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Capt Cliff is Back! Guest Blog Post: “The Tao of Poo”

20 Jan

Within the fields of scatology and coprology, the so called “twin sciences of shit” , there are many deep dark mysteries…so to speak. I noticed one of these strange occurrences this morning. However, please dont go off the deep end thinking this signifies a supernatural phenomena or anything weird like that. Dont go calling one of those creepy Ghostbuster reality TV shows to tell them you think theres a Casper like spirit inhabiting Cliff’s bathroom or intestinal tract…

Ok, here is the long and short of it, no pun intended. Do you know how women talk about menstrual rhythms and how sisters in a family and/or female coworkers somehow end up with co-occuring menstruation, something that men who live with them simply call a “living nightmare”? Well, many of you devoted listeners know that I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  Dont all applaud at once…it’s not exactly my proudest achievement or greatest contribution to modern society. Flushable Wet Wipes and their inventor deserve that distinction. Now that’s real technological progress…but I digress.

By the way, while I am digressing and probably regressing on the subject of poop, dont you just LOVE the feeling of being “empty” after a good dump? I think that may be on the physical level pretty close to the Zen experience of “No Ego”, or the Zen state of complete “emptiness” that millions of Buddhists aspire to. Makes you wonder what the Dalai Lama does when he is irregular or constipated on this physical plane of existence.

Anyway……my girlfriend and I , who are both followers of the Dalai Lama as well as the guy who wrote the bathroom books, “What’s Your Poo Telling You” and the wildly popular companion volume,”The Poo Log” were talking shit, literally, the other day. Some of you may or may not  know there is an actual numerical chart of fecal typologies. I’m talking about the PQI or Poo Quality Index. Let me repeat..some genius with a PH.D. in Crapology and an MD in Gastroenterology has published a guide that folks with bowel trouble use to gauge the health of their Bowel Movements (BMs).

As a Clinical Psychologist I am quite used to and comfortable asking my clients, “How would you describe your feelings and what number would you give them on a 1 to 10 scale?” However, I’m not sure my emotional openness extends so far as to say, “How would you describe your poop and what number on this chart would you consider its size, shape,consistency and delivery?”

Delivery? Are we on the Obstetrics ward? Naah, were not too anal a culture are we?  Only Nazi Germany was more anal and meticulous about charting anything and everything for so called posterity. Anyway, my courageous partner was saying last nite she had noticed her latest BM’s to be…and here we have to delve into the lexicon of feces…”sludge-like” or “the kind that always leave a tell-tale mark after you flush”.

Right, I knew just what she meant. We were talking the same language but were having vastly different toilet experiences because I was, until today, literally on another page of the chart. To be perfectly honest, due to my IBS which is the gastrointestinal version of being Bipolar, I typically swing wildly between the extremes of diarrhea and deprivation, meaning absolutely nothing to show for myself. When my gf described her latest creative accomplishment in the bathroom,  I envied her productivity and her sludge-like PQI score. Here finally comes the weird part.

After I spent a fairly sleepless nite of weird dreams about submarines, subways (both the sandwiches and the underground transportation systems) and a random one about my mother in a scary clown costume, I awoke today with the urge to go, even without my early morning French press coffee ritual, which is the poo obsessed person’s version of a Japanese Tea ceremony. Very exact and almost never varying to produce the desired physical and spiritual results.

Well, in this case I completely skipped the Zen ritual and went right to my ceramic friend, John, and “voila”, what do you know but I got sludge! I realize most people would not make such a big deal, write a whole essay about it or, god forbid, grab their digital camera and send a picture to Ratemypoo.com. I’m not kidding, people do that. However my point here is less pictorial and more metaphysical. Sort of the scatological version of the quantum physics movie, “What the Bleep”, the documentary positing that idea that individual and group consciousness can influence the material world. Holy Shit! I thought sludge and I got it! Now I have to just keep believing in myself and my vastly underrated  “Powers of Poo” and literally move myself up the PQI chart toward increasing health and total enlightenment. Maybe its all psychological but I feel better already.

Cliff Mazer, Ph.D. is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and humorist living in Sandy Springs, Georgia. He blogs under the alter-ego CaptCliff on Facebook.

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Guest Blog Post: Capt Cliff on IBS and World Toilet Day

27 Dec

Cliff Mazer, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist in Private Practice in Sandy Springs  Georgia. He specializes in sex therapy and eating disorders. He resides in Atlanta, Georgia and has a thing for Pirates and really nice bathrooms. He was diagnosed with IBS this year.

During the day I’m supposed to be a licensed Psychologist and role model of rationality and emotional stability. At night however I revert to my alter ego as a Jewish Pirate and IBS sufferer. I also have a thing for toilets. Toilets and World Toilet Day, which was celebrated last month are subjects near and dear to my heart.

The campaign is oriented to promoting the fact that there is a pressing need (no pun intended) for toilets and better sanitation around the globe. Matt Damon has publicly addressed the tissue, er issue, by reminding us that there are more people on Earth who own cell phones than people with functioning toilets.

Ever since visiting the polished copper lavatories at the Madonna Inn in San Louis Obispo, California as a child, I have been fascinated by toilets and become somewhat of a connoisseur of bathrooms that combine the blessed trinity of form, function, and excellent ventilation. How irritating is it to visit a good friend at their nice house, stay at a swanky hotel in Las Vegas, or eat at a fantastic upscale restaurant in New York City or San Francisco (right off the dining room), only to find that they lack a simple bathroom fan that would provide adequate noise cancelling effects as well as sufficient air flow/ventilation? Awkward much?

I dont mean to talk shit but let’s face it, this is a part of being human that makes us all equal, no matter how much money we have, how fancy and expensive a car we drive, or how good-looking we might be. No matter how big or small our butt is, we all have to park our rear ends on the porcelain throne and do our business. The only difference is that Donald Trump’s throne is gold plated. I still, however, think he’s a big asshole, and that his shit DOES stink.

I admit that I may come by my obsession for toiletry by virtue of my Ashkenazi German Jewish heritage. Consider how many Yiddish words there are for poop……..too many to mention here, in fact. Let’s just say that snow is to the Eskimo as “drek” is to the average anal Jewish person with my family background.

Dont believe me? Look up the names of GI doctors and licensed Proctologists in the phone book and count how many Dr. Goldsteins and Dr. Schwartz’s there are. We specialize in Nobel prizes, entertainment, medicine, and…..shit.

Even in non academic circles and sans professional accreditation my people have shown an unusual interest in all things related to bowel function. Passing gas and engaging in “productive” BM’s are considered, along with music, food, culture and literature to be important avocations of the truly civilized.

In contrast, constipation, irregularity and the absence of stool is seen as a sign of weakness, infirmity and pity. “Oy, I havent gone in 3 days!” was perceived in my youth, not just as a simple complaint, but as a full fledged lament and solemn prayer for absolution. Such an utterance evoked not only tremendous empathy from others, but also the ultimate Kinnahora (the evil eye/spirit that was so feared it engendered an immediate superstitious behavior like spitting or throwing salt over the shoulder to ward off doom or in this case catching a bad case of constipation).

For those of you guys (goys) who cant grasp what I am saying, consider what is worse, chronic constipation or unremitting insomnia, day after day, week after week? To the Jew, both suck big time, but most of us would prefer to stay up all nite watching old reruns of the Honeymooners and the original Twilight Zone then spend a whole day with a full roll of Charmin and nothing to show for it.

Lastly, I just returned from Boca, visiting my cousin Donna at her “pied de terre” at Century Village, also known as “Cemetery Village” to the locals who are used to the nightly sirens and fire trucks cruising into the complex searching for the latest casualty to old age and old school delicatessen food (Ben’s Deli was excellent). Not only were the bathrooms in the clubhouse meticulous and the toilets so powerful that I nearly felt my hind end sucked into the vortex by the industrial turbines they use for waste disposal, but the elderly residents conversations were rife with references to all things bladder and bowel.

On the last day I was fortunate to visit the nearby Morikami Japanese Garden and Museum.  After touring the exquisite gardens we entered the original Yamato house now turned into an art center and architectural display of Japanese culture. While most of the others pondered the superbly tended bonsai trees, the colorful food court, and the intricate Samurai drawings and sculpture, I however, was mesmerized by the 2011 Japanese Toto high tech toilet demonstration.

Not only does that baby wash, dry and sanitize your tush, but it plays music, has temperature controls more sensitive then my Lexus, and can respond to multiple language voice commands. As far as I’m concerned that trumps Trumps sleazy gilded bath fixtures any day. More on this subject later. Right now I gotta go…..so to speak. CaptCliff has IBS. Arrgh!

Guest Blog Post: Traveling with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) by Christina Ruotolo

29 Nov

Christina Ruotolo is a published poet and prose writer and owner The Ruotolo Agency: PR & Literary Consulting.  She also suffers from IBS and is a confessed Imodium addict.

Last fall, my boyfriend, Craig, got stuck without a ride in Myrtle Beach. I had just enjoyed a dinner of greasy food and a large iced tea and was gearing up for a night of watching movies and enjoying a nice evening alone, when the phone rang at 9pm.

Craig needed me to pick him up. Myrtle Beach was close to four hours away. I’m not sure why I didn’t just make him take the bus (probably because that thought didn’t cross my mind). I put on my comfy driving clothes, grabbed our dog for safety, put gas in the car, grabbed a roll of TP (just in case) and headed down the lonely stretch of country road toward the beach.

About forty-five minutes into my journey, just me and the dog, my stomach started rumbling and doing its usual IBS flip-flop. I thought it was just nerves because I don’t enjoy driving at night, and if you saw some of the areas you have to go on the way to Myrtle Beach, visions of any scary movie would come to mind.

A few moments later the urge to vomit came over me. I had to lurch the car onto the side of the road and wretch for ten minutes while the dog looked at me in horror. Whatever greasy meal I had eaten was now out of me, or so I thought. I pulled myself together and made it another thirty minutes into a tiny town where I threw up again—this time in a park with barely enough time to open the car door.  Another thirty minutes down the road, I threw up in a church parking lot.

I was a hot mess and crying, but I was already half-way to the beach—there was no way I was leaving Craig without a ride. I had come this far; I just had to keep going. I started downing Pepto pills and praying that I would not throw up anymore. The dog kept giving me funny looks; I think he was worried about me.

It was already midnight, and I was driving down a two-lane road in the middle of freaking nowhere when my urge to go to the bathroom grew so severe, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.  Once again, I pulled the car over to the shoulder of the road, turned the headlights off, pushed the dog in the back seat and jumped in the passenger seat, barely getting my butt out the car door before all hell broke loose.

While I relieved myself, I spotted a truck coming down the road.  First I was scared he would see me with my ass hanging out the car door, but then I was scared he would think I needed help and stop. I cleaned up as fast as I could and headed over to the driver side of the car, but when I went to pull the door handle to get in my side of the car, it was locked.

To make matters worse, the car was running with my cell phone and dog inside. How the hell did I manage to get myself into this predicament? Ahh, yes I remember now, I have freaking IBS, and today it was beating the shit out of me, from both ends. I just broke down and cried while my dog pressed his face up to the window, looking at me like I was insane.

Then I began to think of all the horror movies that I had watched, and I thought about all the Jethro-looking men in trucks that would come kidnap me, leaving behind my running car and a barking dog with a pile of shit next to it. Maybe the police would come and think that I had run away from embarrassment alone.  But when the cops deduced what had taken place, I would be the laughing stock of Hicksville.

I looked up to the heavens, put my hands in the air and yelled, “REALLY?!”

Then I prayed that there was a rock somewhere because I was not going to let IBS win this time. I would find a way to get in that car if I had to use my damn shoe to break the window. I walked over to the other side of the car, avoiding you know what and HAIL MARY.  The passenger door was not shut all the way.  I jumped for joy, jumped over my shit and jumped back in my car and cried even harder.  I was so happy to be back in my car. I had forgotten that I could still be kidnapped, but the stench of my shit was probably both a killer and bear deterrent.

One hour and thirty minutes later, I hugged my boyfriend and told him my incredible story.  Four hours after that, we finally made it back home.

I told Craig if he ever got stuck again, he better learn to hitchhike, cause this ass ain’t going to pick him up no matter what.

***

For more info on Christina check out her blog here: http://www.confesssionsofanimodiumaddict.blogspot.com/ and her agency here: http://www.theruotoloagency.com/ And more info on a book Christina worked on that benefits Haiti: http://www.wix.com/haitibook/thedaytheearthmovedhaiti

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