March 19, 2013: Mighty Muck and Beaver Boy

I am Mighty Muck, fearless facer of bodily wastes of all kinds.

Intrigued now, aren’t you?

Now I know the first thought on your mind during Spring Break is “Can I please take a multiple choice test about poop?”, right? I thought so. So here we go. Please select your favorite answer from each set of options provided, or yell it loudly at the screen if it is not provided. I’ll explain why you are wrong in an entertaining way, while also giving you a snapshot of my life and shamelessly promoting the country life. Sound like a good time? Hey, you missed Saint Patrick’s Day; you need something to challenge you. Buckle up, Big Boy.

Question 1: While enjoying some sun outdoors, your wife yells at you to help your son. He stands by a tree with his pants and underwear down, looking vaguely confused. You snap into action, and immediately a) roll your eyes and try to pretend you didn’t hear, b) smash the nearest hand tool on the ground, scream, and fake an injury, c) pick up your son, carry him indoors, and deposit him on the toilet, lecturing all the way, or d) threaten him with his life if he moves a muscle, and grab a forgotten package of baby wipes from the van in the driveway, wipe him off, and put the “deposit” he’s made on the ground carefully in your giant wheeled trashcan for pickup later.

Well, A and B are for weenies. So don’t even go there. C is probably the woman’s magazine way, but we aren’t writing a woman’s magazine. We live in the country, where everything poops outside, and we have lots of work we would like to keep doing with minimal interruptions. So we chose D. Don’t tell the trash collectors. My wife was happy with D, and my son got to stay outside and play, so it’s a win-win.

Question 2: When you moved into your dream home in the country, a pile of junk was waiting on the hill behind your house. You have managed to remove much of it, but two whole indoor toilets remain in plain sight of anyone who drives in to visit you. You decide it’s time to  a) install them properly in your existing bathrooms to accommodate even more small, active digestive systems, b) ask the trash collectors to take them…please, c) smash them with your sledge hammer and dump them in your neighbor’s dumpster, or d) bury them in your woods and tell stories about the “Ghost Pooper”.

Please tell me no one chose D. Your kids would never let that story end. B ain’t happening. They don’t go out of their way to pick up stuff that’s not waiting by the road, and I don’t blame them. Some stops would take all day if they did. A sounds great…until you start splicing pipes, cutting up subflooring, and overloading  your septic system. This Old House would make it look easy, but I don’t have that kind of funding. So I chose C, and I had a great time. It’s quite satisfying to smash a toilet to tiny pieces. Yes, I wore safety glasses. Yes, I know you all suffer from country boy envy. You’ll just have to come visit more often. And, yes, our neighbor had already given us permission to use her dumpster. And both toilets were empty.

Question 3: After a hard day of fence-building, using all your power tools, and wearing out your body, you decide to wrap things up by  a) sipping a cold beer in front of the TV, b) icing some Gatorade, icing your sore hands, and watching the sunset, c) showering, helping your wife in the kitchen, and playing with  your children, or d) mucking out the bottom of your shelter for ducks and chickens, and transporting the remains to your compost bin for use on your own plants later this year.

I’m not into beer, but even I know beer for real beer drinkers is served room-temperature, and the only sport on TV is college basketball. Nope, not goin’ that way, are we, Sparky? B sounds nice, but the trees get in the way, and we don’t have any Gatorade at the moment, so no to that one. C sounds ideal, but guess what? It’s pay me now, or pay me later; the poop has to be moved, so I chose D while my wife slept off a headache, my boys played outside, and our ducks and chickens explored the rest of the yard. And I don’t regret it; I sleep real good after days like this. And I’m Mighty Muck, remember? It’s what I do. It’s what I live for. (Ursula cackles wickedly in the background; see Disney’s Little Mermaid. Or don’t. The only part I care about is when the ship skewers the Octopus Witch through the heart. The rebel teen girl, her overbearing Dad, and everyone else in the story lacks any sense of honor.)

Question 4: While busy outside in the cold putting the final unanticipated touches on a  fence to keep your very talented and immature dog out of your precious garden that you and your wife spent all day yesterday putting together, your wife comes running out to tell you the toilet is overflowing all over the bathroom floor. You decide to a) swear loudly, throw something at the dog, and stomp off to the bathroom, where you throw things unnecessarily and make a mess, b) swear mentally, smile, stride manfully into the bathroom, and clean it up efficiently, fix the toilet, and tell your wife how pretty she is, c) vomit suddenly, tell your wife she’s got to handle this one on her own, and hope for the best, or d) sigh deeply, stride manfully into the bathroom, clean the mess, but then make it worse when you try to fix the toilet because you were mad about the dog and plunged too hard.

I hope no one chose A. We are adults, after all…most of the time. If C actually happened to you, you have my sympathy, and so does your wife. D could happen. I can see myself doing this, but no; this time, I was B, and God was extra gracious. The plunging did the trick, and the toilet has stayed fixed. My youngest two sons have been experimenting with paper, stickers, tissues, paper towels, and other items distantly related to toilet paper, all of which have failed in more or less spectacular ways. I have also discovered them performing the same experiments in the bathroom sink drain. And you don’t want to know what the toothbrushes look like after I extract them from the U-joint.

Question 5: Your wife decides to go shopping one morning, and you want to surprise her when she gets home. You decide she will be most impressed by a) a clean kitchen, including an empty dishwasher and sink, b) folded laundry and vacuumed floors, c) a synopsis of the basketball games on TV, or d) a missing tree and a broken saw.

A or B are both great, but not what I did. I’m not a basketball fan, and neither is my wife; she’d be way past bored by any description of that sport. No, I decided to chop down a tree by our driveway we had decided to get rid of, and had my sons haul off the branches while I did the snipping and chopping. I used an axe-maul, a reciprocating saw, and some loppers to complete the job. I would have used a chainsaw, but mine kept shutting off when I switched the choke. Meh; I’m still taking down that tree. And she was impressed. Wood chips flew 20 feet at least. My oldest son made sure everyone knew how far they went. Yeah; that’s my son.

Oh, and Sis? I am the Beaver Boy: Big Teeth, Big Muscles, and Big Appetite.

Question 6: You’re having friends over for hot dogs and S’mores roasted over a bonfire. When it’s time to start the fire, you squirt in some lighter fluid over a huge pile of sticks, and light the leaves underneath. No dice; the branches are too green and the leaves aren’t enough heat. What do you do? a) Swear, throw things, and insist it cannot be done, b) empty two containers of lighter fluid into the pile, and use as many matches as it takes, c) pull off all the wood, light some leaves, and build the fire gradually with sticks until it is large enough to catch the pile, or d) pull out the blowtorch or the propane grill, and a hat to match whichever is handiest.

A was tempting, but I didn’t give in. I actually tried B, but it didn’t work. While considering A again, my wife did C, and it blazed brilliantly. If I had a blowtorch, I would have been gone getting it while my wife started the fire, so I’m glad I didn’t. Now my friends think we start fires together. Since we have four kids, who’s to say we don’t make sparks in the dark?

How many did you get right? Doesn’t matter. But I do hope you got a few laughs, learned a few things, and appreciate those brave souls who stand between you and certain disaster, who brave the toxic odors and disgusting substances of the outdoor poopers and indoor plumbing experimenters: the parents. It’s thankless, but we don’t do it for the money, or the fame. We do it because it’s what we’re her for; it’s our purpose during these memorable years. We will be there, night and day, day and night, sick and tired, vigilantly checking diapers and pants and toilets and barns because we were made for this! It is our honor and privilege.

It’s getting deep in here, isn’t it? Mighty Muck and Beaver Boy need a shower.



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