I know you’ve been biting your nails all week, wondering how I was dealing with becoming a local celebrity. You’ve been nervous, haven’t you? You’ve been fussing with heart palpitations and cold sweats about how Kathy was surviving the indignity–yes, the indignity! the humiliation!–of becoming a local weekly newspaper columnist discussing the Drue loos in public.
I am here to alleviate your worries, to help you re-gain equilibrium after your days of empathetic compassionate concern. To release the nervousness of such an auspicious event.
It’s OK, dear concerned reader, it’s really OK. We’ve survived it. We’re not even a smidge humiliated. Release it all! Life is good.
Let’s, as usual, back up (and we don’t mean the septic system). For those of you shaking your heads and rolling your eyes–“Toilet? Famous blog? What’s she babbling about NOW?” please carefully click this link: A spiritual tale of two toilets. If you’re reluctant to click the link, I totally understand. You can continue to read this post instead. No hand-washing required.
My loving witty husband snatched my toilet blog for his column in the L’Anse Sentinel this week. (He must have been desperate for material. After writing columns for thirty-four years, it must become slightly challenging at times, don’t you think?)
He said, and I quote almost verbatim, after reading the aforementioned toilet blog: “You have just succeeded in beating me as a smart a**.”
I took a deep bow.
He snatched the blog for his column–with permission of course–a bit hesitant permission–a trifle nervous agreeing–a sighing “what the heck”–and emailed the newspaper the blog along with appropriate potty pictures.
He proceeded to edit out references to utilizing the woods as an emergency bathroom, even though I expressed complete editorial dismay at the omission.
“But my readers LOVED that part the best!” I insisted.
Still, he edited the text appropriate for a family read newspaper, added his own introduction, and out into newspaperland flew the Toilet Column, mostly written by yours truly, straight from Blogging Land.
The paper hit the streets and mailboxes on Wednesday. I prudently decided not to visit town.
By Thursday it was unavoidable. Lunch date at a local restaurant summoned. I took a deep breath and drove toward L’Anse.
Let’s back up again. I was the shyest kid in elementary school. OK, maybe not as shy as the shyest one, but nearly as shy. During half of my adult life, was petrified to say anything that would upset the apple cart, disturb the neighbors, frighten small children. I was scared to death that folks would utter words like, “She is a flake” behind my back. (And one person did, once. It hurt for six years. How could they call me a FLAKE? Another time someone–sob!–called me “weird”. It shouldn’t have hurt because she was the weirdest person in town, but it did. It only took five years to recover from this.) Due to these fears I edited every word that came out of these two lips until, finally, maybe six years ago when–
You know what happened. I started blogging. Pressing the “Publish” button on the first blog resulted in severe heart palpitations. I was going to die, don’t you know it, and it was only a simple poem! Hundreds of people would write, “You idiot! You flake! You crazy woman! You weirdo! You are so wrong, so perturbed, so stupid, so–” and I would quiver up and die, humiliated, finally so humiliated that they’d figured out my secret fears.
I pressed the “publish” button. Five people read the poem and no one commented.
Hmmm, so much for drama.
Still, I was so traumatized, I didn’t blog for another year.
The first time I typed something controversial–it was undoubtedly a blog about spirituality–people offered two positive comments. Really? You could push the “publish” button and not be ashamed, humiliated, down-trodden?
It took a good year to write without feeling inner shaking every time a post published. The first time someone commented negatively–strangely enough–it didn’t really matter. I only agonized over it for 24 hours before regaining equilibrium and writing back a polite response.
Fast-forward until now.
What happened to the shy little girl afraid to say anything slightly controversial or weird?
She disappeared somewhere along the line.
She’d say almost anything–well, we hope tact and politeness still operates–and even allow her smart a** columnist husband to include her toilet essay in the local newspaper.
And not really care too much.
You will be happy to know that maybe a dozen people have mentioned the column with big smiles upon their faces. However, at least two-thirds of them seem to think my husband wrote it.
Renee at the bank told Barry, “I liked your column!” Barry, good man, replied, “I didn’t have anything to do with it!”
Last night we ate dinner at Billy the Finns (i.e. the Huron Bay Tavern) with–yes!–blog reader and commenter John Kuttenberg and his wife, Jenny, who own a place in our neck of the woods.
I looked around furtively to discern if any toilet-readers (besides John) might be attendance.
Phew. It was safe to eat our fish fry and chat.
Toward the end of the evening, a gentleman passed our table and touched Barry’s shoulder.
“I liked your column! It was funny!” he said.
My jaw dropped in disbelief. I swiveled toward him.
Not another reader thinking that Barry wrote this!
Barry’s column? HIS column? Who wrote this potty episode anyway? Who is prepared to handle the shame and embarrassment of it?
“It was MY column!” I insisted to the innocent friendly passerby, narrowing my eyes, daring him to disagree.
“Oh, oh,–yes, yes,” he agreed, smiling, backing up, probably trying to get away before the little woman leaped on him like a mad terrier for his editorial mistake.
You can quit biting your nails now–and don’t be the slightest bit afraid to share yourself with the world. Don’t worry. People probably won’t even figure out who you are anyway. If I can learn to do it without fear and utter humiliation about a subject as intimate as toilets, you can do it, too.