March 20, 2010
Stuck in Third Grade
I love poo humor. Its roots go very deep into my past - so far, that I may not be able to separate myself from this humor, even if I live to be 100. And I don't have a problem with that.
Some of my first memories involve "functional" humor. I grew up in an apartment building and lived in the same place from 1970-1988. My sister Jen and I always had kids around to play with. One of them was a boy named Tad. He and I were about the same age, and because he was funny (and naughty), I liked him right away. One of the most hilarious things about Tad was how he would call his poop "boomies". Jen and I thought that was the most hysterical thing we'd ever heard. It still makes me laugh. So of course, we'd ask him to say it over and over.
Even my mom got into the act. When Jen and I were about six and seven, Mom told us that when she was little, she would call going to the bathroom, "making kerplunks". Now you have to admit (if you've gotten this far into reading this) that that's funny stuff. Kudos to my mom for telling us this, because it made her seem more human, more than just "mom" as an authority figure. It was fun (and still is!) trying to picture our mom as a little girl, telling my much younger Grammie this statement. It's rather absurd, when you think about it. With as educated as my mom is, she still had to go through the same stuff that we all did. It's like picturing George Will being potty-trained - not easy to do, is it?
When I was in first grade, my best friend was Lynn Vannieuwenhoven (if you're not from around Wisconsin, I'll help you out - it's pronounced "van-even-hoven" with a long O). Every recess, Lynn and I would go to the "Poop and Pee Place" by the hill behind the school. The great thing about this place is that it had absolutely nothing to do with what we called it; we just liked saying it and it made us sound funny and "cool". All we ever did at the Poop and Pee Place was pop tar bubbles after the maintenance workers would come around and repair the cracks in the asphalt. The fun never stops when I'm around! Maybe we called it that because the tar resembled the aforementioned material. I can't remember - that was 36 years ago.
Fast forward about 15 years to college - remember the movie "Parenthood"? Remember the song that Steve Martin's kid sings in the car on the way home from Little League? I'll give you a hint:
When you're sliding into first and you're feelin' somthin' burst: Diarrhea! Diarrhea!
When you're sliding into third and you lay a juicy turd: Diarrhea! Diarrhea!
When you're sliding into home and your shorts are full of foam: Diarrhea! Diarrhea!
When you're sitting in your Chevy and your shorts are feelin' heavy: Diarrhea! Diarrhea!
My roommate Vicki and I sang this around our college house all the time. I honestly can't remember what our other roommates (there were six of us total) thought about us singing this, but I probably didn't care much. Even as I was typing out the "lyrics" to this "song" and watching the clip, I was on the verge of tears from laughing so hard. I can't help it - in a very large way, I'm stuck at eight years old. This morning, for some reason, I thought of this "song" and started singing it. Let's just say that Brian does not share my love of scatological humor.
Oh, but my nieces do!! And I had a blast telling them words and songs that only Auntie can get away with. Maybe my sister would've been upset with me too, if she weren't right there helping me out. One of my most hilarious memories of my niece Mia is when she was about two, and she said to me, "Hey Hantie (she couldn't say "Auntie"), I have a secret to tell you!" Me: "What's that, honey?" Mia, whispering in my ear: "Butts and poop." Funny, funny stuff. At least to me and my family.
Mike Myers once said on "Inside the Actors' Studio with James Lipton" that he would never stop using the "poo-poo pee-pee" humor in his work (and if you've ever seen any of his work, you know that it's filled with it). I completely understand this. And it is possible to enjoy highbrow AND lowbrow humor, even at the same time. It's why "The Simpsons" works so well, as well as the Austin Powers franchise. It's also why "Family Guy" works; just omit the highbrow part for that show.
If you don't share my love of this brand of humor, that's okay. Just know that I will feel a little sorry for you, as you're missing out on a lot of hilarity. I also look at it this way: when I'm 85, and in a nursing home, it's going to make those awkward Depends moments a lot easier to take if I can laugh about them. Maybe I'll even sing the "Diarrhea" song to the attendants.
Photo of my sister Jen and me. I'm on the left. I'm guessing this is around Christmas of 1975, which would put us at six and seven years old (I'm older).