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.