To Err is Human… To Shit In a Bag is Divine…

‘Dude, you know what you gotta do.’

‘Fuck no. No way. That’s too far, even for me.’

‘Dude, you gotta do it. There ain’t no other options.’

Let’s back up. So there I am, sitting in my car with a face that has swollen overnight to the size of a Belfast Bap thanks to what I assume is an abscess. The car’s precariously ‘parked’ in a country road just off a busy Dual Carriageway, with a flat tyre that’s beyond the repair skills of my tyre repair kit. I was on my way to the Dentist for an emergency appointment that would hopefully take away the Popeye look from my jawline, returning it to it’s normal, handsome, chiselled self, when the Universe decided to fuck with me.

I’m trying my best not to succumb to the constant cries of ‘Fuck My Life!’ that are ravenously trying to find an anchor point in my mind. I’m trying not to think that this is one mishap too many in a string of fast flowing mishaps that have tested me to the limits in the past few weeks. I’m scouring the inner caverns of my psyche looking for something tangible yet soulful that will help keep me on the Straight & Narrow thus preventing me from having a psychotic episode. I’m trying my best but I can now feel the words ‘Psychotic Episode’ yelling at me from within with all the gusto of a lynch mob after Happy Hour.

Mark Manson’s ‘The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck’ springs into action in my mind. I read the book several weeks earlier… actually several weeks before all these mishaps started occurring. Curious. Very curious indeed. The spirit of the book for me, and the big lesson I got from it is that life is just a serious of little problems for us to solve. We take each problem as they occur and we solve them. Then we move on to the next. And so on and so on. I’m obviously butchering what is a fantastic piece of writing, self help and psychology here so I highly recommend you get a hold of the book and read it for yourself.

So there I sit; my big face throbbing like a bullfrog on amphetamines; the big vein in my head worriedly starting to appear into visibility with far too much clarity; and a very disturbing gurgling noise emerging from my stomach. Oh, did I mention that I’d been taking Ibuprofen all night for the pain in my tooth? I don’t do meds at all, not even a simple headache tablet. I like to let the body work through whatever’s going on. But a toothache, a stonking great toothache, that’s when I crumble with the panache and aplomb of a man made entirely of paper. I knew when I took the pills that my stomach would make me pay some sort of brutal tax in the morning. What I didn’t know was that I would be stranded far from my toilet the next morning. We never know the bigger picture, which is ironic because that was what I was sitting telling myself in the car – ‘Come on, dude. You never know the bigger picture. Maybe this flat tyre happened to keep you from an accident further down the road. Come on. Keep the faith, keep believing that everything works for good – sure even if it’s all bullshit at least you’ll be happy if you keep that mindset.’

And that’s when it happened. That’s when my bowels decided to tell me I had minutes to find a toilet before they decorated the inside of my trousers with yesterday’s KFC Vegan Burger. And when I say minutes I don’t mean the estimated ninety minutes that the RAC expected it may take them to get to me. No, we’re talking single digit minutes here. With no time to spare (and no fucks left to give) off I waddled down the country lane, feeling like my insides where about to erupt from my desperately puckered asshole like the first alien that ripped through John Hurt’s stomach back in the late ‘70s. Four huge houses at the top of four huge driveways… and nobody was home.

‘Shit. Shit. Shit.’

I start to survey the land around me. I’m surrounded by nature’s toilet but I’m also in a wide open space beside a busy Dual Carriageway.

‘Shit. Shit. Shit.’

‘Stop saying shit! You’re not helping!’

I make it back to the car and ease myself into the driver’s seat like a wounded soldier easing himself onto a flat piece of ground where he can safely rest… or die. I look to the seat behind me and see my old faithful sports bag, and inside it my favourite elf hat – the elf hat that has accompanied me to all the Christmas Party nights my band has performed at over the past six years. I love that hat. It’s green and red with sparkles all through it, and it has cute little elf ears and two hanging pom poms. Every year the hat gets stolen from my head by an over eager female merry maker and then makes it’s way round the dancefloor before magically returning to me by the end of the gig. That hat has a lot of good memories attached to it.

I hear the bearer of bad news speaking solemnly in my head…

‘Dude, you know what you gotta do.’

‘Fuck no. No way. That’s too far, even for me.’

‘Dude, you gotta do it. There ain’t no other options.’

‘Sweet Jesus no. There’s gotta be something else.’

‘Dude, you gotta shit in the bag. Take it like a man. Oh and take out the elf hat first, you’re gonna need that after.’

‘No! No! No! I can’t! There’s bound to be something spiritual I can do to fix this! I’ll meditate the poo away! What would Ram Dass do? Or Jesus? Or Buddha?!’

‘Bitch, please. Those guys would shit in that bag in a heartbeat and they’d do it with a huge smile on their face. They’d laugh at the attempts their egos would make to embarrass or shame them. They’d laugh at the humanity of humans. They’d get the bigger picture AND the bigger punchline. And more importantly they’d be thankful as fuck that they had a bag to shit in! Now man the fuck up and take your medicine, Pilgrim.’

It’s been a trying couple of weeks for sure. Actually it’s been a trying couple of years. I’m a decent guy; I try my best to be the best Dad I can be, the best husband I can be, the best friend I can be, the best human I can be. I try my best to follow the path of enlightenment; to push myself to become a higher vibrational being and… Ah… there it is – the spiritual enlightenment shit – that’s where the problem lies. That’s when all these crazy scenarios started popping up in my life – when I decided to try and walk some kind of semblance of a Spiritual Path. Some people reckon that spiritual enlightenment is all meditation, peace, love, chanting and daisies. Alas, no. When you commit yourself to seeking out the Truth, and the Secrets of life, with the intention of becoming a better contribution to the society you live in you’re committing yourself to Trench Warfare. Meditation is not where the spiritual work lies. Peace is not where the spiritual work lies. Always being happy is not where the spiritual work lies. You wanna know where the spiritual work really lies? I’ll tell you – it lies deep in a wooded area, inside my favourite sports bag, along with my favourite elf hat.

When I finally got rescued by the RAC he informed me that all the tyres on my beloved car needed replacing, not just the offending one that stranded me in the land of outside lavatories. When he got me to the tyre repair shop they informed me that my wheel alignment needed fixed too. I had £50 to my name and the tyre they replaced the offending tyre with came to £50 exactly. Now, do I lament the fact that I had to waste my last £50 on a tyre or do I rejoice at the fact that I had the money to pay for the tyre, and marvel at how that £50 came to be in my wallet in the first place, thus recognising the bigger picture of it all. I choose the latter. And do I now sit and bewail the cost of wheel alignment and three more new tyres that will wipe out next week’s wages or do I laugh again knowing that it’s just a small part of a much bigger picture? I choose the latter. Is that the right choice? Fuck, don’t ask me, I just took a shit in a bag and wiped my ass with my favourite elf hat. What do I know? For me, today at least, Enlightenment can be summed up in a few simple  words – Don’t let the ‘random’ shit ruin your sparkle. Sure it might ruin the sparkle of your elf hat but you are not the elf hat. You are much greater than the cosmetic sparkle that you think you are. You are not a cosmetic sparkle – you are a sparkling cosmonaut.

Namaste and Happy New Year to all you Seekers, Searchers, and Spiritual Junkies out there. The struggle is real but so are the rewards. Now if you’ll excuse me I have a date with a shower, a dark room, and whatever alcohol I can find in my house.

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