Like Jack Benny, but in a literary way, I often do the same routine now whenever I give readings. I have two essays from my book What's Not to Love? that are always crowd-pleasers, so I recite them repeatedly. Their titles are self-explanatory: "Bald, Impotent, and Depressed," and "I Shit My Pants in the South of France."
Since I'll be in Montreal, I'll probably read my Francophile essay. Before doing so, I'll make my usual apology, which goes like this: "I've come to notice that the world is divided between those who like scatological humor and those who don't. For those of you who don't, please try to see my story as a tale of hubris, of excessive pride, and that diarrhea is merely a metaphor for loss and the vanquishing of ego."
I have to say, ever since I penned that South of France piece, I've received the most incredible confessions from people about their bowels. One man told me of heroically getting to a restaurant toilet in time, but then exploding before he could get his pants off. We all know that moment of terror, but most of us survive. This guy didn't. Well, the poor fellow wanted to take off his pants and try to clean himself up, but he was idiotically wearing military boots and managed to knot the laces and couldn't pull his pants over his shoes! He was stuck in the stall and had to ask another person in the bathroom to get him a steak knife so he could cut through his laces.
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