Underneath Is Just A Lot Of Poop

***I wrote this when my daughter was 14 and never published it. Found it today and remembered this conversation that made me laugh.***

Recently, my daughter was telling me how much she would rather be participating in something one of her friends is participating in than what she was doing at the time. It was the same old song and dance, “Bertha (not a real person) says it’s great.”

I responded with, “I hear what you’re saying. I know you think Bertha’s activity is more fun, but you need to remember, the grass is always greener over the septic tank.”

She looked at me, puzzled. “What does that even mean?”

Of course, she has no idea what it means, because she has no idea what a septic tank is. So first, I had to explain what a septic tank is. She made that ugly face teens make when they think something is disgusting. I then tried to explain the septic field to her, but she didn’t want to get that in-depth, and she again asked what my statement meant.

I explained that sometimes, concrete septic tanks form cracks in them, and a little bit of what’s inside seeps into the surrounding area…causing the grass above to grow a little greener. It was easier to explain it that way than to get into the mechanics of a septic field. Of course, that elicited an “ewww.” I explained the meaning of the saying this way, “Sometimes you see green grass (or hear about green grass) and that lush, green grass is beautiful, but what’s really underneath is just a lot of poop. That means someone might be telling you how great their life/job/school/relationship is, but you can’t see what’s underneath, and it might really be bad, but it looks good from the outside. You can’t see the poop, but it’s there.”

She understood poop talk, of course. I’m sure my explanation left a mark on her memory. She likely wishes she hadn’t asked. I was just glad we could stop talking about septic tanks, even though I was the one who mentioned them in the first place.

Y’all know I totally stole that saying from Erma Bombeck, about whom I’ve written before. Thank God for Erma. I’m reading her books now, and hopefully, I’ll find some more words of wisdom I can use on my daughter from time to time…especially ones that contain bathroom humor. Teenagers totally understand that.

For now, though, I”ll just keep using, “The grass is always greener over the septic tank,” and if she keeps doubting what I’m telling her, I might have to make her get into the car. We might have to drive a long way to find a septic tank for me to prove it to her. I don’t know exactly how far outside Charlotte that will be, but I’m willing to do it to make a point.

Or I guess I could make her watch The Wizard of Oz with me again. We would have to watch the whole movie to get to the point in the story where they pull back the curtain on the “wizard,” revealing that things aren’t always what they seem. I’m still a little afraid of those flying monkeys though, so that will have a to be a last resort.

And maybe one day I’ll have an opportunity to explain to her what a grease trap is and tell her about the time our neighbor’s dog fell into ours while it was being cleaned! Ewwww!


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