I Crapped Beige

The day everything changed.

A. Since I can recall, that is, since I inhabited the consciousness within which I am thus living my terrible adult life, all of my fecal detritus has neared, in hue, around or exactly at “dark brown.” Just call me regular, and leave a voice mail. In a post-racial world, this color is all that matters. It means everything is okay inside. Before modern science, our insides have befuddled us, as they are vectors of the spirit. Yes, there have been times after a rough burrito or Indian buffet where things got odd, chunky and glittered with constituents; or, after the annual bout of emotionally- and/or pharmaceutically-induced constipation, darker. But in general, gastroenterological anomaly is not my thing. I have lived an unremarkable life, one punctuated by desperate acts, but one thing I find deep repose in are the monochromatic shits of my wasted past. It’s like an old friend: looking down between my legs — past my flaccid clammy penis, whose recoiled foreskin seems to be squinting — and gazing into the serene waters at the predictable commemorative manifestation of my meals, at times floating, usually not, often curled against the toilet bowl like a napping cat.

B. Today something rather unsettling happened, and I feel the hypochondriac in me coming out. It started out, and felt, fine. I sat in my employer’s bathroom stall the way I do every day, catching up on texts from tritely exacerbated women while patiently coaxing my within into the outside world. I thought of my shopping list, and the gentle Pinot waiting for me on the shelf. I stared at the geometrical patterns made by the tiles, and how sad grout is. “Haha” or “Hehe,” said my reply. I placed my phone on top of the toilet paper dispenser, memorizing its whereabouts so I would not forget it, grabbed a bunch of toilet paper, careful that my fingers were fully ensconced, and did what I hereby empower the reader to visualize now. I wiped thrice for good measure, and looked down. Jesus Christ. I had shat beige, or worse, khaki. I got up without flushing and actually leaned in to get a “good final look.” Was I dying? Had my life become so docile and corporate that I started shitting beige? Of course, diarrhea is often in similar color, but what seems surreal is that this was a fully formed ostensibly normal shit. It had structural integrity. There is a time in every man’s life when he asks Who am I? I still don’t know, but methinks I’ll hold it in tomorrow. TC Mark

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