Inflection Point (Once A Man)

In a situation similar to Richard Pryor’s, I got off of the toilet thinking I had done all the shitting a person could possibly do until I was on my way out of the door; all of a sudden my stomach started gurgling. I was like “Aww shit”–literally.

It reminded me of the time my gramps shitted himself. We were stuck in traffic and there was no other recourse. He simply told me

“Roll down your window, It’s gonna git stinky in here.”

It was the manliest thing a man could do; admit that he was about to let the floodgates of his sphincter loose. I respected him for it. His stomach gurgled and the sound of a very wet fart, like a submerged balloon releasing air began to slowly unravel.

My grandpa hid many things from me as a child; that he actually cussed; brandy gives him a buzz, his upbringing in the Deep South, and how to make love to a woman.  We didn’t do all of the father-son things, but I loved him as my father. He was my father. I thank God for that man for watching over us as long as he did.  After his cancer diagnosis, he became realer than life. He slowly started to reveal various things to me; especially cussing and calling his brother a “nigga” in front of me (I had been called a “nigger” by a white girl and grandma told me it was a bad word).

Now this man was in the process of releasing the contents of his bowels in a claustrophobic area, and there was nothing he could do to stop it. As this effervescent river flowed out from his buttocks, sometimes breaks could be heard in the bubbling where a spart sound could be heard, as small chunks of solid waste snuck out of his anus like ground beef lily pads floating on an onion gravy river.  The most memorable thing I recall, aside from the smells and the sounds, was how his eyebrows crinkled up like twin caterpillars being prodded by a hot knife with each fecal pass. I couldn’t see his eyes because he wore his wayfarer sunglasses with the lenses deeply tinted.

That moment we shared was shrouded in truth and comedy.  The truth of that moment came from a proverb that he had told me before that a man is “once a man, twice a child”. I felt so connected with him because I knew that as a baby he had changed my dirty diapers and cleaned up my piss from sleepwalking and pissing in the hallway trashcan (I swore it was the toilet!).  In this time of delicate vulnerability, the old man and the baby share the same life predicament. I realized that life has an inflection point, when winners become losers, young become old, and skinny become fat.

In mathematics, an inflection point is a point on a curve where the concavity changes from a plus to a minus, or a minus to a plus. In the case of my life, I speak on going from being in the “plus” meaning having more dating opportunities in quality and quantity, to life going into the “minus” meaning having less of those. In a nutshell, the inflection point with regards to dating and relationships is the point where all of the excitement and fulfillment changes to boredom and resentment.

Before my inflection point, life was simpler and more certain. These were the times when women gave their phone numbers out, it had meaning. When they called to talk to you about something meaningful, and it wasn’t unusual to talk on the phone from night until early hours of the morning. Women weren’t scared to tell a guy off, and they didn’t text you to break up with you, they did everything straight up. They took care of themselves, hit the gym, roller-skated, swam, and played volleyball or whatever. And cottage cheese could be found on the ends of carrot and celery sticks of soirees.

After the inflection point, life became more complicated and less connected. Text messaging took over as the medium where complicated codes and truncated phrases indicating pleasure and displeasure get mixed into a stew of cyber babble. Women give their number to every Tom, Dick and Harry, and if they don’t like the guy, they ignored him. Instead of having the guts to break up with a guy outright, his calls were screened until he disappeared into his own Swartzchild radius. They don’t do sports except for watching multiple reality shows and trying to out “ratchet” each other with elaborate wigs that would give a calico cat or a techni-colored baboon the shivers. The cottage cheese is now found on their thighs.

The nerve of these women, the tight-bodied young ladies of yesterday; now the tramp-stamped, stretch marked, vertical C-section scarred women of today– picky about their quarry. Oh how things have changed.



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