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Yip, it’s back to the bowels for ol’ JAW. Gather round, this is going to be super classy.

I recently told a colleague how I had been holding my fart in all day (she was asking why I seemed so uncomfortable) and at that point her face lit up and she said, “Me too!” It was such a, you know, relief, to share that moment with someone and that we all go through holding things in, whether that’s physical or emotional. Just remember, it has to come out somewhere.

But this is the point, and not that I had to use my impending explosive bowels as a segue, but my pain is your pleasure.

We all bargain with ourselves.

What are you holding in?

If it came to it, would your internal dialogue lead you to the right path? Mine usually goes like this: “But can I?”, “Should I?”, “I don’t know if it’s the right thing…”, “I think I do…” In other words, a mess of insecure ramblings that usually sort themselves out amongst themselves and usually lead me down the right path.

For this example, it came as I was driving home from Edenvale. Home is, of course, Johannesburg. And Edenvale, as I came to discover as a new Joburger, is not exactly around the corner.

I went to a friend’s place and ate some curry. He had warned me that he used habanero (chillis) and me being The Brave, I accepted this challenge wholeheartedly as I do all chillis and other chilli-shaped objects. I’ve never been scared of a good burn.

The food was lovely, conversation delightful. So then why did I cut it short and head home? I did not, surprisingly dine ‘n dash, but rather the chilli had caught up with me.

And here’s where the bargaining comes in -because I was not a stone’s throw away from home, and it would be terribly uncouth to use the rest room of someone I had recently met. So I’m driving home and at one point, even turned the music down, with the greatest of respect to Lady Gaga, and started praying, not to Gaga, but with myself. It went something like this:

“Look JAW, it might come to this. We’ve been anticipating this all our life. It couldn’t be smooth sailing forever.”

“But I cant pull over. I don’t even do that to pee!”

“So what then? This is not the time for your pretentious farts and graces. Get it together, man. You can always wash your pants when you get home. It’s not the end of the world!”

“But… but… I just… I don’t… I cant…” I said as my eyes went crossed and my bowels got cross and the world became a blur and when I came to I was still driving.

“Ok, you’re still good. Hang in there.”

And then I gave myself a hug.

At this point I slapped myself and realised I was still on the highway and that other motorists do not take too kindly to wild monologues on busy roads.

When I got to a red light, I couldn’t care anymore and my usual vigilance for hijackers, muggers and smash and grabbers went out the window, as I laid over onto the passenger seat and said another prayer for how grateful I am (for once) that I’m single. Imagine what a test of love that would have been. Not to mention awkward fare for a honeymooner.

That’s when I actually hoped that one of those smash and grabbers would come over, break some glass , get in my car, hold me and say “It’s going to be ok, you brave brave man”

Green light.

Now I entered the squirming phase. I passed Steers and cursed the Indian heritage of my host. I should have stuck with a burger. Veggie, of course.

I am happy to say that the squirming, uncomfortably so, was just that. I got home, crawled inside and crisis was successfully averted.

My ego and I have since recovered from that near-disaster and I’ve come to acknowledge that in times of need, I bargain a lot more than thought I ever would – not to mention what the dialogue would be in a work situation, or love life.

Remember, we all have our conversations with ourselves. But make sure that once the mire has settled, you come out better and stronger out the other side, and with at least a little dignity intact.

Author Jerome Cornelius


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