When I screw up and do something stupid, I like to look for meaning in it afterwards, so I can convince myself that I've learned something. Even gained greater insight into the nature of the universe. Our species has the ability to obtain knowledge, and pass what we've learned unto others. This is one of the things that separates us from the lesser beasts of the Earth--the chimps, the earth worms, the Chief Executive Officers.
I'll tell ya though, I find myself working hard to find greater meaning in my latest boneheaded stunt.
It happened early Saturday morning. I awoke, feeling great and excited about having a weekend, something else that separates Home Sapiens from the chimps, the earth worms, and the Chief Executive Officers (although to be fair, CEOs are working hard to eliminate this evolutionary advantage).
I went into the bathroom with a song in my heart, and did some typical preening/refreshing stuff for a man in the bathroom on a Saturday morning. I finished off with the use of the toilet.
As the toilet was flushing, I accidentally knocked a stick of deodorant off my sink. It dropped into the bowl, where the water was just disappearing.
Anybody who has ever been in a car accident knows about the weird phenomena of time slowing down just before impact. You know you're about to get hit, and then you get about two hours in some mystic place outside the normal space/time continuum to contemplate what's about to happen. It feels like you have enough time to get out of the car, walk down the street, grab a burger, and come back again before the impact. But this time is only for tormenting you. Though it feels like you have time to do something about it, the moment you try to avert disaster, you instantly drop back in real time.
This is what I felt as I watched that stick of Mennen Speedstick rattle around at the bottom of the toilet. And when I snapped out of it, of course it was gone.
Somewhere deep in my toilet.
In a place I really did not want to venture into.
So I did what any rational human being would do. I stomped through my apartment cursing my toilet, frightening the cat. What a way to start a weekend. My tantrum was a little unfair on the toilet too. After all, it was just following instructions. It was my fault it had the wrong cargo.
I have a plumber's snake, but I couldn't seem to make contact with the deodorant. I immediately went out and bought a plunger, not the way I normally choose to spend my Saturday mornings. I was hoping I could either force the deodorant back up, or maybe even further down. The thing about a stick of deodorant in relation to your plumbing (only I have ever had reason to think about this) is that the deodorant isn't very big. It's not enough to dam up the plumbing entirely, just block it up a bit. I hoped, not too optimistically, that maybe it was small enough to get through the pipes entirely, and puzzle the employees of a sewage treatment plant five miles away.
The plunger failed to bring it back up. It did however, bring up a small earring shaped like musical notes. The origin of this earring I could not say. It wasn't mine, and I know it didn't belong to my girlfriend or any female visitors I'd had in my apartment. And I'm pretty sure I didn't eat the earrings and pass it somehow.
After working the plunger some more, I gave and decided to take a chance.
I flushed the toilet.
The bowl flooded, but thankfully didn't overflow. Then the water began to slooooowly drain out of the bowl. When it was down to the end, I could hear the stick of deodorant rattle somewhere inside the toilet, like some fucked up maraca.
Another round of swearing. The cat was getting annoyed with me.
Obviously, the toilet was unusable. Suddenly I found out how spoiled we all are. We go into major depression when our Internet connection is cut off. Try living with the knowledge that you don't actually have any place to shit.
The only thing to do was to tell the superintendent. In our building, we have to fill out maintenance requests, and then hand them over. There's a part where you describe the work you need done. I realized there was no way to fill out this form without looking like an idiot, which helped take the pressure off.
I wrote down "While toilet was flushing, stick of deodorant fell in and became stuck." I didn't stuff it in the request box, because I knew that I would be explaining myself further.
I handed it to one of the superintendents, who read it and immediately said "WHAT?!" as if I had written "I need you to close the dimensional rift in my bedroom closet that is causing all the gremlins to escape into our plane of reality."
So I explained myself as quickly as possible, trying vainly to make it sound like deodorant sticks get stuck in toilets every day, and that it's really not that unusual a request. I don't think I convinced her. She did arrange to have a plumber come in while I was at work though. The plumber had to actually turn off the water, drain the toilet, and remove it from the floor before he could extract it.
When I came home, I was relieved to discover my toilet had been fixed. No small relief actually, because I really had to go when I got in, and didn't relish the idea using the bathtub for unnatural purposes. As I was using my newly restored porcelain beauty, I noticed the stick of deodorant, still wet, sitting on my bathroom sink. What, did the plumber think I wanted it back? I threw it in the garbage immediately. Thankfully no, uh, extra material was clinging to it. I used toilet paper to handle it and washed my hands after anyway.
Then, I immediately moved all objects not larger than a bowling ball at least five meters away from my toilet.
This whole thing was--let's get to it--really stupid of me. And like I said, I need to convince myself that some great cosmic truth was revealed to me through my act of stupidity, so it wasn't a total loss.
That's why I am choosing to see this whole incident as a commentary on the plight of humanity at the dawn of the 21st Century. How ironic it is in a world that grows ever more sophisticated daily, where vast stores of information are exchanged across the globe in a heartbeat and human cloning is a reality--that we've yet master the simpler technology. I have decided to see my toilet and my deodorant as a metaphor for the lonely individual struggling to keep pace with a world advancing out of control.
That's my story, and I can almost repeat it with a straight face.
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