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Scared Shitless

Most people don’t remember their own potty-training experience. I remember mine.

A traumatic encounter with a toilet is among my earliest recollections. I was two or three, and yes, I remember the incident in stunning, graphic clarity. No exaggeration—it scared me shitless.

A little boy’s right of passage, I was finally tall enough to stand at the potty. My li’l wee-wee was just high enough to … get pinched when the seat falls. Pinched? CRUNCHED! 

Mom was crushed when the shitter bit me. She blamed herself. She explained to me that the fancy throne cover she’d crocheted of baby-blue yarn caused the upright seat to lose its balance and … damn near guillotine my li’l pecker.

Just before impact, all was streaming along. I was ecstatic. I could hear the tinkle. That’s what Mom and Dad stressed—big boys who can stand up to use the potty get to “make tinkles,” referring to the sound pee makes as it hits the water. “Do you want to make tinkles?” Hell yes, I want to make tinkles! 

There I am, peeing like a big boy. Music to my ears! I’m making tinkles! I think I had a premonition. Not even a formed thought, more a sense, really … Am I really safe while my li’l wee is hanging all out there in the open? Just then, I felt a rush of wind. Down there.


Loud! Like a cannon went off! Do remember, at that very instant my ears were hyper-attentive to any and every sound—I’m loving the tinkle. This most violent and percussive strike was amplified by the porcelain and tile, and ricocheted around the bathroom. As did my scream.  

And the sting? HOLY SHIT! 

Mom was there in a flash, administering whatever comfort a loving mom can offer her son … whom she may have just neutered. 

My li’l wee was li’l no more. Swelled up like a balloon. When you’re that young, swelling freaks you the hell out! No concept of ‘this will go back to normal.’

Then Doug came along. He said, “Mom and Dad should have warned you; that toilet is a man-eater!” He went into great detail, describing dozens of times the toilet tried to bite him. But he mastered the art of standing back, far away … projecting his pee. “Aim high and make an arc,” he said, demonstrating an arc with his hands. 

Then he offered me this consolation: “At least you were standing up and peeing when it bit you. That pain is nothing compared to how bad it hurts if it bites you while you are sitting down to poop!” 

HOLY SHIT! This thing is dangerous! I vowed to never sit down on a toilet. 

Slowed my potty training. Shit my pants a lot, too. Eventually I matured through it; discovered the toilet is a friend, not a foe. 

Maybe not public restroom toilets. I’ve seen some scary looking public shitters.