What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

FCN Classic: Potty Humor

Disclaimer: The topic of the following essay is a restroom. This essay was not intended to be read by people with any sense of decency, sanitation, or propriety; that is, it was not written for the fairer sex. It contains descriptions of morbidly revolting (and sometimes friendly) creatures not originally intended for human company. This is the stuff nightmares are made of. My nightmares, anyway.

When we first moved into this house, the restroom was just short of brand new: it wasn't completely finished. The faux marble countertop needed to be caulked into the wall, and the one-piece shower/bathtub needed caulking into the floor. We assured ourselves that we would take care of these tasks as soon as we had time. There were so many other things to worry about at the time that we didn't bother ourselves.

My mother gifted us with a full set of matching restroom items with a sailboat theme, like toothbrush holder, soap dispenser, towels, shower mat, even a nifty picture to hang over the potty depicting a lighthouse on a cliff by the ocean. We had a full arsenal of towels, including a set of green ones with our names on them, and a stockpile of toilet paper and shaving cream. We considered ourselves moved in.

There's something funny about restrooms. You have to clean them. This is something it took us about two years to realize. Understand, for those of you who don't know us personally, that this restroom was used exclusively by a collection of males. Males do not notice filth until it asks them to scoot over. This is exactly what happened.

Two years had gone by, with five males cycling in and out as fast as they could, carrying out restroom tasks like showering, shaving, tooth brushing, and wrestling, day in and day out. The caulking was still unfinished. Multicolored scum started to build up around the potty. Then the shower. Then the walls and mirror. Then the sinks and toothbrushes. One day, while I was examining my ruggedly handsome visage in the mirror (this is after I had carved out a space in the layers of white stuff covering it), I heard a peculiar voice coming from the direction of the shower.

It was a cephalopod. It had come up from the crawl space and wriggled through the a rotted-away crack in the floor to talk to me. I was flattered that it would feel me to be worth the journey. I did not realize at the time how easy this journey was, nor how often it was completed.

"The boys and I have been talking," The cephalopod announced, "And we think the picture over the potty is unsightly." I glanced at the picture, which was of a glob of shaving cream on a cliff by the ocean.

"It is a bit strange," I conceded. "Want me to cover it up?"

"Actually," The cephalopod said, "We want it replaced."

"Well that's nice of you. Did you bring the replacement?" The cephalopod chortled, releasing a viscous yellow fluid that oozed off the potty into the waste basket.

"Don't you see?" It asked. "I'm your replacement." It moved into position just above the flush handle. "And this way, you don't have to flush anymore. I'll do it for you."

"What's a flush?" I asked.

The introduction of the Cephalopod on the Potty marked a new era for the boy's restroom. We call this era the Paleogooey era. It is identified in the layers on the mirror by whitening toothpaste full of small rodents and razor handles.

During this era, we uncovered seven new species formerly unknown to science - all of them rotifers, all of them visible without the use of a microscope. One species in particular had undergone the evolutionary process known as cephalization, which, for those of you unversed in the ways of quack science, is what happened to Cody a few years back. This new species was politically active, and, after a brief power struggle with the boys downstairs, established themselves as the rulers of the restroom, which was okay with us, because, under their leadership, the pond scum unclogged the shower drain. Now that's results.

There are two sinks in our restroom. One of them releases milky water, the other releases clear brown water. We use the milky water for shaving and the brown water for brushing.

We were able to coexist with our flora and fauna friends for the duration of the Paleogooey era. With the emergence of predators, however, we were forced into the Mesogooey era, marked by fossilized rodents and mollusks with faces contorted into expressions of agony.

As with most things in the restroom, predators came in all sizes, shapes, and textures. Some hung from the ceiling and dropped down on passing prey. Some hid in the medicine cabinet and leaped out when the door opened in order to scare people. Some drank the shampoo. Some drank other things. Irritated by these pests, the rotifers declared war on the predators, and marshaled their subjugated life forms into an army.

The battle was fought on the only surface dry enough for organisms that couldn't swim: the countertop. The leaders of both armies stood on bars of soap facing each other and exchanged threats and boasting. Then a dreadful melee occurred, during which more progress was done toward sanitizing the restroom than had ever been achieved in its entire cumulative history.

This astounding record notwithstanding, the rotifers were badly defeated and had to beat a hasty retreat to the liquid soap dispenser, where they negotiated a surrender on very unfair terms. The subjugated organisms gave up their weapons and returned to their homes and families. The normal rotifers were allowed to leave, but had to respect strict lifestyle regulations including taxes on all commerce, curfew, and observance of a no-fly zone. The leading rotifers were sold into slavery to the boys downstairs. The president of the restroom was tortured to death by slow roasting. This was achieved by an ingenious device fabricated just for the purpose by a clever but very rude fungus who used Ryan's contact lenses to magnify the sun's rays (this was back when the window over the shower could still admit light).

The Mesogooey era brought about a number of changes. We had to remove the shower mat because it was a breeding ground for some of the larger, toothier predators. This required special diving and pulling equipment, and a paper barf bag. We also had to put padlocks on the shampoos and conditioners because various grubs were holding conventions in the bottles. We received a petition signed by several thousand shower scum demanding that we remove the sanitizer from under the sink, which we obeyed with great alacrity. There's nothing worse than angry shower scum.

One day we discovered some mushrooms growing behind the potty. These were of a species we styled Fungi Loganhercium, though obviously it is impossible to know exactly who the ancestor was without DNA testing. Though we had been through a lot, we were upset by these mushrooms and decided that something had to be done about them. But I digress.

About this time, we discovered that the white stuff we had been using actually wasn't toothpaste, and the Mesogooey era came to an end. This ushered in the Neogooey era, marked by small mammals and fungi in various embarrassing and scandalous positions. The Neogooey era established a sort of balance. The predators roam free about the restroom, but try to avoid making us so bothered that we actually notice. The rotifers lead an underground resistance, and we can sometimes hear them engaging in strategic sabotage of predator strongholds, or breaking into weapons caches, which left us without basic hygiene equipment for the next day. The creepy crawlers used an all-natural substance to caulk the counter and shower at no charge.

As for the males, we get by with improvisation. Sometimes this means drying off clipped fingernails from the floor to replace stolen hygienic tools. Sometimes this means engaging in eloquent diplomatic and mediatory negotiations while doing one's business. Sometimes this means air drying after a shower, and sometimes it means using the threadbare rags under the sink - the ones with letters smeared across them.

The Cephalopod on the Potty has become a household favorite. He is calm, patient, and wise, to say nothing of being an excellent confidante and advisor, particularly in woman matters. Every morning, as I shower off the night's growth, I tell the Cephalopod on the Potty my troubles, and he invariably comes up with a maxim that sums up just how badly I have been screwed.

If we really wanted it, we could clean our restroom. We could contract with war lords from distant, despotic governments and purchase illegal biological weapons in exchange for national secrets. We could sterilize the restroom and rebuild from the crawl space up. There are two reasons we do not.

First, if we were caught, we would go to jail, and when we got back, we'd be grounded for a month. Second, we have grown to know and love the organisms that make up the restroom community. Sure, it's less than sanitary. Sure, there are unfriendly creatures. Sure, it's the kind of thing bachelors do. But this restroom has something all those clean ones don't: character. Both to the young males of the family and to millions of others, this restroom is home.


some chick said...

that is disgusting. and you wonder why it is that you can't manage to find a girlfriend who will put up with you...

mommy g said...

yes, disgusting, but one of my favorites, too.

Fredric said...

Come on, leave the guy alone. Having naturally occurring biological assistance for bathroom maintenance is actually quite practical.

Seeing that many of the bathroom-dwellers are aquatic, I might have to look into cultivating fictional bathroom cleaner packs (check out liveaquaria.com for real-life aquarium cleaner packs).