Published on Thursday, 09 May 2013 00:00
In 2000, 75-year-old Coolidge Winesett spent three days trapped underneath his Southwest Virginia outdoor toilet after the floor gave way to dry rot.
Winesett, a World War II veteran and retired janitor personally built the outhouse with oak planks over a dirt pit in 1950. It is no wonder that the ancient wooden flooring collapsed from dry rot.
Having lost part of one leg and the use of his arm after a stroke previously, Winesett was incapable of escaping Lake Crap. When he realized that he was both figuratively and literally in deep shit, he screamed till he ran out of voice but no one came.
He was kept from drowning in his own pool of refuse by staying adrift a collapsed sub floor and the cracked floor boards. Besides the foul stench of his own waste, Winesett went on to survive three days atop the rotting wooden raft with maggots, rats, snakes and spiders.
"I compare it to the Bible's hell," said Winesett.
Winesett spent his time in the poop pond thinking back of his life, wallowing, and humming old tunes he had played over the years.
“I suffered awful down there,” Winesett said. “I kept trying to figure out what I'd done wrong. I said, ‘God, don't let me die like this.’”
He started hallucinating about food two days into his entrapment. “I was imagining scrambled eggs and toast and a glass of cold milk," he said. “I had mirages. Somebody was handing me food, cheeseburgers. I said, 'Thank you,' but there was nobody there.”
At some point in time, he saw a rat and told the rat to “get the hell away” from him. The rat did left and Winesett bitterly laughed to himself about talking to a rat.
Eventually the local postman, Jimmy Jackson, 17, became concerned about all the letters accumulating in Winesett’s letterbox and went to investigate. Winesett heard the footsteps of someone approaching and he gathered up every last bit of his strength to let out a feeble holler.
Jackson heard the weakened cry and promptly went to Winsett’s rescue. While neighbours and volunteer fire department personnel arrived to lend their assistance, Jackson got the parched Winesett a soft drink. It is unclear if he got the old man a Coke or a Pepsi.
Winesett said that the shitty ordeal made him think about moving into an assisted-living facility, but he quickly realized that he did not have the financial capabilities for it.
Instead, he remarked, “I’m going to have me a bathroom put in”.