I had to travel with my family to Texas one summer to see my wife’s parents. I didn’t want to go for I hated to drive long distances, but felt I had to in order to preserve family peace. I knew I would be miserable because every time I travel, I get irregular. It is my nerves, I guess, that ties my intestines into a knot.
It was all I could do not to get run over by some idiot on the freeway while having to listen to two whining children on what would be a long trip. We were to go I-10 and cut up through Mississippi and central Louisiana, stopping to pick up a sister-in-law and then down through north Texas to the family home in Houston.
We made the trip in record time and set about enjoying the family gathering. Two other siblings showed up with their broods so there was a rather large crowd and sleeping arrangements had to be worked out. For four days we had family time and I have to admit I enjoyed it. We ate at every kind of restaurant you can imagine; Chinese, Italian, French, German and of course, Mexican. We drank all manner of funny tasting drinks with funny sounding names; Singapore Sling, Gin Ricky, Fuzzy Navel, Shirley Temple and one that was familiar, the Margarita.
By the end of the fourth day I was feeling bloated, for just as I figured I would be, I was constipated. I hadn’t been once during the entire time except to do number one. Number two had eluded me and I knew we were to start home the next morning so I stopped in at a drug store near my in-laws home.
The druggist was on duty and I explained to him the situation. “I haven’t been to the bathroom in four days and I feel like I’m about to bust,” I told the druggist.
The druggist had a kindly demeanor and seemed genuinely sympathetic. He told me, “I have just the thing. Take this when you get home and drink two glasses of water. When you wake up everything will work out and you will be fine.”
“Will it all get over at one time? I mean it ain’t gon’ drag on all morning is it?” I asked.
“No Sir. It’s a one shot deal and you’re done.”
I was glad to hear this. Everyone knows pharmacists are rated the most trustworthy people anywhere so I hurried home and took the two tiny brown pills and drank a quart of water.
This would prove to be a fateful decision.
I spent a restful night knowing when I awakened the laxative I’d taken the night before would purge my system and I would be in a good mood for the return trip. I had the coffee maker set for 5:00 a.m. and planned to get up long before the others and take care of business before anyone else awakened. I hadn’t told my wife I had taken a laxative, figuring no one else needed to know.
The alarm and coffee pot went off on time and I got up and poured a cup. I figured after two or three sips the laxative would kick in and I could get things in order; but it didn’t happen. I drank the whole pot and made another while wondering what in the world was wrong with my system. “Exercise,” I thought, “that ought to break it loose.”
I walked around the neighborhood twice and nothing happened. I began to panic. “What in the world will happen if this thing doesn’t work out before we leave? Sure as the world it’ll break loose when we get on the road and just be a mess. “Oh Lord have mercy,” I thought, “I wish I had never seen that drug store man. If he was open I’d go up there and give him a piece of my mind. I’d rather be in jail than sitting on a powder keg all the way home.”
The rest of the family awakened and set about getting everything packed and soon they were ready to leave. My wife had no idea I was in such a pickle. There were kisses and hugs all around and it was time to go. I was apprehensive about starting the trip, but was too embarrassed to say anything. Had I known the fate, which awaited me, we would have stayed in Texas another day.
I did what any country boy worth his salt would do and prepared for the worst. I folded several paper towels and put them in my pocket. I figured if worse came to worse and lightning struck while we were underway and I didn’t have time to get to a restroom, I would just pull over beside the road, get out and get behind the bushes that lined the interstate. I thought, “no one will take notice and if they do see what I am doing they will have passed me by and I won’t have to worry about them watching me. Lord knows a man needs privacy in an emergency situation like that.”
As the miles rolled by, I eventually relaxed and forgot about my situation. Several hours later I noticed a big sign ahead that said Atchafalaya Swamp Parkway. I wondered what this swamp parkway was all about as I sped along and in a few minutes I was on it. It was a bridge 26 miles long, and there is no way off but to jump off, and believe me I soon thought about doing just that.
Sure as the world, there was an accident involving a semi and all traffic stopped in both lanes. It was at this moment, while sitting in a car, in a traffic jam, on a bridge 26 miles long and with no bushes for a man to get behind, the dam broke.
I know you are smiling but just put yourself in my place. I did the only thing I could do and I mean it drew a crowd. None of them stayed long but they all left laughing and probably thinking ‘better you than me’.
If I ever go anywhere again and take a laxative, I ain’t moving until it does!