Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Many days, what I write in this webspace comes from things I wrote in my journal the night before. Today is not one of those days; today's post comes from what I was thinking as I was toweling off after having had my morning shower.

I had cleared the screen my wife and I use as a hair trap and thrown what was there into the commode when I thought "It [the toilet] accepts things uncritically." Then, as I hoisted my hairy right leg onto the lid of the now-closed commode, it occurred to me that not even the toilet accepts materials uncritically, although it accepts quite a bit that is not well placed elsewhere. There are things that cannot fit through the piping leading away from the bowl, as any know who have had the unfortunate experience of the toilet backing up, and there are limits even on the size of what the bowl will accept. So even a toilet has standards, and with the shit one takes, that is saying something.

If even a toilet has standards, what can we make of people who accept uncritically what those who hold power over them say? And do we not see many such people, parroting what they hear from "color commentators" on various "news" programs, from media dominated by extreme pundits on all sides? Like toilets that have accepted caustic materials, they may have swallowed what was given them to swallow, but the pipes through which that stuff flows have been weakened and will perhaps be breached because of it, damage done to the drinker. Yet a toilet will reject things, and such people do not, provided they are spewed from the "right" place. (Or the left, lest I be thought unbalanced in my heaped aspersions.) The thought that a shithole will reject crap from some asshole when a person will not is hardly comforting (although it occurs to me that it might account for some people's breath). That there are so many people about--that all of us occasionally take in filth we ought not--is far less so.

It is a crappy metaphor, I know, hardly worth enthroning. Yet it is the kind of thing that occurs to me of a Tuesday morning when I am drying myself. And it is the kind of thing that I have used to great effect in my classrooms. Toilet humor is a low common denominator; students get the joke, and they get that it is a joke, even if they do not like the joke. The image in it tends to cling to them, as well, a stench of which they cannot rid themselves however much perfume they spray in the air or however many matches they light. "Do better than a toilet" is a phrase likely to remain smeared across their minds, a stain that cannot be scrubbed away. I offer the notion to my colleagues as something that might well fertilize younger minds, hopefully resulting in brighter flowers of thought or tastier produce of work done. Or it can simply piss off.

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