Does anyone remember the oldie-but-goodie movie Tommy Boy? If you fall remotely within the chronological confines of my generation, I know your answer has to be "yes," whether you admit it or not.
Tommy Boy is the epitome of who Chris Farley was as an actor (RIP, Chris...I hope you're in a VAN down by the RIVER somewhere in heaven). It's him at his finest (wait, is that an oxymoron?) and it. is. hilarious. It's full of some of the best movie quotes of all time, many of which I can't share because their content is...errrr...questionable. However, you've gotta love:
"I can't hear you; you're trailing off. And did I hear a niner in there? Were you calling from a walkie-talkie?"
And of course, my favorite and yours:
This is, of course, the piece of comedic genius I ripped off for the title of this post.
You see, I had a (sort-of) Chris Farley incident this past weekend, and knowing how much you, my readers, enjoy laughing at -- I mean, with -- me when it comes to my uncharmed life, I thought I'd share how this...AHEM..."curvy" lady got stuck in the world's smallest bathroom stall. And, I have even taken it upon myself as a personal challenge to use the afore-mentioned story as a springboard for spiritual application.
We'll see how that goes...
For those of you who aren't aware, I'm a musician by trade (a singer, specifically). Last weekend I was invited to sing in a friend's wedding, which was held at an historic theater in downtown Atlanta. It's called the Fabulous Fox Theater, and it IS pretty fabulous. It's fancy, and for a suburban mom like me who makes it through 50% of my days without a shower or makeup, it was borderline like Ellie May Clampett was coming to town.
It was a formal wedding, and at this point in my life I am not much into cocktail-and-beyond attire, so I scrambled to find something appropriate to wear. I donned a red dress with long flowy sleeves, and even squeezed my feet into my black, sequined, peep-toed heels.
I was foxy.
I left the kids at home for a night out on the town (solo, because my loverboy had a previous engagement), and I was feeling free. I arrived at the wedding. I sound-checked. I sang (full disclosure: it was mediocre, at best). And then it was time for the fun part: the reception.
I visited with friends, snacked on mini-bruschettas and stuffed mushrooms, and had a nice glass of red. All was right with the world.
Dinner began, and after a delicious meal with great company I realized I needed to pee. I excused myself and found the restroom, which was located one floor above the ballroom.
This bathroom was the jam. Seriously. I half expected an attendant to be waiting inside the toilet stall with an offer to wipe for me. Everything was fancy: fancy soaps, fancy lotions, mouthwashes, sofas and lounges (for all those times when I wish I could just lounge in the bathroom between pee breaks). Basically, Ellie May (that's me) had just entered potty heaven.
There were several women in the restroom so I had to wait for a few minutes. I was the last in line, and I was super-happy when I finally saw an open stall. I entered the stall and closed the door, of course turning the little knob in front of me to lock it in place. I relieved myself (I always think that when one says one relieved oneself it sounds so much more sophisticated than simply saying "I peed." But, that is what I did...I peed).
After I stood back up and got my Spanx adjusted (aww, yeah...you know it, ladies), I reached forward and turned the knob to unlock my bathroom stall. The knob turned, and I pulled on the door to open it.
Perplexed, I peered a little closer and realized the lock was still in place. Which was weird because I had definitely turned the knob. I turned the knob back and forth a few times.
It was in this moment that I grew slightly concerned. Being the Sherlock that I am, I deduced, based on the number of times I had frantically turned the knob back and forth, that the lock had somehow broken, leaving me trapped in the (very tiny) bathroom stall.
This was a very big problem, for a few reasons:
1. There wasn't a soul in sight. Somehow the ladies' room had emptied out and I was the sole proprietor.
2. The way the stall was designed was not conducive to me escaping easily. The space between the bottom of the stall and the floor was, to put it mildly, narrow. The stalls were also quite tall, which meant climbing over the door was probably out of the question.
3. I was attempting to navigate this situation in a formal dress and black, sequined, peep-toed heels.
I stood patiently for several minutes, probably ten or so, sure that if the number of people making rounds at the bar was any indicator, there would be an influx of twenty-somethings flooding the bathroom any moment.
The bathroom remained empty.
After about 15 minutes of waiting, I really did start panicking a little. I called out in a sing-song voice, "Heeeellllllooooooooooooo?"
That's when the yelling started.
"SOMEBODY? ANYBODY? CAN YOU HEAR ME??? HELLO?????"
I felt like the rapture had happened and I was left behind. Or that I was on the real-life Walking Dead and everyone else had been attacked by zombies. Or something equally as creepy.
Finally I decided, as any foxy and fancy independent woman might, that I had to take my destiny into my own hands.
First I tried standing on the toilet and hoisting myself over the wall into the next stall. When I found myself fearing for my life I decided against going any further down that route. There is a lot of me to hoist these days, and I felt like I might end up being the photo subject of many a meme if things went poorly.
I came to the conclusion that my only option would be to squeeze my foxy self underneath the door, using the very small amount of space left there by the brilliant bathroom designer who obviously didn't account for a woman accidentally getting locked in a bathroom stall.
I will paint as delicate of a mental picture for you as I can of what happened next, as it might possibly be scarring otherwise.
First I got down on all fours, with my legs straddling the toilet (point of humiliation #1). Then I lay down flat on my stomach and approached the opening between the door and the floor as I might picture a rat would do if he was trying to get into a cute little French bistro from a cobblestone street because he wanted a nibble of delicious cheese. Except, instead of a cobblestone street, I was laying prostrate on a pee-and-germ-covered stone-cold floor, and instead of trying to get a nibble of cheese I found myself wishing that I hadn't eaten quite so much cheese. I knew that flattening my body one section at a time in order to work my way out was going to be challenging, to put it mildly.
The Spanx helped, of course. Let's all pause for a round of applause for the single best invention of all time, and a special thank-you to Ms. Sara Blakely.
Unfortunately, the escape was still quite difficult, and so began a few moments of contorting that'd I rather not rehash. Let's just say it was, visually, something like this:
But much less cute.
The maneuvering was accompanied by groans and sounds I didn't know I could make. Actually, if I hadn't been so distracted by trying to avoid becoming a permanent fixture in the Fox bathroom, I probably would have been very proud of myself. I am now.
I made it to a point where I saw the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. I was out to my rear end, and one butt cheek had just been freed. I was working to slowly squish the other one into submission when what to my wondering eyes should appear but two human beings. Old human beings, to be specific.
In my most vulnerable (and impressive) moment, who should happen upon me in the until-that-moment-vacant women's restroom but two old ladies, both frozen in place and staring at me in horror.
I guess they had never seen Ellie May work her way out of a bathroom stall, redneck-style.
I stared at them. They stared at me. I started laughing and trying to explain. One said nothing. The other "tsk'd" under her breath and made some unfunny comment like, "well, it's a little early in the evening for you to be laid out on the bathroom floor, isn't it?"
You might think they had mercy and helped me get the remainder of myself free from the stall. You'd have thought wrong, though, because they just stood there and stared at me while I pancaked my rear end one last time and finally broke free from the stall door. They stood and stared while I stumbled to my feet in my black sequined heels and tried, unsuccessfully, to brush the hairs and other disgusting, probably urine-covered, debris off the front of my dress. They stared while I readjusted my Spanx (they had taken quite a beating) and while I washed my hands in scalding water. They stared as I squared my shoulders and sauntered out of the restroom, unsuccessfully attempting to play it cool.
I arrived back downstairs to my table and immediately asked why no one had come to the bathroom in almost 20 minutes. My friend explained that there had been wedding-y, toast-y things going on, and so everyone was seated and attentive to the bride and groom.
Of course. Just my luck.
While everyone else was enjoying their wine and desserts, I was stuck up in a tiny stall, afraid I was never going to get out.
And isn't that a little like life is sometimes (see what I did there)?
I can only speak for myself, but I have to say that there are plenty of days when it seems like everyone but me is coasting through life, enjoying the ride and relaxing, while I am trapped in yet another tight spot, pressed in on every side. I know this isn't the case, because everyone is fighting their own battles, but it doesn't stop me from feeling that way.
Sometimes it feels like I just can't win. Like trouble follows me like a little black raincloud. Like I'm being attacked at every side.
Can I get a witness?
Those who are in Christ have a very real enemy, an enemy who is much scarier and more evil than the bathroom-door ghost who locked me in a stall. This enemy's name is Satan, and he's out for the kill. He doesn't mess around. He loves to knock us down, and then kick our legs out from under us again and again as we try to get back up. As my 5-year-old son says, "he's a butt." (He's very proud that he gets to call Satan a butt, because calling anyone that name is off-limits in our house.)
Satan wants us to live life feeling trapped in our circumstances and fearful of the future. He knows our weaknesses and what buttons to push, and he loves nothing more than to make us miserable. He's the commander of an entire of evil army, and they're constantly using new tactics to destroy us. They're out for our souls.
My husband puts it best when he says that the spiritual battle that's going on around us is more intense than what's happening in Afghanistan or Syria at this very moment. It's strategic and it's real and we have to be mindful of it.
The good news? We know Who wins the battle, and the war.
We may be knocked down, but we're not out. We might be injured but it's not fatal. Satan can come at us with all he's got, but he doesn't have enough weapons in his arsenal to put a dent in the armor of God.
Paul wrote to the Church of Corinth all about his struggles and hardships, and I love what he said in 2 Corinthians 4 (my own compilation of several verses):
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed...therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all..."
When we feel pressed, we can know that we will not be crushed. When we are confused, we can know peace. When we feel beat down, we can know we are not left alone. When life, or our enemy, strikes us down, we can know we will get back up.
Let's stick it to Satan and get back up, shall we? Because after all: