When plumbing and puberty go wrong, Sawyer Connelly finds himself standing in inches of water from the fast overflowing toilet wondering how to get rid of the evidence.
Sawyer Connelly spends less time flooding houses these days and more time working to protect the indomitable western landscape. Originally from Northern New England, Sawyer found his way West to Colorado for college. A few months ago the allure of adventure, not knowing a person, a job offer, and trout brought him to Missoula. Unsure of where he’s going, he’s sure it’ll be exciting, involve public land, and hopes it’ll someday make for a good memoir.
I’m standing backstage, and I'm really nervous, so I reach for the nearest bottle of liquor. It’s a fifth of Juarez Tequila. And I take a big swing that doesn't go down as smoothly as I’d like.
I'm nervous for a few different reasons. The first, that my father, my then girlfriend and three of my best friends are sitting on the other side of the curtain in the audience. I'm pretty sure four of them, everyone except my father, was little drunk. And I'm ah, I'm concerned about what they might say in the coming two hours about me particularly related to the ah, the content of the production that I'm about to be in.
The second reason I'm nervous is because I'm about to perform in my school’s version of The Vagina Monologues. [laughter. cheers.] My school, it’s called “Relations” and it includes penises [laughter] and it’s a celebration of sexual culture and the relationships on campus. ...deal with some really funny issues and more serious issues, like sexual assault and rape. And it’s just a really, really great experience.
I'm also nervous, the third reason, because one of the monologues I'm about to deliver is entitled “Addicted to Pussy” [laughter] And my, [more laughter]the college president whom I’ve right been working with really closely with some extracurricular material, she's sitting in the audience. [laughter] And I’m worried she’s going to, ah, have a different view of me after this. [laughter]
But the main reason I'm nervous, is because my castmate is going to be delivering a monologue I wrote, that's about masturbation and flooding my father’s study. [laughter] Now, my father knows his study was flooded, [laughter] but he doesn't know how. [laughter] This is my comical way of, which is very quickly becoming less comical in my mind, [laughter] of telling him the full story.
So as 11, as an 11-year-old boy, I was like most 11 year old boys, a horny little shit, and just discovering puberty and masturbation. And in the age of the Internet nudie pics came from the World Wide Web, you know, boobs. And in fourth or fifth grade, you know, a few of us boys, probably like 10 of us we’d ah, print these, they were like Playboy pictures, we’d print them out, really pixelated, on a regular, like 60 pound printer paper, eight and half by 11 and they get passed around the classroom and inevitably someone would take them home, and, well, we know where that goes.
So, you know, as an 11-year-old, the masturbation spot at the time was the maple hardwood floors of the upstairs bathroom. [laughter] And I once left those pictures on the bathroom floor, and to my absolute horror, my mother found them. [laughter]
Now, she was super cool about it. She even gave them back to me. She left them on my desk, [laughter] and next time I saw her she said, “Sawyer, you left something in the bathroom and I put it on your desk.”
Now, I was mortified, and I had to get rid of these. And they needed to go someplace where they would never be found. And the trashcan was, was, wasn't good enough. Burning them wasn’t gonna suffice. They need to go someplace dark and deep, and I thought the sewers would be a good, good spot.
So my parents ran a newspaper, a weekly newspaper. Tuesday night was production night. And they would always work late. So that Tuesday night I was gonna get rid of the evidence. And it was gonna be gone. So I took those three pieces of printer paper and crumpled it up into 3 wads and threw ‘em in the toilet. [groans] And I flush the toilet. Toilet got clogged. So I flushed again, and, toilet got a little more clogged. And I started to get a little more nervous.
So I flushed a third time, with a little more force, and I heard, I heard a pop. And you know that when a toilet’s filling up, and it starts reach the point of being filled, and it starts to slow down and you can hear the water shut off? Well, that wasn't happening.
And the toilet bowl was filling up, and up, and up. Pretty soon it reached the brim. And it started to overflow. And I'm sitting there, standing there, and I don't know what to do. And as the water is spilling over, onto my feet, I realize that my father’s study is right below me. And in my father’s study, there's a few thousand books. There's his computer and his desk with a lot of sentimental family photos and various journalism awards from over the years. And that water is very soon going to going through the floor into my father’s study.
So, my eleven year old mind thinks to grab every possible towel I could find in the bathroom [laughter] and upstairs in the house, and throw it on the floor, around the toilet.
Now there were about 15, 20 towels, and that worked for a few minutes, but, [laughter] the water wasn't gonna stop anytime soon and eventually those towels reached their saturation point. And they couldn't hold any more water.
So I ran into my parents’ bedroom and picked up the phone to try to call down to the newspaper, but being a Tuesday, it was a busy night, and the line was busy. So I sprinted downstairs and just as I got to my father’s study, a bunch of the ceiling tiles fell out and to my eleven year old eyes it looks like the Ganges, the Amazon and the Mississippi were pouring down from above into my father’s study.
So, I went to grab the phone again and try calling the office. No luck. So I high-tailed it out the back door. Lights on, doors wide open, and sprinted -- luckily I grew up in a very small town, and the house wasn't too far from my parents’ office, and I’m pretty sure I was setting a record for a sub-four minute mile.
Got, got to the office, burst through the front door and just screamed, “Mom, you gotta come home. The toilet's broken. Dad’s study’s getting flooded. I don’t know what to do.”
So, she sprints home with me. And says some choice words as she runs by the study, and we get upstairs and lo and behold there's a little knob next to the toilet. Shuts off the water. [laughter]
We had to ah, air out a few hundred books. My father’s study. Drying ‘em out. Some of them to this day still show the wavy, wavy pages from that incident.
We had to replace the entire ceiling.
My evidence, the pictures were gone for good and that was, that was the important part.
My parents didn’t know hi. Or how. This happened.
So jumping back forward….
Our production goes really well. I'm greeted at the end by drunken hugs from all my friends, and a big hug from my father. And being supportive parent, tells me how ah, how thrilled was and how proud of me he is, and how much my mother would have loved it.
We clean up and everything and as we’re walking out of the theater, I say, “So, pops what do you, what do you think of the story about the study?”
Not knowing he's gonna throttle me or, you know, don't know how this went over.
And he chuckles and says, “Thought it sounded pretty familiar. Just, you know, Sawyer, I wish someone had told you how to shut off the water.”