Biff America: Answering nature’s call (column)
My mate and I were relaxing in the Nevada dessert when we noticed a toilet rapidly approaching.
An hour before, we left the interstate, drove our camper about 10 miles down a narrow, rough road. From there we took a dirt track that dead ended at a washed-out creek bed. It would be our home for the night; we pulled out our lawn chairs and books. The sun was low in the sky, the clouds were blood red.
My mate and I felt entirely alone until…”Is that a porta-potty?” Ellie asked. To the west, over a quarter mile away and silhouetted by the sinking sun, looked to be a floating outhouse. Because of the undulations of the terrain we could only see the top half of whatever it was.
Not being able to come up with a plausible explanation of a floating commode my imagination began to run wild. Could it be a mirage, hallucination…a UFO? I’ve read of those alien abductions and probings. Having undergone a couple of colonoscopies I did not welcome another performed by some little dude with a huge head and saucer eyes.
I will admit my first thought was to save myself. “You stay here.” I said, “I’m going in to the camper to get a weapon and binoculars. Rather than return to my mate I climbed on the roof for a better look and to be further away from the aliens. I wasn’t abandoning her I just felt by maintaining the higher ground I could keep probing to a minimum.
Looking through my binocs I was relieved that it was not a space ship. It was in fact a portable toilet with the name ‘Dainty-Dumper’ stenciled on the front. And from my higher vantage point I could see it was on the back of a pick-up and was in fact heading towards us.
Knowing abduction was unlikely I returned to my mate and lawn chair. Sure enough, in a few minutes this huge truck pulled up and stopped about 50 feet away at a fork in the road. Two guys got out wearing work cloths and cowboy hats.
I walked over and said, “Thank God you guys showed up. My wife ate Mexican food for lunch.”
They looked at me like I was crazy.
As if on cue, both guys started laughing. I think they finally remembered the porta-potty. They then noticed the ten foot drop in front of our truck and realized they had to take the other fork.
We exchanged pleasantries. I told them we were on our way to the Sierras to bike and ski and they said they were from a nearby town and were having a father-son camp-out hosted by their Mormon church. They warned us that there would be 50 kids and parents sleeping about a half mile away.
They asked if I liked children. I said I was a vegetarian. Seems that LDS members don’t always get my jokes.
One of them mentioned we had passed Cliven Bundy’s ranch about ten miles back.
They explained they were tasked to arrive early to set up the outhouse and kitchen tent but were worried that they might have given poor directions to those yet to arrive. After telling us their names and the name of their Ward (parish) they asked us to direct those arriving to take the right just before our truck.
For the next hour when trucks full of kids and dads would approach I’d get up point down the road and say, “The second Ward father/son campout is that way. The Dainty Dumper is excepting donations.”
It wasn’t long after that when the two original guys drove back without the toilet and thanked us for our help. They sat on their tail gate and we talked about everything from the weather and skiing to kids and even the Boston Red Sox (one of them did some Missionary work In Lowell).
They asked what pot legalization had done to our state and I said, in our opinion, it was not a big deal and said no more. I asked them their thoughts on the Bundys and they said they grow and sell wonderful melons and left it at that.
They invited us to join them for ‘tin foil dinners’ and a bonfire and we respectfully declined. (I think they might have been relieved).
Lying in bed that night we could smell their camp fire but heard no noise. It hit me that though we were two extremes of the social, political and spiritual spectrum, we had more in common than that which divides us. Yes my religion does not ban coffee and bourbon but they had a better toilet. …….
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Biff’s new book “Mind, Body, Soul.” is available at local shops and bookstores or http://shop.holpublications.com/products/biff-america-mind-body-soul
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