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The Revenge of the Jalapeno Toilet Paper

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(The Best Years in Life) For many years I used to go camping with family and friends on practically every major holiday. On the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years holidays, our camping outings usually began as soon as we concluded family meals and get-togethers and, more often than not, we would leave the family festivities and head down to a cabin we built deep in the woods on the banks of the South Sulphur river to camp out with just the guys.

Some people called those outings "hunting", but I thought of them more as "adult Halloween" - because we would get all dressed up in our spiffy stealthy hunting outfits and then proceed to build a blazing fire, cook up all kinds of tasty and smelly treats like chili and sausages and steaks and stews and buffalo wings and you name it, drink too much, play loud rock or country music, howl at the moon with the coyotes . . . and pretty much run all the game animals off for miles around. The only things that usually got killed were several twelve-packs of beer and more brain cells than I now want to think about! But it was a male-bonding annual ritual kind of thing that went on for about 30 years or so and we had way too much fun - sometimes at the expense of one another. And sometimes fate steps in to lend a helping hand. Such as the time I remember as "the revenge of the jalapeno toilet paper".

Posted ImageYou see, my cousin Jeff, who actually owned the land we camped on and who is a world class prankster so long as the prank isn't pulled on him, always liked to harass anyone who happened to have the misfortune of needing to use the outdoor toilet whenever he was nearby. You never knew when a firecracker or gun is going to go off just outside the little building or a horse apple or rock get thrown into the side of the building with a loud BOOM, a lifelike snake get poked under the edge of the building, or the building suddenly shaken mightily accompanied by wild animal sounds. On this one fateful weekend, revenge came sweetly and quite by accident.

It all began one night when Les, my other cousin and Jeff's younger brother, and I were staying up way past our bedtime, and way past Jeff's bedtime too, and we were doing our mightiest to finish off the Crown Royal and Wild Turkey before they finished us off. Finally when I staggered over to the shelf outside the cabin with the last half of the bottle of Wild Turkey on it, I stumbled a bit and knocked over an open jar of jalapeno peppers. By the time I could set the jar upright, the juice had already ran across the shelf and wicked into a roll of toilet paper that was setting out among our supplies. At first I thought, "Oh no, I've ruined a roll of toilet paper" because sometimes toilet paper can become a very valuable commodity deep in the woods. Especially if you've ever substituted leaves that turned out to be poison ivy . . . but that's another story.

Posted ImageWhile Les laughed and poked fun at me for being such a clumsy "doofus", I remember thinking "Darn, if only it wasn't jalapeno juice maybe the toilet paper could have dried out and still been serviceable in an emergency, but this roll is going to have to go", but then I quickly forgot about it in the bourbon haze. Now, it just so happens that Jeff is always the first one up and his morning campout routine seldom varies. He wakes up, is sure to make enough noise banging stuff around and getting the coffee ready to wake everyone else up (because he figures that if he's awake, the rest of the world should be too) then he gets a cup of coffee, takes a dip of snuff, and soon heads for the wooden one-hole throne for a lengthy session. It's much the same at home, except at home he skips the snuff (snuff is kind of a deep woods campout kind of thing) and substitutes the morning paper for one of the girlie magazines he sometimes takes out to the toilet shanty. And, when he camps out he more often than not cooks up an evening meal so spicy that it will take layers of skin off your tongue, making the morning trips to the shanty pretty dicey for one and all. As it turned out, he had outdone himself the previous evening and cooked up a bowl of jalapeno and cayenne pepper laced chili that would have made Wick Fowler cry, and had laughed heartily at Les and myself when we tried to down a few bowls of the devils stew! Well folks, sometimes what goes comes around, or perhaps better put, it all evens out in the end.

Surely enough, the next morning, at an hour when only Roosters were supposed to be up, Jeff, showing no mercy at all for our hangovers, as usual, loudly got up and banged things around while making coffee so that it woke the rest of us up. Resigned to the inevitable, Les and I staggered out of our sleeping bags, grabbed a handful of Advils and our morning wake up drinks - coffee for me and Coca Cola for Les, and tried to keep our eyes from opening too much so we wouldn't bleed to death. Then we shuffled over to the campfire and began to poke around in the coals and rekindle the fire to ward off the morning chill. Meanwhile, cousin Jeff was rummaging through the cabin getting ready to prepare breakfast and finishing off his second cup of coffee and snuff. All of a sudden he came out of the cabin door moving quickly, saying "Gotta go, gotta go! I feel a good one coming!" and he grabbed a roll of toilet paper off the supply shelf as he rounded the corner of the cabin and made haste towards the outhouse, red long johns flapping along the way. About halfway to the outhouse, he turned his head back towards the cabin and gave us a final comment, "Boy howdy, I sure don't look forward to this after that chili and jalapenos last night". I think the word jalapeno must have penetrated the fog of both Les and myself at the same time, because we looked at each other, looked back at the shelf and the now-empty space where the roll of jalapeno juice soaked toilet paper had been, and then looked back at each other. Les almost spewed his mouthful of Coke and I clamped my hand over my mouth to keep from laughing out loud.

Soon, all was quiet after Jeff entered the outhouse and Les and I looked at each other with big smiles, barely contained snickers and wide eyes. For awhile, nothing happened, and we began to wonder . . . but some things just take a while to work themselves out, and with Jeff they often take longer than with others. All of a sudden we heard an "OW!" and then another "OW", and then we heard "OH GOD!", "OH LORD THAT BURNS!" ,"YEEOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!" and some other sounds that I'm not sure how to spell - but whatever they were, they ended Les's efforts to hold his Coke in his mouth as he spewed coke out onto the fire, making it sizzle and smoke mightily. It was almost enough to make me feel sorry for Jeff. Almost, but I was too busy laughing.

Finally, after the noise abated to mere moans and groans, Jeff emerged from the toilet, beads of sweat all over his face, and he began making an awkward, bowlegged limp back towards the cabin and campfire. With one arm and hand wiping the sweat off his brow and the other one pulling the seat of his long johns back and forth and fanning his rear end mightily, he said "Man, oh man, that was about the roughest time I've ever had in the crapper. I'm never gonna make my chili that hot again!"

And to this day, he doesn't know the real story of the jalapeno toilet paper.

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Great story. Had me going for a bit, but had to have the wife read. She liked it so much, she's calling the daughter long distance to tell her about it.(the daughter is a prankster, hopes she doesn't do this to her brothers for fun).

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