...Not the kind of wheel you fall asleep at...


When I was a little girl, about seven or eight years old, I was digging through some dresser drawers in my basement one day, looking for something, and I came across a small white box, the kind of box that has a square piece of delicate white cotton inside so that you can tastefully place a piece of jewelry on it and give it to a loved one. Curious about its contents, I opened it. Inside was a piece of poop.

I was both horrified and hypnotized by the piece of poop. It was perfectly disgusting. It was intact and appeared to be fresh. And since it was a piece of poop, I knew better than to touch it. So I just sat there and stared at it for a while. I pondered its significance, its history. Once I'd had enough, I put the lid back on and placed it back in the drawer.

I never spoke about the poop to anyone. I was too horrified and embarassed to ask my parents why it was there. And the ridicule I knew I'd receive if someone found out that my parents kept poop in a little box in my basement kept me from bringing it up with others.

The thought of it itched at the interiors of my memory for a long time. Why was it there? Where did it come from? What was their reason was for keeping poop in a box? The moment I opened that box was a pinnacle moment in my relationship with my parents--it was the moment that I realized that my parents were *more* than just my parents. They were regular people, with regular lives, doing regular adult things, and keeping poop in a box if they felt like it, just because they *could*.

I'd seen and done a lot by the age of 11. I'd seen a neighbor that had committed suicide. I'd seen corporal punishment enacted by my elementary school principal behind the closed doors of his office. I'd tried riding my bicycle with no hands while standing up, and almost got run over by a moped after falling off. I stuck kittens in a tree and then had to help get the fire department to get them down.

And yet, it was the poop in the box that haunted me the most. The mystery. The madness. The secret lurking in our very own basement.

Years later, and years older, I stumbled upon the very same box and, awash with mixed memories, I opened it, finally realizing the poop was just rubber, that it didn't have the horrible scarring mystique that I'd always pinned to it. Presumably someone gave it to one of my parents as a gag-gift, and they'd tossed it in a drawer and forgotten about it.

I occasionally get asked if I was a weird child. And I was. But how could one NOT be, growing up thinking that their parents had carefully stored a fresh piece of poop in a box in their basement? That's a lot to live up to, a reputation that must be handled like-mindedly and with respect.

In fact, that piece of poop is no doubt responsible, in many ways, for who I am today.

And for that, I thank you, poop in a box. For that I thank you.




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