Benjamin has the bladder the size of a walnut. This fact resulted in many interesting road trips. Usually it would start with an onset of wiggling and inappropriate grabbing. Then the whining would kick in.
“Dad, I got to go!”
“We just left!” was my reply.
“But Dad, I got to go real bad!”
A frantic search was made and a relief stop was made as soon as possible. With much dancing and grabbing Ben would rush in the restroom just in time.
One time there was no restroom around, just miles and mile of miles and miles. We pulled off the freeway at the first off ramp and found the closest tree. Ben ran to the tree and with his back to the van full of exasperated family members he proceeded to drain his spastic bladder. As he was going he started yelling and jumping around, spraying the countryside with his home grown fire hose. It appears that he had watered down a nest of fire ants and they were showing their displeasure.
Usually it would be within ten minutes after the frantic “pee” stop that Ben would again announce his urgent need of further relief for his disposal system.
“But you just went!” I would reply at his frantic request.
“But now I need to poop!” would be the reply.
I learned early that there are different levels of the need to poop and that when you reach the “prairie dogging stage” you need to stop immediately or suffer the aromatic consequences.
To this day, when the family is going back to the cabin, we point out the places we had to stop for Ben to “pee”. I’m sure it sounds like a weird tour guide to any non family members with us. “And to your right you’ll see the dreaded fire ant tree followed by the area on the left where you really don’t want to look in that old tractor tire.”
Ben’s bladder problems didn’t limit themselves to just automobiles. The family boat was also fair game.
Most of the time the problem was easily solved with our home made invention we called the “whizzer” It was a 1 ½” diameter ABS drain pipe that we kept in the boat. All you had to do was stand with your back to any surrounding boats and hang your whizzer off the edge of the boat. This worked well for the male members of our family and I have often thought of inventing the female version consisting of the pipe with a hollowed out bicycle seat adaptor, but I doubt if we could get the females to use it as everyone knows, they all have to go together in the group potty rituals that the species is famous for.
On this occasion the weather wouldn’t allow the safe use of the whizzer as the wind had turned the water rough on the lake. Ben excitedly informed me of his first of many urgent needs for relief for the day. I told Ben to kneel down in the front of the boat and go in the emergency water bailer that we kept on board that was actually an old plastic one gallon milk bottle with the bottom cut off. After Ben finished relieving himself he asked me what to do with the contents of the bailer.
“Just pour it over the side” I told him.
We were on a fishing trip with one of our dear family friends named Herb who was affectionately known as “Warthog”. Herb’s seat was on the side of the boat behind me with his back to Ben and the impromptu bathroom on the front of the boat. Apparently Ben had never heard of the phrase “you don’t spit into the wind” so he flung the warm contents of the bailer out over the side and it blew back over Herb’s head. Fortunately Herb had no desire to go back to prison so he just angrily announced
“I hope that was warm lake water I just showered in!”
Ben didn’t speak a word to him and would not even make eye contact with Herb for the rest of the day. His father, although, was unable to control his laughter at how Ben literally “pissed off” the Warthog.
Another nautical adventure involved my secretary’s husband Perry. Perry is a very large man who has no neck, just a large head mounted on massive shoulders. His knuckles also drag on the ground and he speaks in single syllables.
We made the interesting discovery that Perry is prone to sea sickness when we were on a company deep sea fishing trip that we sponsored. The boat had not gone more than one hundred yards from the dock when Perry started to not feel well. We should have turned back at that point, as that would have been the wise thing to do but we would have missed out on Perry’s wonderful ability to entertain a group with unique and unusual ways of expelling matter from his massive body.
Perry had a bad back from an old work injury that had been operated on repeatedly. The result was that his back was bolted rigid in the same way his movie twin, Frankenstein. This made a very strange sight as Perry launched his first of many projectiles into the pristine ocean from his straight up position. The vomiting was bad enough but the sound effects he made during the launch was remarkable. I have often heard the legendary Bigfoot screaming in the wilderness at the family cabin and he was doing a remarkably good imitation.
To top off his misery, his southern regions also started to rebel resulting in a mad dash to the “head”, as the potty facilities on a fishing boat are called. This was an old fishing boat and it was not equipped with the self contained sewage systems that are now the norm on all sea going vessels. This one consisted on a pipe that ended right under the boat. We found this out when Ben, my son, excitedly exclaimed
“Whoa! What’s that?” while looking over the side of the boat.
We all rushed to the railing thinking we were going to see some unique sea creature only to be treated to the sight of a large brown meatloaf from Perry’s upset colon, followed by a decorative wrapping of toilet paper.
We went on several deep sea fishing trips after this one but for some strange reason Perry would never again accept our invitation.