Somehow, the embarrassment I felt wasn’t nearly commensurate with the absurdity of what was happening. On the other hand, too many beers, topped off with a shot or two, does help numb your inhibitions.
It was 1996 and my husband and I had recently started dating. I was a senior in college and he had just graduated the spring before. He immediately found himself at ease with my friends, which was really a big plus, because it made it that much easier to make time for dating when he could just join right in with my other friends. He seemed to take it in stride when we held quiet cocktail parties, instead of raging beerfests (although he did not get the reaction he had hoped for when he crashed the Christmas party dressed as Santa Claus). He laughed along, instead of asking to be let out of the car, when we got carried away with snorting contests on the way to the bars. And he even thought it was funny when one of my friends suggested one night, as we were heading out to a pub, that it would be funny if, on the way back, we stopped at a nearby home where there was a boat parked in their driveway, and took a photo of everyone by the boat.
It was not a particularly unusual night at the pub. There were a couple shots exchanged, and plenty of beer consumed, since only one of us had to drive home. We had actually squeezed all six of us into a 5-seater car, just to ensure that no one would drink and drive.
One of my friends frequently repeated a mantra on nights like that, “Don’t break the seal,” she would say, “Once you break the seal, you’re going to have to use the bathroom every five minutes for the rest of the night.” How right she was. Before we left the pub to head home, I thought I would arm myself against the constant hilarity of my friends and the coldness of the night by taking a quick trip to the restroom. I felt much better as we piled into the sedan, and my boyfriend offered me his lap.
“Hey, guys, are we going to get the boat picture?”
“Of course!” we all chimed and the driver headed over to the house in question. We all were joking and laughing pretty hard the whole way, giving me an all-to-familiar sensation that, in the back of my mind, rebuked me for my foolish decision to empty my bladder before the drive.
When we got to the boat, we were certainly not the most smooth criminals to ever cross onto someone’s property, as it took quite a feat to get all of us out of the car and posed by the boat. In the mean time, I found myself succumbing to the kryptonite tri-fecta: laughing uncontrollably, breaking the seal, and insane Iowa cold. Despite the warmth of beer, coursing through our veins, all of us felt the sharp sting of the bitter cold, and I, in particular, quickly realized that while my face, hands, and feet were freezing, my thighs were, by contrast, suddenly quite warm.
I couldn’t even hide what was happening, and there was another roar of laughter as I squeeked, “Oh, no! I’m peeing my pants!”
To which my friends replied between chortles, “Oh, no! You’re riding home on your boyfriend’s lap!”
And, yes, my boyfriend let me sit on his lap for the, thankfully brief, ride back to our apartment. And somehow it didn’t even feel like a fight to maintain my dignity, sitting on my love interest, wearing urine-soaked pants.
I see in retrospect there were many rules for right living I broke that night: “don’t trespass,” “wear your seatbelt,” and “don’t break the seal!”
Stupidity is reckless, senseless, and foolish. Proverbs 9:13