It was somewhere between Bub’s observations of the man-eating lions of Tsavo (“Doggy!”) and Sue the T-Rex (“Ooh, biiiig doggy!”) that it hit me—I had to take a dump.
I’d never been in this position before, and the reality was beginning to crash down. I couldn’t just leave him outside for five minutes--somebody might take him. I couldn’t even leave him outside the stall for five minutes--somebody might wash his hands. I had no choice—he would have to watch.
As soon as I closed the stall door, Bub gave me a look like I just threw the last bubble wand in the world into the Grand Canyon.
“Daddy open! Door open!” he said. Did I mention he has no concept of a toilet voice?
“Daddy’s gonna go to the bathroom, Bub,” I whispered.
“Daddy PEEEEEE!” he screamed. Oh, God. This wasn’t starting well at all. But the little bugger gave me an idea. Perhaps simply urinating could alleviate some pressure in certain other areas. Colon subterfuge. It would work, it had to work.
“DADDY, APPLE JUICE! APPLE JUICE!” Bub screamed.
“That’s right, Bub, Daddy’s making apple juice.”
“Yummy! Apple juice!”
“Shh. Just drink your apple juice, Bub.”
I guess I never thought any of this was weird until I remembered we were in a public place. Then it was all weird. Whispers near the hand-dryer.
“Oh, man, this isn’t working, Bub,” I confessed.
“NOT WORKING! NOT WORKING!” he screamed, pointing at my penis.
“Bub, help Daddy out here. Just sit down and relax. No, shit, don’t sit down. It’s a bathroom floor. It’s very dirty. Just stand there. Over there. Don’t touch the door, please. You want your phone? Just give me a couple minutes.”
“Shit! OHHHHHH, SHIT!” Really, that’s what you heard?
“Yes, Daddy is SITTING.”
“Yeah, Bub, Daddy’s pooping. Can you please stop staring directly into my eyes right now?”
Now I’ve taken a hundred dumps in front of this kid with nary a tinge of self-consciousness, but it was different under those hot, hot lights of the Field Museum men’s room. I closed my eyes, tried to find my centering point.
“HUUUUUUUHHHHHHHH! Pooping!” Bub said.
And sure enough, there he was, crouched in the corner of the stall, face turning red, drool hanging off his chin. It was like looking in the mirror. And just like that, we had our first SPE (Simultaneous Pooping Experience). It was a moment. Then we went out and looked at the dusty old dinosaur bones.