(And by stool, I don’t mean the thing you sit on..)
The other night, a friend mentioned Disney World, and I shared that I had visited as a child. I must have been about eight. “Someone pooped in our bathtub,” I said, slurping up some late night ramen. “That’s my most distinct memory.”
My friend said they really didn’t want to hear the rest of the story, which was just as well, because I was too busy cracking up to tell it.
Of course, I have other memories of Disney World. Goofy was rude; Minnie Mouse was super nice. I put a penny into a machine that flattened it into a copper oval imprinted with a Disney logo. I experienced my first 4D movie at Epcot Center and saw a fancy fireworks show. But how can any of that compare with the one true unsolved mystery of my childhood?
My dad, mom, brother, and I stayed in one of the Disney World Resort Hotels during our vacation. Very nice, I’m sure. The only thing I personally remember about the accommodations, however, is that one afternoon, my dad went to use the bathroom and found an unexpected surprise in the bathtub. It seemed someone had missed the toilet. In a big way.
He called down to the front desk. “Hello? Yes, there is, um, a pile of feces in our bathtub.”
That was the day I learned the word feces. I tucked it away for later, but don’t believe I’ve ever had occasion to use it. (Recently, my dad inadvertently taught me another word: ambulate. The official medical term for “walk.” Guess these are the sorts of things you learn in medical school.)
The Disney hotel staff was convinced that either me or my five-year-old brother had simply gotten confused in the night. I thought really hard. Could I have confused the bathtub for the toilet? (How they thought one of us tiny kids could have had that amount of stuff stored up inside, I’m not sure.) I eventually went along with my parents’ theory that some disgruntled maid was making a last passive-aggressive statement. I tried not to think too hard about what kind of creative mind would concoct such a scheme.
Sometimes it’s better to assume, as the hotel employee probably still does, that some things are accidents.