When I called Clyde to talk about his new board with its classic 101 graphic, he was not in a good mood.
“Hey Clyde!” I haven’t spoken to Clyde in years so I was very excited. Exclamation point excited. “How you doing?”
Clyde, on the other hand, was not excited.
“Not the best of times,” he groaned. “There's just a lot of shit going on right now. And uhhh… it's just a lot of shit, man. A whole lot of shit. Yeah. A lot of—lot of life shit is happening. Kind of, uhhh, hard to put fucking everything back together. So, um, yeah, a lot of crazy shit happening right now.”
Okay. Not what I was expecting, but glad to see he hasn’t changed. Still pissin’ and moanin’. So I asked him about urine.
Clyde as Calvin. Or is Calvin the tiger? I have no idea which one is Calvin and which is Hobbes.
“Well, what’s the deal with this graphic?” I asked. Figured I’d ignore ole Debby Downer, change the subject, and just razzle-dazzle him out of his funk. I don’t care about your “life shit,” let’s talk about you pissing yourself. Shit’s out back, piss up front! (I have no idea what that means.) “This top image on the graphic is you pissing yourself in bed on that Utah trip, right?”
“Yes, that is from the Utah trip,” he said slowly and hesitantly. “Yeah.” Gaining confidence. “What was that? What was the name of that trip anyways?” he asked.
The opening spread to the article present the ending of the story: Clyde finding himself. “Having never seen anyone find oneself before,” Sean wrote of the event, “I quickly scaled the ridge for a better vantage point until I came beneath a ledge where Clyde was perched, buck-naked (except for his athletic socks) and squatting Indian-style with his hands firmly pressed together in prayer formation. I began laughing so hard that my bladder shot out an involuntary bullet of pee into my shorts—an apt salute to Clyde in recognition of his achievement. He had found oneself.”
The article devoted to that trip, written by Sean Cliver, is titled “The Finding Of Oneself… 1996 Rocky Mountain Tour,” and was featured in Big Brother #23. Besides all of the incidents that occurred on this trip that became classic Big Brother video clips enjoyed by mothers and children alike—Clyde laughing at a rollerblader stuck in a bowl, Clyde trying and failing to roll a joint, Clyde enjoying transcendental nudity in a State Park, etc.—the story is mostly about Clyde getting drunk and pissing himself nearly every night on the road. Clyde’s incontinence was so bad that Sean dubbed Clyde’s alter ego, “Clyde Sprinkleton.” Sean describes the horror they all shared when, near the end of the trip and low on funds, the crew was forced to share a motel room between the six of them.
My primary concern, and everyone else’s for that matter, was being locked within a 15’ x 10’ space with the portable human geyser. Though a pair of double beds were customary in the room, somehow Clyde would mysteriously wind up with one all to himself while the rest of us tucked ourselves into closets and corners of the floor far from his potential urinary epicenter. No one was willing to play the odds with his current track record. Payoff struck in Colorado Springs when Clyde lost the handle on his faucet again, bringing his wetting average to an even .500 with 3 “accidents” out of our 6 nights on the road thus far.
—Sean Cliver, “The Finding Of Oneself…”
“It was called ‘The Finding Of Oneself’ tour,” I said, “you guys went through Utah and Colorado.”
“That's when I read that fucking Mormon book,” Clyde remembered. “Yeah.”
“So what’s going on there?” I asked.
“When I read the Mormon book?”
“No, the tour. Sean said this graphic was inspired by what happened on that tour. Didn’t you piss all over Whitey’s house?” I asked.
An artist’s rendition of Clyde pissing the bed.
When you consider that Sean’s whole article about the tour is pretty much about Clyde pissing, and then when he got home he started drawing pictures of Clyde lying naked in bed pissing, you might wonder, as I did, whether Sean has an obsession, or even a fetish, for Clyde peeing. It might appear at first blush that he does—and he might, I don’t know—but I recognize this behavior as something different. Writing about a subject to exhaustion, drawing it repeatedly, and otherwise obsessing over it is a coping mechanism for dealing with trauma. I’m familiar with it because we all did it. The entire Big Brother staff suffered from a pantheon of psychological disorders that we would treat with the usual over-the-counter medications, but in the event that the drugs and alcohol didn’t work, we’d improvise with our own homespun remedies. One technique we found very effective for dealing with our anguish was instead of suppressing and burying every traumatic episode that befell us—in this case the fear of being water boarded with urine every night—we would embrace and celebrate the cause of our distress. I call it Self-Administered Immersion Therapy. Sean, in this instance, for example, immersed himself in Clyde’s urine. He didn’t just sip from Clyde’s golden stream, he guzzled it until he was no longer reviled by it, he frolicked in an ocean of Clyde piss until it became like a warm, wet friend to—or, wait, is that Stockholm Syndrome?
“If it makes you feel better, it’s alright.”
—Shellac, “Song Of Minerals”
“That might be Whitey's house,” Clyde said, “but I'm pretty sure that's in reference to one particular night in, like, fucking Colorado Springs. We were really drunk and I passed out in the van in front of the house we were staying in. At some point, I woke up in the van, got up, and I walked up to a window at some house. I thought they were inside of the house partying and I walked up banging on the window. I was like, ‘HEY, LET ME IN! LET ME IN!’ But it was the wrong house. It was an old lady's house across the street. So they came and got me and took me inside and I passed out. When I woke up I pissed all over Rick Kosick’s glasses.”
As Clyde finished that sentence he punctuated it with one of his classic Clyde guffaws that crack the air like a hot bolt of mirth. “H—HaaAA!” Whenever Clyde laughs, you can feel it. It’s infectious.
“Ah,” I thought as I laughed along with him, “there you are my friend. How I’ve missed that laugh.” We had managed, if only for a moment, to have eclipsed the “life shit” thanks to Kosick’s glasses—speectacles? Are eyeglasses dishwasher safe?
While he is in a horizontal state of repose in most of the images from the article, Clyde did manage to get this kickflip fakie while standing up.
For the sake of accuracy, it’s worth sharing Sean’s version of events, plus it allows us the opportunity to enjoy the image of Clyde pissing on Kosick’s glasses from yet another perspective:
Sometime in the wee hours of morning, Sprinkleton took over the ship’s controls and set Clyde out upon a somnambulistic journey to find a blanket. Weaving throughout [Keith Eric Davidson’s] darkened house, he eventually made his way down to the basement, a location Kosick had chosen to slumber in previously thought safety. There in a modified living room constructed of spare thrift store furniture, Sprinkleton found his “blanket” on a coffee table and, seizing the corner of the tablecloth magician-style, sent ashtrays and outdated skate mags asunder. Then came the waterworks. Standing in the middle of the room like an unmanned firehose gone buck wild, Sprinkleton doused the surroundings as Kosick huddled in a far off corner, praying that he wouldn’t be mistaken for a dusty old bean bag chair in need of a rinse.
—Sean Cliver, “The Finding Of Oneself…”
“That was one of the many places I pissed on tour,” Clyde said laughing, “and that’s where the whole pee thing comes from.”
“Didn’t you used to pee in the drawers in hotel rooms?” I asked. “Someone I knew was notorious for getting up, opening a drawer, and pissing in it, who was that?"
“No,” he said, “but once I pissed a friend's bed and she walked in on me while I was flipping the mattress. We're still friends though.”
The person I might be remembering was my old friend, Russell Winfield, who, at the time, was the only professional black snowboarder in the world. More notable to me is that he also has the distinction of being a person of color who pissed all over Whitey’s house. I know because I was there. I distinctly remember walking past Russell’s darkened room in Whitey’s house and seeing him standing atop the bed he was supposed to be sleeping in with his head nearly touching the ceiling and his dick in his hand spraying piss all over the room. As I recalled this image of Russell I compared it to Clyde’s story and I wondered to myself, “Why do so many black men pee all over Whitey’s house—?”
I didn’t even complete the thought because as I heard the words in my head—ohhh, yeahhh, right… that makes sense.
“I'm very, very glad,” Clyde said, “that I pissed in a guy named Whitey's house. Yeah. I’m in a much better mood now. Thank you, man. I appreciate it. And thanks for the talk, dude. I appreciate it.”
And thank you, Clyde. I’m in a much better mood now, too. If you want to put yourself in a better mood, you’re invited to order a StrangeLove Clyde “Sprinkleton” Singleton model. No matter what state of mind you’re in, whether you’re in a bad mood, or you’re in a sad place, or you’re in tough place, or you’re in traffic, or your in-laws are visiting, or you’re incarcerated—whatever the circumstances you’re in, you can always count on Clyde Singleton and his piss-laden guest pro model to bring a smile to your face and improve whatever condition you’re in. —Dave Carnie