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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Something Offbeat And Fun For A Change

This reblog  is a silly change from the goofiness going on in our government these days, and perhaps from my own realities, too. I don’t know about you, but all these political editorials I’ve been making are wearing me down. A respite from it is in order, even if for just a day or two.

I wrote this post about two years after the accident in which I lost my left arm. On the occasion of each anniversary of that accident, I tend to have some weird and not-so-nice memories of the scene. This post was an attempt to distract myself from all that, and it has some real merit, too. After all, the accident left me so physically beat up that, yes, just getting to the bathroom often felt like more than I could handle.

But, like everything else (so far), it’s something I now look back on and laugh. It originally appeared on another of my blogs, which I could only sporadically maintain. It’s still out there, if you care to visit:

Posted: September 15, 2014 in Bathroom Humor

A Tribute To The Simple Things

Lately, I’ve made it a point to acknowledge the spoils of humankind’s most simple discoveries which I’ve enjoyed but left unappreciated all my life. I’m not talking about drive-through banking, or instant coffee makers, or hot and fresh, home delivery pizza either.
While those things have their place, what I’m referring to goes back much, much farther, to the people who really made it all happen.

Perhaps I was placating my conscience a bit as I recently stepped out of a particularly long, hot shower and stated “I love indoor plumbing.”

I’ve said it other times too, such as after stepping out of the bathroom, flush with relief. While life does not revolve around the bathroom, it may well be the only place in which we find ourselves with a little extra time to think about things.

Given the setting, I’m sometimes compelled to think what on earth I would do if I still lived back in the days of the Cowboys and Indians, for whom no luxuries like indoor plumbing existed.
If digging a hole was the only viable option then, my romantic notion of how people lived in the old days was shattered.

But it probably shouldn’t be, considering that tools of the sort dentists used to extract teeth back then are suspiciously similar to those hanging above my workbench. Knowing this, it’s not a stretch for me to imagine that, like me, some of history’s greatest innovators have also done their best thinking in the bathroom. There, creative and uncensored minds are free to entertain thoughts that couldn’t otherwise be safely shared with the public at large.

My thoughts tend to be guided by the seasons, as experiences I’ve had then often bring them to mind. Now, for example, it’s mid-August, and it seems as if “back to school” this and “back to school” that is everywhere. But I like to think of fun things, and thinking of anything related to going back to school, for me, has little to no entertainment value at all.

Fast forward to springtime, however, and the feel of everything begins changing for the better. Yes, poison ivy begins blooming again, and so do dandelions. But the sweet smell of freedom begins to fill the air once again; school is nearly out, and summer break is about to begin.

Granted, it’s been over thirty years since grade school. Even so, each May the anticipation of another marvelous summer vacation still creeps into my mind, for it is then my truly fun, real world education occurred. English? Math? Reading? Boring! Amusement park rides, barbecuing, bicycles, and the like were my idea of homework.

So, whether you are referring to indoor plumbing or roller coasters, you’ll find they all had – and still have– one thing in common. That is, their reliance on the simplest, yet most important discoveries of our earliest ancestors. Pencils and pens and notebook paper instead of hammers, chisels, and cave walls.

But nobody (but me) pays homage to this notion, and why would we?. Such thoughts are overshadowed by the bright glare of fresh, new school clothes and cool sneakers, and school supplies, which are advertised ad nauseum by retailers hungry for sales.
During those frenzied back-to-school spending orgies, for instance, who is likely to remember that written communications originated when early man first scribbled things on walls within the safe confines of some hole in a cave they happened to call home?

Given the nonexistence of D-cell powered flashlights, this could never have been accomplished without the benefit of firelight, something they’d probably learned from the people in the cave next door. Then, early Man eventually learned from others that not only could they keep warm and cook the sinewy raw wild boar they’d grown used to choking down for eons, but that they could actually see it with firelight.

Where, you may be wondering, were women were all this are going on? Well, they were there, but they were called “Man,” too. For some reason, it took a long, long time before that fact pissed them off enough to do something about it, and rightly so.

Anyway, inventing all this stuff didn’t come easy for man, and it didn’t happen overnight. But without it, where would we be? Speechless, in the dark, and eating raw food, I suppose.

That was then; but how about now? What good would clothes be without buttons, zippers, and shoelaces? We’d probably find ourselves standing barefoot, bare chested, and bare-assed with our pants around our ankles.

All of these things – and so much more – we owe to our human ancestors, for whom the invention of the shovel was a major innovation, too, because it sure beat the hell out of digging a latrine barehanded. It ushered in, I suppose, a brand and grand new day, during which man – albeit while squatting over a hole – now had a great deal more time to think about what to do next.

But does any of this show up on billboards or television commercials to remind us of how thankful we should be for the accomplishments of our forefathers and mothers? I doubt it. Consider how primitive we may now think of things as having been at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Then, pull-chain toilets with overhead tanks were the latest and greatest. Or, unlike today’s fancy pants with zippers or even Velcro, new and novel button-fly trousers and suspenders were once all the rage.

So, it seems we’ve come full circle and find ourselves back where we began; in the bathroom. And even though our business in there remains largely the same, we can find dramatic changes in the way we actually do business.

In many public restrooms today, we only need to step away from the toilet after we’re finished before the thing automatically flushes. The sink, hand soap, and paper towel dispenser are likely automated, too.
There is an old adage that claims some of our greatest thinking occurs in the bathroom. If it’s true, I imagine all this extra free time now will make ours a much greater society than ever. In fact, it shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that my inspiration for this blog entry first came to me in the bathroom.

Greatest thinking, huh? Now, if only I can get my desk and my laptop in there, my writing just may become better than ever. Maybe someday, it’ll even be possible for me to automate that, too. It sounds a whole lot better than scratching on cave walls by firelight.

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