Thursday, January 12, 2012

George's Predicament

George found himself in a predicament at work today, something he had not experienced before, at least not in recent memory.  There’s really no way to whitewash or sugarcoat what I’m about to tell you, so I’ll just state it forthrightly: George shat his pants, and this accident of nature couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time.

The middle-aged life insurance sales representative—one of the company’s best—shat his pants on the one day he was not wearing underwear.  His wife Vera had inadvertently washed the bed sheets and blankets after their new puppy went to town on them; she left George’s bundle of clothing untouched in the corner of the basement.  Pressed for time in the morning, Vera convinced him that he could “wing it” for just one workday, so hubby went commando against his better judgment.  Believe me, I find these details unpleasant, but I must provide you with the proper context to understand George’s difficult situation.  To make matters worse, our protagonist in this scatological tragedy decided to sport his beige suit instead of the dark brown one he usually wore on Thursdays (which of course would have been ideal given the circumstances).

George was speaking with two clients in his office, a married couple, when he had his unfortunate and most certainly ill-timed bowel movement.  It had been a busy day at the branch.  Administrative assistants were scurrying about, shuttling cartloads of company documents from cubicle to cubicle; auditors were grilling the HR department and accountants in the main conference room; junior colleagues had been nervously asking George questions about the firm’s cutbacks; and two other clients sat just outside his office with appointments.  Meanwhile, his boss wanted him at the video conference within thirty minutes to present figures to the district managers.

George was not sick.  He didn’t have a weak bladder.  With all the hubbub at work he didn’t even have time for his usual cup of high-octane coffee this morning.  So why did an innocent effort to pass gas end up in such a disaster?  As it turns out, George had been adding bits of broccoli to his soup for lunch every day this week, as part of his New Year’s resolution to lose weight.  Later he would reflect on the diet being the culprit in loosening his bowels, but in the immediate situation, he was thinking about only one thing: an escape.

George developed a plan, and he knew he had to execute it posthaste.  The stench would reach the nostrils of his clients within seconds, if not microseconds.

“Oh my gosh!” he exclaimed, with a feigned look of alarm.  “I’m sorry, Bonnie and Joe.  I totally forgot about my son’s medication.”


“My son.  He’s a diabetic and needs his serum.”


“Yeah, insulin.”  Even as George was uttering this lie, he was tucking his pant legs into his socks behind the desk to catch any potential fallout.  “I was supposed to drop it off at his school.  I must leave.  I’m sorry.”  With these words he practically lunged for the coat hanger and threw on his overcoat before Bonnie and Joe could espy serious seepage in his beige trousers.  “I’ll need to lock up.”  So George escorted them out, locked his office, and apologized profusely (and hastily) to those waiting to speak with him.

He made a mad dash for the stairway, flew to the first floor, and entered a restroom far from the madding crowd.  Once he got into the stall, he was able to clean up.  His pants were so unsalvageable that he simply tossed them in the wastebasket.  George reached for his cell phone to call his wife and have her bring him a fresh supply of underwear and pants.   The phone call was indeed a key part of the plan.  Unfortunately, George, in his understandable haste out of the office, forgot to grab his cell phone off his desk.  Standing nude from the waist down in a puddle of mess, the sales representative found himself up shit creek without a paddle.  The look on his face was priceless.

I would love to be able to tell you that George learned from this experience.  If nothing else, hearing his wife and mother-in-law cackle uncontrollably whenever they recalled the story should have stiffened his resolve to avoid another scatalogical catastrophe.  Two years later George's diet of drinking a jug of apple cider every day led again to unintended consequences–this time during his speech at the rotary club.  Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.