Snowy Accidents #1: Muppet Fur Rug


I had a paper route.  I had a beautiful Redline Proline BMX, which I’d purchased with paper route money (rather than saving for college).  At fourteen, I felt confident in my ability to not crap my pants.  Over-confident.

That morning, I wore two pairs of socks, long underwear, two pairs of pants, and overall-style snow pants.  The snow pants were pulled over the other pants, of course, and strapped up top over a t-shirt , a long-sleeve waffle shirt and a hooded sweatshirt.  On top of all that, I was wrapped in a giant parka.  I needed to be that dressed up.  It was a bone-chilling morning.

After picking up my papers, I biked across my small town, paper bag hung over my shoulder.  The sky let out an ugly sigh as I struggled to peddle (too many layers on my legs) and then a rain began to fall, rain that froze immediately into a sheet of ice.

My first crash occurred as I pulled up to the first house.  The Redline slid out from under me and I spun across a street, face down, spread-eagled, until I ran up against the curb.  I stood up and straight leg walked back across the street to place paper one in the door.  It was at that moment I felt the first rumbling in my tender gut.  I’d spent so much time pulling on clothing, I’d forgotten to use the bathroom before leaving my home.

Soon, the rain began to sound like sharp fingernails tapping on a cold window.  It clacked.  Power lines above me buzzed under the weight of ice.  My insides rumbled.  I fell down time and again, until riding my Redline was no longer an option.

I almost cried as the sky lightened, the sun rising, but doing no good.  Trees bent under the clinging ice.  The power went out across the neighborhood.  No lights warmed kitchen windows.  And, I had to go so bad, but I couldn’t knock on a door, spend twenty minutes getting out of all these clothes… I’d end up late for school!  No way.  I had to ride the bike, to gain some momentum, to get home soon, or I would surely poop my pants.  I climbed onto my bike, rolled down the big hill on Petters Lane, gathered speed, swerved to miss a parked car, crashed, then slid one hundred yards to the bottom of the hill (my gut ripping, rumbling, sawing logs the entire time).

I lay there.  And I did.  I cried.  Ice covered my parka and stiffened my already stiff snow pants.  I was immobilized.  I decided I wouldn’t get up ever again.  I closed my eyes ready to let whatever had to happen, happen. I believe I went to sleep.  Then, a miracle.  I felt a tickle in my nostrils, a feather brush across my cheek.  I opened my eyes and saw that rain had changed to snow!

Immediately, the heavy, enormous flakes began to stick and cake to everything.  It was misery!  But a better misery than before!  I could ride my bike without immediately toppling. My knobbly tires would grip this heavy snow!  I got up, rode, peddled as hard as I could, given the intestinal distress and the overall immobility of my multi-fabric laden legs.

The snow blew heavy and hard.  But, it did give me traction enough.  I delivered the thirty-third paper then the thirty-fourth.  My bottom quivered, the distress sinking into the action zone of my body.  I scrunched my butt cheeks.  I rolled up to house thirty-five, dropped my bike and ran best I could to it and from it.  And, I was done.

My only delivery left to make had to be on the business end of the municipal sewer, back at home.  I was a mere mile from being there.  I pumped it hard, spinning my knobbly tires.  I puckered.  My insides trembled.  I couldn’t hold on much longer.  A moan of pain escaped me.  And I pumped it, trying to keep my posture erect to provide space in my lower internalities.

I felt this awful

The constant action of my peddling, however, caused terrible trouble.  I was working my business down, further down, with every press of the peddle.  By the time I reached the top of my own street, Kase Street, actual pooping was imminent.  I cramped and bent and whimpered and I stopped, knowing I couldn’t peddle for another moment.  I stood straight, the snow falling so heavy  around me that the tracks of the tears pouring down my cheeks were obscured.

I had a decision to make: either poop right there in my pants, or get off the bike and make a run for it.  I opted to make a run, for the sake of my own dignity.  I was an eighth grader!

No way a dude with peach fuzz on his upper lip and a bit of manly armpit hair gonna give in and poop his snow pants!  You got that?

I tipped my bike and slowly lifted my straight leg over it, to avoid letting anything loose.  Then, dragging my Redline Proline over ice and snow behind me, I began to straight leg run the final hundred yards to my home.

With each lumbering step, the pressure built, the cramping increased.  I knew if I fell on the ice and snow, I would lose my battle.  There would be an explosion.  Waves of cramping crashed, raising my core temperature.  My heart pounded, and wooziness, dizziness, drowning in all those clothes!

At the edge of my yard, I dropped my bike.  So close!  So close!  I lumbered up the snowy walk, up the stoop between the frozen and bent juniper bushes, and threw open the screen door and kicked open the interior door, and screamed for my mother to help me get out of all these layers of clothing that imprisoned my bottom and kept it from settling on the cold seat of my home toilet.  She jumped from the couch where she read the paper, leapt the love seat to start the unzipping, the pealing.  Waves of heat, of nausea, the ceiling spinning above!  Help!  Help! I cried.

Toilet Cover and Mat Made of Muppet Fur

As we pealed, I slid…shuffled…hopped at the end… towards the hall and then down it to the bathroom.  At the bathroom, all that was left were my most interior of pants, which I yanked to my ankles, then tried to step, victory seemingly mine, and tripped on the damned, ankle burdening, pealed-but-not-off long-johns and fell down onto the pink fur of our muppet skin-like bath mat.

I burst upon impact.

My mother screamed.

And then, I burst into tears.

School was delayed by two hours that morning due to inclement weather and localized power outages, but I did not go at all.  Instead (after a shower and then a bath), I stayed curled in my electric blanket, wishing to forget, but unable to do so.

This was the first time I realized that aging is not necessarily associated with dignity.  Truly, the shit can go down at any moment.  Little kid, teenager, twenty-something, adult?  It doesn’t matter.  Dignity is a pretense.  The muppet fur rug awaits us all, always.


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I am…

Geoff Herbach. I am the author of Stupid Fast and Nothing Special, among a bunch of other stuff. When I'm not writing, I teach writing at Minnesota State, Mankato.

Stupid Fast

Nothing Special

I’m With Stupid

Fat Boy (Gabe Johnson Takes Over)

PowderKeg Stage

Herbach's favorite store

My Bizzle

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