Reading The Bleeder: A Health Warning

I want to thank everyone who came out to the reading of my new book of short stories, The Bleeder, at Homewood Studios in north Minneapolis. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, but I have some concerns about those who mentioned that they laughed so hard, they "peed their pants."

Now, I realize that we are all getting older, and that occasional bouts of incontinence are a normal part of life as the body breaks down and forgets how to function. However, if you found yourself peeing involuntarily and spontaneously at something I said, it may be symptomatic of an underlying condition that you may want to get checked out. Many people, when they hear me read, feel a small amount of bile rise in their throat, and some flush red with either anger or embarrassment. And, to be sure, there have been a few people who suddenly soiled themselves and had to be removed from the room. But so many people reported episodes of pants-peeing the other night that it made me wonder if something else might be going on--something medical in nature, not just the result of garden-variety hilarity.

Some of the men, of course, may have accidentally popped an extra Flomax when they really intended to take a Viagra or Xanax, the two most common pharmaceuticals that my readers tend to ingest. As for the women, a simple hormonal imbalance could be the cause, though female hormone changes at my readings tend to take the form of flushed cheeks and occasional outbursts of "writer rage."

All I'm saying is, if you peed your pants at my reading the other night, please do me the courtesy of visiting your doctor to get a clean bill of health before you attend another one of my events. The material I read that night wasn't even my funniest stuff, so you can understand my concern. If you came to my next reading without a physician's approval, and one or more of your other organs started malfunctioning, there could be serious legal consequences. Besides, most of the places I read have only one bathroom, so everyone else would have to wait in line while you cleaned yourself up--all because you were too proud or stupid to admit to your doctor that you pee when I read. 

Safety for my readers is my first concern. So please, for your sake and mine, swallow your pride and see a doctor. Though public pants-peeing can be nothing more than a harmless response to humor, it's not always a laughing matter.