Tim Kennedy – The Portable Throne
I may not be perfect, but I try real hard to never to be the “ugly American” when I travel. To this day I still love many of the cuisines I’ve encountered and I appreciate and treasure the different perspectives I have gained through my journeys. I’d be a very different, and less complete, man without them. There are a few American traditions, however, that I am certain are superior and I am unwilling to compromise in the acceptance of a better methodology. I’ve given you examples of this in the past, whether it my horticultural partiality (pomegranate trees in particular) or my epic battle with the vampire bed bugs, but the one that I feel most passionately about is that there is only one proper way to shit is sitting (METTC depending of course).
In many cultures, the most comfortable position to do anything in is the “squat”. They have their conversations in it, they eat in it, they fight and shoot from it (all of which I don’t mind), and lastly they defecate from it (this is where my tolerance abates).
I remember distinctly being a kid, bladder about to burst, and I ran into our one bathroom. There sitting happily was my father. He may have been reading a magazine or a book. Perhaps he was just enjoying those precious few minutes of solitude from his demon-possessed son (me). Whatever the case may have been I knew that I was interrupting and I better vacate the vicinity promptly. There was something about him sitting there, respectfully and proudly. I knew at that time that there was only one way to shit.
Being imbedded with other foreign militaries has its perks, and for a few months on my last deployment I was assigned to a platoon of indigenous soldiers. For the most part, it’s pretty awesome. You get to learn new ways to do our business (fighting). You get to try new equipment. You get to learn some new swear words. You even try your best to look like them (this might save your ass later because more often than not the guy behind the glass is always trying to hit the American). I did almost everything with them. Once again, however, they put my defecation style to the test – and proud American that I am, I refused to give in.
I was on mission. I tracked down a metal folding chair and laser-cut a hole in the center of it. Then I went into KBR’s bathroom, and tore out commandeered a toilet seat. BAM! There was my new portable throne.
If you’ve read my other stories you are well aware of the fact that most of the locals think that I’m mental. I’m the guy box jumping everything I walk up to (only making it on top of it 2 out of 3 times then destroying everything within reach when I bang my shin), picking up every seemingly heavy piece of broken equipment just to see how far I can throw it, putting on my body armor pro-mask and dragging a tire every where I run, and lastly taking out all my belonging from my hut to “declare war” on SOG trained bed bugs. So I’m not sure I did myself any favors by periodically taking off with my Glock, modified chair, and reading material and climbing to the top of the nearest hilltop. In need for some time alone, I’d march up to that fitting spot, set my chair down, and do my business.
Did my new comrades in arms think I was crazy? Perhaps.
Did they understand that disturbing my precious few minutes of solitude was a perilous, and potentially life-ending mistake?
Why yes they did.