As any scientician will tell you, we all carry around an image of ourselves. This is mine:
You know, a cool guy. A cool customer. A hand in one pocket, the other holding up a cartoon panel. Hips loose. Lips slightly parted to utter something dry and witty. Brow knit. Vaguely-drawn hat jauntily askew. Get it? A COOL GUY.
Mom went to North Carolina for a sumptuous wedding affair. Mimi's granddaughter got married. It was all lavish and lovely and very expensive. "It wasn't cheap, you know," saith Mom over and over. The wedding dress alone was something along the lines of 20 thou. So expensive you just have to drop the sand. My mom's a pretty cool customer herself.
Then, in her illimitable style, Mom told me a story that involved poop. Over dinner, of course.
"I told you, didn't I, how Mimi will dig her fingers around in there?"
"My PTSD had blocked it out. But thanks for bringing it to the forefront of my consciousness," I said drily through slightly parted lips.
"Well, I had to get her ready for the wedding. She was so beautiful, Greg, you just don't know. And the hotel we were staying at was just pure gold. It was all like a dream."
"Can the poop be far away?" I cocked my head jauntily.
"But we had a little accident about an hour before the ceremony. Oh, Greg, it was awful. I've told her a million times that she can just call me if she has a problem in the bathroom. But I went in and found her with her, you know, her fingers digging around in there while she was trying to go. It was just all over her hands! And I still had to get her dressed and get her to the church!"
"Hold me," I said.
"I washed her hands, of course. Washed them very thoroughly. But you're not going to believe this. When we got to the church, and everything was ready, Mimi had to go down the center aisle before the bride and at the altar she reached out to touch her granddaughter's dress. Did I tell you it cost twenty-thou dollars? Anyway, there was still a little bit on her hands. I have no idea how it managed to stay there. I think a little bit got lodged under her fingernail or something like that."
"A little bit?" I choked. "Lodged?" I groaned.
"And it smeared just a trace on the wedding dress. That beautiful dress! Oh, I'm not sure if anyone else could see it, but there was just a spot by her corsage. During the whole ceremony all I could see was that spot from Mimi. Oh, Greg, I was just bright red the whole time."
"I'm seeing spots," I wheezed.
"Afterwards I stayed in our hotel room and just played with my Nook the rest of the night. It definitely helped relieve the stress."
"Dear God," I gibbered, criminally misunderstanding the word Nook.
That's when I realized it was time to revise my self image.