As you read in a prior blog, I am a germaphobe – loud and proud. See https://brucecrobertson.com/2011/03/30/hands-off-confessions-of-a-rational-germaphobe/. As I mentioned in that posting, I take a lot of crap for being a germaphobe. For example, my EA gives me a hard time about it constantly. Well, at least until she had pink eye twice in a month and bronchitis at the same time. Now, she’s a Purell convert. You know, I really should be getting royalties on every bottle of Purell sold. Our good friends, Jon and Laura, are among the many people who tease me about my germaphobia. We went out for drinks with them on Friday night and I was reminded of the worst germaphobe story I had ever heard.
It happened about 4 years ago. Our daughter was on the same softball team as Jon and Laura’s daughter. We were at a game and Laura showed up late, having just come from another activity for their younger son, who was probably about 3 or 4 at the time. I was listening in as Laura was telling someone else a horrible story that had just happened to her that day. Strap in folks – this one ain’t gonna be easy and, let me assure you, it ain’t for the faint of heart. If you’re fellow germaphobe, take your nerve medicine. OK, I have to digress – how many of you were fans of the old “Dennis the Menace” show – the original one with Jay North? C’mon, raise your hands. Well, remember the crotchety old neighbor, Mr. Wilson, whose goat Dennis was always getting with his antics. Whenever Dennis started getting to him, his wife (Martha, if I recall) would start yelling, “George, your nerve medicine. Your nerve medicine, George.” Here’s my question – exactly what “nerve medicine” was good ol’ Mr. Wilson taking and where the hell can I get my hands on some of that magic elixir when I’m nervous….or nervy?
Back to Laura’s tale of misery. When Laura arrived at the softball game that afternoon, she was in quite a frenzy owing to an incident with her youngest son that day. Apparently, she had the kid in a public restroom and while helping him do his business, she dropped her cell phone into the toilet. You see where this is going, don’t you? Well, actually, no you don’t.
As she’s telling the tale and I’m trying to Purell my ears just for having listened to it, something just isn’t adding up. First, she said they were at a park. I was thinking shopping mall restroom. OK, so be it – I’m now picturing one of those small brick houses with a men’s room on one side and women’s room on the other. Makes the whole thing a little bit more disgusting, but so be it. But, then she starts talking about using two sticks to fish the damn thing out of the toilet. Sticks? Where the hell are you going to find sticks in a bathroom?
Then, BOOM goes the dynamite. In describing this sordid tale, she uses the word….you sure you’re ready for this….Port-o-Potty. And, I’m just praying it was in the context of “thank God we weren’t using a Port-o-Potty at the time.” No such luck. It was in the context of “I dropped my phone in a Port-o-Potty…..and fished the goddam thing out.” Yes, you read that correctly. She used two sticks and retrieved her Motorola RAZR cell phone out of the Port-o-Potty.
After they revived me, got me sitting upright with an ice pack on my head and smelling salts, I said, “Laura, what the f&*# were you thinking? Did your child fall in the Port-o-Potty or just your phone?” She clarified that the kid was fine – it was just the phone.
“Laura, next time you drop your phone in the Port-o-Potty, run, don’t walk, to the Verizon store to get a new phone,” I begged her.
“But, the phone actually still works,” she said with excitement.
“Still works???? How the hell do you know it still works? Did you hold it up to your ear and….”
More smelling salts. More ice packs on my head.
I had just one final clarification for her when I regained consciousness the second time.
“Laura,” I said, “there’s only one thing that could fall in a Port-o-Potty that MIGHT be worth fishing out and that is one of your children. And, if that ever happens, put on a full Hazmat suit and push the Port-o-Potty over . When the kid flows out, grab him, put him through full Hazmat detox, hold him in isolation for a week, then decide whether it’s worth having him rejoin the family.” It will be 50/50 at best.