Putting The "Fun" In Funeral
As you may have read, my best friend, Jeremy, lost his mother last week. The funeral was this past Saturday. It was a beautiful service. Very well attended. It was obvious that Mrs. Halvorsen reached a lot of people in her life, all of whom loved her and wanted to celebrate her.
After the service, we all gathered at Jeremy's parents' house for a reception. It too was lovely. There were sandwiches, pasta salad, sodas... All the things you have at a reception after a funeral, including all of the friends and family. Dozens of people. You might even call a gathering of people that large an audience. Maybe not when you first join the gathering... But certainly after you've done something so wildly inappropriate (even by accident) that you stand alone as they all watch.
The reception was going well, and the time for my flight home was nearing. I knew that I had quite a trip ahead of me, complete with a long layover (again, in my home city of Atlanta, and yes, it still felt weird... But I did make a new friend, as you'd expect. Another story for another time :) ). So, I figured it made sense to go ahead and... You know. Poop.
Far better in the comfort of a home you're familiar with, than at the airport. Judge all you want, you'd have done the same.
The downstairs bathroom was occupied (but even if it wasn't, I couldn't have brought myself to poop with all those people floating around nearby). So I asked about the upstairs commode.
"Sure, you can use that one," Jeremy's father told me. "The water runs though, so we shut it off. Be sure to turn it back on."
I made my way upstairs and did exactly that. As I sat down to use the toilet, I began playing XCom on my iPhone, a new favorite pastime of mine with an old favorite game. Suddenly, I felt cold water touching my bum.
I squealed. That's not something one expects; cold water on the butt while doing their business. But there it was. I leapt up and turned off the water. It was obvious -- the commode was clogged. Now, no one who was there will ever allow me to let this be true, but it's true. That's why the water touched my butt in the first place. I did NOT clog the damn toilet.
But, because I had just befowled it, I was now responsible for it. So, I looked for a plunger.
"Shit," I said, no pun intended.
I called Jeremy. "You're calling me from the bathroom?" He asked.
"Yeah man," I replied. "I need you to be as tactful as possible with this -- apparently the toilet is clogged, and there's no plunger up here."
He laughed the first genuine laugh I'd heard from him in days. "Alright, I'll be right up," he said with a sigh.
He brought the plunger upstairs amid a cheering crowd. So, I already knew there was going to be music to face and hell to pay. But when I went to plunge the toilet, all I was able to accomplish was splashing some water around and making a mess. The water wouldn't drain. I tried and I tried. I could NOT get the damn thing to go down.
With a heavy sigh, I washed my butt off with a towel and cleaned off my pants as best I could (as they were on the floor when the water initially spilled over), then went down to tell the bad news. The applause was loud. The cheers were jeering. I was beet red. But I wasn't through the worst of it.
"I have bad news," I told his father.
"NO!" John replied.
"Yes," I said with another sigh. "I can't get it unclogged... And I have a flight to catch."
The entire kitchen and living room exploded with laughter. John and Jeremy both looked at me in horror. "I'll pay for a plumber," I offered. "Call one right now. But I gotta go or I'll miss my flight!"
"You're NOT going to take a dump, clog the toilet, then bail on us!" John said. Jeremy was too busy trying not to fall over laughing.
"I didn't mean to!" I said, pleading. "I didn't want to do this! I tried to fix it..."
"You took a dump... In my mother's house... and clogged the toilet on the day of her funeral!" Jeremy managed to say between guffaws. The rest of the family was simply attempting to breathe through the laughter.
It was brought to our attention that there was indeed a plumber in the family. He was summoned from the patio, came in, removed his jacket and shirt, and got the situation handled. I felt HORRIBLE. Not only did I clog a woman's toilet on the day of her funeral, but I'm not even capable of fixing it myself.
"Don't worry, man," my hero the plumber said. "Happens all the time. There's a trick to it." He showed me the angle and method he uses, and it worked like a charm. He then added that this was hardly the worst thing to ever happen to him, and told me a story about a sewer pipe that exploded and left him covered in an entire neighborhood's worth of sewage.
We came downstairs to even more applause and laughter.
"I have to commend you," John told me, "for facing the music. I would have ran out the front door screaming. I would shake your hand, but..."
Ah yes, because there was a clogged toilet, my hands must certainly be soiled with fecal matter. "Don't worry," I said, extending my hand. "I licked my fingers off when I was done."
We hugged. In fact, I got hugs from a lot of the family. And it was absolutely wonderful to see my best friend in the world completely lost in a moment where he could just laugh and find something truly funny.
If I have to eat that kind of shit for that to happen, I'll do it every time (pun intended).