Monday, January 9, 2012

The Legend of the Pu Pu Platter

    
My family in 1974
When my older brother, Leszek (LEH-shek) came home from college, it was always a big deal for me, my younger sister, Emi, and my little brothers, Adam and Peter. We moved to Columbus, GA in the summer of 1974, while Leszek was still attending the University of Kansas, so we didn't get to see him very often. Leszek was ten years older than me. He was a fun big brother, the kind who'd spontaneously take us to Six Flags, the movie theater, or the local Tastee Freez for ice cream and pinball. He never seemed to get angry with us, even when we were bratty, and he constantly made us laugh.  He was quite adept at mimicking televangelists, and developed a grandiose alter-ego persona who strutted around, proclaiming in an exaggerated Southern drawl, "Ah am the LORD!!! and Ah can eat twaylve aigs!" Emi, Adam, Peter, and I used to look forward to Mom and Dad's out-of-town trips for medical conventions because Leszek frequently ended up taking care of us while they were gone. I'm still not certain as to whether he actually volunteered for baby-sitting duty, but his efforts were unanimously appreciated by his younger siblings.

Leszek and Dad, looking amused
 Like most brothers and sisters, we were all highly amused by good, old-fashioned potty talk. Leszek was particularly fond of educating us about obscure dirty words in the English language, and I'm now convinced he probably made some of those words up. For instance, he taught us that the definition of flugle was "someone who sat in the bathtub and chewed on his fart-bobbers." I recently Googled flugle and according to Urban Dictionary, it means "a trumpet-like sound made with the mouth." A similar word, flugel, refers to a stringed instrument. In this instance, I'll give Leszek the benefit of the doubt because it appears he only slightly embellished upon flugle's true meaning. To those of us who hadn't yet acquired abstract reasoning skills, the idea of a person sitting in a bathtub, catching the farts which bubbled up from between his legs by using his teeth was absolutely tantalizing, and we begged him to tell us more about The Flugle every time he'd visit. He also teased us with tales of a dish called the Pu Pu Platter, a delicacy which supposedly was served in Chinese-American restaurants. He never elaborated on the dish itself, except to say that Pu Pu was a Hawaiian word for appetizer. It sounded terribly exotic, and my siblings and I found the idea of poo, served on a plate, incredibly intriguing. At this point, I feel I must attest that my family rarely, if ever, went out to eat, and with the exception of canned Chun King chow mein, my siblings and I had never eaten real Chinese food.

Emi and me with Mom and Dad, looking oh-so-innocent
In the spring of 1975, Leszek drove down from Lawrence, KS for a visit, and Emi and I were ecstatic. We couldn't wait to bounce on his bed and wake him up at the crack of dawn every morning. She and I were in the fifth and seventh grades, respectively, and Leszek would be arriving shortly after we got home from school. We needed to do something really, really big to greet him, but what? We sat in our room, mulling over ideas. We thought about making a giant paper sign to display on the front porch, but there wasn't enough time for that. After a few moments, it came to us: we'd make him a real Pu Pu platter. Leszek rolled into town around four o'clock, and after we'd all hugged him and heard about his trip, he went out into the backyard to rest in our new hammock.

Peter and Adam, the olfactory whistle-blowers
For some reason, Dad was at home that afternoon, and he was occupied in the downstairs den with Adam, who was then six, and Peter, who was two years younger. I think they may have been playing Pong. Emi and I went upstairs to the bathroom to make the Pu Pu platter. As usual, I couldn't "go", but Emi was able to poop on command, and we fished a few of her turds out of the toilet with toothpicks, placing them gingerly onto a stack of paper plates. We covered the plates with foil, and proceeded downstairs. To this day, I still don't know why we didn't use the direct exit to the backyard, which was in the kitchen, instead of accessing it through the carport door located in the den. We slunk downstairs with Emi carrying our pungent covered dish at arm's length. We thought we had safely made it to the carport door, unnoticed by Dad and our brothers, when Peter suddenly cried out while plugging his nose: "I smell pooey!!"    

Me, Peter, Emi, Dad, Mom, Adam, Edina, & Leszek, mid '80s
Emi and I bolted for the door, which immediately caught Dad's attention; he sprang from his chair and came chasing after us. We barely made it out to the hammock to present Leszek with his Pu Pu platter before Dad came clambering up the terrace stairs, wearing a look of fury so intense I thought he was going to blow a gasket. It's still a mystery how he put 2 and 2 together with regard to this prank: we thought we'd been so careful. As he grabbed Emi by the scruff of her neck, the turds went flying willy-nilly off the plates, plopping down randomly around the hammock like a scatologic halo. It was an utter disaster. Dad pushed Emi's head down perilously close to the excrement, similar to what people do when their dogs poop inside the house, and I'm pretty sure she held her breath for an entire minute. After cleaning it all up, we were banished to our bedroom for the rest of the night. Leszek, of course, thought the whole thing was hysterically funny, and since then we've recalled the events of that afternoon  many, many times. Despite the fact that I'm almost 50 years old, I'm still delighted by the subject of poo. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, n'est-ce pas?

7 comments:

  1. Holy #$%##, this was hysterical. I can't stop laughing!

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  2. OMG a real “pu pu...poo poo” platter, I can’t stop laughing!! And what a fun older brother, the source of such marvelous inspiration when you were young...LOL! :)

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    1. Madilyn, my siblings and I certainly kept our parents busy when we were young, just as my boys did with me! My older brother was SUCH a fun babysitter...so many great memories.

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    2. Funny! I always thought that 'pu-pu platter' was hilarious when I was a kid. Good to know that I'm not alone!

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  3. Indeed this is a Mazur classic story and to this day Leszek regales in laughter over the entire episode. And to this day, the mother of these six, detest bathroom talk from the children, yet for the past 54 years I have had to endure it and still do with the grandchildren AND especially the great gran's. I shall remember - colored toothpicks, colored toothpicks, that'll get Emi and Kris. Thanks for the memories..

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    1. Mom, I'll bet you are very glad you weren't home that afternoon! What a crazy day that was. Fortunately, I didn't develop Emi's aversion to colored toothpicks :-)

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  4. A classic Mazur event and retold often usually around the dinner table. To this day I detest potty talk from the younger generation, and yet after 54 years it continues with the grans and great grands. Wonderful memories of our family. So thanks for them and I WILL remember...colored toothpicks, colored toothpicks if I serve appetizers to Kris and Emi

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