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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Ask a Simple Question, Get a Septic Answer

Sometimes simple questions have more… challenging answers.

Take this morning, for instance, when my wife returned from her yoga class and asked:

Why is the inside of the bathroom door wet?

It’s a simple question. Not even a dozen syllables. You might think — as she apparently did — that it comes with an equally simple answer.

But no. It’s a far more twisted tale than that.

To understand the dampness of the bathroom door, I told her, you need to understand a few things first. About me. And the calendar. And men. And fashion trends. And successful marketing campaigns. And patterns in mid-20th century Western architecture planning.

(She walked away, because she’s smart like that.

But she’s also the curious type. So she came back. And I explained, thusly.)

First, I am not a ‘morning person’. What happened in the bathroom occurred in the morning, and as such, I can’t claim to have been thinking clearly at any point during the proceedings. That’s not a disclaimer; it’s just fact.

Second, it’s the weekend, and men — or this man, for starters — tend to be a little lazy on the weekends. We like to enjoy a comfortable day of lounging, napping, drinking, maybe watching a few innings of baseball or some light low-impact grilling, nothing too strenuous.

(She’s well familiar with her husband’s uselessness vis a vis the weekend, she informed me. But what the hell does this have to do with the bathroom door?

Patience, pet. We’re getting to that.)

Now, one of the chief lazinesses a man — or woman, for that matter — can enjoy on the weekend is ‘dressing down’. No fancy shirt or pressed slacks, ties and starch and monkey suits be damned. The weekend is the one time we can throw off the chains of societal business expectations and have a little comfort, for once.

“You haven’t ironed a shirt since the Carter administration, and if there’s any starch in your entire wardrobe, it’s that French fry you sat on at dinner last night.”

(Look, she said. You go to work every day in shorts and a rugby. Jeans in the winter. You haven’t ironed a shirt since the Carter administration, and if there’s any starch in your entire wardrobe, it’s that French fry you sat on at dinner last night. Would you please tell me what happened to the door?)

One of the chief weapons in the dresser-downer’s arsenal is a pair of athletic shorts. Unlike those binding formal ‘business shorts’ that one wears to the office, with their belt loops and pockets and khaki-down austerity, athletic shorts are simple. Freeing. Unfettered. Lightweight cotton angels that flutter around your ankles after a weekend morning shower, and gently nestle up to keep you marginally presentable for all of your daily activities — whether you find yourself on the couch, back in bed, stretched on a Barcalounger, or simply lying in the floor basking in the brief not-weekdayness of life.

(Some people may call that last one ‘drunk’. I say it’s ‘basking’. To-MAY-to, To-MAH-to.)

Of course, the one thing that athletic shorts don’t usually have is a ‘fly’. Which brings us back to the ‘laziness’ bit again.

See, some of those weekend activities are thirsty work. And if one drinks, one eventually has to go to the bathroom. And if one is going to the bathroom without the aid of a ‘fly’, one has three choices for the process:

  • One could sit. But one does not sit.
  • One could ‘pull down‘, and expel over the rim of the pants, or:
  • One could ‘hike up‘ from one side, and shoot, as it were, through a leg hole.

Those are the options. I didn’t make the rules. And I didn’t design the pants. I just wear them every weekend, and whenever I work out. Also, when I’m sick. Or the doorbell rings before 8am, and I have to try to look half-human before I answer it.

I think I can speak for most athletic-short-wearing men when I saw that we’ve tried the latter ways. Both of them, and multiple times. But we each have our preference. Some guys are ‘pullers’. Me, I’m a ‘hiker’. There’s no particular shame in either method. Different strokes for different folks, idiomatically speaking. Strictly idiomatically speaking.

(Oh lord, she groaned. I think I see where this is going.

Well shhh, I told her. Don’t spoil the ending. Somebody might still be reading.)

So, at the crack of some-hour-or-other this morning, I groggily made my way into the bathroom, called by nature, and hiked. It’s a maneuver I’ve performed many times over a number of years, and it’s never taken an unfortunate turn before. But this time, my hitch had a hike. Because of fashion trends, apparently.

I’m a boxer man. No briefs, no boxer briefs, for-the-love-of-god no Speedo briefs, and ‘commando’ only in the gravest of laundry emergencies. To prevent just such an emergency, I recently bought some new pairs of underboxers. They’re the same as my others in size, shape and snazzy plaid pattern, but there is one important difference. These boxers have a tight-stitched hem around the bottom of each pant-sleeve. All of the other boxers I’ve worn in the last twenty-plus years have straight loose legs. These have a hem. As such, they cannot be hiked. The boxers are unhikable.

I failed to notice, or even conceive, such a thing as I stepped to the bowl this morning. And — thanks to a very successful radio, print and TV ad campaign — I’d had three bottles of Vitamin Water since eleven the night before. Because they’ve convinced me — possibly subliminally — that their product is healthy, beneficial, Earth-friendly, tasty, cures hangovers, wards off demons, and probably other claims that haven’t been triggered in my neuronal cortex yet. It may also be The Best Stuff on Earth, though certain parts of my cerebellum are still fighting that out with the ones that prefer it when we drink tea.

The point is, I had to GO. With a capital ‘OOOOOH‘. And so, it was a confluence — a perfect storm, if you will — of circumstances, including innate laziness, common male habits, the recent change in underwear fashions, beverage industry trends and yes, 20th century architecture — ever notice how the toilet is always right next to the door in all of these converted brownstones? — that led, ultimately, to the dampness of the bathroom door.

Are you suggesting“, she asked, “that the inside of our bathroom door is wet because YOU PEED ON IT?

Heavens, dear — no! Of course not. Don’t be ludicrous.

Well, that’s a relief. Because I thought–

The door’s wet because I washed it off AFTER I peed on it. You can’t just leave pee on a door, honey. What, were you raised in a barn?

So that’s the answer. You might’ve thought it would be simple. But things don’t always turn out that way. Meanwhile, my wife’s taken to using the neighbor’s toilet and has instructed me to NOT answer any questions that she asks me, ever again.

I’m sure we’ll forget. So I’ll just make this story the homepage on our computers. Yes. That seems best for everyone.

Permalink  |  1 Comment



One Response to “Ask a Simple Question, Get a Septic Answer”

  1. ema says:

    I guess it was the floor, but I totally believe that, I am a man too ;)

    Really funny

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