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August 24, 2015

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When to change a babies’ diaper is an inexact science.  Some people will do it every two hours without fail.  My wife will vigilantly pick the babies up and smell them to see if they’re ripe.  My dog will go over at times and smell them as they rock in their swing and bark to give everyone a heads up that one of the Boys is hiding what he’s sure is a snack.

I prefer to go with a less technical method.  I look at their faces to gauge the situation.  I find that the eyes tell all.  If something has happened in that diaper, they have to have an impressive poker face to keep it from me.  My wife insists that this way of handling whether they need a change or not is both inaccurate and cruel.  In her words, “How would you feel if you crapped your pants and had to lie around in it”?

But she should know that this question falls on deaf ears.  Many say that one of the keys to good writing is to be vulnerable, which is what I’m about to attempt.  You see, I have a gambling problem.  I gamble on…farts.

Now, I’m happy to admit I haven’t gambled in the past five years.  It’s a one day at a time situation.

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This became a problem for me in my adult years mainly because I was such a good gambler.  I would say that I bet on my gas well over a thousand times and only lost on about three or four occasions. Usually those losses happened at home where I had the convenient access of my bathroom and proper laundry facilities.  If you placed a thousand bets in Vegas and only lost three, you’d be what people call a “Player,” and that what I was when it came to farting.  I just kept letting it ride without fear of the consequences. I was on a dark path.

In order to overcome any addiction, you have to hit bottom.  Bottom for me came in 2010, and it didn’t happen in the friendly environment of my home.

Driving on highway 405 in Los Angeles is a daily grind for thousands of commuters.  Anyone who gets on this road at any time of day is about to undergo the ultimate test of their patience and sanity.

Traffic clogs the San Diego (405) Freeway, looking north from Palms Boulevard on June 15, 2012. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff Photographer)

(I so delusional I entered this highway right after a Starbuck’s Venti.)

Somewhere around the Hawthorne exit, I felt the pressure build and it was severe.  But I was cocky.  I was sure I could knock out burner without tragic results.  I was wrong.  Very very wrong.  The expression on my face probably matched the shocked look on Arthur and Charles’ face when they soil themselves.  However, they aren’t stuck in gridlock traffic on the highway in July, inside a car with no air conditioning, when it happens to them.  A lot of times they’ll burst into tears at the unexpected force of a poop.  For me, I shed a single manly tear down my cheek at the desperation of what was a hopeless situation.

As I clenched my butt cheeks, I was faced with the prospect of hours inside my hot car with an even hotter mess in my pants. That’s when I saw salvation off the highway.

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Target represented more than just a store where I could find great price deals on a wide array of quality products.  It was a bullseye for my redemption.  I began to furiously cut across six lanes of traffic toward the exit as Ed Harris’ famous words from Apollo 13 kept ringing through my mind.  “Failure is not an option!”

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(Sorry, Ed.  This was not my finest hour.)

I made it to the Target and advanced inside the store to find the restroom and commence on some heavy duty cleanup.  Now, when you’re entering a public place after you’ve just shit your pants, you can’t come running in with a maniacal look on your face.  You want to be cool and collected.  You don’t want to draw any attention to yourself.  I wanted to just walk in casually and find the restroom.  As I entered I even gave the security guard a courteous smile to give him the impression I was just coming in to buy a few things.  Maybe even buy a bag of popcorn as I strolled the aisles looking for my purchases.

The bathrooms are usually placed near the registers in these stores so I started my casual but clenched walk that way when a customer stopped me to ask where the dog food was.  I was confused but I know where they keep things at Target and I hate it when people say, “Sorry I don’t work here” when they know the answer to a question.  I told her to look on the second floor in the grocery section.  She thanked me and walked away.  I continued my march toward the can but after just a few steps I was stopped yet again. A woman who saw me answer the previous women’s question jumped in and asked where she could find socks.  I told her their usually near the athletic wear and also made a mental note to myself that the underwear is in the same section and I may need to visit the same spot in a few minutes.

I changed my pace to a quick gallop toward the Men’s Room at this point, but still two other people asked me where stuff was.  Obviously what I thought was a look of desperation on my face was one that was much more helpful and selfless in nature.  e6312d60-617b-0132-42d2-0ebc4eccb42f

I just made a run for it.  There was no other option.  I burst into that bathroom and into the handicapped stall which I believed in all my heart I qualified for.  I did the necessary cleanup, threw an abused pair of boxers in the trash for some poor cleanup kid to find, and went to the sink to wash my hands.  That’s when the guy washing his hands next to me said, “I thought you guys had your own bathroom”?  Looking at myself in the mirror I saw that I happened to be wearing a red colored shirt and khaki pants.

Target employee Dave Abbey was not surprised by the announcement that Target is closing its Canadian stores. He was photographed at Masonville Mall in London, Ontario on Thursday, January 15, 2015. DEREK RUTTAN/ The London Free Press /QMI AGENCY

(Yet another poor wardrobe choice on my part)

This was my low point.  It was the day I realized I had a problem and needed help.  It’s been 3 years since I last gambled.  I don’t have a sponsor when I feel the need to roll the dice.  Just the memory of having crapped my pants dressed like a Target Employee inside an actual Target.  Sometimes a higher power tries to communicate with you.  I got the message.

If there’s someone battling the same addiction reading this post, I hope the courage I’ve displayed in telling this story helps them.  And I also hope my kids become more interesting in the coming weeks because I can’t keep making these confessions.

Least Favorite Child Results

August 22 – Charles was Least Favorite.  I read in many books and heard from a lot of people that babies spend most of their time sleeping.  Lies!!  Charles lives his life like a college sophomore during finals week.  He’s a big believer in the 15 minute power nap that will give him the strength to be cranky for many many hours. He didn’t sleep a wink on Saturday and neither did Daddy or Mommy.

August 23 – Arthur wins LFC.  My wife likes to take the Boys out at least once every weekend somewhere public to expose them to things and stimulate their minds.  This weekend’s public spot was the Grocery Store where Arthur’s screaming while he was strapped to my wife, exposed me to a lot of embarrassment.  I’m going to be one of those parents.  The mortified kind.

Total Days as Least Favorite Child

Arthur – 35 Days

Charles – 33 Days

Days Since Neil Patrick Harris Received My Post and Hasn’t Responded – 41

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How will Neil feel if he ever reads this post about me crapping my pants?  Only time will tell.

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