Have you ever noticed at the beginning of a relationship people are very private about themselves. They hide everything from their bathroom and bodily functions to their real bodies? The new lovers will hide them or avoid them sometimes to the point of discomfort. They will go for hours needing to expel a bit of gas or the 21 glasses of iced tea they had with dinner. They will not eat for fear it might make their stomach rumble but then that causes their stomach to growl. Women will wear their make-up non-stop not wanting to surprise their new found love with their real face. Men will suck in that expanding stomach for hours until they almost pass out from holding in their beer gut, flatulence and paunch. Years ago there was a television show called Love American Style. One episode named The Phonies featured Phyllis Diller and Richard Deacon as a married couple who come home from a night out. They began to undress and she takes off her wig, padded bra, fake eyelashes, fake butt etc until she was a completely different person and Richard Deacon undressed taking off shoulder pads, man girdle, toupee’, fake moustache and the lifts from his shoes until he too was just average Joe. I always liken the first stages of a love affair to that episode in that we hide our basic core even from ourselves.
This story takes place years ago when my sister Matilda was engaged to her first husband, J.R. Ewing. He was a fun loving good natured sort. She was madly in love with him and they spent every minute of their time together. Now Matilda was a gorgeous young woman and honestly she hasn’t changed much through the years. She is very fastidious and ladylike in every way. What I mean is she is the type who could burp the Star Spangled Banner but wouldn’t. It just wouldn’t be lady-like. J.R. on the other hand was a guy. I don’t think I have to say anymore than just that; he was a guy. Guys have a whole different set of rules of what is socially acceptable and what isn’t.
Now J.R. and Matilda were still in the early stages of their engagement and had not yet been down the road where you actually admit that you have bodily functions. Honestly I don’t think that J.R. knew my sister ever used the restroom. She would mysteriously disappear for a few minutes then reappear looking relieved but bearing a glass of tea or a plate of cookies. Thus leading J.R. to believe she had just popped into the kitchen to whip up a fresh batch of whatever refreshment she was offering. She was magical in his eyes and more than perfect. She was divine.
J.R. was a jokester. He loved to tell jokes, make jokes and play practical jokes. He fit in with our family great. He had the gift of gab, which in my family gets you a place at the table. He became one of the family before he was legally part of the family. I would often wake to find him camped out on the living room sofa in front of the television. He soon found out that if he fell asleep around us he might awaken to his hair in ponytails and his fingernails painted hot pink. He took all of this in good humor and joined in the fun.
It is during this time that my sister had to have surgery. It wasn’t major but enough to require her to be put under anesthesia. She was brought home to recover on the living room sofa. J.R. ran around trying to attend to her every need as did Nurse Meme. Well as things go when you have had surgery and they have filled your abdomen full of air that air must be released. Much to Matilda’s chagrin it was often sudden and cacophonous. J.R. took it all in stride. Matilda blushed and hummed and hawed her apologies until finally J.R. said “No it’s fine really. I just wish I could do that.” Matilda looked up and said “Do what?” J.R. shook his head, looked sadly at her and replied “pass gas. I can’t pass gas. I have this condition which keeps me from it.” Matilda being from the McGullicutty clan decided to claim foul “nu-uh. You’re making that up.” J.R. looked her in the eye and said “no really. I can’t fart. I have NEVER farted. It is really quite uncomfortable. I mean I can burp sometimes but I CAN NOT FART.” Then he sniffed a deep sniff and changed the subject.
Nurse Meme came to attend to her patient and Matilda looked at her learned mother and said “is there some kind of condition that makes it where you can’t fart?” Nurse Meme was taken a back but caught J.R. motioning out of the corner of her eye. She took a deep breath and said “yes there is and it’s very uncomfortable. It’s called epigastricmyosis and it can even result in death. The patient becomes so full of methane gas that if they can’t release it they will expire. Why do you ask?” Matilda cut her eyes to J.R. and said “oh, well J.R. said he couldn’t pass gas and I just never heard of such a thing.” Nurse Meme sat the grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup down on the coffee table and looked at J.R. “Were you born with it?” J.R. looked as pitiful as he possibly could and said “yes I was. It took them forever to diagnose it.” Matilda felt bad for doubting her beau and offered him a piece of her grilled cheese.
Several hours passed and the happy couple sat watching television and holding hands. Matilda tired out from her procedure and the pain killers laid her head in J.R.’s lap. He stroked her hair and she started to drift off to sleep. She was dreaming of butter cream wedding cakes and white fluffy dresses when out of her reverie came a loud honking noise accompanied by a horrific sulfuric odor. She jumped up from her prone position and looked at J.R. He smiled and yelled “I’m cured! It’s a miracle.” It was with this one act that their relationship matured and they became real.
June Gardens' Day Off
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