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!
My third humor book, Stilettos No More, is now available in paperback and eBook formats (Kindle, iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Smashwords). This title offers zany advice for women over 40. Here’s a short news release, followed by an excerpt:
Time to Hang Up the Stilettos?
Whether she’s warning women about the hazards of high heels or lamenting over the fashion persistence of thong panties, author Diana Estill milks humor from midlife. In her new book, Stilettos No More (Corncob Press), Estill lampoons shoes that cost more than tires and swears on her “thigh trimmer” she’s past the age to “walk on stilts.”
Fatigued by all the anti-aging rhetoric that pervades our current culture, Estill, 56, claims 50 isn’t the new 40 . . . “without the help of Botox, a plastic surgeon, or Photoshop.”
Instead of trying to look like a Desperate Housewife star, the author suggests women should learn to expect and accept some physical changes during midlife. It’s the feisty, funny side of 50 that Estill seeks to promote by sharing her own perspective as a reluctant “senior.” She’s not afraid to tell the truth about her tummy woes or unwanted toe hairs—or to caution younger gals of what awaits them.
Stilettos No More is Estill’s third book of humorous essays and is available now in paperback and eBook formats from Amazon and other booksellers.
Estill’s previous book, Deedee Divine’s Totally Skewed Guide to Life (Corncob Press) was a humor category 2008 ForeWord Book of the Year Finalist and a 2010 International Book Awards Winner.
From the book, Stilettos No More:
The Big “M”
As much as I hate to beat up on doctors, the truth is, once a woman nears the “Big M,” she might as well not whine to a physician about anything during her annual checkup. No matter what her complaints might be, her doctor will likely dismiss them by telling her that she’s either entering or in the midst of menopause.
This is kind of like seeing a fortune teller who says your luck is about to change. Of course it is! Nothing remains static. So it’s pretty easy to be accurate when you’re being this vague.
It can easily take a decade to pass through “the change.” Therefore, being told that almost every minor health symptom (no matter how wardrobe threatening) during this time is somehow related to menopause is more than an annoyance. It’s a waste of your “health spending” dollars.
We interrupt this stream of consciousness writing to bring you the following important medical disclaimer:
I am in no way qualified to offer medical advice, so please consult your doctor if you’re looking for anything other than absurd health opinions. A physician may give you even more bizarre instruction, but at least those recommendations will be offered by a professional who is properly insured.
So, like I was saying, save your medical co-pays and buy a personal hair trimmer. You’re going to need it. But I’ll get to that in a second.
Despite the frustrations of being told so, much of what occurs during midlife is attributable to hormone fluctuations. And that includes the appearance of unwanted hair and the loss of one’s car keys.
First, it’ll be only a lone dark spike emerging from your chin. But then, overnight, this hair will grow faster than the US deficit. You won’t see it before bedtime and yet, by the next morning, this new arrival will be long enough to fashion into a pin curl.
The next thing you know, all sorts of fuzz and freak whiskers will erupt. And that’s when a good hairstylist can be your best friend. Just make sure she’s young enough to see well.
My hairdresser is a second pair of eyes scrutinizing my ever changing appearance. She was the first person to call my attention to the billy goat beard I’d sprouted under my chin—a necklace of platinum-colored fringe framing my drooping jowls. This hair was so light and fine that, without my reading glasses, I couldn’t see it.
In her diplomatic way, my stylist offered her best professional advice: “LET ME SHAVE THIS STUFF OFF!”
A few months later, when my hairdresser began fretting over something on my forehead, I feared the worst. Surely I wasn’t going to have to start using Botox too!
While cutting my bangs, she paused and stared at me. With one hand she scooped my hair straight back and peered more closely.
I waited to hear the dire news, whatever it was.
With an index finger and thumb, she plucked at something.
I felt a tug on my forehead.
“Omigod,” she exclaimed. “It’s attached!”
Glancing up, I saw her pulling on a single strand of white hair that must have been four inches long.
When she finally stopped laughing, she said, “Do you want me to remove it?”
Briefly I considered leaving the sprout intact and saving it as a conversation piece. Imagine all the laughs such an oddity might generate. If I left it alone, once my bangs were in place, only my hairdresser and I would know the straggler wasn’t part of my normal mane. But then I reconsidered and asked her to pluck the hormonally haywire hair. To whom would I have shown it, anyway? None of my friends see well enough to notice their own strays.