When I worked in construction, my nickname was PP. It was a double entendre of sorts. Jay Taylor gave me the nickname. Jay was the foreman. I used to carpool with him to work every day. I’d mainly read Noam Chomsky books to and from work because understanding the dynamics of American imperialism abroad and the manipulation of the mass media at home were two important subjects to me as a 19 year old construction worker at the time.
Jay would say, “Reading some Norm Chovsky again, I see.”
“Noam, not Norm, Chomsky,” I’d say. “No -v in Chomsky either.”
“Whatever,” Jay would say.
The reason for the nickname was twofold. Each evening on our drive back home from the job site, I’d get a strong urge to pee. So strong I couldn’t really hold it but so long.
And, not just stop once. Usually at least twice. Sometimes three times. We’re talking on average a 45 minute drive home depending on the location of the job site. So, every fifteen minutes or so, I’m requesting a pee break.
It became so problematic, I began to think something was wrong with me. Some weird health condition. A prostate issue at the tender age of 19.
Except it wasn’t.
I had to pee a lot because I would consume an exhorbitant amount of water. For some reason, it took me a while to put two and two together. Drink insane amounts of water equals have to pee a lot. I know, I know. Seems obvious. Only thing was, I never really drank a lot of water growing up. (Part of the reason for this was the town water was brown as often as it was clear back in the day) And, bottled water wasn’t exactly a thing until the early 2000’s. Bottled water wasn’t something you bought in stores. And, even when you bought it, one of your friends drinking a Big Gulp Pepsi and smoking a cigarette would say, “Who the f–k buys water?”
It wasn’t until I worked in construction that water became my drink of choice. And, I would pound bottled water like a raging alcoholic downs a 24-pack of beer. Chug, chug, chug-a-lug.
For those unaware of where I used to live and the surrounding areas, it’s very rural. It’s about as rural as it gets in Virginia. And, no, I’m not from Southwest Virginia. Southside, baby. SOUTHSIDE! And, there aren’t a lot of convenient stores. In turn, it often meant stopping on the side of the road to take a wiz. But the nickname came at a time when we were working in Clarksville, and thankfully, there were a few convenient stores (with bathrooms) in route to and from work.
So, as the story goes, each evening I’d say, “Jay, can we stop at the store?” And, he did, albeit reluctantly.
I think the ethical thing to do when you stop at a store to use their facilities is also to purchase something. So, I did. A York Peppermint Pattie. I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to resist biting into the refreshing sensation of cool peppermint and rich, dark chocolate.
Fifteen minutes later, “Jay, can you stop at the store?”
“Are you serious,” he’d say. “You just pissed fifteen minutes ago. How is that even possible?”
“Some in the reserve tank, I guess,” I’d say.
In the store, I went. Out the store, I came. Empty bladder (at least for fifteen minutes) and a Peppermint Pattie in hand.
After about a week or so of doing this, Jay says, “You’re gonna have to bring a Gatorade bottle or something to piss in. This is ridiculous.”
And I’d say, “Jay, just one last time. I have no idea what’s wrong with me. I think it’s my prostate.”
“Prostate issues? You’re 19, not 64.”
In the store, I went. Out the store, I came. Empty bladder (hopefully until we could make it home) and a Peppermint Pattie in hand.
“That’s what I’m going to call you from now on,” Jay says, looking at the silver wrapper in my hand. “PP. Peppermint Pattie and a pee pee break.”
So, next day, end of day, time to pack up, Jay says, “Alright, PP. Time to go home.”
And Austin, my boss, looks at me, looks at Jay, and says, “PP?”
And Jay says, “Yeah. This guy right here requests a pee pee break every fifteen minutes on the drive home. Says he has prostate issues. It’s dark by the time we get home. My dinner Robin makes is cold before I set foot in the door. And, Mr. Prostate here comes out the store with a Peppermint Pattie every time. So, I’m calling him PP from here on out. Come on PP. Let’s go pee pee and get a candy bar.”
End of story.