Once you turn 50 in this youth-obsessed country, you’re officially old and people write you off. Jobs are harder to get at this age, movies are way beyond your comprehension because they make them for an age group that’s generally under twenty, the AARP sends you mail so often that you suspect they think you have some dementia already, and all the doctors you see are now generally younger than you are.
Speaking of doctors: Last year, I already sent in a stool sample but this year I’m being screened for colon cancer and I guess my old sample was beyond salvaging for a second try. This “poop in the mail/in an envelope” I find somewhat entertaining but mostly gross: How many of those envelopes does the mailman handle a day and does he think twice when he sees a certain address for a medical lab?
The device to scoop up your poop I find very ill-designed. It’s a small barrel with some preservative fluid. You take the cap off (by turning) and then you are faced with a tiny plastic stick with some grooves on it. The intention is to get some poop into those grooves by digging around in your toilet bowl. This feels much like eating soup with a fork. Or pushing rope (and if you don’t know what that means, look it up on Urban Dictionary). After one try, nothing really stuck in those grooves. I guess those 8 glasses of water a day are a no no when you subject yourself to the poop test…
I tried again, doing a counter-clockwise stir but no luck. Caroline had just told me about a new expression that everyone seems to be using, which is Eat my ass. Stooped over the toilet, I cursed at my sorry poop and said out loud Eat my ass. Yes, how a propos.
So I tried a different strategy. Rather than stirring, I tried to scoop some up with that pathetic little stick. What had I been eating the previous day anyway? Was that Palak Paneer? Or was it digested salad I was looking at? The sample I had scooped up was too big for the barrel but I stashed it in anyway, spilling on the label that I still had to fill out (I didn’t obviously– just added a note). I popped it in the envelope and sealed it, and then realized I had to send along my doctor’s form, so I had to tear open the envelope and seal it with plastic tape. Yes, I’m one of those obstinate people who find reading instructions a waste of time.
As I looked at that pathetic envelope with the tape job I did, I wondered momentarily whether this was the way to go. I mean, now they’d probably think someone had tampered with my poop, but then who would engage in such an activity? Certainly not the mailman. The envelope also said my poop was time-sensitive material, and while that made it sound like my poop was way more important and urgent than it deserves to be, I think they probably don’t want you to have your envelope with poop lying about the house for a week. If I did, one of the dogs might probably get into it anyway.
So even though it was the end of the day, and I was really ready for a glass of wine, I jumped on my bike and rode into town to mail my poop. I gave it a little blessing as I dropped it in the blue mailbox, for everyone gets nervous about those kinds of tests.
When I came home, (and I’m using a little poetic license here for sure) Caroline asked where I had been.
“Mailed my poop,” came my answer.
“Yeah, right…” she said, “Eat my ass.”