Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Stuart’s another writer-slash-office-slave who toils away on the other end of the plantation, so I don’t run into him that often. When I do, he’ll have some amusing anecdote to share.

Last week he was telling me about how he enjoys zinging the pompous partner with wiseass remarks. Something about the partner returning from minor orthoscopic surgery, and Stuart asking him how the hysterectomy went. It was audacious and funny, but at the time, I just kinda nodded and said nothing.

A minute later, I told Stuart that the only time the partner ever talked to me was when the schmo struck up a conversation in the men’s room. How it was weird that he decided to get chatty while we were both taking a piss. Then Stuart understood why I was so laconic a moment ago. "Oh," he said. "And I was just talking to you at the urinal, wasn’t I?"

So when I saw Stuart the next day, he started to launch into another story, but hesitated. Why? Because we ran into each other at the men’s room again. What, are we on the same bladder schedule? "Oh," he said. "I remember. You don’t like to talk at the urinal."

Like this is some kinda strange foible of mine. No, I’ve got plenty of personal peculiarities.

For example, I won’t sleep in the same room as a plant. Not even a plastic one. I’ve mentioned this before. If you saw Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Day of the Triffids, you’d understand.

Also, I don’t like fruits that start with the letter P. Not because of their spelling; it just works out that way. Don’t care for peaches, plums, pears, papaya, pomegranates, persimmons. Pineapple’s the worst -- yecch.

And when I enter any running competition, I prefer that my race number not be prime. Just a silly superstition. My last half-marathon, they offered me #647. Hmm… did some quick math in my head... Uh... could I wait and take 648 instead?

But I don’t think this bathroom thing is just me. It’s common courtesy. Universal men’s room etiquette. The unwritten understood code of male bonding: When the schvantz comes out, the mouth stays shut.

"Yeah, I know," Stuart said. But I still think he considers me crazy. ‘Cause his story had to do with uptight fetishes about bathrooms.

Seems he was at a sports stadium, waiting on a long line to use the men’s room. Ahead of him was a father with his kid. And this dad was SuperGermophobe. You know the type. Telling his son don’t touch this, don’t touch that. Germs-germs-germs-germs!

It’s one thing to teach the little rugrat not to use discarded cigarette butts as chewing gum, it’s another to get the tyke completely paranoid about those insidious microbes. The way Stuart described the situation, it sounded like Pops was Dick Cheney and germs were the WMDs -- ya can’t see ‘em, but they’re definitely there and deadly as hell, boy...

George Carlin had a great bit about this. How some people are so nuts about antisepticising everything, they wind up getting sick even more often. Because they’ve mollycoddled their immunity system. George preferred to give his a workout once in a while. Sit on that toilet seat, he ranted. Eat something off the floor. Don’t let those white blood cells become a buncha pussies.

Well, Dirt-Fearing Daddy didn’t even wanna use one of the toilets ‘cause it was too cramped inside the stalls. His son might end up -- gasp! -- touching the door or something.

Instead, they went to the trough. In case you don’t know what I mean, it’s exactly that -- a long metal or porcelain basin at which guys line up, stand there and fire away. The trough usually has a running stream of water to wash everything into a drain... otherwise it’d be even more disgusting.

But Germophobe Junior wasn’t tall enough for the trough, so Pops hoisted him up so the kid’s teenyweenypeeny would reach over the edge. And as the little dude was leaking away... the father lost his grip... and dropped the kid into the trough.

Holy shit. That’s enough to traumatize anyone, but after being raised by the Sultan of Sterility...

Stuart told me the father quickly pulled him back out. The kid was soaking wet with -- ugh, I don’t even wanna think about it -- just hope he had a dry change of clothes... but he wasn’t hurt. At least not physically.

I tell ya, as crazy as Stuart might think I am... that poor kid is gonna need years of therapy.


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