My father gave great, yet strange advice to me when I was younger. “My advice to you is this,” he said. “Let’s go be bad, let’s go poot in public.” Clearly, my dad is not a man who’s embarrassed of his actions. The only reason he said he wanted kids was so that he could embarrass us. To give you an idea of who you should imagine saying these brilliant words, picture a southern, taller version of Steve Martin. Picture him doing a special dance when he goes to get his ice cream every night.
When I was younger my mom left because of mental issues and my dad raised me, my brother and my sister on his own. Because there were so many dark periods when we were little, my dad tried his damnedest to make sure it was all sunshine and happiness for us after my mom was gone. He did his best to play both mother and father at the same time. He even dared to take us girls shopping for Jelly shoes and skorts at Gap Kids. Needless to say, we left the mall with Umbros and baggy t-shirts instead, but it was the thought that counted.
We called him “Camp Director Conroy” because he was always ready with his zip off pants (just so you know they zip off at the knee and the ankle) and a backpack. He always loved to get anyone (including you if you met him) excited for some type of adventure. He would clap and do a little jig and say his famous refrain, “Let’s go be bad, let’s go poot in public.”
When I was young, I would get so excited when he uttered these words because it meant that we were going to: Shoney’s for brunch before the church crowd showed up or four-wheeling on the back of the mountain. One time we were called out of school and picked up by our babysitter in the middle of the day. We all assumed we had done something horrible and were being sent home. When we pulled into the driveway, my dad was waiting with a gleam in his eye. “Let’s go be bad, let’s go poot in public!” he shouted. We all hopped into our suburban to find that our bags were packed; our favorite snacks and drinks were in our assigned seat; and each of our favorite VHS movies were in our monogrammed L.L. Bean bags ready to be played in on portable TV my had dad duct tapped to the captain seats. He wouldn’t tell us where we were going, but once we saw crowds of minivans with windows painted with Disney characters, we know our theme park dreams had come true.
Sadly, I became a stupid teenager who was embarrassed of everything. I became mortified of seeing my dad cleaning the storm drains in his tighty whities in the middle of a rain storm and cringed when he so much as said hello to my friends and me. I began to hate his request for us to be bad and poot in public. I thought it was lame. He would say it, and I would just roll my eyes and continue playing the Sims and creating my virtual, dream lifestyle.
It wasn’t until one time in college when I was about to go to a house party, that the words slipped from my mouth unconsciously. In front of all my new cool friends, without thinking, I screamed, “Let’s go be bad let’s go poot in public!” I tried to play it off, hoping no one heard me, but my friends caught on too quickly. My boyfriend at the time looked at me confused and asked if I just said something about pooting in public.
About to deny it, I realized: Who the fuck cares? Yes, I said it. So what? In that moment, I finally understood the meaning behind my dad’s strange advice. He raised three kids on his own while running a business. “Let’s go be bad, let’s poot in public” was kind of his pump up anthem. It was how he kept us (and himself) positive through hard times. It was his, “Clear eyes, full hearts can’t lose!” It’s not really about farting, it’s about being brave in life and not caring what other people think about you.
My dad’s advice has followed me through the years. To tell you the truth, I don’t usually say it out loud because I don’t want everyone assuming I have a horrible flatulence problem. But I do like to think about it when I’m down and need some motivation. It never fails to lift me up.
So next time you have to have a difficult conversation or are having a crappy day at work, try saying it (or thinking it). And go fucking poot in public!
[Photo from Shutterstock]