After eight fun-filled yet horribly repulsive seasons, the Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs has been canceled. Crawling through garbage, vomit, sewage, yucky muck, wiggly insects, or as host Mike Rowe describes in his Huffington Post farewell article, “feces from every species,” Rowe has taken pride and humor in profiling every crappy job that will make you eternally grateful for your crappy job.
This week, I had my own crappy job, but fortunately it had nothing to do with my show Once Upon a Time (I’m the dialogue editor).
At this point I advise any readers who are easily repulsed (yes – that means you, Gayle), to quickly click the “X” above this page and tune in another day. On the other hand, you probably already did that the second you saw the photo of the huge bubbling caldron of poop soup in my toilet, so by now I’m just speaking to the wind.
I suppose that it’s fitting that I should work on a show that features magic in every episode, because I myself take a magical pill every day. Rather than turn me into a princess or a toad or something truly spectacular, this magical pill does exactly the opposite – it turns me completely regular.
By regular, I mean regular bowel movements.
The magical pill is called Super Colon Cleanse, and I buy it from the apothecary known as Trader Joe’s. The front of the bottle features silhouettes of a healthy man and woman standing in relaxed, carefree poses. The image is reminiscent of a classic James Bond main title sequence, which might be incredibly sexy if the couple wasn’t placed right next to the drawing of a large colon. However, their casual stances do seem to be indicative of the effectiveness of their product. This is not a pose that screams: “Get out of my way! I need to get to the bathroom NOW!”
The magical ingredient in Super Colon Cleanse is psyllium, a dietary fiber that makes all who ingest it able to properly and regularly eliminate harmful toxins and waste products, or in layman’s terms, it makes me have a really good poop at the same time every morning.
Usually there is a perfect Circle of Life analogy to Super Colon Cleanse. Water is poured over the Plantago plant… which makes the psyllium seed… which is poured into capsules… which are poured into me… which turns into waste that gets poured into the toilet… which pours into water treatment plants… which cleanse the water enough to pour it back onto the plant.
Yesterday the Psyllium Circle of Life took a sudden halt at the toilet stage.
I sat down on my abode at my normally scheduled time, unclogged my own personal pipes, and pushed down the handle to flush my contribution to the next set of pipes. However, instead of spinning in the proper clockwise downward direction toward the 3-inch toilet hole, my deposit merely spun without disappearing, as if my bowl was set on the slow speed of bottomless Cuisinart.
I tried again. Within that split second of releasing the flush handle, I prayed to the porcelain gods not to make that muck overflow onto my bare feet.
The gods heard me. So instead of mopping up a feces-filled floor, I’ll have to drop a few bucks into the Salvation Army bucket next time I go to the market.
I always keep my end of a bargain.
I nabbed the plunger and started heaving and hoeing, plunging and purging, as I counted “1 – 2 – 3 – 4…” all the way to 25. I did another set of 25. And another.
Defeated, I set the plunger aside and went back to work. Also, I opened the window because the stench was stifling. I know men like to think that their sh*t don’t stink, but I’m honest enough to admit that my morning constitutional can knock a buzzard off a gut wagon.
About 15 minutes later I went in to give it another try. “1 – 2 – 3 – 4…” Three sets of 25. I was starting to feel it in my triceps.
By this time, anything that may have been even slightly solid had now been completely liquefied. The toilet resembled a big bowl of tasty overcooked black bean soup – without the tasty.
“1 – 2 – 3 – 4…”
I performed this 3 sets of 25 workout all morning and into the afternoon. Every hour, the liquid would seemingly disappear, but the moment I flushed, the elixir would return black as ever.
Even though I was gag-ridden by this mountain of muck all morning, all this exercise was making me work up an appetite, so I stopped for lunch, then took a trip to buy a snake.
No, I’m not aware of a useful reptile that will eat through a clogged toilet bowl, but if National Geographic ever finds one, I’ll be first in line to adopt it. I drove to our local hardware store and purchased a “plumber’s snake” – a malleable steel rope that can force its way through curved pipes.
And then I did what any smart woman would do: I waited for my husband to come home from work and let him finish the job.
He did. And after less than a half hour and the eruption of a few curse words, the bowl was clean enough to eat (I just added this line for anyone who by this time isn’t completely grossed out).
However, I can already guess what my husband’s planning to buy me for Christmas: