this is about gummy bears and poo

I have been patiently waiting for the right time to write about this (though some may argue there is never a right time to write about this), and that time has come. If you’re still reading, I warned you. I take no responsibility for how the rest of this makes you feel.

I received an interesting email from one of my old clients today:

Subject: When you have a min look at the reviews of this product

MessageAmazon Reviews of Haribo Sugarless Gummy Bears

Curious, I opened the link, clicked on the reviews and became engrossed in countless stories about how these gummy bears had completely, and often publicly, destroyed the insides of all of the reviewers. And oh, the details. Perfection. This can’t be real. Can it? I asked my friend, to which he replied, Yes! When I read them, I immediately thought of you.

If you haven’t yet, please read the reviews. At least one of the 541, or this won’t make sense. Amazing pieces of work. It really makes me feel like I am not alone out there.

Maybe you’d be mortified to discover that reading reviews of gummy bears triggering explosive, uncontrollable diarrhea in everyone who eats them immediately makes someone think of you, but I’m just happy I was fortunate to work on a project with someone with whom I could truly be myself; makes the day-to-day stuff a little less mind-numbing. You might also think this is a sign that in the professional world, I am pretty much as unprofessional as it gets, but that is not entirely true. While I may be a little rough around the edges, I can be professional. But I thrive on my unprofessional professional relationships. It’s not like I introduce myself, “Hi, my name is Tosha, and I don’t mind talking about poo.” This level of comfort takes a little time, a little creative conversational exploration, and it certainly does not happen with everyone, nor is it appropriate for everyone in your professional circle. Actually, it’s probably not appropriate for most people in your professional circle. But sometimes you get lucky, like when the team from your Boise project introduces you to the office Creepy Box (a box that contains anything you would not want your mother to see, to be destroyed immediately upon your death…don’t act like you don’t have one) during your first trip onsite, you can pretty much figure out which direction the professionalism of your “business” relationship is headed.

I am aware that some people do not find this an appropriate conversation topic for anyone ever, especially women. Because you know, we don’t poop. (Favorite line from one of the reviews: Also, not sure why so many people assume I’m a man. I am a woman. We poop too. Of course, our poop sparkles and smells like a walk in a meadow of wildflowers.) I am aware this probably is a huge turn off for a lot of people. I am also aware that I talk much too freely on the subject and that this does in fact make some people uncomfortable and/or disgusted by me. I’ve never been accused of being a lady. And while this will definitely not convince you I am not obsessed with poop (I assure you, I am not), here are four facts that might help you understand who you’re working with:

1. As kids, during summers on my grandparent’s farm, my brother and sister and I used to run out to the pasture with sticks, in search of the freshest cow pie. I don’t know why. Sometimes we’d fling it around at each other, or stir it up, making weird patterns. Fond memories. And for the record, the best pies were crusty on the outside, but still warm on the inside. I am sorry if this makes you feel gross. You should probably just stop reading.

2. In my house, poo is not a taboo subject. In fact, it’s not an uncommon phone topic in today’s conversations with my sister and/or my mom. You know, “How are you, it’s colder than a witch’s teat over here, had a good poo today, how do you boil an egg again?” I don’t know why, it’s simply how it is. Maybe because we’re from a family of farmers, and dealing with shit is a fact of life. Maybe this is just a part of growing up in northern Wisconsin. Maybe it’s because my mom is awesome. But I grew up in a household completely unembarrassed by bathroom activities. Not only are we not embarrassed; we don’t think twice about sharing. In fact, we don’t think about it at all, it just word vomits out. And I once believed this was how everyone grew up. I learned the hard way that it is not.

3. I have been known to have some gastrointestinal…issues. Whether it’s nerves…or food…or what happens to that food after it’s digested. And funny/horrible (depending how you look at it) things have happened to me, too great not to share. So a long time ago I figured out I could either pretend I didn’t have issues and be very embarrassed when these things happened around others, or accept that I have issues and make the best of these awkward moments by being open about it, perhaps making everyone else feel a bit awkward instead.

4. You know that “picture everyone naked” trick people say to make you feel more comfortable about speaking publicly in front of an audience? Yeah, that never worked for me. I just became even more intimidated by a bunch of good-looking naked people in the audience. I needed to picture people at their most vulnerable moment. People can look cool naked; however, no one in the world can look cool doing business on a toilet, no matter how fancy the toilet. No one. Works every time.

To the reviewer who wrote: “I have begun to sweat a sweat that is only meant for a man on mile 19 of a marathon. I have kicked out my legs out so straight that I am violently pushing the gentleman wearing a suit seat in front of me forward. He is not happy, I do not care. My hands are on the side of my seat not unlike that of a gymnast on a pommel horse, lifting me off my chair.” …..I have been there. Right in this photo, so kindly captured by my friend Jeremy, as soon as he realized what was going on. I have such good friends.

I once heard there are two kinds of people in this world: those who think farts are funny, and those who don’t. I could not agree more.

I also strangely kind of want to try those gummy bears.

**Many thanks to Aaron for thinking of me whilst reading such eloquently written poo stories, all the way from Idaho. I have like 500 more reviews to read. One time I was telling him about this weekend with this guy I was nervous about, and his only advice was, “Just don’t talk about poo and you’ll be fine.” Then he looked at me for a second, made a face, and said, “Yeah, you’re screwed.” **

2 thoughts on “this is about gummy bears and poo

  1. Bahaha. I love it. It has got to be a Kowalski thing. My kids feign shock and horror during my periods of gastro-distress but love to share the stories. I have a lovely spreadsheet I need to share with you Tosha , I will try to FB message it to you. I have a feeling you and your friends will find great joy in it, maybe as much as me and mine.
    Please keep writing. 🙂


    1. Haha, it’s well engrained in all of us kids but Tonya. She snuck out with a little more class somehow. Please do share! I’ll send you my email just in case.


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