Monthly Archives: November 2013

The casualties of war

Over the course of my life, I have been knocked unconscious two times. Both times there is an incredible tale of how I came to find myself on the ground, in darkness. This is the tale of the first time.

Growing up in my church there was a group of us who were all the same age and had developed a friendship of sorts. Among all of the guys I would say that the other Travis, our friend Josh Edwards and I held a sort of trifecta of leadership over the rest of the guys.

Without there being any sort of spoken rule we just kind of lead the others and we each had our role. Travis was the cool and collected one, the pretty boy. Josh was the wild card, he would bring the trouble and I was the nervous one. I made sure we never did anything too terrible by being neurotic about everything. Together we brought balance.

The rest in our group of friends just sort of followed suit with what we decided to do. At least that’s how it was until the civil war happened.

Just as it sounds, the civil war was a time when one of the other guys, named Taylor Stevens, decided to break rank. Frankly, I don’t remember what happened but a disagreement happened and our crew was divided. Would they stick with the old regime or follow Taylor into a brave new world? It tore us asunder and eventually leads into a full on war.

Honestly, overtime the details have faded. Words were thrown out. Acts against other people were committed and sides were chosen all leading to one faithful night when Josh decided that we were going to end this with the ultimate toilet papering job ever.

Josh had some good ideas. Like I said, his role in our trifecta was to bring the trouble. Josh was the first guy I ever met who was brave enough to meet my dad and then still doorbell ditch him at 11 pm. Josh was the guy who put soap bubbles into fountains or taught me the trick of wiping your butt with a dollar bill and then leaving it poo-side down in a parking lot for people to find. So when he tells me that he has a way to stick it to Stevens, I listen.

Still it wasn’t going to be easy. You have to know that Taylor Stevens’s dad was our scout leader and while he was a fun guy, he was also incredibly intense when you really pissed him off. I will never forget his face when he found out that the other Travis and I had climbed onto the roof of our church. He was shouting at us to get down and chasing us but he could never quite tell where we were. We were eventually able to shake him and escape on the far side but I will never forget his screaming as he continued to yell at the roof of the church unaware that we had jumped off and were hiding in some nearby bushes watching.

So this was going to have to be an extra covert mission. We were going to have to really work on some ninja skills if we wanted to slide by undetected. I wasn’t too worried about this because this wasn’t my first rodeo toilet papering anyone’s house. I had started young, even before my parents were divorced. My very first toilet papering happened with my friend, Stephen Kuehn.

We were sleeping in his yard in a tent when we decided we were going to toilet paper a house. We collected a couple rolls from his bathroom and went out walking the streets of Bountiful around 10:30 to find our target. We passed by several houses but for whatever reason we didn’t dare toilet paper any of these houses. We finally found the perfect house: Stephen’s own house.

It was genius (or so we thought) we could toilet paper his house and if for some reason we were caught, well, it wouldn’t matter because a man (or boy) can do on his own property as he see fit… or something. So we did just that, and spent less than an hour carelessly flinging and unrolling our two or three rolls of toilet paper all over Stephen’s forest-like front yard.

The next morning we sat at his table for breakfast, waiting to see who noticed. Stephen’s mom walked into the room and looked at both of us and then spoke; “Now guys, we were toilet papered last night but I don’t want either one of you to mention to anyone at school. We don’t want them to get the satisfaction of all the trouble they’ve caused us.”

It was amazing. That very statement had given us the satisfaction that Stephen’s mom had so desperately hoped to keep hidden. We were the victors! The troublemakers! The toilet paper-ers! But our proud victory was quickly deflated as we were asked to help clean up the toilet paper. It took over two hours. I learned that day, if you’re going to toilet paper, toilet paper someone else.

But since that time, I had hit several other places, so toilet-papering Taylor wasn’t going to be a problem but Josh had bigger ideas than just toilet-papering.

If there was one thing Taylor loved, it was basketball. He lived and breathed it. I don’t know if I had ever met someone who was a bigger fan of the Jazz. Taylor would play basketball all the time and Josh decided to use that to our advantage. Among the roughly 30 rolls of toilet paper we would purchase, we would put almost 10 just to the sole purpose of covering his basketball hoop.

But the real genius of Josh’s plan involved a padlock. We would swirl the basketball net up and then slip a padlock in it, locking the net shut. This would force him to have to replace the net. We’d strike him right where it hurts: In the five dollar net.

The night of the job, we purchased our thirty rolls of toilet paper from the store. I am sure the cashier was completely aware of what was happening when three 14-year-old boys purchased 30-40 rolls of toilet paper. We also purchased a pack of plastic utensils to shove into his lawn to make it a spikey death trap and off course we purchased a padlock and promptly threw away the key.

While Taylor didn’t live far from us, Josh’s older sister Natalie would act as the getaway car. This would insure us a quick escape should the need arise. Taylor lived on a big, steep hill and we parked just down from his house. We hiked back up and spent about forty-five minutes silently swinging rolls of toilet paper over the roof and into the trees. It was a glorious job.

The other Travis focused his efforts on the basketball hoop decorating it in so much toilet paper that the Charmin Bear could poop for years on this toilet paper alone. Finally we brought the big piece, the padlock on the net. We spun the net around and placed the lock in it. Just a few more rolls of toilet paper and we were home free when suddenly something happened.

I can’t remember what caused the noise but there was a bang, a loud bang. The lights in the house began to flip on and we heard movement inside. Someone was going to peak out the window and then we’d be screwed. We began sprinting down the hill towards Natalie’s park car. Josh threw open the drivers side and hoped in and told Natalie to drive. The other Travis barely got in the other side as the car took off.

Here’s where it went wrong. I opened my door but the car began driving off before I had a chance to get in. Fearing for my life I began chasing after the car. I was the nervous one; I would be the worst one to get caught by myself. I’d crack in ten minutes tops.

Natalie was getting further away when the other Travis must have noticed the door was open and his brother was missing. He began shouting for Natalie to stop and in a panic she slammed on the breaks.

Now I don’t know much about physics. Frankly, I don’t even know if this physics but the fact is I was traveling down hill quickly and couldn’t stop running. I slammed right into the open door.

Then darkness.

I vaguely remember opening my eyes as the other Travis pulled me into the backseat. My legs were hanging out of the door as the car roared off. As if in slow motion, the other Travis looked at me and said, “We did it! We got away!”

And we did. We were never caught and while the escapade didn’t end the war (Taylor moving away a few months later handled that) it left it’s mark in the history of wars. We went out like heroes… heroes who committed a light version of property damage.

Uh, I probably shouldn’t post this sort of stuff.

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The Urine Incident 2: A confession

My name is Travis Meidell and this is my confession.

To understand the grasp of this new Urine Incident, you must first know the story of the original. The original Urine Incident occurred years ago, around the time I was 12. We did a scout event where we went to the Bountiful Bubble, which was the local swimming pool. They called it the bubble because every winter they would inflate this giant bubble over the pool so you could keep swimming in the winter. It was a really great way to have both an indoor and outdoor pool.

Anyway, for a scout meeting we went to the pool and swam around, it was a lot of fun. Afterwards, we went into the dressing room, and you could either change in the open or wait for one of three or four private stalls to change in. With such a big group of scouts and no one wanting to be naked in front of their peers there was a bit of a line to get in a stall. When I finally did, I really had to go pee but I wasn’t about to give up this stall for nothing so I did the only logical thing. I just peed in the corner of the stall. I mean you have to realize that the stall was full of water already. People changed in there all day long and it puddled up quite a bit so to my young brain, it was basically like peeing in a pool. Ugh, no justification of this action will ever sound right.

Well I avoided the puddle as I changed and headed out onto other things. A short time later I heard screaming coming from the stalls. My brother, the other Travis, came flying out of the stall I had just been in. “Someone peed in here!”, he was shouting. Everyone gathered around to hear Travis’ tale of how he came into the stall and was dancing and splashing in the warm water until he realized the water shouldn’t be warm. A quick sniff confirmed everything, he was dancing and splashing in urine.

Everyone in scouts quickly began trying to deduce who had been in that stall but frankly no one was really sure. I quickly claimed to have been in another stall to cover my tracks. No one seemed suspicious. The other Travis washed his feet and soon we all forgot the whole incident. Everyone except me.

My guilt haunted me. Days turned into weeks. Weeks into months. Months into years but always in the back of mind, I knew that Travis had danced in my urine. When we 15, I asked the other Travis, “what he would do if I had been the one to have peed in the stall?” This should have been a dead give-away to my crime, I mean who recounts things like that three years later but Travis did not pick up on this and jokingly said, “I guess, I’d kill you.” Clearly, his wound was still fresh. I quickly laughed and said, “well it’s a good thing I didn’t do it then.” The other Travis, ever oblivious, accepted this fact.

Two more years passed. I now had my drivers license. I was dating girls. I had a part-time job. Yet I was still haunted. So finally one day, I confessed. Frankly, I don’t remember the actual confession much. I’ve blocked the memory from my brain but I know it happened. The other Travs responded as anyone might respond to discovering they danced in their brother’s urine five years earlier. He laughed. We both laughed. I think there was some relief there. If you’re going to dance in someone’s urine, wouldn’t you prefer it be your brother’s?

This story has been told and retold many times since. The other Travis seems incredibly amused by the tale now and likes to recount it to my embarrassment. It’s weird that this story embarrasses me. I can openly confess to pooping my pants in a public place but the Urine Incident is one of those stories that really makes me uncomfortable. Probably because it’s my fault. I couldn’t help but poop my pants. I was sick and trapped but the Urine Incident was entirely me. I don’t have a really good reason for not holding my pee another five minutes… plus I was like 12 years old. That’s not exactly young. Though, the further I get from it, the easier it is to tell. Hence my confession here.

But the reality is this post isn’t about the original, it’s about the sequel. The new Urine Incident occurred two days ago. Simon woke up early and I went to get him but first, I had business. I blindly stumbled out of bed and headed into the bathroom, leaving the light off because, it was too bright. What I was about to do could be done in the dark… or so I thought.

Standing in front the bowl, I began to pee but something was wrong. There was no splash. Uh-oh, I was hitting the edge of the bowl. I quickly veered to right and heard the familiar splashing. Now don’t go thinking I am slob, once I was done, I grabbed some toilet paper and wiped up the bowl and what not. I could have done more due diligence but it was 6:15 in the morning.

A few hours later, I was getting out of the shower and because Tia and I were headed somewhere together, she was going to get right in after me. So while I was standing there putting on deodorant and what not, Tia came in and went to hop in the shower. But right before she got in she said the dreaded words, “Oh you must have splashed over here.” I turned and looked at her. “What?” She repeated. “You must have splashed over here, from the shower, because it’s wet.” Tia was standing right next to the toilet. A place, I hadn’t been since getting out of the shower. “Ohh… yeah, I- I guess so.” I grabbed some toilet paper and wiped it up. Tia smiled and said thanks and hopped in the shower.

I walked into the next room to get dressed and it returned. That guilt. That terrible feeling that once again, someone had unknowingly splashed in my urine. How long would I have to keep this secret this time? How many years would pass before I’d make some joke about it only to recoil in fear and denial. NO. Not again. This time was going to be different.

Two days passed. I needed to be free of this nagging guilt. So here I am making that confession for the whole world to see.

Tia, it wasn’t shower water you stepped in. It was most likely a 7 am pee. I would have told you right then but frankly, you were getting right in the shower and I’ve never been very good at confessing pee-based sins. So please forgive me. I won’t pee in the dark anymore. 

Whew that feels good. Now it’s on Tia to read this.

Animal Crackers

Even the vegans eat these... though they probably have a problem with the circus packaging.

Even the vegans eat these… though they probably have a problem with the circus packaging.

I eat a bag of animal crackers just about every single day. I love them. They are a healthy snack that isn’t carrots or brocoli. Weight watchers says I can eat like 24 of those little suckers before I even hit one point.

But don’t think for one second that I don’t see you judging me with your eyes Eric! You’ve made comments about my lunch before, calling it cute but you know what? Maybe I don’t like spending 1,000 bucks a month on Protein Bar. Maybe, I think that I can save a little bit of dough by chomping down on these animal shaped crackers. Maybe I just like them! So just try and make a comment and I will summon the mighty power of every animal I have ever consumed and tear you to pieces.

Beware the fierce power of the Lion! The strength of horse. The steadiness of the Elephant. The wisdom of the buffalo. The milk-giving of the cow. The mystery of the… is it a sheep? I am not sure. Either way, you’ll feel my animal wrath upon you, friend. So just sit in your cubicle. Judge my food. But remember, as the ancient, native Americans have told us… every animal we consume becomes part of our spirit animal. How will your spirit animal fare against mine: The Lion/Horse/Elephant/Buffalo/cow/sheep-thing!