Saturday, July 16, 2011


I pee when I laugh too much. This happened a lot in grade school. One embarrassing pee incident occurred in the seventh grade. Our teacher had asked us to speak for three minutes on something that interested us.
            One by one my classmates went to the front of the room. The boys mostly talked about wars and westerns. One of them had been to Yellowstone and described Old Faithful. The girls told us about learning to play the piano and their favorite movie stars. One of them had seen the Atlantic Ocean and talked about the thunder of its waves.             
             Finally, my time came. Already a history buff, I’d chosen to talk about the Liberty Bell that hung in the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia.
            The boys knew me and my weakness because we’d all gone through grade school together. So as soon as I started talking, they crossed their eyes and tried on their most grotesque faces. I started giggling.
            Then it happened: pee trickled down my legs. I tried holding them tightly together, but that only made the boys redouble their efforts.
            More drips and dribbles.
            I stood in a spreading puddle of pee.
            I had to talk for three minutes to get a good grade, so I forged on with facts and dates.
            More seepage.
            The pee wet the tops of my anklets.
            The puddle kept spreading. How much pee does a kid’s bladder hold? I asked myself.
            Finally, I finished and raced down the aisle to my desk. Our teacher’s voice stopped me. “Dolores, there seems to be a puddle on the floor. Please get a rag and wipe it up.”
            The boys guffawed; the girls tittered.  
            I got a rag from the closet, wiped up the puddle, trashed the sodden cloth, and sat down quietly at my desk. Behind me, a classmate who was sweet on me whispered, “I liked your speech best.”
            Well, at least it was the most entertaining. A real show-and-tell.


  1. I love that you were clearly not shamed by this incident. That you knew it of yourself and accepted it.

    I lose bladder control when I laugh too much or sneeze, too, but only after having children and turning 39. This helps put my periodic problem into perspective ;-)

  2. I, too, was amazed at your sense of ok-ness with yourself! You just accepted it as what was going to happen, was going to happen, and, oh well!

    What a positive memory of 7th grade. I don't think I have any good memories of that year, just a lot of misery.

    Thanks for a fun story!

  3. I'm glad I wasn't in that class. I would have beat those silly boys to a pulp. The mean little twits. Sorry I have a problem with people being rude and mean. I'm proud that you finished. Most kids would have run crying from the room. Especially at that age. You were one brave little girl. Good for you.

  4. Oh, Dee! How mortifying for you, yet you appear to have risen far above this embarrassing problem (if I may be permitted to call it that?) and handled yourself with great dignity and wisdom way beyond your years.

    What a great pity, though, that you were not treated by a urologist, as there clearly was a medical reason for this muscle weakness. How courageous you are to share this. You write almost impersonally about it, as though it happened to someone else and you were merely observing, and it seems clear that this is how you felt about it at the time. This might have been the way in which you were able to protect yourself? And it may have seeded the later development of 'multiple' personalities (i.e. your hallucinations?)

    It has been clear from the outset that you are a very special person with a unique life story to tell. Each 'chapter' further emphasises this and my admiration for you grows incrementally.

  5. Your ability to look back at this with humour is astonishing -- must admit though you had me laughing -- it's the way you tell it, you wonderful writer, you! When you think about it though, you'd have thought the teacher would have done something about those boys and excused you from your torment...