I, like many of you, grew up as a small child. However, likely unlike many of you, I had a terrible fear of germs. I can trace this back to a time when my mother, in an effort to encourage my brother and I to wash our hands, told us that she had heard news reports that little children were dying in my hometown because of infections caused from germs, and this would apparently have been a non-issue had these children washed their hands after using the restroom.
Therefore, my childish intellect reasoned that germs live in the bathroom, and, could I avoid the restroom as much as possible, I could avoid the germs that were threatening the very sanctity of my well-being.
So, as a child of 5, I made the executive decision to stop going. Well, technically, I still went number 1, but not number 2. Peeing, I reasoned, was safer because I could, theoretically, not have to touch anything that was infected with germs. Heaven help me should the toilet seat cover be shut, because I would then just be forced to wait.
In any case, I made it nearly a week before I foolishly gave the game away by revealing to my grandmother (who I suspect asked why I was walking funny) the length of time that I had lasted without going. She, understandably, was distraught. I explained my dilemma that I needed to avoid germs because otherwise I would die from them, mom said. She countered with the fact that should I never use the bathroom again, I would likely burst and would then have much worse problems than germs.
With the thought of spontaneous combustion not at all that appealing, that evening I was given a laxative (I believe it was given to me orally; if this is not the case, I must have blocked out that experience, because I certainly don't have any real recollection of that portion of the event). I was told that this would help me go to the bathroom.
For about ten minutes, nothing happened. I laid down on the couch and watched a bit of whatever was on tv. I began to think that I was doomed to explosion, that my best days were behind me, and why, why couldn't I have a second chance.
Then. It. Happened.
All of a sudden, I felt like Santa and his reindeer had somehow ended up inside of me, and that they were looking for the nearest way out; I felt like everyone imprisoned in the French Revolution were in my stomach, and they were looking for a way to escape from the Bastille that was my lower intestine.
As I ran to that culture of cultures, I believe my parents and grandparents followed me. So I, always a private boy, now had an audience in this most private of places. I found this a little awkward, but being as I still wasn't wiping my bottom, and I had what can only accurately be described as a loaf of bread trying to exit my body, I didn't really care.
About the experience itself, I remember precious little other than the crying and the fact that it was over fairly quickly.
After all was said and done, I was obviously happy and relieved at defeating what had been my biggest conquest to date. In a sense, I had heard, responded to, and conquered this particular challenge. I had scaled my Everest. In retrospect, it was a shame that I conquered my Everest so early in life, but I will always take something important from this experience, something that money just can't buy: though I'm still wary of bathrooms and still scared of germs, I know now, deep down, that everything will work out ... in the end.
1 hour ago