The day began like so many days before. I take a six-minute hot shower, until it turns cold, and then another two minutes of unforgiving ice water in order to repeat (lather and rinse). I stop at the corner bagel shop. I get a garlic bagel and three packets of cream cheese, and one grape jelly. (All generic, thus not earning a trademark or copyright.)
This bagel shop has been here since 1940. It was originally called Clark Bagel™, named after a big-eared mustached actor of the time, Clark Gable who apparently and frankly didn’t give a damn. Over time, it went through many incarnations without once closing the door for business. It was Aesop’s Bagels™, The Tower Of Bagel™, Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bagel™, Wake And Bagel™, Bagel Watch™; a few fast food corporations tried their hand with Bagel Bell® and East coast quick-to-fail franchise, Bay Gull’s Bagels (Failed to launch so they never got a proper trademark), even Sonny Bono gave it a shot with I Got You Bagel™. For the last twelve years, it’s been called Bageltarium™.
I walk into the office at 8:47 AM. I write my name with a thick black Sharpie®, get buzzed on the fumes, and sloppily toss the bag in the mini-fridge. I make my way to the coffee machine. Let this be known about me, I like my coffee like I like my women, available. With five minutes to spare, I sit down in my cubicle.
My life changes drastically when the extraordinary occurs.
Bob, the guy on the other side of the cubicle, also a friend since we were eight years old says, “Hey, Kenward, why is it I’ve never ever seen you use the urinal ever in your life?”
His callous words sears my brain, blocking the nodes and passages. I am a deer in the headlights, and the spectator on the side of the road at the exact same time. We are frozen, yet time and everything else moves around us. If I could, I would give Bob a stern lecture on public work talk and personal work talk, or just shoot him dead.
In order to further specify this situation, I must add, I was born Kenneth Edward Pasche. I am not a fan of Ken, Kenny or Kenneth. I do not like Ed, Eddie or Edward. I am fond of Kenward.
I want to say, “H.R. allows me the right not to answer that question.” Instead, I say, “Uhhhhhhh.” I am in complete pain. Like pins just under my skin, trying to get out. I look at my arms to be certain.
The truth is so ridiculous that I do the correct and manly thing. I soil myself, and it’s obvious. All the right sound effects confirm it, the high whiny pitch from the stomach, finishing with the decisive final spit from a custard machine from my posterior. The curious gathering co-workers back away slowly with obvious wrinkled disgust pasted on their faces. I go into survival mode. I crawl to the nearest rest room and lock the door behind me. I listen through the door, I hear some tittering and low murmurs. I distinctively hear someone say, “What the hell did he eat? Horse shit?” Followed by an uproar of laughter. It was Janice, from payroll. If and when I survive this ordeal, she will surely die.
I crumple like a cheap accordion player. Here is the why. When I was a reckless child of seven years of age, one year before meeting Bob, my parents bought me a three-speed bike from our neighbor’s garage sale. None of us knew at the time, until they were arrested a year later. They sold cocaine. Long story short. Me atop the biggest hill in town. On two dollar run-down bike. Reckless nod to no one there and descent. Too fast. Hand brakes malfunction. Rusty bike chain locks up. Honk horn, sounds like a fast moving clown. Can’t stop. Abandon bike, dive off. Too late. Bike and I smash into a tree. Wake up in ambulance. Mangled bike had to be cut in order for me to fit on the gurney. Only sawed off handlebars cram into my crotch area. Stuck, very painful.
My life changes forever. I had become an innie from the waist down, like a damn G.I. Joe® or Ken® doll, but not as smooth. (One of many reasons why I hate the name Ken.) I wish that my ailment were prevalent enough to have an actual medical name. For now, it is called CIBAP, Coerced Inverted Balls And Penis. Without more information, it is incurable. Thanks for ruining my life, Bob.