Do you have a “thing” that is only known by your family? Some kind of tradition or inside joke that only exists within the confines of your family unit? Maybe a particular word or phrase, made up, or not, that only means something to you, your parents, siblings and maybe a few other people you consider “your people,” use or know about?
Do you ever wonder what happens when you inadvertently pass those things on to the newcomers in your group without, well, let’s just call it “context”?
Just know upfront that I’m a little embarrassed by this story. Hopefully the fact that I’m sharing it with you, will make you feel better about that little family secret of yours. The rest of you sickos that are into that schadenfreude kind of thing — you’re welcome.
The call came out of nowhere. It was my adult son, and he said he had a very serious question for me. In my world that usually means a health thing, a where can I get this thing at the best price thing, or at one point (well two really), is Eva Longoria really our cousin and are we going to get an invitation to the wedding (first, yes, she is distant, but a cousin nonetheless and second, no, no invitation to either wedding. Oh, and just so you know, her childhood nickname was “ugly duckling”…DON’T invite me to your weddings…raspberry emoji).
No, his question was very simple. He wanted to ask me what a “Bookstop attack” is. OMG! It was everything I could do to not literally ROFLOL!!! OK, I may or may not have put my phone on mute and actually did it.
For those of you not in my immediate family a “Bookstop attack” is…or was, a phenomenon that I personally suffered through whenever I entered a Bookstop. For those of you not old enough to remember Bookstop, they were discount sellers of books. You know, those papery, bloggy things that were popular before the Internet. A “Bookstop attack” was a horrible gastrointestinal thing that happened just about every time I walked into a bookstore, and specifically Bookstop bookstores (ok, they were “discount”…and I am “cheap”). So more specifically, every time I spent any amount of time in a Bookstop store, I had to “poop”. There, I said it. Are you all happy? Spending time at the Bookstop made me “poop”…almost…every…time…sigh…
So I explained that to him. He was so embarrassed that he had been telling his girlfriend, now wife, for years that a “Bookstop attack” was a real thing, and couldn’t understand why she had never heard of it…nor had anyone else he ever told about it.
I thought that alone would make for a fun article to post here, but just for grins thought I would do a little “due diligence” and I Googled it. As I typed in whatever words I was trying to figure out what might help me find some relatable information…OMG…it was there!!! Obviously not the phrase “Bookstop attack”, but the second search phrase suggestion from the good folks at Google was “smell of books makes you poop”!!!
Yes, good people, the struggle is real, and there really is a reason that I, and many others have the urge to “poop” in bookstores, and not just Bookstop bookstores!!!
The Japanese call this the “Mariko Aoki phenomenon” (not to be confused with the “Kobayashi Maru” of Star Trek and Captain James T. Kirk lore), and according to the Wikipedia page (Link), the phenomenon could be caused by “the smell of paper or ink having a laxative effect, the association of reading on the toilet at home and the posture of browsing making a bowel movement easier”. There’s a doctor in Texas by the name of Dr. Sameer Islam that has a YouTube channel (Link) where he talks about poop, and he refers to it as “Book Bowels”. Definitely more alliterative, but sorry, “Mariko Aoki phenomenon” is just WAY cooler!
So son, you can now tell your wife and anyone else you’re willing to share “poop stories” with, that a “Bookstop attack” IS a real thing!!!
And most importantly, that your Dad didn’t make it up. Well, he (I) kinda did at the time, but that even though there is no scientific proof (yeah, I want to see how they’re going to conduct that one), there is plenty of anecdotal evidence supporting this connection.
I’m sorry…gotta go. No, not to the bathroom. I just keep giggling about this in my head, and kinda want to just do a little “Rocky” victory dance. Either one is really not conducive to typing…LOL!!!
Oh, and just remember “Everyone Poops“!!!