This is a quick story about despair. And a rest stop urinal. And pubes. A whole lot of pubes. Apologies for that, but I do hope you’ll keep reading.

I heard a song this week that made me recall this ludicrous, long-ago little episode. My wife, Laurie, and I were driving back from Washington, D.C. to New York and at some point had to make the obligatory stop for gas and a bathroom pit stop, and I proceeded into the men’s room facilities of the Molly Pitcher rest area to accomplish the latter. Now, rest stop bathrooms are never going to be exactly like visiting the Taj Mahal; the baseline expectation is for acridly reeking odors, disturbingly sticky floors, a collection of foul detritus, and, not infrequently, some stray pubes splayed within the drains of the urinals. How these wisps so commonly arrive there is not something on which to spend great consideration; they just do. The jarring sight in front of me, however, at the particular urinal I now had the dubious fortune to bestraddle, was something entirely different. What I saw, attached and creepily clinging high atop the stained and cracked white porcelain, was a giant wad, a veritable thatch, of pubes.

My immediate thought – following revulsion, that is – was that this was clearly not something that could have occurred accidentally in the course of relieving oneself (or “micturating,” as Jeffrey expresses with disdain to The Dude in “The Big Lebowski”). No, this surely had to have been the result of a conscious action, an explicit effort. And the only mental image that this conjured for me was of a crazed man so overcome, so fed up, so out of control and distraught, that all he could think left to do was just maniacally rip out a whole fistful of his pubic region and scream “I’ve had it with this cruel world!” as he wound up and violently flung it forward. Seriously, given the numerous variables involved, that’s the only scenario I could possibly envision (but maybe that’s just me).

I walked out of that bathroom and back to my car doubled over in hysterical laughter. The idea of someone reaching such a moment of hopeless and indignant desperation that this – what I’d decided must have occurred – became the only conceivable outlet they could manifest, simply slayed me (and I’m not sure if my wife was more disturbed by my description of what I’d observed or with my guffawing reaction to it).

Thinking back now, I hope that the tortured soul at Molly Pitcher found redemption in his moment of pube slinging madness, and went on to a contented remaining life. Or, perhaps sporadic demons did remain, and he’s left succeeding skeins of pubes in rest stop urinals across the northeast. Frankly, that seems more likely. Either way, I think all of us can at least occasionally relate to an overwhelming feeling of just being, well, pissed off at the goddamned world. It’s just that our reactions in such moments of profound anguish are probably a bit less hair-raising.

Daddy “Pissed Off at the World” (2018)