Monday, February 3, 2014

Don't lock the bathroom door at Grandpa Jack's house.

When I was a kid, I loved visiting my grandpa, and there are many reasons why.  First of all, he had trays upon trays of candy.  Just when you thought you'd eaten all of the candy, he would pull out another bag to refill the tray with.  It was his main food group, other than Carnation instant breakfast, coffee, and cigarettes.  He was a toothpick of an old man, and he was so bent over with osteoporosis that he stood no taller than 5'3."  He was always striking up conversations with complete strangers like they were old friends.  Overall, he was just a really nice and goofy old guy.

In my mind, nothing could make this guy angry, and he was the nicest, friendliest old man in the world.When my sister and I got obnoxiously loud, he'd take off his hearing aids and tune us the f*ck out instead of shouting at us to "shut up already" like lots of other old men would probably do.

Despite his cheerful exterior, one day I made Grandpa Jack mad, and I'll never forget it.  You see, he had one of those sliding wooden doors for the bathroom in his office area.  The lock on it was broken, and if you locked it, you'd be stuck in there until someone rescued you.  Well, I managed to do this...twice.

The first time I locked myself in the bathroom was understandable; I don't think he realized the lock was broken yet.  Or maybe he did, but he forgot to tell us.  When I realized that I was indeed locked inside the bathroom, I called for someone to free me from the bathroom, as a normal person would.  My grandpa got some tools to pick the lock or whatever he had to do.  I walked out of there, sheepish and embarrassed, as my mom, my sister, and Grandpa Jack tried to keep a straight face.  Grandpa Jack looked slightly irritated when he said, "Just don't lock this door anymore."  I nodded and we all went on with our day.

Later on, I went to the office bathroom again.  Completely forgetting my grandpa's advice to not lock the door, of course I locked the stupid door again without thinking.  I did my business, flushed the toilet, reached for the sliding wooden door, turned the lock to unlock it, and yanked it to the left.  Again, the door wouldn't budge.  Crap, I thought.  How could I do this again?  Consumed with shame, I decided I'd wait it out this time.  Someone will come back here eventually, I thought.  They will notice I'm missing, and they'll come to look for me.  Then I'll have to tell them.  I actually don't recall what I was thinking, but that's my best guess.  Whatever I was thinking, I was definitely stalling because I knew Grandpa Jack was going to be pissed this time.

So I sat there in the bathroom, reading some article on halitosis hung on the bathroom wall above the toilet.  I read that damn halitosis article probably a dozen times, and I wondered why the hell my grandpa had hung that article on halitosis above his toilet.  More importantly, I wondered why he had hung that article in his house, period.  I'll never know.  Who knows how long I was in there.  Long enough for me to think that maybe I'd spend the rest of the day there, consumed by my own thoughts.  My own thoughts of how embarrassed and bored I was at the same time.

Just when I almost gave up all hope of being rescued, I heard my mom's voice.



"Are you okay?"

I hesitated a moment before responding with, "Yeah.  I locked the door again, Mom."

I heard my mom say, "Oh shit," followed by laughter.

There I was, sitting there on top of the closed toilet lid, sitting with my knees pulled up to my chin in a position of shame while listening to the sound of grandpa fiddling with the door and mumbling plenty of son of a bitches, goddammits, and shits.  Grandpa Jack was pissed, and there was no going back.

When I was freed from that prison cell of a bathroom, my mom and my sister were giggling, and Grandpa Jack was cursing.

"Goddammit, I told you not to lock the door!  Just use the other bathroom next time!"

And I did.  I used the other bathroom for the remainder of the visit.

While I don't remember if this was true, I bet Grandpa Jack took his hearing aids off for a few hours after that incident.

And the moral of this story?  No matter how friendly and pleasant a person seems, inconvenience them enough and they'll eventually get pissed.  Also, try to learn from your mistakes the first time.  And ask for help when you need it; otherwise, you're going to be sitting there stranded with your knees pulled to your chin in the position of shame and doubt.


  1. Oh, man. My grandparents always had three or four tins of cookies and candy sitting in their living room. Good times!

    1. Vanessa, aren't grandparents the best? I wonder if they all do that. My mom swears that I'd always gain ten pounds every summer when I'd visit my grandparents.

  2. My brothers and i used to like to write on shit when we visited my grand father. he had a pad of NCR paper he liked to use and had pads specially made for himself. He liked them because it would make copies on the page underneath the one you were writing on. You had to put n index card under it to prevent the rest of the pages from being written on. My brothers and i one time had a contest to see who could bare down the hardest to see how many pages we could mark up and we went through his whole collection and just left all the shit lying around his house.


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