Never Google yourself. You might find something you don’t like, and it might bum you out. I’m saying this, of course, because that is exactly what I did, and exactly what happened.
I wish I were a stronger person than I am, but I’ve been thinking about this random critique from this random guy ever since I clicked across it. He says that he hates my stuff because it is typical perky white female crap. Also, he hates my stuff because it is full of poop jokes. Um, what?
First, I am a perky white female. I was born white, and also female. Despite my legitimate street cred as a blue-collar, high-school dropout, single mother who worked her way from the welfare system to respectable middle-class society, I choose to be perky. I do this because a life spent wallowing in the throes of ennui is a life wasted. So have a nice day, jackass!
Second, poop jokes are funny. However, there is a distinct lack of them in my act as well as in my columns. I have no idea what material of mine this guy was referencing, but he is in luck. I do take requests.
But first—and I promise this will come around to poop—a storytelling primer on the trilogy of common experiences at the root of the human condition: Food, Sex, and Dying. Every single one of us will experience life-building-block scenarios within these three contexts, no matter how widely the circumstances of our births and life paths may vary. As a storyteller, it is imperative for me to understand this. If I work from this base—a strong base, like a tripod, since it has three elements—my reach can be darn near universal.
As a comic, I must imagine my story several steps ahead of my listeners in order to exact surprise from them; people can’t laugh unless they are surprised into it. (Sure, people laugh at classic schtick out of nostalgia, but that is more of what I call an “audible smile” than a true laugh.)
The poop story is coming. Hold your horses.
But first, more categories. As we live and create our life stories, each topic can be sorted into categories: Drama, Comedy, Action, Horror. Obviously, there are subcategories, but in truth, everything falls under one of these. The secondary category includes any experience that is derivative of the three main elements mentioned above.
Hence, “That time I crapped my pants at the Walgreen’s in Des Moines after eating a family-size bag of fat-free potato chips,” translates into an Action + Food story, with “Food” being the root topic, and “crap” being the derivative subtopic. The public location of traditionally private activity is an action that creates surprise.
Women are uniquely connected to poop in a way that men aren’t. The fact is, most of us clean up more of it in our lifetimes. And yet, just as many of us are bound by our biology to be primary caregivers, we are also bound to deny the existence of poop in our lives. As attractive women, we must distance ourselves from anything as elemental or base as, say, “The time my golden retriever got up onto the kitchen counter, ate an entire Jell-O mold, then misted explosive lime-green dog-arrhea all over the house before company came.” (PG13. Food+Drama+Horror.)
So, now I get to Mr. Hater out there in Blogtown. He wants to get up on his high literary horse and say that because I am white, cheerful, and a woman who feels free to talk about all aspects of life, I must be a hack who automatically goes to the lowest common denominator—e.g., poop stories—to get her laughs. Whatevs.
So now, a poop story.
I have a friend who was fresh out of nursing school when he accepted a position at a hospice care center. One of the residents, “Gertie,” took a shine to him. On his second day at work, Gertie soiled herself. My pal was the first responder. Though he had been trained in the art of cleaning up a fellow human being, it can take time to develop a cast-iron bedside manner in such situations. As he bent to his task, Gertie sensed my pal’s case of nerves and she started laughing, which only made the situation worse. Trying to make conversation, my buddy asked her:
“What’s so funny, Gertie?” To which she replied: “When you’re done with that, why don’t you make love to me!”
Writer, performer, and femme fatale Colleen Kruse can be reached at email@example.com.