Sunday, November 19, 2006


The photograph of the six-holer above is from DaNang South Vietnam. On a day off touring the base, again, because we were restricted to base unless we rode an escorted 6X6 to China Beach, I took this shot from atop an old French bunker for entertainment. If you look closely, you can make out one lonely occupant, taking care of business! The little flaps in the back was where you slid out the “crap” barrels, poured JP4 on the contents and set it ablaze if you were unfortunate enough to draw “shit detail!

This story has nothing to do with this particular “crapper”, but it did remind me of the times the County Fair came to Humphreys County when I lived in Waverly, Tennessee. Three or four of us teenage boys wanted to save the cost of admission for grander things like rides, cotton candy, hotdogs, and games of chance! So, we devised a break-in scheme, and the one we came up with seemed foolproof.

The first day we went down to the main gate in the hopes someone would take pity on us and let us in free, but nobody did, and they actually seemed irritated that we stood there so long and watched them work. In retrospect this was our downfall.

Finally we walked off and started down the side of the poplar board fence kicking at cans and looking through the cracks and smelling the aroma of what we were missing. As we leaned against the boards near one particularly large crack, we noticed that people were walking toward the fence and disappearing just below where we stood. After a few minutes they reappeared and walked off into the crowd again. Upon closer observation, we realized we were near the outhouses that used the fence as a back wall.

I do not remember who first got the bright idea, but soon we were prying at a loose board on the back of the men’s outhouse. When someone came in, we jumped back away from the cracks and waited. Finally, we had a single board, about seven to eight inches wide, free at the bottom so that it would hinge to either the left or right.

I was the first one to slide between the planks and into the outhouse where I quickly locked the door. I looked through a crack in the door afraid to go out. The others whispered encouragement and “chicken” at me from the other side of the fence. It occurred to me that no one would think anything about it if I just acted naturally. I pushed open the door, and walked straight toward the crowd pretending to finish zipping my pants!

It worked like a charm – no one was the wiser or even looked at me. I stood near the corner of a concession looking back at the fence. Sure enough, soon there came one familiar face, then another, until we were all standing there giddy with delight and barely able to contain our pride in our covert accomplishment.

That day and the next were terrific adventures. We roamed the fairgrounds like proud outlaws that had gotten away with robbing the biggest bank in town. Each day our mom’s would give us the price of admission, to keep us out of their hair probably, and a little extra with which to eat and have fun. Each day, we saved the admission and came out of the outhouse one at a time zipping up our pants as if we owned the place.

However, on the third day the youngest member of our “breaking in the outhouse gang” panicked when a fair employee, who had remembered the kid standing at the front gate, looked questioningly in his direction. The terrified kid bolted to the outhouse and back through the fence. Before we knew what was happening, there was a man in the outhouse inspecting the swinging board, and two others were running around from the gate toward us. Like chickens being chased by a dog, we scattered in all directions. Our ruse was up and worse yet, we could not even come back with our parents!

The fair was over for us but we decided that there was always next year. However, when next year came, there were brand new outhouses sitting far away from the fence. From that year on, it was a slow fair year!


Bruno said...

What a great opener for the day! And this being my b-day, it's just what I needed! No, the two crappers above weren't related, but they DID connect with the same thread! Amazing how some of our best childhood (or young-adult-hood!) memories originate in some of the "crappiest" places! Although I don't imagine one could claim to enjoy the smell enjoy the deja-vu---!

Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

The ending wasn't nearly as bad as what I was expecting. I thought maybe you ended up in deep doodoo.

that 1 guy said...

Heheheh... I was thinking the same thing as PJC. We used to try to come up with ways of sneaking in, and the thing was... My ma could get us in for free!!!

Something about a challenge.

Fathairybastard said...

Great story. I never snuck in anywhere, but I shoplifted a bit. Friends and I used to roam the neighborhood in the wee hours of Friday or Saturday night with slingshots we'd copped from the local dime store, shoot out street lights and run from older kids who were driving around looking for us. Drama. Those were fun times.

Fathairybastard said...

Looks like two guys, right next to one another. What's up with that? They both reading the same book?

Michele said...

I'm not sure any fair would be worth going through the outhouse to get there. A good concert on the other hand,,,,

Becky said...

Now that is what I call dedication!

rockyjay said...

Boys will be boys...