U.S.C.G. Rockaway Life Boat Station
Rockaway, New York
Tales From The Tower 4
If You Gotta Go...
The Big Kovolick
Kovolick (ko’vol’ick): Eastern European. Yiddish slang for a bowel movement.
A four-hour watch in the Far Rockaway lookout tower could seem an eternity under the best of conditions. But in the dead of winter, with almost nothing to watch for, it could seem like two eternities.
Rockaway is a summer community. So during the winter months the point is all but vacant and the only boats to venture from Sheepshead Bay are commercial fisherman.
The lookout shack was warmed by an over-zealous electric heater, and the four-hour watch was spent, mostly, in a sometimes-futile effort to stay awake.
Other than an occasional surprise visit from the “old man,” during winter the only company the lookout ever had were the hundreds of seagulls that foraged beneath the tower for scraps and crumbs or, “shit” of any kind that might have dropped or been thrown from the shack above, and it was not unusual to see a gull flying with a streamer of toilet paper held in its beak.
The Thermos of strong coffee was consumed as the man on watch drank cup after cup in an effort to keep his eyes open.
Quantities of coffee will often cause a reaction. With Mitchell Lipensky it made him have to “go,” and if you gotta go, you gotta go.
It wasn’t so bad if you only had to urinate, but even so, in winter there were three important things you had to remember.
Remember where you are!
On Rockaway Point the erratic wind blows almost constantly, and what may seem a breeze below, can feel like a squall fifty feet up, so it helped, a lot, to know where the wind was coming from and go with it, because having a mist of pee blow back in your face, even if it was your own, usually made for a terrible day.
But even when you found the wind, you also had to be careful because you did not want the wind carrying your urine back to the steps because pee does freeze and those steel steps could get pretty slippery, and the next man on watch wouldn’t be too happy if he slipped on your pee.
You had to remember, also—and this was most important of all—to be sure that when you shook that last drop of pee off, that you did not allow the damp end of your dick to touch any part of the steel safety rail you were aiming through because it would stick and, oh, yeah, hurt like hell to lose a half-inch of skin off the tip of your dick pulling it loose. Or, trust me, it was definitely one of life’s more embarrassing moments if you had to call the station to ask if they could send someone out to the tower with a cup of warm water so they could melt the frozen contact.
What the hell would you say?
“Hey, Minnie, I got a little problem here.”
“Well, it’s like this: I went to take a pee and my dick, uh, kind’a got froze to the rail.”
“Jesus, Lippy! Don’t you hate it when that happens?”
“Bet your ass! Uh, Minnie, when can you get someone here to help get me loose?”
“Sorry, but the only guy I can send is Masco, and he’s with Joe buyin’ groceries… But soon’s they get back, oh, say, in a half hour or so, I’ll send him right out.”
“Hey, thanks a lot, pal!”
“Yeah, sorry ’bout that.”
“Yeah, Minnie, sure you are! But what hell, I ain’t got nothin’ better to do then just ‘hang out’ here anyway… Minnie?”
“Besides it hurting like hell, and turning blue, and I think it’s gonna break off, you know what really bothers me?”
“No. What really bothers you, Lippy?”
“How the fuck am I gonna punch the fuckin’ clock?”
This conversation, you understand, was strictly hypothetical because the only way you could make that call would be if you could stretch from the rail outside to the phone inside, and besides, stretching your dick even seven inches, under any circumstances, would, in most cases, be just about as far as any guy could stretch it.
So, if you are ever on lookout in the Rockaway lookout tower in the dead of winter and have to urinate, remember, be careful!
But if you must defecate, that is a completely different problem, because, unless you have diarrhea, or hate having a freezing wind blowing down your back and up your ass, you do not, usually, have to worry too much about the direction of the wind. But you do need newspaper, because if you set your butt directly on the frozen rail you’ll either have an inch-wide strip of frostbite across your ass, or possibly, it could freeze to the rail, too, and calling the station for someone to come out to unstick your ass is no less embarrassing than calling for someone to help unfreeze your dick.
The Coast Guard motto is Semper Paratus, Always Prepared, so what you do is this: Do not ever trust the guy on the watch before you to leave newspaper and toilet paper. Always bring your own. And always lay at least a few pages of newspaper, crease down, across the middle rail, then drop your pants and underpants and plant your feet firmly on the catwalk because, trust me, you do not want a sudden gust of wind to blow you off. You can do it two ways: First, you can hike just your ass between the top two rails, or, secondly, if you’re the type of person that likes to live dangerously, you can sit down, bringing your entire mid-body through the top two rails along, of course, with your ass, and hold on by hanging by your bent knees and elbows…
Then you “go.”
On a frigid day in November, looking much as an egg-yoke floating in a cup of murky tea, the sun rose at 0548.
On the 0400 to 0800 watch, finishing the last of his coffee at 0613, looking out the window at the thermometer, five degrees! Knowing, from past experience, and thinking quite literally, Oh, my frozen ass, with an acidic belch, Mitchell Lipensky decided, Gotta go. So, zipping the high-collared, fleece-lined watch jacket up to his chin, pulling the knit, blue watch cap over his ears and forehead, taking three tightly folded pages of the New York Times from his jacket pocket, checking the thick, flat sheath of toilet paper that he’d stuffed into his other pocket, he went outside and, because there was relatively little wind, decided to sit with his back to whatever meager sun there was.
Draping the newspaper over the middle rail, lowering his jeans and underpants to just above his knees and, at that moment, being rather adventuresome, hiking his middle section through the first and second rails, “Jesus…!” frigid air turning his buttocks a bright, cherry red, Mitchell sat hanging on by his elbows.
“Jesus…” Arctic air freezing his crotch, rectum and the underside of his scrotum, shrinking it to the size of a wrinkled acorn, My frozen ass! “Ummm!” He pushed. “Uhhh!” He squeezed.
Now, it may well have been his sphincter reacting to the cold air, or possibly it was frozen shut, but, “Ummm!” he became red in the face and, “Uhhh!” cold tears formed in the corners of his eyes…
“Uhhhhhhh!” Squeezing, till…
“Ahhhhhhh!” Finally, and…
“Oyyyyyyy!” there it went!
And Mitchell Lipensky, being, a, more-or-less normal human being did what any normal, sane human being would do were they in this same position, and…
“Bombs away!” he called, and, whistling shrilly as though it were a falling bomb, Mitchell Lipensky watched through the V of his goose-pimpled thighs as the “big kovolick” plummeted, falling as straight and true as though dropped by the bombardier of a B-29.
As usual, there were a number of seagulls happily pecking away at whatever was beneath the sand under the somewhat protective structure of the tower, and….
Splatt! It hit, and…
Squawk! It cried, and…
“Damn!” he yelled from fifty feet up.
And a new inconsequential chapter was written in the unrecorded history of mankind, as Mitchell Lipensky, to the best of his knowledge, became the only person in the world to ever…
…shit on a bird.