What’s Funny about IBS?
After years of shunning “potty humor,” I’ve written a book on crap. Well, okay, I didn’t actually write on crap—that would be disgusting—I wrote about the subject. Now I feel the need to explain why I changed my mind. Like any sane reasoning individual, I blame my family.
You see, most of my clan suffers from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), or as I call it, “Infinite Bouts of Shoo-Shoo.” Why do they call it “irritable,” anyway? Wouldn’t “dangerous” or “explosive” be more accurate? But I’ve digressed.
For years, my relatives have regaled each other with stories of diarrhea disasters. Each time one of my kin offered another hilarious tale about being doubled over in some remote location that lacked a toilet, I threatened to include his or her story in my next humor book.
Over time, my imaginary manuscript gained a title. Soon my adult children were beginning their “uh-oh” reports with, “I’ve got another story for your Crap Chronicles book!”
A few years passed before my son and husband began pressing me for action. “Quit threatening and DO IT,” my husband taunted. “If you think there’s no market for it, it’s sure to go viral.”
I wondered if diarrhea could be all that funny. I mean, other than to junior high school students. Yet weren’t we all hee-hawing privately about these untimely attacks? Either my kinfolks were completely warped (a strong possibility), or I was shortchanging readers’ ability to identify with, and laugh at, someone who’d pooped his pants.
To be truthful, I think I held back because I felt ashamed of my own, and maybe my spouse’s, mishaps. Why would I want to admit to the kinds of embarrassing behaviors these stories revealed? Hadn’t I already exposed enough family craziness in my other humor books? Did I really need to discuss our bathroom habits too?
After I considered this more carefully, I realized anything feared is great fodder for humor. When it comes to dreaded outcomes, losing bowel control in public ranks right up there with discovering your prior spouse made a secret sex tape.
No one is too powerful or smart or refined or beautiful to suffer an intestinal revolt. No one. But plenty of folks are too insecure or ashamed to admit they’ve “shart” their shorts. Those who swear they’ve never come close to crapping their britches just haven’t lived long enough. We come in to this world needing diapers, and the majority of us leave the same way.
Anyone who’s experienced the aftermath of going toe-to-toe with a “Hell Burger” or ever caught a case of “traveler’s trots” will surely agree that, given enough time and distance from the ensuing humiliation, there’s something therapeutic about sharing news of such events with a close friend or family member. In fact, doing so is the best way to get rid of any residual negative emotions.
We can choose to be either embarrassed or tickled by our limitations, but not both at the same time. Shame and amusement simply cannot coexist.
Confessing tummy turmoil is nothing to be ashamed of, anyway. It’s healthy to laugh at ourselves and to be reminded of our physical and human constraints.
This is why I decided to write Crap Chronicles, an eBook that includes my seven best IBS stories. The title is available now for 99 cents in Kindle format. (Actually, you can get the title plus the stories for that price.) I don’t know how many people will buy the book, but at least I’ve finally found the courage to divulge what I swore I’d never write. Already, I’m feeling lighter! And, no, not from IBS.
So can IBS be funny? Perhaps that depends on who is the victim and what are the circumstances. But to my clan, we never tire of trying to “one up” each other with our tales of affliction. And I’m guessing that, when it comes to potty humor, we’re not chuckling alone.
If you’d care to read an excerpt from Crap Chronicles: When IBS Strikes in all the Wrong Places, you can find one here.
I’d love to hang around, but I have to run because I’m feeling a little rumble I can’t ignore . . .
Crap Chronicles: When IBS Strikes in all the Wrong Places
Available now from Amazon for Kindle: 99 cents!