1992-1993. I don’t remember exactly when this was but I was able to narrow it down by looking up when the video game Ecco came out for Sega, let me explain.
It must have been fall because I do remember wearing one of my stylish wind breakers that most likely fit a little on the tight side. I probably had a mouth scattered with teeth and one giant buck tooth right up front. Do I need to remind what I was like as a child? Chubby, freckles, awkward, giant… there, you remember now.
I went with my mom on a trip to Target (which I always loved because it meant either a treat or a video game… sometimes both). When I got into Target I would (still do) *hustle to the electronics section to look for games that I needed and to play the demo games on either the Sega or the Super Nintendo, depending on if there was another kid that beat me to it.
*hustle = slowly walk/jog with my gut jiggling trying not to trip over my over-sized feet that were most likely donning a sweet pair of LA Lights (why wouldn’t I want to draw more attention to myself?)
Anyway, I would do my best not to get distracted by the seasonal candy aisle (this was not easy). Halloween was always especially hard with the giant bags of candy… what I would have done to get into Target after business hours… ahh, to dream.
Once I moved past the temptation and the smell of candy turned into makeup on my left and office supplies on my right the pace would pick back up as I made my way to the video games. Dodging in between other mothers and their carts like a chubby, white Barry Sanders (remember, I was surprisingly coordinated). My LA Lights squeaking on the white floors reflecting the bright fluorescent light from the ceiling above.
I would rush past the books, movies (VHS tapes) and the interactive stand that would play nature sounds and weird music that was supposed to be relaxing (who ever bought that stuff?).
On this day, it was particularly busy in the video game section and there was a line at both the Sega and the Super Nintendo.
Shit, I thought (I learned how to swear at a very young age thanks to Top Gun).
I had to get in line… I knew what that meant.
Hide. And. Go. Seek. Pees. (See previous stories if you are not familiar)
I began to shift my weight back and forth doing an awkward looking jig that made it very obvious what was going on. I looked back down the aisle, in the distance I could see the numbers for the checkout lanes and could just barely hear the beeping of items being scanned through. I knew just past that was the bathroom.
Can’t go back now, I thought, Mom will be here soon, gotta get some playing time in.
I was in the Sega line and the game that was available to play was Ecco, a game where you play as a dolphin that travels through time to battle aliens with nothing but your powerful tail fin and firm bottle nose.
It was getting worse, I knew that I should have gone to the bathroom but how could I make an educated decision on what game to ask for if I didn’t take it for a test drive? I focused on squeezing as hard as I could to hold it and doing everything I could to keep my hand away from my crotch.
Finally, my turn came.
The problem was, at the end of every demo session that system would reboot. Which meant that I wasn’t able to distract myself from my bladder on the verge of bursting by playing a game, more waiting…
The pain was too much. I couldn’t hold on anymore. Desperate times called for desperate measures. I took my neon colored wind breaker, which I stylishly tied around my waist (a look I call chubby sheik) and spun it around so that the sleeves were knotted in the back (probably right above my plumbers crack).
The warmth slowly made it’s way down my legs. Problem was it wasn’t just a small soaking into my pants like I had planned.
I had underestimated how badly I had to go!
Next thing I knew, I was standing in a puddle with kids giggling, pointing and whining, “eewwwwww!” (Like they’d never done it, jerks). This was not my finest moment.
When I finished playing, I made my way through Target in cold, wet pants to find my Mom to tell her the bad news. I don’t know what would have been worse. People seeing my wet pants, or, looking like I did wearing what, from the front, looked like a nylon neon field hockey skirt. I suppose it didn’t really matter.
I can’t recall my Mom’s reaction, but I assume it did not come as much of a surprise. I probably still got a treat out of the deal playing the embarrassed little kid routine perfectly.
Here is what I do know for sure. The next time I remember going to Target they had added a new feature to their store that still exist today. The dispensers for wipes (Back then they were called “Oops! Wipes”) to clean up “spills.”
Now, I don’t want to take all the credit, but I think Target owes me a thank you.. at the very least.