The following story is a true account. The material presented may not be suitable reading for all family members. It will also give you, perhaps, a different perspective. That of the consumer and not the worker. Of course in this particular case it could have happened just as easily to you.

On recent weekends my wife Gerry and I have retired to our family ranch (an empty lot) in the foothills east of San Diego to oversee the previous weeks work on our new home. When I am not our playing building inspector on weekends I play cops & robbers during the week for the San Diego Police Department. On these idyllic weekends we stay in a small trailer on the property as the house is still just a tad drafty. Just east of the tree line, down-wind from our trailer, is the ever present construction standby, the portable convenience (commonly known as the porta-potty).

It has faithfully served those in need for many years, having survived bulldozers, freeway excursions (without the truck), and rather oversized day laborers. It is well ventilated so as to carry off unpleasant odors, and prevent accidental explosion from trapped methane gases. This ventilated construction also allows the critters (of which in this area there are many) to use it as a home, which necessitates shooing them out from time to time. It is a definite improvement for mankind since we emerged from the bush.

Murphy’s Law. It had to happen sooner or later, and it did, to me and not one of the workers during the week. On Saturday, October l6, at approximately 0730 hours, just as the sun rose over the mountains, I awakened, dressed and walked down to the porta-potty to answer’s natures call. Like most humans, I use this opportunity to contemplate, reflect, and relieve some of the pressures of living. As I was watching a covey of quail in the valley investigate an anthill, it happened! I was suddenly, and without any warning, attacked!! The varmint came up from below violently securing itself to the tip of my manhood! As I stared down, our eyes met. The contemptuous smirk on its face made me think that I, of all people, was going to be the victim of sexual assault right then and there! My heart rate and blood pressure red-lined at the same time, along with a total cessation of breathing. I thought I could read its mind, “Gotcha human, right by the you know whats!” Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary identifies the beast as a winged, hymenopterous (wasp), having a slender, smooth body, with the abdomen attached by a narrow stalk, well developed wings, biting mouth parts, a formidable sting, and largely carnivorous. I knew that last word – flesh-eater!

Icy cold fingers of panic began to shoot through my body. I recalled the numerous times, as a bee keeper, when I had been stung by honey bees, with the pain, swelling and itching. But they were armed with single shooters of small caliber, they were not man eaters. This varmint was armed with teeth and a large caliber, fully automatic zinger.

I was in a dilemma. I couldn’t swat the varmint, as he was below the rim. Even if I had a clear shot at him, I would probably kill myself as well, because of his strategic position. I couldn’t run because my pants and shorts were down around my ankles.

Twenty-one years of law enforcement should have armored me against just such a situation. “Act rationally, objectively, and dispassionately in the face of a hopeless and chaotic event.” Right? WRONG! I acted like any normal human in a like position. I went BANANAS, of course. I thought a few screams might help, so I did that too.

Several things happened at once. I moved 225 pounds of 47 year old bones, vertically from sitting start, narrowly avoiding a skull fracture. As the varmint came clear, I timed a karate chop that broke his grip, knocking him mandible over zinger, back to where he came from, buried under you-know-what. It was a wonder that I escaped without any injuries. Suffering from after shock and needing sympathy, I attempted to tell Gerry about what happened. She just convulsed hysterically, falling out of her chair. As I was pouring myself three fingers of Red Label anti-shock medicine, I could hear the faint, last dying echoes of a scream bouncing from peak to peak that sounded half-human and half-animal in obvious distress. I considered re-reading the construction contract to see if the contractor had had the forethought to consider this situation. I decided against that and instead just doubled the length of my usual note that I leave for him to read on every Monday morning. I know how much he enjoys my critiques.

Does anyone out there know the cost of fumigating a porta-potty?