We've all had them -times when we are reading something quietly and all the sudden we start cracking up. The person next to us (if there is one) usually looks over with a completely mystified expression. Fortunately, my wife was fast asleep during my last laughing fit.
I'll be the first to admit that most recently, the source of my amusement was nothing more than potty humor found in Stephen King's 11/22/63. Does that make me immature, childish and crude? Probably. Still, it was funny.
In 11/22/63, King's main character, Jake Epping, finds a porthole that brings him back in time to the 50's. Bent on changing a terrible event of the past, Jake learns that the past doesn't want to be changed and will fight against you if you dare attempt to do so. In this scene, Jake has gone to a pharmacy to find something to calm his insides because. "By then, both of my ejection-ports were producing nothing but watery gruel."
"Kaopectate," I said in a hoarse voice that didn't sound like my own. "Do you have it?" Wondering if it had been invented yet.
"Are we suffering a little touch of the bug?" The overhead light caught in the lenses of his small rimless spectacles and skated around when he moved his head. Like butter across a skillet, I thought, and at that my stomach gave another lunge.
"It's been going around town. You're in for a nasty twenty-four hours, I'm afraid. Probably a germ, but you may have used a public convenience and forgotten to wash your hands. So many people are lazy about th--"
"Do you have the Kaopectate or not?"
"Of course. Second aisle."
"Continence pants--what about those?"
The thin-lipped grin spread out. Continence pants are funny, of course they are. Unless, of course, you're the one who needs them. "Fifth aisle. Although if you stay close to home, you won't neeed them. Based on your pallor, sir ... and the way you're sweating ... it might be wiser to do that."
"Thanks," I said, and imagined socking him square in the mouth and knocking his dentures down his throat. Suck on a little Polident, pal. I shopped slowly, not wanting to joggle my liquified guts any more than necessary. Got the Kaopectate (Large Economy Size? check), then the continence pants (Adult Large? check). The pants were in the Ostomy Supplies, between the enema bags and brooding yellow coils of plastic hose whose function I didn't want to know about. There were also adult diapers, but at those I balked. If necessary, I would stuff the continence pads with dish towels. This struck me as funny, and despite my misery I had to struggle not to laugh. Laughing in my current delicate state might bring on disaster.
Come on! What's not funny about someone with an intestinal bug? My wife says I write for teenagers because I act like one most of the time (and she may be right), but I believe everyone can find humor in someone else's bowel disorder. Especially when well crafted in the context of a serious story.
So. What was your last laugh out loud moment when reading a good book? -YES! I expect a reply or two on this one.
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