mardi, août 19, 2008

News From the TMI Dept. (or, the road to nirvana is paved with toilet paper)

Years ago, I read something above a urinal that troubled me.

No matter how you shake and dance, the last drop always falls in your pants

With the wherewithal I then possessed, I had only one course of action, to prove the statement wrong. I developed an elaborate ritual of shaking and dancing. Eventually I became convinced. The last drop was not in my pants. It was elsewhere. It had to be. No bodily fluid could withstand such dedicated efforts. Years passed. I was able to move on.

Enter Doctor Long, professor of philosophy at my Alma Mater. When he started the first day with a seemingly non sequiturial story about taking his dog out to the forest to put it out of its misery, I knew I was in the right place. Here was a professor who aggravated--nay, infuriated the general ed. minimalists who wanted to get a C, fulfill a requirement, and get back to beer and mindless sexual conquest.

One day he arrived purposefully late. There were already grumblers, using the occasion of his tardiness to complain about how our instructor seemed to bring up annoyingly useless information on a regular basis--that they didn't have any idea why they were even in this class. I was debating the merits of wasting breath explaining to the bimbo contingent how badly they were missing the point(s) when the inscrutable philosopher walked in. In place of an apology, he simply surveyed the class and made the following announcement: "I wear shorts. I prefer shorts. But how can I stop the urine from splashing on my knees when I urinate? It's inevitable, and a little disgusting. I guess people who wear pants don't have to worry about it. Anyway . . . "
Ingeniously, he had confirmed the complaints that were circulating before his entrance. He didn't discuss the matter further. Because to explain literally means to flatten out. And because obvium est means there is something in the way.

But something was in the way. I knew what he was doing. And as I examined the useless minutia of life, and let myself wonder if they do indeed constitute its truest meaning, an errant thought, a dangerous thought, entered my mind: What if the last drop is still falling in my pants? What if, for all my ceremonial shaking, the act of evacuation is what it is? Can life be clean and still be called life? Was that bit of potty humor written by a prophet? How can I go on living if I can't stop the last drop of urine from dropping in my pants? Am I not a man? Can I not pee standing up and return unencumbered and unhindered to my manly pursuits? It haunted me. For a time. But the purpose of it all had to be acceptance. So I accepted. I agreed to disagree with Life.

Until one day, when, peeing in the privacy of my own home, the toilet paper called to me, saying: Discard your gender bias, your learned self deception. I've been here all along. Follow the path. Enlightenment awaits. You will see. You will see. My brain went to a place of utter focus, stillness even. Upon completion of the drip drop dance, I exited my body and saw my hand reach out for a few squares of toilet paper. I saw that same paper used to daub, or dab, and witnessed the drop of urine that no dance could shake free, a drop that would have ended up in my pants. I didn't even stop to fret about all those drops that had obviously been there despite my efforts. This was a new dawn. Toilet paper had set me free.

The only problem then was that I was left to mourn for all those who didn't know. Who couldn't answer the call of the toilet paper. Who unhygienically allow that last drop to fall where it may. It didn't seem a subject that could be broached. Maybe people must discover Nirvana on their own. Maybe they can't face the truth. Maybe we just don't talk about what happens in the bathroom for a reason.

Then, as I sat eating a wonderful lunch, the woman who had thrice tried to kill/maim me offered the following question, which, if she is the first to ask it, makes her a philosopher in her own right: "I've always wondered, do men wipe after they pee?" The initial answer in this unenlightened world is, "wipe what?" followed by, "we don't have to, we're men." She could not have known how destiny had prepared me for this question. I proudly stood and proclaimed: "Alas, by and large, we do not. But those who have attained wisdom know what to do!" I felt liberated, and, as is the case with all true liberation, called to a higher purpose.

Hence, after all these years, I can at last pass it along. Use this information as you will. Even to make fun of me. I don't care. You all go ahead and shake and dance. The last drop doesn't fall in these pants.

1 commentaire:

WendyCoe a dit...

After spending nigh on a week (and, yes, I did just use the word "nigh" in a casual conversation)teaching my son how to stand while peeing, I may just have to pass on this gem of wisdom that has fallen from your knowledgeable cup which runneth over.

Grosses bissous!