Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Toilet Paper Therapy

If the current world situation wasn’t stressful enough, I am now dealing with a severe personal problem. I am constipated. But not just mildly constipated. No, I’m backed up like the L.A. freeway at rush hour with a three-car pile-up in the middle-lane. But I am not producing any pile-ups, no matter how often I try or how much force I apply. It is a biological log jam.

This predicament is not caused by a change in diet. My diet has adequate fiber, and I am drinking plenty of water. I even take something called Izo-Flush at bedtime, which is intended to provide some productive flushes the next morning. And yet, my bowels could get a job as a guard at Buckingham Palace because they ain’t moving.

I blame my constipation on the coronavirus. Now don’t worry, I don’t have the virus. That’s not even a symptom of the sickness. But the virus is definitely to blame. That’s because our calm, rational response to the calm, rational news reports that everyone, everywhere is going to die, was to rush to the store like a swarm of locusts and buy every roll of toilet paper in existence. And this would have been a splendid move if the virus needed a steady source of toilet paper to survive, but sadly this is not the case.

However, we do need to wipe this virus out, and now we have the resources to do so. We may ultimately die from this, but we will die with magnificently clean anuses.

“Did you know that Carl died due to the virus?”

“Yes, but I heard they didn’t even have to change his underwear for the funeral!”

This mass hoarding of toilet paper would have made sense if this virus gave you the hickory-sh!tz, but it does not. However, this weird fad was reported every day on the news. And it caused toilet paper panic and mass stockouts as a result. Photos and videos of empty shelves were everywhere.

And thus, this caused my constipation problem. You see, while my rational mind saw this toilet paper craziness as stupid and funny, my irrational mind started to panic and became alarmed. It was tricked into thinking I had no toilet paper and no means to get any. So, it sprang into action to protect me.  It came up with a plan to reduce my personal need for toilet paper. My brain sent a message down to my colon to shut down throughput, just like the car factories shut down their production lines due to the virus. And my sphincter has been placed on lockdown, just like many businesses. There is no production; there is no activity; everything has been put on hold.

Now don’t worry, the Ake household has plenty of toilet paper. It’s 3-ply and high quality, which I need due to my hemorrhoidal conditions. My wife was able to buy two large packages, which is equivalent to more than a 17-week supply. I believe this is a reasonable amount. The problem is, the person who bought a three-year supply also thinks this is a reasonable amount. And yet with this
abundant supply, my tissue is just sitting there, waiting on the roll, eagerly anticipating jumping into action – but no, again, there was no need for it today. Maybe tomorrow will be a browner day.

I’m getting desperate, so I am trying TP-therapy, where me and the TP create positive interactions in hopes my irrational mind will finally realize there is no danger present. Resulting in my colon unlocking my sphincter and unleashing what promises to be a huge event. After which, the remaining toilet paper inventory will be reduced to only a one-week supply.

The TP-therapy starts out with me holding and squeezing the package (ala Mr. Whipple), so my body becomes comfortable being around and trusting the paper. 

Now Don, tell the toilet paper how much you appreciate the rolls being here for you and what a good job it does, making you feel all clean and fresh.

And TP, tell Don that you desire to finish the job and how hurt you are about the lack of attention you’ve received the last few days.

The purpose of the therapy is to bring the subject and the TP closer emotionally so they can work together to complete the task in a satisfying, wonderful way.  It’s a beautiful thing when it all works out.

But the constipation is not the only hardship I am facing. This social distancing thing is a real pain. However, this is not a new concept for me. Back in high school, the attractive, popular girls practiced social distancing from me for four years – treated me like I was a virus or something.  And now, I can’t even go into a restaurant and have someone make me a sammich. I can’t go to a networking function and scarf free appetizers. And they shut down my favorite cappuccino place. I have to drink cappuccino. I can’t live without it, so I am forced to brew cappuccino in my Keurig. Fortunately, the warehouse club had k-cups on sale, so I stocked up! Got me 3,000 k-cups stacked in the garage.                                              
I think that’s a reasonable amount, right?

The turkeys also wish my constipation will end soon. Because now that I am not, uh, indisposed, in the morning, I can chase them away from the squirrel food more frequently.  Hey, these are tough times for all of us, turkeys.

So I sit here, contemplating this difficult situation. Hoping, praying, that it ends soon. We just need to wait this whole thing out, and when it ends, get everything back to normal as quickly as possible. But man, this hard-plastic seat is really uncomfortable.