You Know Sherman…

… I've been thinking about going down and having my colon cleansed thoroughly.

Lest you guys think I only dish it out when it comes to horseplay, I'll tell you of the time I unwillingly had my colon cleansed…thoroughly.

When I was growing up in north Louisiana, I had a good friend named Paul. Every day after school, we'd fill our pockets with ammo, grab our shotguns or .22's and set out walking. We hunted together, terrorized our teachers, and chased girls. We did amateur gunsmithing for our football coaches and phys ed teachers, and we took first place at the regional social studies fair for our project comparing the effects of the handgun laws of Morton Grove, IL and Kennesaw, GA. We were the Official Gun Nut Twins of Podunk Parish High School.

We were tight.

In our teen years, Paul and I fell under the evil influence of a master gunsmith in our hometown. He was an irascible, foul-mouthed, opinionated old coot who could out-shoot all comers…with one arm tied behind his back.

Actually, the arm wasn't tied behind his back. It had been lopped off several inches below the shoulder in a railroad accident that had happened in his twenties. Back then, his contemporaries thought that would end his competitive skeet shooting career, and it did.

For about two years.

Then he proceeded to win another armful of national titles with just one arm. I swear, the man was a wizard with projectile weapons. It didn't matter what he used – rifle, shotgun, pistol, longbow or pool cue – he was just by-God better than 99.9% of the human population with whatever weapon you cared to choose.

And during our daily worship at his shop, we learned a fair amount of gunsmithing and no small amount of shooting skills that still serve us today – me as a recreational shooter and Paul as a deputy sheriff and sniper for his department's SWAT team.

Aside from the life skills and marksmanship, Old Coot also taught us the value of a good prank. The man was E-V-I-L. What little I know about dastardly pranks, I learned at the feet of The Master.

Fast forward to March of 1991. We're all gathered at Paul's house to watch the Mike Tyson-Razor Ruddick fight on pay-per-view. Old Coot was there expounding on religion, sports, politics and the overall superiority of Remington firearms. The beer was cold, the red beans and rice were spicy, and the conversation was not fit for delicate ears. The testosterone was almost as abundant as the methane.

About halfway through the undercard, I let a gentle one slip out. It was a purely self defense fart, my first of the evening. Nothing special, just a little frog chirp of flatulence easily lost in the thunderclaps of noxious emissions from everyone else in the room. My benign little poot should have been like a whiff of spring rain after finally finding the upwind side of the paper mill. Everyone who knows me will attest that my personal feces are not odorific. My contribution should have been welcomed.

But it wasn't.

Immediately, everyone sobered, focused a little too intently on everything but me, and tried to create a little distance between me and themselves.


I should have known then that something was up, but I was a little slow catching on. A few minutes later, I let another one that felt a little…moist.

Folks, do have any idea what an entire box of Ex Lax can do to a human body? They say that the human body is 70% water. For me at that time, that equaled about 160 pounds of water weight and I'm here to tell you I flushed about 150 pounds of that into the local sewer system.

The other 10 pounds of fluid probably eventually made it to the water table, having absorbed into the ground wherever it was expelled. For three days I had the nightmare that a loved one would find my dessicated corpse on the toilet, perched above a bowl of perfectly clear water and bean husks.

Every trip to the toilet was an exercise in incredulity. I'd get up from the toilet and look down, fully expecting to see organs floating in there, but…nope. Nothing but clear water and bean husks. After three days of my anus impersonating a pulsating shower head, I also became a very big fan of quilted, aloe-impregnated toilet tissue. Let's just say comfort was at a premium.

My only consolation from the entire affair was that I managed to keep my innards under control until I got home. Another buddy was not so lucky. Apparently, his metabolism was a bit slower than mine, and the effects of his personal box of Ex Lax did not kick in until he was halfway to a local honky tonk with his date for the evening. There are few things more effective at putting a damper on romance than sluicing your partially digested red beans and rice down the right leg of your Banana Republic shorts…all over the Sweet Young Thang at your side.

Former Buddy still hates Paul, and by extension the entire Podunk Parish Sheriff's Department, to this day.

I, however, am a more forgiving type, plus I can appreciate a good prank even when I'm the victim.

Especially since forgiving doesn't mean forgetting. Coming soon, The Retaliation…

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