THERE are some things you should never discuss with anyone.
Constipation is top of the list.
It’s very hard to look at a loved one the same way after they have admitted chronic constipation, although they may survive the occasional temporary incapacity.
The world makes jokes about constipation, which is funny because it’s not funny.
I only know this because friends tell me.
My wife says I’m constipated. She tells her friends, for God’s sake! What she actually means in that I am bad tempered. She thinks the two things are synonymous. She thinks the only thing that could possibly make me bad tempered is being constipated.
This is curious because when she’s bad tempered it is never constipation. I’m prepared to believe this. I want to believe it, because I love my wife. I still find her attractive and desirable.
This might not be the case if the abiding image I carried of her was writhing on a lavatory seat with her face turning purple.
Which makes me wonder: what is the abiding image she carries of me?
I asked her.
“Bad tempered,” she said. “Not much hair. Oldish.”
“So you don’t imagine me writhing on a lavatory seat with my face turning purple?”
“I thought that was the beer. And anyway, I thought you didn’t suffer from constipation…”
“Absolutely. I just wondered.”
The thing about constipation — I’m told — is that you never really know what causes it. My wife says its too many eggs, which is ridiculous. I eat lots of eggs and I’m fine.
Why, then, she wants to know, do I not ‘go’ for a week at a time.
That’s natural. It’s just my natural cycle. Either that, or my grandmother damaged me psychologically with her lavatorial secrecy.
Her dunny was at the end of the yard, and because the toiler paper got mildew she only issued it if you… well, needed it, if you know what I mean.
So when you wanted to go you had to tell her. She would drag you into the scullery where Grandad couldn’t hear (don’t ask me why) and whisper: “Number ones or number twos?”
How was I supposed to know! No-one ever told me which was which! When you reach a certain age someone ought to provide you with welcome pack, like the Americans do when you move in next door.
When we reach the age of three someone should give us an information sheet that explains number ones is wee and number twos is poo.
See! It wasn’t that hard to say. But my grandmother would have torn her tongue out before she’s uttered the words.
So I would say, cunningly: “Both,” which guaranteed I was given the toiler roll.
She made going to the lavatory like being involved in a secret society. I don’t why she didn’t like Grandad knowing about it. Maybe he suffered from constipation.
Anyway, that’s the reason I don’t go more than once a week.
I am not bad-tempered, I don’t eat eggs and anyway constipation is something you should never discuss with anyone.
And that includes you.