It Detoxifies You!


“Aerodynamic Forms in Space” by Rodney Graham

I was saying something when my captain interrupted me and said, “Would you stop swearing, please?”

Surprised, I said, “Sure.”

One symptom of my NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) is to wildly overreact to the smallest criticism. So, over the next few minutes, I was angry. So much so that I couldn’t pay any attention to what we were talking about. (Part of the reason I’m opposed to one of our presidential candidates is that I have the same NPD he does, just without the big inheritance from daddy. We have met the enemy and he is us, as Pogo would say. I wouldn’t want me in the White House, would you?)


Tatlow Trail

He was stepping on my First Amendment rights. But, attempting to act older and wiser, I tried to figure out precisely why I was upset. Over the next few hours I admitted to myself that I salted my language with gratuitous amounts of profanity. This, in turn, watered down the value of each curse. So, as a matter of artistic integrity, I turned it off.

Siwash Rock

Siwash Rock

Meanwhile, the obese captain regaled me with churchgoing tales and plagiarized, misogynistic, mildly racist comedy routines in his southern accent. I considered the possibility that hypocrisy was what bothered me. Nah, that couldn’t be it. I mean, the jokes were offensive, sure, but there was no swearing. Profanity can only be an individual word. A whole lifestyle or personality can’t be profane, can it? Anyway, I tried to imitate my cuss-free captain. I felt like Job in the right seat, to use a biblical example.

Lions Gate Bridge

Lions Gate Bridge

We reached détente and ended up in Vancouver. Vancouver is my favorite layover for running. It’s like an imagined future in a science fiction novel. Clean. There’s always a hockey game on the TV. Vaguely familiar, but not quite right. Maybe it’s the French on the bilingual signs. Anyway, it’s nice. Canada. Nice. Not, Minnesota Nice, but still.


Girl in a Wetsuit

So I ran in the sunshine, leaves springing forth. My anger hangover from speaking without mustard was gone. Hey, there’s a Canada goose. In Canada it’s just a goose. Ha Ha, what a nice day. I ran past a cool sculpture that looked like a mashup of one of those rubber-band planes you had as a kid. Wow, these are nice big trees on the Tatlow Trail. All of this is at the end of a peninsula that the city calls Stanley Park.

Brockton Point

Brockton Point Lighthouse

I stumbled out to the west coast of the park and my 20-second clock started. This happens more than I like to admit. It usually happens when I’m running in the morning. It’s a countdown, like for a NASA moonshot, except in a bad way. Luckily, there was a building. I turned the corner of the building with 10 seconds to go. There’s a restroom, thank goodness. It was early, so I hoped it was unlocked. It was. Final countdown. I dove into the stall and slammed the door. Blastoff.

9 o'clock gun

The 9 o’clock Gun

I was feeling happy and relieved. I saw the feet under the partition next to me. In a great mood, I gave a courtesy flush. The flushing kept going so much that I thought the handle was stuck, but it was just oddly long.


Harry Jerome Statue

Immediately after the flushing stopped, the guy next to me said, “Would you flush please?”

Surprised, I said, “Sure.”

First of all, there’s no talking. Second, I just gave the guy a courtesy flush. I don’t think my sphincter was even shut yet, and this dude was telling me what to do in my own crapper. I thought I had more to do, but it was over. My rage must’ve squeezed the rest of my internal organic matter into diamonds.

Vancouver Rowing

Vancouver Rowing Club

As I washed my hands at the sink, I counterattacked the stranger still in his stall.

“I wiped my ass four times. I hope that was enough for you.”

He responded in a jovial accent that sounded vaguely like a European MTV host. I never saw the guy, but I imagined a white guy with dreadlocks. “Welcome to Vancouver, man. It detoxifies you!” Completely unfazed.

I shook my head so hard, people probably thought I was Katharine Hepburn.

I ran out into the morning sun, where my missing foul mood waited for me.

I finally have a response for this strange and irritating week: Hey, World. Watch your own fucking bobber.

Goddamn, I feel better. Like I’m detoxified. Thanks.


About Eric Chandler

Husband. Father. Pilot. Cross Country Skier. Writer. Author of Outside Duluth and Down In It.
This entry was posted in Aviation, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to It Detoxifies You!

  1. Eddy Gilmore says:

    Were all these pics from a single run in Vancouver? Looks amazing.

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