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Jan 23, 2023

It seems like a favorite of my stories for listeners is the one I titled, “The Time I Peed On My Leg”. Apparently people enjoy hearing about embarrassing moments and I’m more than happy to be the guy you turn to when you need someone for a good point and laugh. To my mother and my wife’s dismay, I’m a person who enjoys sharing the little things that most people would rather forget. I revel at the thought of seeing the faces of those around me when I tell one of these stories in a crowd and I invent expressions in my mind for those who hear these tales after I record them.

     This will be one of those stories. And although I fear I might have spoiled it a little from the start by offering the reveal in the title, there’s still a lot of meat in the middle for you.

     I’ve been gone for a while. I’ll get to the reasons why after the story because that’s what you came here for, isn’t it? The story? All I will tell you right now is that I had pretty much given up on Funny Messy Life and I had good reasons for it. But after listening to an audio book about good storytelling, I discovered there was still something left to give. I might just need to adjust a few things to get it right.

   So to get things started in the way familiar to regular listeners, I’m Michael Blackston and I invite you now into a painful, and an embarrassing part if you think about it, of my Funny Messy Life.

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     I’m about 18 years old and we, my mom and stepdad, have just moved into a new home. We’re all trying to acclimate to our surroundings, so I don’t think any of us are sleeping well, which may account for the reason my mom was so quick to jump to my aid. Mom’s attention to things that go bump in the night aren’t the details to be observed at this moment though. Right now it’s the extra tall glass of eggnog that I’m pouring for myself right after downing two burgers slathered in cheese, mayo, mustard, and parmesan. Mom’s fried burger patties are a favorite of mine and so is eggnog, but I don’t think the creators of those two delicacies ever intended them to be smashed together into one meal like a caveman might do.

     But I’m 18 and I don’t think about things like healthy eating, healthy sleeping, and the very real effects that can happen to a body - both loudly and painfully - when one or the other is ignored.

     There’s a football game being played and the pictures and sounds coming from it do nothing to help me with my frame of mind. It’s all about what’s going on between the hedges in Athens, Ga and I’m celebrating a victory for my Dawgs the only way a non-drinker who couldn’t get a beer without help anyway because he’s underage can. I’m cramming anything and everything that’s edible down my gullet.

     That’s a bit of an exaggeration, actually. I am a human, so two fried burgers with cheese, both american sliced and in graded fake parmesan form, and a sloppy lake comprised of mayo, mustard, and ketchup, coupled with a herculean sized glass of eggnog, is enough to make any referee throw a flag for unnecessary stuffedness. 

     The 37 to 27 win against Auburn justifies my gluttony and what is waiting for me just a few hours from now holds no weight as far as consequences go. We have triumphed and all that exists to do in the moment is celebrate unabashedly, rewarding the players and coaching staff, and the entirety of BullDawg Nation by injesting grease and fat and sugar. I’m jubilant to say the least. We will lose three games this season, but tonight … tonight the stars blaze with the fire of victory! If God had shown Eve this game before telling her not to eat of the fruit, she may well have gnawed down the whole tree without thinking about it. Rabid jubilance will do that to a person.

     We jump ahead now a few hours. Enough time for the ingredients I’ve partaken in to mingle and find that they have nothing in common. They bicker and insult each other so that before long, there is turmoil. Turmoil I do not see coming.

     I’m sound asleep in my bed, dreaming about being naked in high school and late to take an exam for a class I haven’t attended.

     There is an interesting feeling now in the bottommost area of my intestines. I feel a dull ache beginning to swell there. In my half woke state, I perceive it as a round sort of pain, but it quickly develops into a different shape. Something sharp and pointy, like a knife or one of the daggers that pierced the flesh of Caesar on the Ides Of March.

     This is a new pain for me. I’d snapped both of the bones in my arm at once after a fall when I was twelve and endured the pain of them setting the break. That was so painful that through my tears, I begged my mother to allow me to say the “ess word”. She said no, but I let loose a string of them at the apex moment anyway and she never mentioned it. I once fell face forward while carrying a jagged stick between my teeth and nearly sliced off my uvula. I once had the top of my head sliced open by an errant log when the neighbor kid was tossing it over me and didn’t get enough air under it. And when I was seven, I got beat up by a six year old girl.

     Nothing compares to the pain I’m feeling now as I leap from my bed and plow my way down the hall to the bathroom, heedless of anything in my path.

     I could take it easy on you and say that it’s nothing much. Just gas. But I’d be lying to you. I’ll not go so far as to compare it to what a woman goes through during the throws of labor, although I will eventually come to refer to the feeling as “labor pains”. I will, however, admit that I truly believe it’s the closest thing a male will ever get to it. I’m told that passing a kidney stone is far worse, but I’ve thankfully never had that experience. If you want to debate, I’ll cede you the win because I understand a person who has passed a calcified brick through their urethra is pretty passionate about hanging onto the trophy for the worst pain experience. 

    The knife twists within my lower bowels and it feels as if all I need to do is release a great big gush of gas to feel better, but then the pain subsides. It goes away completely. Alright. Wonderful. Time to go back to sleep.

     I stand and take two steps forward toward the door and it’s back, doubled and now feeling less like a twisting knife inside me, but more like a flock of drunk elves operating a mining drill down there.

     I slam myself back down to the toilet and pray. My skin goes cold and gooseflesh pops up all over my body in response. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I want to call for my mommy, but I can’t. I could never look her in the eye if she had to hold my hand while I sat on the porcelain throne through a rough bowel movement.

     Then like the first time, it has passed. I’m skeptical. There’s no pain now, but nothing else has happened either. I’m reminded of earthquakes and how the aftershocks can be worse than main tremor. I sit in the dark and begin to pray.

     Dear God, I know I’ve done wrong. I see now that there is no room in me for this caliber of gluttony. I have sinned and I beg your forgiveness, so please take this from me. Sober the drunk elves inside me and show them the way to turn off the drill. I’ll never try to have a baby, for I see that you have made man incapable not only by physics and also by pain tolerance. And I shall promise to always humble myself in the face of one who has passed a crystallized brick of calcium through the narrow opening of their urethra. Please just take this burden and let me be as far from it as east is to west. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

     The pain is still gone, so I stand. I wait in place for a while, beginning to see specks of light in the darkness where something is happening to my eyes. Then the pain comes again and I fall to the seat of the toilet. At least the seat isn’t cold. It has taken the warm temperature of my body. Which is odd because I feel my skin grow cold again as one last aftershock, the worst of them, wrecks my body. The drunken elves have called their friends and a demolition team has arrived. The specks of light converge in front of me in the darkness so that suddenly I see a white hot flare and then there’s darkness again.

     Now the surface holding me up is cold and it supports the entire right side of my body. Cold, hard, unforgiving floor tile.

     I hear a knock. I didn’t realize I locked the door behind me when I came into the bathroom and behind the knocking is the voice of my mother. She has come for me anyway. Good old mom. Always looking out for me. Always there.

     I don’t feel the pain anymore. Something tells me the worst is over and I sigh, relieved.

     “Michael! Michael, are you alright?! I heard a crash. What happened?!”

     “I’m alright,” I tell her. “It’s just gas.”

_________________________

 

     All true. I’ve only passed out once in my life and it was while I was on the toilet. Later in life I ate something similar and had another episode that resembled the one I just took you through. It was then that I realized I can’t have dairy after I’ve eaten greasy beef. Lesson learned.

     Quickly, let me tell you where I’ve been, what’s been happening, and why I’m back. I promise it will have nothing to do with bathrooms, football, or poor eating choices.

     Frankly, it boils down to time management. I have to prioritize some things and over the past few months, I’ve focused on my novel and the subsequent, seemingly endless revisions needed to get it print worthy. There was a long while that I had decided to let Funny Messy Life be over. Fortunately, I kept paying the bill to make it available to new listeners and I kept seeing people drop by for a download or two. Then I was listening to one of my favorite podcasters and podcast coach, Dave Jackson, and heard him mention for the eighteen-hundredth time that there was a book all storytellers should read. It’s called Story Worthy by Matthew Dicks. I had a free credit on my Audible account, so I used to get the audio version of Matthew’s book.

    It changed my thinking about this podcast and blog. I realized I was indeed doing wrong for someone who is telling stories about their life. I learned a lot from the book and have started trying to apply the principles in it whenever I tell a story, whether I’m verbalizing it or writing it down. I decided to regroup when it comes to Funny Messy Life.

     So here's how it’s got to go if this train is to have more track.

     I’m ramping up some things in my life that absolutely have to be at the forefront to find success. While I love Funny Messy Life, hence the reason I just can’t seem to let it go, The other irons in my fire have the potential to actually change my life in a positive way.

     My novels, my plays, and the production company I hope to start take a lot of time, effort, and concentration. I’ve decided that to keep Funny Messy Life going, it will be necessary to pare down the amount of content if I’m to keep it consistent.

     Therefore from here forward, I plan to make this a once per month podcast/blog. I think I can dedicate enough time to write out episodes once a month.

     The other thing is all about style. From here out the format of my storytelling will have a decidedly novelistic feel to it. I intend to do further things with these stories, including making them into a book of short stories, so writing them in that form from the start will be beneficial to me as well as great practice.

     As always, there will be ways to contact me for comments or to tell me your own stories, but I’m not going to beg for it. There will be a mention at the end where you can go to reach out, but other than that, I won’t put that burden on you. All you need to do is listen and enjoy.

     With that being said, I know this first episode back from a long hiatus may have been a lot of literal potty humor, but it won’t all be that way. I hope you have a fantastic month and we’ll talk again in a few weeks. Until then, I’m Michael Blackston and I thank you for listening to another instance from my Funny Messy Life.