When my family got a puppy, Mom saw and seized a fantastic opportunity. The dog ran away, she made me run after it. My mom would yell that the dog escaped, I would sigh, shove four more brownies into my mouth, and lumber out the front door. The dog conveniently escaped four times a week, the suggested days of weekly exercise for morbidly obese children. What began as shuffling pursuits around the hill progressed to fast walking, to jogging and feeling like death, and eventually to actual running.
By junior high school, I could run. Once I realized I could run, I found that I liked winning. I ran junior high cross-country, played basketball, and competed on a club soccer team. It was kind of a big deal to do all at the same time, whatever.
One of the cross-country coaches nicknamed me Dimtrip. That's how cool I was. He had a thick blond mustache and beard, which was the universal sign of awesomeness.
In eighth grade, a restaurant called Clo's Ice Creamery sponsored a county-wide cross-country meet. A photo was to be taken of the first three finishers from each grade, blown up, framed, and hung on the wall of the restaurant. The race was two and a half miles long, and, warming up, I felt good. I jogged in a circle and told myself I was going to win. A few minutes later, I stretched and realized that I had to pee. Desperately. One of the coaches said there was no time. If I went to the bathroom, I'd miss the race. An announcement blasted over the field to get on the line. I nodded and approached the starting line, telling my bladder to be good.
A month before, my dad had made me steak and eggs for breakfast on the morning of a meet. He said it was warrior food. Halfway through the race I felt like death and decided that warrior food was not runner food. Since then, I had composed an intricate menu for race days: eat almost nothing. I had had a bowl of cereal and three french fries.
The starting gun went off, and we ran. I had three reasons for running the race as fast as possible:
1: The faster I finished the race, the sooner I'd get to eat.
2: The faster I finished the race, the sooner I'd get to pee.
3: If I won, I could hug everyone, including the boy I had a crush on.
(Side note: the last time I had talked to The Boy had been at lunch the day before. I was giddy that we were actually having a conversation, just the two of us. He was in the middle of a story when a bird shit on my head and I ran screaming for the bathroom.)
We ran through the hills, the paths, and the sidewalks that made up the race. I kept telling myself that my dad had a sandwich waiting for me, there was a bathroom near the finish line, and if I won I'd impress The Boy.
The finish line was ahead, and another girl from my team was running a few feet in front of me. I sprinted right past her and finished first. I cleared the finish line, and bent over to catch my breath, my hands on my knees. I smiled so hard I almost forgot to breathe. I looked up to see The Boy walking over with a congratulatory smile on his face. I stood upright. The Boy's presence had diverted my attention away from holding my vagina shut. When I saw him, I forgot that my bladder wanted to explode, and instead thought about how impressed he must be that I won. I thought how amazing I must seem to him. And then I peed my pants. As he approached, urine gushed through my underwear, flowed into the light grey sweatpant knee-lenth shorts issued by the school, down my leg, and puddled onto my right sock and shoe. I looked down, and The Boy looked down. I screamed, turned around, and ran away. The shorts were light grey, and urine was everywhere. My dad gave me his black leather jacket to tie around my waist. As if that would hide the pee. It did make the piss on my ass less obvious, but it didn't do much to cover my urine-soaked vagina and shorts.
Clo's Ice Creamery took their photo, they blew it up and hung it up on the wall of the restaurant. That picture hung in the restaurant until it closed down nine years later. To this day, it is the only picture of me that has hung in a restaurant, and it was blatantly obvious that I had pissed my pants.