I was in sixth grade. Wait. I didn’t really pee my pants. Let me begin with that. But of all the times in my earlier days, when I peed my pants and nobody noticed, why did the time I didn’t pee my pants get noticed? I mean, I was grown up to the age of… what are you in sixth grade? 11? 12? It must have been somewhere around there. I was the grown up age of 11 and I got called out for peeing my pants at school. Only I didn’t really pee!
There were times, before I became of school age, when I’d be out playing and I’d feel the urge to evacuate my bladder. But I kept on playing. I didn’t want to stop playing to go pee. And, at that young, pre-kindergarten age, I somehow hadn’t discovered every man’s ultimate advantage in life; the ability to pee outside.
As an aside, that’s the single greatest advantage to being a male. The world is your urinal. You can relieve your bladder almost anywhere. I mean, anywhere outside. When I recall my days as a reserve police officer, concerning matters urinary in nature, swing or graveyard were the best shifts. I’d be out in the boonies—somewhere on the periphery of the city—and my previously consumed ice tea would wend its way bladderward. I’d feel the all-to-familiar impulse and inform my partner as to my imminent requirement for 10-100. He’d pull onto a darkened street and I’d find a suitable creosote bush or palm tree and, within moments, my internal physiology would be set right and I’d be back on patrol. When I worked day-shift, we always had to find a fire station or have knowledge of cop-friendly businesses that’d let us stop in for a moment. If not, we’d have to drive all the way back to the station.
But back to playing outside before I discovered the joys and convenience of a nearby tree, bush or rock.
I’d be having such a good time with whatever we were playing that I’d often find myself to the point of nearly exploding; even continuing to play with only one hand while the other grasped the nozzle in a fearsome pinch to avoid undesired expulsion.
Of course, there would always be some leakage and, upon removal of my tighty-whity’s in the evening, I’d be embarrassed that my mother would discover the telltale yellow stains. In those days, our washing machine was in the main hallway of our home. Our instructions from Mom were, upon disrobing and preparing for our evening bath, to place “our dirty clothes on top of the washer.” And in those days, with five or six young children in the house, the mound of clothes on top of the washer was always heaped fairly high. In order that my mother would not see the citrine tinge on the front of my undergarment, I’d accidentally flip said drawers with force enough to carry them to the wall behind the washer, where it would abruptly meet with that wall and quietly disappear behind the machine.
I was an idiot.
My embarrassment at my disgraced skivvies so clouded my rational mind that it never once dawned upon me that, if my briefs were behind the washer, I may someday find my undergarments in short supply and my mother would begin to question me as to their whereabouts. Still, to this day I do not understand how that never happened. Nightly I threw my aureate undies behind the washer, and later they always seemed to be joined by others in my top drawer. Did my mom check behind the washer for items that might have accidentally slipped back there? Did she periodically drag that machine from its alcove and retrieve errant garments?
Whatever the case, in the days before I became of school age, my mom had to know I peed—let’s say dribbled—into my underwear on an almost daily basis. But everyone in the sixth grade did not need to know I peed my pants!
Except I didn’t. I swear!
On the fateful day, I had used the lavatory facilities during lunch hour and then moved to the sink to wash my hands. While standing there, my pants, at the worst possible location, touched onto a small puddle of water which had been left by a previous customer. I’d have not even noticed had the water not seeped through my pants and cooled its way onto my most sensitive appendage. Whoops! That’s cold!
I looked down and there, as obvious as a neon sign right where Wee Willie relaxed for the afternoon, was a dime-sized wet spot. Darn! Now everyone would think I peed my pants!
So, through the haze of my flaring panic, I thought as quickly as possible. I turned the water on hard and thrust my hand under the spray. I flicked my wrist and some more droplets soaked into my pants. Hmmm… not enough. I had to make it look like the water splashed from the sink and not from my personal implement. I splashed again. Yaaaahhh! It somehow did not produce the intended effect. Originally I had a small circle of water. Now it looked like I peed a lot!
Thinking quickly (?), I splashed some more. I took an unsteady handful of water and patted it lower onto my pants leg. I had to make this look like a too-much-water-from-the-sink accident.
What the hell?!?!
Now it looked like I peed my entire bladder practically down to my knee! Clearly I wasn’t thinking as clearly as I’d have desired.
I had the sudden thought that I should have started splashing water onto my shirt and then the droplet on my pants wouldn’t have warranted a glance. But, since my first instinct was to try to disguise the initial droplet with more water, and since I had hence deposited gallons of liquid around my zipper and down the inside of my left leg, expending mental energy lamenting my lack of foresight in the distribution of the dihydrogen-oxide would have been a waste of precious time. I now stood before the mirror with a wet crotch and left leg—at least to the knee. I had to focus on my immediate dilemma!
There was only one clear option. Remember how, when you wore a sweater to school and, when it got warm on the playground, you’d wrap the arms around your waist and tie them into a knot, letting the body of the sweater cover your rear? Luckily, I was wearing a sweater.
I removed it from my arms and tied it around my waist. Then I rotated the sweater around to the front. Brilliant!
It looked stupid. Thinking quickly, I sort of slid it halfway around my body so it was half behind me and half kind of covering my left front and leg. I thought it would look half-casual in a rakish sort of way or, if not that, possibly appearing half-accidental. At the very least, something had to be done. I couldn’t stay in the restroom all day!
So, with my sweater casually half-turned in front of me… kind of off to one side… I eased myself from the boy’s room and slowly walked to rejoin my friends.
Brian Connors took one look at me and pointed, shouting, “Did you pee?!!!”
Trying to dissuade him from the accuracy of his observation, I snorted an impulsive laugh and shook my head from side to side. While he turned to look for other witnesses, I drew my right foot ever-so-slowly to the rear and then spun and bolted to the far fence of the playground. There I stood, facing the afternoon sun—kind of cocking my hips forward in order to position my wet pants closer to the heliosphere—for the remaining 15-or-so minutes of lunch break. I’d look up to the sky and then back to my pants. Not too often. I’d usually wait five to ten seconds between glances. You know the old axiom about a watched pot never boiling. Watched wet jeans never dry.
Eventually I had to skulk back to my classroom, with the sweater blatantly turned to fully cover my front. Through some stroke of providence, Brian was otherwise engaged in conversation with another and did not notice me. I quickly took my seat and remained there, until the final recess bell, while the classroom air conditioner more than cooled my spout.
I don’t recall if I spent the final recess at the back fence or not. But I can still see Brian Connors, all these years later, pointing, accusing and looking around for a witness. Why is it that those memories remain yet I can’t remember the time I knocked in the winning run in Little League or made a hole-in-one on the golf course or when Davy Jones went to the prom with me? (I’m sure those are because the first two never happened to me and the last one was Marcia on the Brady Bunch.) Still, why is one of my most vivid childhood memories the time I didn’t pee but got accused of it?
I’m hoping that I now think more clearly when I’m in a crisis situation. Probably not. I probably still react with stupidity. The good thing for me is that, at my age, I no longer really care what happens when I do.