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August 06, 2009


I once wet my pants in the first grade. I'm not ashamed to admit this. It was a rainy winter day at Marshall Lane Elementary in Los Gatos, California. The year was 1977, and I was six years old.


My teacher was Miss Viale - a kind soul who was limited to a motorized wheelchair. She got polio when she was a teenager. Her fiance died in a plane crash a decade or so before I was born. She never married, and still wore the engagement ring on her right hand.


It was the period following the afternoon recess, and reading time had just ended. I sat at the Wise Owl table. Not that I was wise, mind you. I was diagnosed with a learning disability sometime around then. For the record, I wasn't in the accelerated class, but then I wasn't on the short bus either. I was your typical underachiever. Kind of like George W. Bush, only I didn't come from money.


The children each sat at a table of varying size. There was the Pencil table, the Eraser table and the Scissors table. The Wise Owl table was the smallest, a perfect square just enough for four students. I sat next to Debbie Norbutas - my first crush. She was in my class from Kindergarten to Sixth Grade. Every year I invited her to my birthday party, along with the entire class, but she never came. I always figured she was a Jehovah's Witness or something.


It was during study time that my bladder suddenly got the best of me. I asked Miss Viale if I could use the restroom, which she allowed. She wasn't the typical hardass of a teacher who forced their students to use the restroom only during recess. I took the hall pass and quickly made my way out the door.


I walked down the hall, carefully under the overhang, as to not get wet. The sound of raindrops trickling down the gutter only made me increase my pace. When I got to the little boy's room, my heart sank. Inside the restroom, with the four urinals and two toilet stalls, were five sixth graders who were cutting class.


Up until this time in my short life, experiences in public restrooms had been less than fruitful. First was the fear factor. My mother warned me at an early age of how evil men would hide in public restrooms with the intention of cutting off the penises of poor, helpless little boys. Secondly, my first day at school was quite traumatizing. During recess I went to use the restroom. Being too shy to stand near the big boys at the urinals, I opted for the toilet. It was during the first few seconds of relieving myself that I heard a boy overhead say with distinction, "I saw your dick." I looked up to find two third graders peering over the stall walls watching me urinate. Talk about being pee shy. It was probably the most terrifying, homoerotic experience of my life.


Now here I am, four months later, with El Nino ranging in my bladder, facing down five sixth graders blocking me from my porcelain savior. I froze. I couldn't move. Lord knows what could've happened. One of them could've had a pocket knife. Even at a young age I had already become so attached to my penis that I couldn't bear to live without it. So I ran all the way back to the Wise Owl table, without peeing.


There was still another thirty minutes left of school. Factor in the bus ride home, and I was looking at a good hour until I could urinate in the comforts and safety of my own home. The minutes dragged, I was dying. Sweat beaded on my forehead. The rain hitting the classroom windows, Debbie looking so sweet and innocent in her pink dress, sitting next to me, making me feel warm - too warm. I was burning inside. The burning moved to the outside, and then came the wetness. My navy blue corduroy pants painted a trail down the inside of my left leg. The trail became a stream, which gathered into a puddle, conveniently under my chair near my brown GASS shoes.


I sat perfectly still for the next twenty-nine minutes. I didn't move an inch. While the present burning in my loins had turned to a slight chill, I was now faced with an even greater dilemma - how to leave the classroom without being spotted with a large wet spot around my crotch. Then, my worst fear was realized, Debbie, the love of my young life, got up to sharpen her pencil. When she returned to her seat she stopped and looked down at the floor. My heart stopped - 


"There's water under the desk."


In an instant, every student came running to see the mysterious hot spring that had sprung from under the Wise Owl table. For reasons only known to me, I was the only student to remain in their seat. Everyone stood around me and gazed at the amazing puddle. They worshiped it, as if the image of Mother Mary herself, was somewhere within the yellow tinted liquid.


"Where did it come from?" "Are you wet?" "You didn't feel anything?"


"God in Heaven", I prayed, "I promise to never steal another piece of Bubblicious gum at Safeway again just please, please get me out of this."


Miss Viale wheeled over and carefully inspected the scene. A moment passed, then another. I held my breath for an eternity.


"There must be a leak in the roof."


The children look up at the ceiling and tried to find a water stain, a mark, something that would prove her theory. Lucky for me, the stain they searched for was being covered by my hands under the desk. Then the bell rang.


To this day I don't know if Miss Viale really believed there was a leak in the roof or not. I'd like to think she did. But part of me believes that she knew damn well I had peed my pants. God bless her just the same. As for the kids? They bought it. But something tells me Debbie never did. Maybe that's why she never came to any of my birthday parties.