What Became of Toilet Boy
A Short Story by Tim Josephs
Written using the suggestion "Washington"
Originally featured on 08-10-2007
As part of our series "Out of the Sandwich"

When I was 12, I had an unfortunate incident at an ice skating rink. I was there for a classmate’s birthday party and, after one too many snack bar chili dogs, had to rush to the bathroom. After taking care of business, I quickly discovered something was very wrong. I couldn’t move; somehow I was stuck to the toilet.

It was caused, I was told by the EMT who eventually pried me off, by a rare, but not entirely uncommon water suction issue due to faulty pipes. It took a couple hours but I was finally released from my porcelain throne and taken home by my teary-eyed mother.

The local newspaper somehow found out about the story and printed an article about it. I wasn’t home when the reporter called but thankfully my older brother filled in admirably for me and was quoted as saying “Yeah, the little dork’s always getting stuck to things.”

Amazingly, the story went national; several small papers around the country ran it. And, in what must have been the slowest news day in recorded history in our nation’s capital, the story appeared on a back page of the Washington Post under the headline “Boy, Toilet Stuck on Each Other.”

Of course the kids at school had a field day with it. From then on, to nearly everyone (even including a few teachers), I was known by the extremely witty moniker of “Toilet Boy.”

At first it didn’t really bother me; I had some friends at school but wasn’t the most popular kid, and although it wasn’t ideal attention, it was attention nonetheless. But then the pranks started.

My locker was frequently covered in toilet paper and when it wasn’t there’d usually be a toilet brush leaning against it. I was constantly told I was looking a little flushed. Somehow, when the weekly school birthdays were announced over the PA system, after mine was read, there was the sound of a toilet flushing. For Halloween that year (and several years after) kids went as me by super-gluing a toilet seat to the back of their pants.

I suppose it didn’t help that during sophomore year I started working part-time at a hardware store. I honestly didn’t even recognize the connection until a fellow classmate, a little weasel named Sam Carver, came into the store with his father. When he saw me, unfortunately at that moment stocking plungers, his face lit up like a Christmas tree.

The next day at school, the toilet references — which had actually been dying down a little ever since Mike Dawes had slipped on a pile of mashed potatoes in the cafeteria and fell into a garbage can — were back in full force. And that’s when the few friends I did have started drifting away.

But for me the humiliation reached its zenith in the spring of junior year. Filled (for whatever reason) with a false sense of confidence, I decided to ask smart, beautiful Becca Robinson to the Homecoming Dance. When I found her alone outside waiting for her ride, I came right out with it, knowing any hesitation would only stop me. She smiled politely and said she already had a date. I was a little disheartened but when she said “Sorry, Toilet Boy” not in any condescending or mean way, but just as if it were actually my name, I was destroyed.

I made the mistake of going to a college not far enough away and the nickname and everything else followed me there. After graduating, I never returned home.

 

 

So, you’re probably wondering, what happened to me? What did it do to me, the years of torment, the name-calling, the pranks, the continuous embarrassment? What became of Toilet Boy?

Did I learn to forgive and forget, rise above it all and not look back? Did my numerous therapists convince me to just chalk it up to a long list of bad childhoods so many have endured and overcome it by becoming a good, kind-hearted, better person? Did I recognize it as a learning experience and try to derive some kind of lesson I could pass on to my own children so that they perhaps could avoid a similar situation or at least not be a party to another’s humiliation?

Or did it keep eating at me, constantly and relentlessly gnawing at me, eroding my insides until there was nothing left but a hollow shell?

Did it create an incredibly heavy chip on my shoulder that I was forced to carry everywhere I went? Did I use it as a driving force, the ultimate motivation? Did I set out each day to make more money, collect more houses, bed more women in order to prove that yes, I was somebody, I became something and to rub any modicum of success I might have in their smug faces?

Was I permanently affected, irrevocably altered? Were those ugly thoughts and memories always there on the cusp of my subconscious, ready and waiting at any moment to leap out and paralyze me? Was I traumatized to the point where the mere mention of a toilet made me breakout in painful, grotesque hives; where I developed serious bladder problems by going several hours, sometimes several days without visiting a bathroom?

Or did I do something about it? Did I take charge, take action, take my destiny into my own hands? Did I take all this anger, this mountain of built up rage and do something with it to enact my rightfully deserved revenge on society? Something that involved years of planning, an arsenal of weapons, and an unquenchable desire to see spilled blood?

So, what did become of Toilet Boy? The possibilities are endless.

Read More By Tim Josephs

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Portland Fiction Project

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