Rode Hard And Put Away Wet

The columnist was among the missing this week, but we finally found him running naked in the wilderness eating locusts and honey. What’s that all about?


I’m tired. Not tired as in sleepy; tired as in worn out, beaten down, tramped under foot. I’m going through changes

Have you ever been through this? I think we’ve probably all had times in our lives when we feel like everything is spinning out of control, or maybe more like everything that’s spinning out of control is in control. 

I had a membership at the Attleboro YMCA in the middle 1980’s when I worked at the Sun Chronicle in Attleboro. I worked out at lunchtime nearly every day during the week. I usually sat in the steam room for ten or fifteen minutes following my workouts to help loosen up my tight muscles and help me relax. 

On one particular day, I decided I’d try the dry heat of the sauna as opposed to the moist heat of the steam room. I’m not sure why I made that decision – just a whim I guess. 

I climbed in  to the sauna, sat down on the wooden bench and bumped the heat up just a bit. In about fifteen minutes it was so stifling in there that I couldn’t bear it any longer. It was oppressive. I felt as though I couldn’t breathe. If you’ve ever used a sauna you know exactly what I mean. The heat is intense. 

I got up off the bench, turned the heat control down to where it had been previously, grabbed the door handle and pushed. The door wouldn’t open. I pushed a little harder. It wouldn’t budge. It was stuck. 

I began shaking the handle and pushing on the door – still no luck. I put my shoulder against it and pushed as hard as I could. Nothing! The heat was unbearable and I was becoming claustrophobic. I started to panic. I pounded on the door as hard as I could and screamed for help. 

After what seemed like an eternity, one of the YMCA employees pulled the door open and I raced out in to the locker room, gasping for breath. 

No one ever came up with a good explanation as to why the door had become stuck. It was theorized it may have been that I’d turned the heat so high it had somehow affected the wooden door and caused it to stick. I guess the only important thing is that I got out. I survived. 

I look back on that day and I see that sauna as a metaphor for life. There are times in our lives when the heat gets turned up, at times by our own hand, and it seems there is no escape. Our minds play tricks on us. We picture the worst case scenario. We see ourselves trapped, suffocating, with no way out. We panic. But, inevitably; we escape. 

If you’re reading this; you’ve obviously survived the sauna - likely more than once. You were scared. You were shaken. You may have been damaged. But you survived. And the next time you go through the sauna; whatever your trial may be, you’ll be stronger for the experience. 

As Friedrich Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” 

Not a fan of Nietzsche? Try this…. 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2 

Nietzsche and Scripture side by side. The Lord does work in mysterious ways.


I have an innate fear that someday I’ll become a urine-soaked old man running up and down the street between the Main Street Café and the Shangri-La Salon & Day Spa yelling at passersby at the top of my lungs. I’d never have mentioned this had it not been for an experience I had this past week, which quite possibly may have been prophetic. 

I was in Target picking up a few things and decided to stop at Starbucks to get an Iced Café Americano. Yes, it’s true. I changed my drink. I know that’s hard to believe. Especially for those of you who’ve been following my sordid tales of caffeine debauchery over the past few months. Yes, the Triple Grande Skinny Vanilla Cappuccino has been sidelined – at least for now. 

I decided to make a pit stop at the men’s room before I went to Starbucks. Actually, I didn’t really decide to make a pit stop; it was more that I needed to make a pit stop. 

I headed to the men’s room, went over to the urinal and took care of what it is that you do at a urinal. For those uneducated in the use of the urinal; let me explain. 

The general procedure is as follows. Enter men’s room. Walk or run to the urinal, depending upon how badly you have to go or depending upon your age. Unzip. Take care of business. Zip. Flush. Wash and dry hands. Exit men’s room. Pretty simple, right? 

You may recall that in my column, I Guess I’m Going To Have To Wing It; I complained that I had temporarily lost my flair for digging up Patch-worthy subject matter. My cupboard of bizarre people and experiences was bare. Well, it seems that was merely a temporary drought. Unfortunately, this week the bizarre experience was a little too personal. 

As I was saying, I went over to the urinal and did my thing. After the next step, zipping up, I proceeded to step six – the flush. Let me tell you, I’ve flushed a few urinals in my day. I’ve flushed urinals all over this great nation of ours and in several foreign countries. But in all my urinal excursions, I’ve never experienced anything like what happened to me in the men’s room at the Target store in Easton

I flushed the urinal and was about to turn and walk away when I was hit with a torrent of water like I haven’t seen since I took my kids to Water Wizz on the Cape. I had huge water spots all over my shirt and, worse yet, all down the front of my ash-gray shorts! 

Do you have any idea what people think when they see a gray-haired guy in his sixties walking around with wet spots on his shorts? There are several possible answers here and none of them are good ones, especially if you happen to be that gray-haired guy in his sixties. 

Always the trooper, I slinked my way over to Starbucks and ordered my Iced Café Americano, hoping that I could engage the barista in conversation long enough for my shorts to dry out. When I was feeling a little less moist, I held my Target bag in front of me and slipped out of the store. 

Well, I wanted material for my column and I guess I got it. Hoisted by my own petard! 

See you down on Main Street! 

Make it a great week!

Leave RI February 03, 2013 at 05:05 PM
Thanks Bob. Back in the late 70's, in one of my three years in then West Germany I took a trip to Bavaria and stayed in Berchtesgaden near Salzburg with some friends. There was a schwimbad in and outdoor nearby so the good idea fairy said "go there". The Alps were just outside the large glass enclosure and we went into the sauna with our PX bought swimsuits. We fell asleep in the nice dry heat for maybe twenty minutes when I was awakened by conversation and chatter..I opened my eyes to see four or five upper middle aged women in various states of undress...none of us figured in the fact that it was co-ed and clothing optional. I had three years of German and could read, write and speak it at a pretty decent level..there was a sign that asked you to "put clothing in this area" which was opposite the heater element..of course I just slithered out leaving Rusty and Ski to experience their own awakening..wow..the "sauna incident"
Donald Wellman February 03, 2013 at 06:52 PM
Thanks for the flush anyway. Not happening too often. Don't get caught up in a courtesy flush sitting down. Sometimes it like a title wave coming at you.
Bob Havey February 03, 2013 at 09:19 PM
Tickles too!
Bob Havey February 03, 2013 at 09:21 PM
HA! The real question here is had the women been in their 20's, would your reaction have been different?
Leave RI February 03, 2013 at 10:07 PM
I'll take the 5th Amendment for $500 Alex


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