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Here’s A Literary Passage About Constipation

I’m seriously having problems finding content to write about for Portnoy’s Complaint, due to all the graphic sexual content. But I couldn’t pass up this passage, which describes Alex Portnoy’s father’s issues with constipation.

It’s funny and a little crude. So if you don’t like potty humor, this is your fair warning for the remainder of this post.

Here’s the moving moment:

This father! Whom I have had forever! Whom I used to find in the morning fast asleep on the toilet bowl, his pajamas around his knees and his chin hanging onto his chest. Up at quarter to six in the morning, so as to give himself a full uninterrupted hour on the can, in fervent hope that if he is so kind and thoughtful as this to his bowels, they will relent, they will give in, they will say finally, “Okay, Jack, you win,” and make a present to the poor bastard of five or six measly lumps….He groans, when I awaken him so as to wash up for school, and he realizes that it is nearly seven-thirty and down in the bowl over which he has been sleeping for an hour, there is, if he’s lucky, one brown angry little pellet such as you expect from the rectum of a rabbit maybe–but not from the rear end of a man who now has to go out all clogged up to put in a twelve-hour day. “Seven-thirty? Why didn’t you say something!” Zoom, he’s dressed, and in his hat and coat, and with his big black collection book in one hand he bolts his stewed prunes and his bran flakes standing up, and fills a pocket with a handful of dried fruits that would bring on in an ordinary human something resembling dysentery. “I ought to stick a hand grenade up my ass, if you want the truth,” he whispers privately to me…”I got enough All-Bran in me to launch a battleship. It’s backed up to my throat…” Here, because he has got me snickering, and is amusing himself to in his own mordant way, he opens his mouth and points downward inside himself with a thumb. “Take a look. See where it starts to get dark? That ain’t just dark–that’s all those prunes rising up where my tonsils used to be. Thank God I had those things out, otherwise there wouldn’t be room.”

“One brown angry little pellet.” Wow.

This novel is too much for me at times. I tend to not want to read it, then I get backed up on my reading and it just hurts.

My thoughts get clogged and words are a pain to force out. I just sit there, waiting for an explosion of ideas, needing just a little relief. But nothing happens.

And, well, you get the idea.

Thankfully, I’ll be wrapping up this book next week. I’ll try to squeeze out a few nuggets of wisdom.

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15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Matt #

    That’s pretty hilarious. Love it!

    Like

    May 21, 2013
  2. Wow. That is something else isn’t it!

    Like

    May 21, 2013
  3. authorsherysenoelledubose #

    *Cracking up* Um was this scene germane to the storyline…?

    Like

    May 21, 2013
    • No. But his dad’s issues with constipation do come up often.

      Like

      May 21, 2013
  4. I can’t tell what book you’re talking about?

    Like

    May 21, 2013
    • Portnoy’s Complaint. Sorry I didn’t mention it. It’s the current book I’m reading from the Time list.

      Like

      May 21, 2013
  5. I love it. Many of us ethnic types are very obsessed with our bowels and grew up in families that were. This passage is just one example of how Roth makes this link in such an exaggerated way work brilliantly.

    Like

    May 21, 2013
  6. Well done! Oh, how my 9-yr-old son would love this potty humor, but he’ll just have to wait until he’s a bit older.

    Like

    May 21, 2013
  7. Namukc12 #

    Perhaps it is a cautionary tale (tail end). this is what can happen if you live a life that is too cautious
    .

    Like

    May 21, 2013
  8. I love potty humor. This sounds like something me and my family would talk about around the dinner table. HA!

    Like

    May 21, 2013
  9. Reblogged this on chijisvilla and commented:
    Must read

    Like

    May 22, 2013
  10. Hahahaha, wow that was definitely an interesting excerpt. When you’re finished with the book, I hope you write a summary about whether you liked it or not.

    Like

    May 22, 2013
  11. The father’s problem can easily go away. He probably ate too much bran. With bran, he needs to drink a lot of water, or constipation. Too much bran = constipation.

    Like

    May 22, 2013
  12. I really do enjoy reading your blog. I have “awarded” you a Sunshine Blog Award. See my article at The Starving Artist if you want to accept. http://devontrevarrowflaherty.com/2013/05/15/chain-awards-and-blogging-laurels/, or if you just want to have a good read.

    Like

    May 22, 2013
  13. Hello, I often face such issue as constipation and would like to recommend you the best home remedies for constipation immediate relief! All the information you will find the article below:
    http://homeremedieshelper.com/colon-cleansing-home-remedies/home-remedies-get-rid-constipation

    Like

    March 26, 2015

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