, since you likely know where this is headed.

I was ok when i arose.  I had a bit of a hangover, but nothing new.  Stomach not bad.  Coffee fixes that along with a couple of pain killers.  Breakfast of Champions.  Yeah.  i was that guy.

But i had made a promise.  I do not break promises.  It is a rule in our house.  If you promise something, you are obliged to complete your oath.  No exceptions.  i made a promise.  No excuses.  Keep the promise.

The boys knew i was moving slowly and knew not to bug me.  They were excited to go, but kept a lid on it.  We launched the boat and sailed into fish territory.  We cleared the creek nicely and in good time.  Perfect.  We entered the large lake, whose name escapes me now.  What a beautiful day!  Get the thermos out and pour a cup of coffee.  Perfect day for fishing, sailing and spending time with the boys.

A few deep breaths to clear the mind.  Coffee and pain killers begin to take effect.  I steer the boat into the deeper water and head for a spot off shore that looks promising.  I decided this was a great idea and thank the boys for suggesting it.

And then it happened.  Just like in any cheesy teen movie you have seen.  The rumble.  You have likely experienced such a phenomenon.  Everything bad begins with a rumble.  i know what that particular rumble means.  i means Jack wants out.  Now.

As you age, you learn that farts are touch and go.  I knew this was not just gas.  i knew there was an out of control train careening through my bowels and decisive action was necessary.  I headed for the nearest shore, informing the boys of the decision which they, of course, found funny.

There laughs soon changed.  i yelled that i was not kidding.  This was an emergency.  Bumping the boat into the rocks on shore, i decided i would make a dash for the bushes.  Ok.  i just have to go over there…you guys wait here.

As i threw my leg over the side of the boat, i knew defeat was inevitable.  Things began falling.  Told you it was disgusting.  Loose, drippy, gross and i am now in the water.

i do not know why i went to shore.  i was not really thinking at this point.  “Don’t look!…don’t fucking look!  it’s disgusting!  Don’t look, it is awful!”  The boys are trying to tell me something, but i am in such a state of mortification, i cannot make them out.

Still screaming maniacal orders to spare their gentle childhood minds, I find a large rock and squat over it.  Sweet release!  Hence the title.

With the sweet release happening in a more or less normal matter , i return my attention to the boys, tlling them once again to look away because i am, of course, disgusting and embarrassed.   The word “normal” gets tossed around a lot, by the way.  It a relative term, as in “my family is normal”.  Normal.  Ok, maybe not for you…in our family?  Hardly unusual.

The boys are floating away.

Sweet Jesus!  In my rush, i had not tied the boat to anything.  i had simply left the rope on shore in my dash for shit rock.  And they had tried to tell me, but “poop panic” is a serious thing and i had been telling them to shut up and not look at me.

And so the boys are floating away.  i think they were at the tender age of 12.  And they were floating away.  They had not been entrusted with boat, and did not know how to operate.  There is no way i could swim after the boat, being chained like Prometheus to my stone of comfort.

i think i change the story a bit each time, as i can never remember which boy came to mind, but i likely began , “J”.  All four of our boy names begin with J and two of them look the same,  so i often address any of them as J for expediency.   “Listen to me very carefully.”  “Do everything i tell you exactly as i tell you.”  With careful instructions from my post, they turned on the boat, slowly brought it back to shore and shut it off.  “No…don’t get out of the boat, whatever you do.  There is shit everywhere.”

I anchored the boat, threw underwear to the woods.  Obviously.  Cleaned myself best i could in the lake and rinsed my clothing. I apologize to the MNR and every piece of wildlife i despoiled.  I comfort myself with the notion that my stuff is organic and biodegradable.

As i looked up to the beach, shit rock sat there, shining in the bright sunshine, mocking any attempts at redemption.  The rest of the tale is uneventful.  i promised to go out another day, but this one was obviously finished.  Sarah enjoyed the story around the campfire and it has become a family favourite, but why would i risk repelling you with such a disgusting tale of degradation?

Because sometimes, i find myself sitting on Shit Rock.  i find a place that feels comfortable and safe.  It might be to avoid feelings or thoughts or activities or whatever, but it feels like a safe place.  And, sometimes, when i get off the rock, i look back and realize it was not a place of comfort at all.  It was functional and useful at the time, but maybe not the best place to be.

So i prepare my day.  i check my lists and organize my thoughts.  I try not to make sitting on Shit Rock an inevitable part of my day.  Sometimes those familiar feelings- anger, passivity, hurt or whatever your bugaboo might be- call us to go to familiar places which might not be healthy.   Here is a list i keep posted at my desk and in my planner.  It has been very helpful to me lately and reminds me there is usually a better place to go than Shit Rock.

Finding healthier places to sit,

John

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