My family does a lot of swimming in the summer, both recreational and competitive. And because of the amount of time we spend at the pool, we go through a lot of swimsuits.
This summer, while at a local department store, my wife took the girls and went looking for some extra suits while my son and I searched out swim trunks in the men's department.
While my son was looking at the boy's rack, I thumbed through the available men's options. I passed right by the tiny Speedos rack, since I'm neither European nor obese, and found a rack of board shorts, my favorites.
The designs were current and hip and I just knew I was going to look 20 again at the poolside.
Finding a pair I really liked, I peeked at the tag to confirm the size was the same as what the hanger read.
What I saw next was nothing less than disgusting. And hysterical. I could not believe what I was looking at.
There, inside the swim trunks I had planned on purchasing, was half a load of crap clinging to the inseam!
Obviously, someone had tried these trunks on underwearless, which is gross enough. But to actually leave this mess and put the shorts back? I was incredulous. It either had to be a teenager playing a vile prank or someone who simply failed to hold their wet fart. Either way, I couldn't even imagine what their crack looked like if this is how the shorts turned out.
Since my kids have fantastic senses of humor, I decided to have a little fun. "Hey," I called to my eleven year-old son, "can you come here?"
He came up to me as I stood in front of the trunks. "Yeah, Dad?"
"I really like these trunks but I can't read the size on the tag. Can you?"
"Sure." My son grabbed the clean waistband and pulled it back to read the tag. "Dad, it says thirty...OH MY GOSH!" He had spotted the mess.
He released his grip on the waistband and could barely get his words out. "There's...there's a load of...of...it's brown...OH MY GOSH! GROSS!"
I sometimes wish my humor wasn't so twisted from working in the ER, but there you go. I could hardly keep a straight face.
"Look, Dad, I'm not kidding!" I took a look to appease him. "Well," I said reflectively, fingers on chin, "I don't think that should be there."
"We have to go tell Mom and the girls!" he exclaimed, running away from me before I could stop him.
I followed him to the girls section, where he was already in the middle of the story by the time I arrived. My wife and daughters looked incredulous. In unison, when he finished, they exclaimed "NO WAY!"
My wife and girls looked at me to confirm the story. "Really?" they asked. "Really," I said.
As my son rushed off with the girls to show them this remarkable find, my wife asked me again. "This is for real?"
"Yes," I said again, "no lie. I promise. And it's disgusting."
She caught me off-guard with her next question. "Aren't you going to take them up to the front counter?"
What? I didn't even think of that. I wasn't the one who took a dump in some new board shorts in the dressing room. And, I didn't ask for this to happen. Why should I have to take them up to the front?
"Because," my wife said, "that's the right thing to do. You don't want someone buying them and taking them home, do you?" Ugh, sometimes her reasonable thinking annoyed me. "Besides," she continued, "what if someone throws them in their cart and they have food or, even worse, a toddler playing in the cart. Then what?"
I pictured a little child, blond spiral curls, pulling those board shorts playfully over her head.
Nope, it still wasn't enough for me.
"Listen," I pleaded with my wife, "if I take them to the front counter, they'll think I did it. Who's going to believe that I 'just found them on the rack?' They'll be laughing at me the minute I walk away. Security will probably follow me on hidden cameras the rest of this shopping visit."
I could only imagine. "Hey, Nancy," the security guard would yell to the lady I handed the shorts to, "there's 'the shitter' looking at tennis balls in the sporting section. Why isn't he in the toilet paper aisle?" Then they would burst into fits of laughter, all at my expense.
No, I wasn't handing the swim trunks in. No way, no how.
My wife and I walked over to the men's section to find our kids playfully pushing one another close to the stained shorts.
"Hey, kids," my wife admonished, "be careful! And don't touch them! I don't want you getting someone else's poop on yourself!" Yes, I thought, but it's okay to have your own poop on you? Since she was somewhat annoyed with me, however, I decided not to question her on that point.
She hesitantly stepped towards the shorts and peeled back the waistband. The kids and I held our breath. "Well," she said, cracking a smile at the absurdity, "that sure is something, isn't it?"
Um, yeah, it is something. Something disgusting. Something filthy. Something funny. Something hysterical. Something unexpected. Something unbelievable. Yeah, it was something alright.
"Are you going to take them to the front? Or am I going to have to?" she asked.
I held my ground. "I can't, hon'. Seriously. I just can't do it."
She huffed. "Well, whatever then." I expected her to keep her threat and grab the shorts and take them up to the front herself, but she didn't.
She grabbed the cart handle and pushed it away from the rotten, stinking shorts. "Come on, kids. Let's get out of here and get some cookies." They had earned that much. As long as they washed their hands first.
"Wait," I challenged, "I thought if I didn't take these to the front, you were."
"I changed my mind. Let's go." Good--maybe she was seeing the light of my way.
I walked away from those shorts with a heavy heart. Why I felt so responsible for a load of feces that wasn't mine, I don't know. Darn that deviant culprit for making me feel guilty for his defecation.
On our way out, my eyes searched for anyone close to having a 33w. Or a shuffle to their walk. Or brown-stained pants. No one...
Driving home, I ended up calling in the problem anonymously from my cell phone. Okay, not really. But I do wish I had thought of that at the time. It's just that, for being a level-headed guy, I was a bit flustered.
When we share this story with friends, family, and coworkers (and trust me, we got a lot of mileage out of this one), they seem to be split on what they would have done. Do you know what you would have done?
One of my coworkers, Bill, said it best. "That sure was a shitty predicament."
Yeah, you think?
My next post, an ER story, will be Monday, December 7. I assure you that my kids are very happy and well-adjusted and carry no ill-effects from this shopping trip. Thanks, as always, for reading and have a great weekend.