It was a winter campout. There was a scoutmaster, three dads, and three sons. We hiked into a snowy area and set up our camp. After a full day of winter-camping activities, we retired to our tents.

Around midnight, it began to rain. Our tents, it turned out, were leaky, and soon all of us were wet. One father and son gave up, crawled out of their wet sleeping bags, and managed to rekindle the campfire. Soon, all of us were huddled around the blaze trying to get warm and dry out. The rain kept falling, not hard enough to make us pack up and leave in the dark, but enough to be uncomfortable. Someone suggested roasting marshmallows, but no one wanted to leave the fire to get them.

I sincerely apologize for what came next. All I can say is we were wet, we were chilled, and we were tired.

One of the dads (not I) told about a time when he had bought a new suit to wear to a funeral. In the middle of the service, he felt like he was going to have diarrhea. He didn’t want to get up and run out, but he also didn’t want to have the runs in his new suit. The dad’s description of trying to avert disaster by force of will – and extreme clinching of muscles – was pretty funny.

When our laughter settled back down into silent misery, someone (not I) made up a little song. Actually, they didn’t make it up, they just created some new words for it. The song comes from the 1989 movie, Parenthood, starring Steve Martin and Mary Steenburgen. If you have ever seen the film, you know what song I’m talking about.

Anyway, someone sang – a la Parenthood – “I was wearing a new suit, and I really had to poot. Diarrhea.”


In the movie, the kid repeats the word diarrhea twice after each verse. Around our campfire, the made-up parody said it just once.

The movie had been funny, but those two improvised lines and the single word that followed were even funnier. We exploded with laughter. When we finally quieted down, someone else sang, “I was upset inside. Soon I smelled like I had died. Diarrhea.”

Of all the hilarity in the world, it’s hard to top a bunch of wet, miserable men and boys making up diarrhea songs around a campfire.

As new verses were sung – such as “The chicken was underdone. And soon . . . .” – the laughter was so loud, we couldn’t even hear the punchlines.

Eventually, gasping and wiping tears from our eyes, we managed to get control. Or so we thought. In the silence, one of the boys said the word diarrhea and we were thrown back into helpless mirth.

Due to leaky tents and a cold rain, what had started out as a worthwhile but forgettable camping experience turned into one of the funniest nights of our lives.

And thus are memories made.

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