Ever have one of those embarrassing episodes that didn’t end in just one disaster but several?
I was a member of the local scout unit back in the sixties, just 12 and away from home for the first time (excluding extended hospital trips). Our base was a field just outside Stradbally in Co Waterford adjoining the beach. A perfect spot to pitch our tents with no one to bother us. But not for a shy young fella like myself.
Whether it was the sea/rural air, being away from home, or fear I woke up that first morning in a sweat – only it wasn’t. My sleeping bag was wet and so were my pyjamas. I couldn’t recall wetting the bed before, and there was nowhere to hide the evidence, so I was forced to turn the sleeping bag inside out and hang it up in the hope it would dry. Oh how my so-called friends sniggered and laughed at my misfortune. I felt utterly humiliated and tried to get through the day as best I could and forget it. Not a chance. It seemed every 5 minutes I was reminded of my mishap.
All of which was bad enough, but the next morning the same thing happened. Cue more embarrassment and shame, another attempt to dry out the sleeping bag and another day of agony to endure.
Day 3 was a dry night and I was thrilled. The slagging still continued but on a lesser scale. Until I wet the bag on the following night. And the night after. I was all alone in my misery, surrounded by a bunch of taunting youngsters all too willing to add to my dejection.
In 14 nights I managed just 6 dry. By the end someone started singing The Beatles song ‘Eight Days a Week’. As a Beatles fan I can’t bear hearing it now without recoiling in horror.
Amazingly, given the lack of support I got from my fellow scouts, I stayed with the troop and even went on our annual outing to Jersey in the Channel Islands the following year. And no, I didn’t wet the sleeping bag. And I’ve managed to lead a ‘dry’ existence since.