Monday, March 16, 2009

everyone wipes

On my way to the office this morning I was proud of myself for remembering to stop at the bathroom before walking down the hall to my office. The usual routine is this: getting to my office, sitting down to the computer, getting started on something, then realizing it's going to have to wait while I trot back down the hall to the bathroom.

Amidst the sense of pride, however, was this lingering feeling that my time in the bathroom would be wasted time. I can't really grade papers in the bathroom (well, I could, but that seems an unnecessary cruelty), I can't do any computing, I don't want to call anyone (there's the flush, then the pause, as you both realize that you thought enough of that person to talk to them while sitting on the can)...what to do? It occurred to me briefly that I should have someone else doing my work while I was in the bathroom, thus saving a few minutes time. You know, bottlenecks and efficiency and all that. Ask the secretary to do something, a graduate assistant, or something to that effect. But it's too early. No one was here.

Of course, all of this played through my mind in about the time it took to pick my stall.

But once settled into my business I began to interpret the situation a little differently. Rather than wasted time, the time became precious. My time. Time that I don't need to do anything, and certainly time I can't feel guilty about for not doing it. After all, nature called.

Then, finishing up, I had a minor epiphany: Everyone wipes.

Yup. That's it. Everyone wipes. It doesn't matter how busy you are, how many things on your mind, how important you are, how many people depend on you...ya still gotta wipe. That dude you're trying to talk you into giving you a job? Has to wipe. Your big client? Wipes himself. Your CEO? Wipes. The president? Also wipes. Himself.

Yup. Everyone. Nature's call...perhaps the most egalitarian of human institutions (ignoring sex difference, for the moment). And I find that immensely comforting somehow.

It's been an intellectually clear morning.


vfg said...

Memorized years ago:
"No matter what we are and who,
Some things everyone must do.
A poet puts aside his wreath
To wash his face and brush his teeth,
And even Earls Must comb their curls,
And even Kings Have underthings."
-Arthur Guiterman

14-year-old me was much inspired.

vfg said...

My girls, less so, when I tried to explain to them during potty training that no, they weren't going to grow out of the need...

Even kings have underthings.

UtRider said...

I have a t-shirt (that I wore to work last Friday and again on Saturday) given to me by my brother Paul that says "Everybody poops.". It also has a graphic of an elephant and donkey. Basically the precursor to everybody wipes. The kids love it.

I love my iPhone in the bathroom. In fact, I posted this comment on my phone and, coincidentally, finished this while seated on the can at home.

UtRider said...

Actually it says "Everyone poops" and again, coincidentally, that is exactly what I am doing now. Just remember to set the phone down before wiping and don't pick it up until your hands are washed.

Oh, and you can call me anytime. A call from the stall shows how much (not how little) you care!

KanyonKris said...

It's safer to go with "everyone poops". Not sure bidets are considered wiping, but close enough I guess.

Annie Weight said...

Sorry to break it to you Nathan, but not everyone wipes, or poops in the sense you all are thinking. As a physician, I often see patients who have a bag of stool draining on their belly, or other people who haven't eaten a morsel of food in 3 years! (It all comes in through their veins) These conditions, that lead to the lack of wiping, are very isolating. In general they hate it. Maybe part of the reason is that they have been removed from the fraternity of wipers. At the core, they have been evicted from the dirtiest of tasks and they hate it.
So be glad for wiping and for that freetime you have and revel in the brotherhood of wipers.

Annie Weight said...

That previous comment was by me Chris Weight, my daughter uses my account for her blog, lest you think my sweet 8 year old girl would be capable of such filthly discourse.

Greg said...

Nathan, I seem to remember some Andean women who would just squat in the street, do their business, and go on their merry way. I don't think there was any wiping going on. Point taken, however.