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Thursday, October 23, 1997
By Paul Ford
A sad, true tale of workplace shame.
I pissed my pants today. At work.
An agonizing accident. I was reading the Voice in the toilet and misaligned myself; long after I could prevent any damage I realized urine had sprayed from between the toilet and the seat, coming out between my knees and all over my jeans.
Saying "oh, God," over and over, I began to cry little gasping tears, kicking off my shoes and yanking my jeans into the air. Soaked. Jesus. All my co-workers were right outside the door, laughing, completing their assigned tasks while I sat shaking, soaked like a baby. I could run out to Central Park and dry out, but I had just returned from lunch. It would look bad.
Careful, forced-calm inspection showed the problem was topical; between the legs and below the belt above the ass the light blue jeans were the color of the Mighty Hudson. But, praise Jesus, I had kept away from broccoli or asparagus and the damage was offset by a very long shirt.
The choice pained me but, after I sniffed the jeans and reassured myself they did not smell noisomely of piss, I patted them with paper towels, and stretched my shirt behind me. As fast as I could smoothly move I left the bathroom and ran up the stairs, sitting tight in my chair, praying for low humidity.
I left early, mostly dry, darting out of the office like a salamander. On the way home I did post-piss checking; I'd sneak up to a woman on the crowded subway and stand in front of her. No noses crinkled, no eyes closed in a grimace. At home, safe, musty, filthy, feeling stupid and horrible, I ran into the shower, thanking God for a painless, shameless deliverance from possible deep humiliation.