My friend Jen Worick just published her book, “Things I Want to Punch in the Face” – a collection of posts from her popular and totally hi-larious blog of the same name. This past Friday, I attended one of her book signings/readings/”Punch Parties” where she read a bit from the book, engaged us all in a rousing game of “Punch in the Face or Make Out With” (players had to guess which she’d do – like with lima beans or Katy Perry), and invited a few of her writerly friends to read their own punches. I had the great honor of being invited to do so and – in true Nicole fashion – I stood in front of a room of people and talked about….
Shitting my pants. Because I feel the inherently human is the thread of continuity that connects us all. Therefore I have no shame. No scruples. And so my punch of Irritable Bowel Syndrome – herein referred to as IBS – went like this:
I don’t care that everyone has a medical cross to bear. I will delightedly trade my IBS for your eczema, sinusitis, or wonky ACL just to never again hear the words, “Did you just SHIT on my new sofa?!” come out of my boyfriend’s mouth.
What’s most annoying about this is that I spent the first few decades of my life all GI-Jammed-Up, and as soon as I hit 35, it’s been a non-stop porcelain bus ride, often preceded by a sprint previously only achieved by FloJo. And, clearly, it’s not always a successful run.
Then there’s the arduous keeping of a diary in effort to figure out what triggers this all-hallowed mess. Is it gluten? Sugar? Soy? Thai food? Dairy, chocolate, stress, too much hormones, too little hormones, gamma rays, kryptonite, the empathetic emotional distress for that guy who just swan-dived from space? It’s a mystery so puzzling even Columbo, Miss Marple, and that weird Hodges guy from CSI couldn’t figure it out if they were locked in a padded cell with nothing but food diaries and stool samples.
I do declare that without IBS, we would live in a world of equality. One where IBS sufferers will not sneer at, but instead stand beside those who suck down deep-dish pizza, cheesecake, and ooey gooey brownies without so much as a pit stop at the commode. One where we can all enjoy food – and life – as it’s offered to us. Without a Gas-X chaser. Without Prilosec. And where sofa slipcovers are always pristine.