Monday, January 06, 2014

Losing One's Shit (Both Meanings)

In order to understand the setting of my story, you need to know that I work in a part of Burbank that is uniquely lacking in walkable restaurants. As a result, my co-workers and I must resort to go to the one place we can walk to: the hospital cafeteria. It’s not at all uncommon for someone to stand up and declare “I’m going to the hospital,” with none of the drama that would traditionally accompany that phrase. Oh, it’s not so bad. The food can actually be halfway decent, if you get there on the right day. They even have Taco Tuesdays, which afford you the unique opportunity to enjoy tacos in the same building where people are dying. And not one of us yet has gotten a staph infection, knock on particle board.

So today I went to the hospital, but only because I wanted yogurt, which I suppose is maybe best reason to ever have to go to the hospital. And I was waiting in the check-out line, happy that I didn’t walk past any crying families on my way there, with my yogurt in one hand and a large coffee in the other, when the old man in front of me turns around.

“Is that that Actavita?” he asks me.

Clearly, he was asking me if I was buying Activia, but I wasn’t and his mispronunciation of the brand name threw me.

“It’s that yogurt for pooping,” he explains.

“Oh, no,” I say, “This is just regular yogurt,” even though technically all yogurt is for pooping eventually.

“You gotta be careful with that pooping yogurt,” the old man warns me. Against my better interests, I ask why.

The old man: “My wife bought some, and I didn’t know what it was, and I had a few before getting on the road, and the next thing I knew I was stuck in traffic on the 405.”

“Oh, that’s the worst,” I say. I mean it. That really would be the worst. “Were you… okay?”

The old man gives me a look like I’d missed the point of the story. “No. I pooped my truck.”

And so I start laughing. I can’t stop. And I’m not laughing at the man’s plight -- I mean, no one wants to poop their pants, to say nothing of pooping their whole vehicle -- but I just couldn’t handle the combo of what this man had told me: that “Actavita”-brand yogurt had forced him to void himself on the 405, plus the fact that he didn’t think it was awkward or unusual at all to tell this story to a complete stranger, plus the fact that “shit my truck” was a syntax I just never thought I’d ever hear. Importantly, he did not laugh, though he did turn back and glare at me before he shuffled off into the asphodel that is the St. Joseph’s dining room at 4:30 on a Monday afternoon. I laughed for a full city block. Ha ha. “Pooped my truck.”

The moral of the story, I guess? Don’t poop your truck. Or don’t strike up conversation with me. Yeah, those both seem pretty valid.

Previous allegedly funny stories:

1 comment:

  1. I would like to publicly applaud the phrase, "They even have Taco Tuesdays, which afford you the unique opportunity to enjoy tacos in the same building where people are dying."