After a year of the dating life, Mark and his parents invited me to vacation with them at Horsehead Lake in Big Rapids, Michigan. It was a six hour drive from the Chicago suburbs.
I packed my shorts and swimsuit, plus a couple of sweatshirts for the cool nights and happily made the trek with my boyfriend's family for a week at the lake.
When we arrived at our designated cottage, I met Marv. He was the caretaker of these vacation homes and year-round resident of Horsehead Lake. Mark's mom would say to me, "Marv's been here for years. I can't imagine coming here and not seeing him taking care of everything."
He seemed like a nice enough guy and I would later learn that every morning for breakfast he would pour unpopped popcorn kernels in a bowl with milk and crunch away.
After we settled in I was told about the toilet. Because of the close proximity to the lake and the possibility of a regular toilet accidentally causing contamination in the lake, Marv installed toilets that burnt waste via a propane tank. It looked like a regular toilet but there was no water in it and it sounded like a jet taking off when you flushed it.
I used this odd contraption the first night and then went to bed.
The next morning I was the last one up. Mark's mom made oatmeal. I didn't want to be "that girlfriend" with picky food issues but I hate oatmeal. She offered to make me scrambled eggs and while she was doing that I went to the bathroom.
I started peeing and was instantly burned by hot steam from the propane tank that engulfed my bare butt. I hopped off that fiery toilet and finished peeing in the shower but it was too late.
I was injured.
Injured real bad.
I hobbled out to the table with tears in my eyes. Mark asked what was wrong.
"It......it........it was that toilet. It started steaming and then it.....it......it burnt me."
And those Fishers tried to look sympathetic but they couldn't help themselves from bursting out laughing. They had forgotten to tell me that after the toilet had been used a couple of times it needed to cool off for awhile or it would be like peeing on a hot radiator. "You've been christened," Mark's dad howled.
Really, Tom? Are you sure about that? Because where I come from a christening requires water which that effing toilet doesn't have a drop of!!!
From that moment on I made sure to ask how many flushes had been before me as I wasn't taking any more chances with that beastly propane toilet. By mid-day when the sun warmed things up I peed in the very lake that Marv was trying so hard to keep clean.
After that summer Mark's dad decided that Horsehead Lake was too far of a drive and so they started going to a lake that was a little closer.
No mention was ever made that a toilet that had the ability to incinerate your ass was a factor in their decision.
Or that a crusty, old guy named Marv could spend a lifetime eating popcorn kernels in a bowl of milk every single morning and not shatter every one of his teeth.