Romance, Riches, and Restrooms: A Cautionary Tale of Ambitious Dreams and Irritable Bowels by Tim Phelan(iUniverse / 0-595-38544-3 / May 2006 / 268 pages / $19.95)
Cue up The William Tell Overture, please. A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty... Who was that running man? That was Tim Phelan, Kemo Sabe. Indian call him Running Man with Fire in Caboose! Him not need horse. He already got the trots.
Yes, sports fans, this book really is about the most secret of subject matter, the squirts, the trots, the Mexican two-step, the runs, to the bathroom, that is. Tim Phelan has written a memoir in which only the names of those who have known Pepe le Pew intimately have been changed. Mr. Phelan has been congratulated for his guts, but not for his intestinal fortitude. He has been spotted with his precious backpack loaded with emergency apparel clutched closely to his chest as he sprints toward the exits in a somewhat awkward running style. Did you know he was a triathlete? I'm not kidding: he can run with the best of 'em. He almost turned pro!
Aside from training for the big triathlon, chasing girls, trying to build a high-powered career, successfully building a high-powered neurosis, and single-handedly keeping Pepto-Bismal in business, he found the time to write a book. It was a book only he could write, and no one else dared to write. The jokes are numerous, and the embarrassing moments, as well as a bunch of other stuff, are out of control. If you think a twelve-year-old buying rubbers for the first time is funny, how about a handsome, eligible bachelor trying to escape the corner drugstore with Fleet enema products in the bag? The author has it bad and he will try anything at least once. If you think Steve Martin and Sarah Jessica Parker had a funny scene in L. A. Story, then Romance, Riches, and Restrooms will leave you rolling on the floor. Try not to laugh while you read the book in your personal library room. You might not want to roll on that floor!
Aside from the obvious powder-room embarrassment and laughter, this is a somewhat serious book for those genuine sufferers of IBS. If you have it, or know someone who does, Tim Phelan's tale of woe has been written specifically for you. The storyline will relieve some of your anguish with joy, and let you feel very much not alone in your embarrassing little private world. Mr. Phelan has obviously joined many others in an official capacity to aid others inflicted with IBS. Contact information for the national societies and organizations concerning IBS are listed in the back of this very professionally composed, arranged, and edited book. As for the dreaded typographical error count that I so diligently monitor in all the books I review, Romance, Riches, and Restrooms has true star power. This book has been as perfectly proofread as any POD book I have read. Congratulations, Tim, you have come officially out of the closet, the water closet, that is!