A coworker told me about something he saw in the bathroom today. That’s always a fun conversation starter: “Guess what I just saw in the bathroom!”
What he saw: Two guys standing side-by-side at the urinals. One of the guys is fiddling with his Blackberry while he’s taking a piss. (Ahem.) The other guy’s probably just staring straight ahead and pissing; my coworker didn’t say. Then the first guy’s Blackberry goes off, causing a Pavlovian “answer” response. He get so immersed in his Blackberry call that he starts pissing all over himself, the floor, and the guy next to him without even noticing.
His first clue, and my co-worker’s first clue, is when the non-Blackberry guy jumps back and screams, “What the hell are you doing?!”, which shakes the Blackberry guy out of his digital wonderland and back into the reality that he just pissed all over himself and another guy because of his Blackberry. That can’t be a good feeling, especially when, as my coworker suspects, they didn’t know each other but happened to be in the same corporate training class.
I can tell you from experience that you have limited options at that point. Your choices are to change clothes if possible, preferably by going home, or to walk back to wherever you are supposed to be and calmly explain that your wet pant leg is the result of a hand-washing mishap, and not some unfortunate scatological disaster related to you being an assclown.
I have only been faced with this decision one time, thankfully. When I was in eighth grade, my friend Charlie and I were standing beside each other at the urinals before our science class. I began to regale him with some hilarious yet today unremembered tale of ribaldry when, much to my surprise, I felt my right leg getting very warm. Somehow this simple operation I had performed thousands of times before had gone awry, I won’t bother to explain how, and all just about 2 minutes before I was due to walk into a classroom full of my 8th grade peers.
As you might imagine, this totally messed with the flow of my story, and rather than stay and offer me moral support or any other kind of assistance, which I felt he owed to me as it was for his benefit that I was so engrossed in my storytelling, Charlie simply left and went back to class, leaving me all alone and covered in piss in the bathroom.
The choices were quite clear. I had no change of clothes at my disposal and the last thing I wanted to do was go to the office to ask to have my mom come get me because I pissed on myself, which would of course require admitting that I had, in fact, pissed all over myself, something I very much wanted to avoid admitting. I chose the other option, the Hand-washing Mishap, because it offered a plausible (I thought) explanation for why my pant leg was all wet.
All I had to do to make things right was splash some water on my leg, in the interest of staying true to my cover story as well as odor-masking. Unfortunately this took me perhaps another 2 minutes or so, which might as well be two weeks in the highly-structured daily schedules of my middle school. As a result, instead of being the first person in the room, perhaps with a chance to get my leg under a desk before anyone noticed me, I was was the last person in the room, conspicuously late with my wet denim-clad leg in full view of the seated class as I came through the door. And this being 1983 these were naturally a stone-washed denim, so the darkened wet spot was even more attention-grabbing.
Obviously I knew somebody was going to notice my leg was wet when I walked in the room. Admittedly, I didn’t anticipate all 25 people in the class and the teacher getting locked on to my wet leg the instant I walked in the room, but to my credit I did have a cover story. I looked past them all, out the window and said, “I was washing my hands, and the water…”
Suddenly someone cried out, “Doug peed on himself!”, and there was much rejoicing and merriment. I can’t tell you for sure if five people laughed or all 25 and the teacher, because I did my best to continue looking out the window as I made my way to my seat. I also can’t tell you for sure if they knew what had happened because Charlie told them, or if they merely said I peed on myself because that’s what an 8th grader would say and it happened to be a lucky guess. Or maybe they knew, not because Charlie told them but because they knew I was the kind of guy who might one day piss all over himself, and that day had come.
Today, that day came for someone else. Plus the guy standing next to him.