At my summer camp, after breakfast, we had cabin cleanup.

Cabin cleanup lasted an hour. After cabin cleanup, the entire camp headed down to the activities area, where various counsellors presented their activity for the campers to choose from for the first period.

“This is not really a story about summer camp. It’s a story about poop. And I hope you are okay with that.”

With five to six activities being presented, this process took about ten to fifteen minutes. After that, the kids would go off with the respective counsellor whose activity they were interested in the most. These activities would be done for an hour. This spanned the traditional summer camp fare; archery, kickball, canoeing, arts and crafts, etc…. pretty normal stuff. The type of activities are unimportant. In fact, most of what I told you is unimportant, except for the duration of each sequence of the day. Hold on to that. This is not really a story about summer camp. It’s a story about poop. And I hope you are okay with that.

About halfway into cabin cleanup, I realized I had to go to the bathroom. I could feel it was a number two. So, being the mature fourteen-year-old boy that I was, I walked barefoot down the hill to the bathroom. The bath “room” was more of a set of three stalls, two urinals, and six sinks on a piece of concrete encased on some sides by some walls. I made my way into one of the stalls, and sat down on the toilet, as you do when you need to excrete faeces out of your ass. The process was going about as normal as it usually does. The songs of that summer, “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke and “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk-both featuring Pharrell Williams” played lazily off in the distance on the cabin radios as I relieved myself. On what I estimated to be the last log there was a slight stoppage on the otherwise smooth release. “Not a problem,” I thought to myself, surely a common enough occurrence in the scorching New Jersey summer. I figured it would be nothing more than a passing moment in an otherwise normal day at summer camp. I waited, unaware of the pain I was about to experience, the war of resolve my body would wage on my mind.

Two minutes of congestion turned into five, then into ten. Soon ten doubled into twenty, and at a certain my fellow cabin mates walked down to the activity area for the first period, marking thirty continues minutes spent on the can. A nervous sweat began to brew on my brow, mixing with the otherwise normal perspiration elicited on an August Day. Only at this point did the tiniest bit of concern begin to set in, as I failed to remember a single occasion in which a digestive strain like this ended favourably.

 “I realized that it would be impossible to rip this monstrosity from my rectum”

I began to panic when my fellow campers walked past me again. They were off to start their games of ultimate frisbee and marble racing. I had been shitting for at least three-quarters of an hour. Ten minutes from then I began to evaluate my options. The mosquitoes in the prime of their season seem to multiply around my unguarded ankles by the minute. I could tell that it was much more solid than a normal poop is, far rougher too. I had absolutely no sense of its size but didn’t think it was likely to be small. The thought of embarrassing myself in front of the entire camp, having to cry out for camp, the nurse sliding laxatives under my door were too much to bear. That would have been social suicide. If I couldn’t even escape ridicule at a Quaker summer camp, freshman year of high school would be no more kind. Like an animal caught in a trap or James Franco trapped under a rock, I knew that I needed to do a bit of separation. I took a healthy amount of toilet paper, wrapped it around my hand, and made contact with the tip of waste peeking out of my body. As soon as I felt it I thought something must’ve been wrong. I thought I’d touched a bone. Upon a more thorough toilet paper-wrapped investigation via hand, I determined that I was not shitting out my spine, it was just a rock hard crap. I realized that it would be impossible to rip this monstrosity from my rectum, at least not without greatly jeopardizing my ability to sit in the dining hall. Resigned to my fate, unable to seek medical attention due to teenage social anxiety, and unwilling to risk a far worse fate via manual removal, I sat on my porcelain prison.

For fifteen straight minutes, I sat perfectly straight, doing deep breathing exercises, until eventually, I sensed movement. Slowly and agonizingly, it began to pass through me. It was not pleasant. I have never felt more helpless. But eventually, the deed was done. I wiped, rose, pulled up my boxers and basketball shorts, and gazed into the mirror with a hundred yard stare as I washed my hands. Ravaged by the mildest form of dehydration. I waddled off, conscious of the new entirely fibrous diet I’d be taking on for the rest of summer break  

Evan O’Learly-Lee

@evanolearylee