So I went into these pretty swank offices on a recent trip and my bowels were knocking down the doors. After hurrying and running to a stall, I quickly realized I didn’t know what to do. Before me was a toilet at an ever-so-slight downward angle, with something like a control panel attached to the right side of the toilet (when sitting down). My bowels didn’t care about buttons and I didn’t have time to waste so I quickly used a seat cover and sat down.
The first surprise was that I didn’t need a seat cover. In the winter, I normally cover toilet seats with toilet paper or use seat covers because the seat is cold and, just like losing your appetite, the cold seat makes me lose the ability to go. It’s like instant constipation.
But this seat was pleasantly warm, like using the toilet above a pleasant fire—the perfect advert. No more worrying about leaving the fireplace to go use the freezing toilet. We’ve taken the fireplace and put it underneath your commode. J
The second thing I noticed was that by pressing buttons, I could adjust the temperature of my seat. Surprise, surprise. But no need to do that. I was warm enough to read the novel “War and Peace” from cover to cover in one sitting, one literal sitting.
And just as I was about to get up, I noticed the other controls. One control button had a picture of a person that said “Rear cleansing High Pressure.” At first I was confused and thought I was in a woman’s washroom Then, I realized I was in a men’s washroom but some how this thing, this machine was offering to assist me in cleaning myself. Now, if you haven’t traveled widely enough, there are places and regions of the world where, instead of toilet paper you use a hose next to the toilet or when you go to the pit latrine, you carry a kettle of water and use that to clean yourself. It’s not my preference because of the issue of drying and the many animals that like to help you dry yourself. But it happens. Some of you have probably only ever used toilet tissue to clean yourself. Well, this machine, this toilet thing was offering to use water to do it. In Egypt many of the toilets have this, but . . . I have never been to Egypt.
For some reason, I didn’t see the other button with a picture of a person and a fountain splashing his bum with the words “Soft pressure” and so I pressed the “High Pressure” picture and was so unbelievably uncomfortable I screamed out “Aaaah!” And before other men in the restroom could throw strange looks to my stall I said “My wallet, I FOUND IT!!” all why being pummeled with water from somewhere inside my toilet. Thank goodness it was warm. I couldn’t tell if it had cleaned away bits and pieces, but I needed to stop it because I was quickly losing consciousness.
I hit stop. I decided not to try the button that had a picture of a woman above a fountain and said “Front Cleansing.” There was one more picture-button. It looked like a wave, and it was blue. I wasn’t sure but I thought I could see a little sign next to it saying “Stop killing our planet and save trees.” So out of guilt, I pressed it and immediately began to laugh from the air that was attempting to dry my bum. “Hee hee, hoo hoo harr.”
I realized that, through my stall walls, the men in the washroom had stopped talking, so I quickly said “Man that was a funny story. I’ll call you later.” Then I made a beep sound but realized phones don’t make beep sounds when you hang up. Mental note.
I quickly wiped with toilet tissue because I didn’t trust the air-dry system and walked out with confidence mouthing the words “important phone call.” I decided I’ll use the normal toilets next time. (Incidentally my friend John Knight has a show Macho Metro Man coming out this spring, and I think the toilets are perfect for one of his minority macho metro men.)
The local news station was interviewing an 80-year-old lady because she had just gotten married for the fourth time. The interviewer asked her questions about her life, about what it felt like to be marrying again at 80, and then about her new husband's occupation. "He's a funeral director," she answered.
"Interesting," the newsman thought.
He then asked her if she wouldn't mind telling him a little about her first three husbands and what they did for a living. She paused for a few moments, needing time to reflect on all those years. After a short time, a smile came to her face and she answered proudly, explaining that she had first married a banker when she was in her 20's, then a circus ringmaster when in her 40's, and a preacher when in her 60's, and now - in her 80's - a funeral director.
The interviewer looked at her, quite astonished, and asked why she had married four men with such diverse careers.
(Wait for it)
She smiled and explained,
"I married one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go."
Not much is going on for me at the moment. I just came back from a trip to Iceland followed directly by a trip to California. It’s been a really good time of seeing people and reconnecting with people. I’m sorry I missed some really good friends (TJ, Jeremy, Omair, Praj, Stephanie) but glad I was able to see Kaitlin (my friend who is always thinking and forever pushing forward with her love for music), Teresa (my discussion buddy), Josh (step brother), Cheryl (kindred spirit but with more muscles), Angel (blood sister who is interested in exactly the same things as me).
Sometimes it’s funny seeing friends like that because I really forget that I went to school with a lot of movers and shakers. My friend Angel has just co-founded her own start-up, and to be honest, she has all the right skills and experience for the job. Kaitlin is one of the few people I knew who still inspires me; she’s pursuing her love of music and making it work via education with kids. I love that. I really forget that Josh is big stuff now. He is a director of international giving for a foundation, he’s the co-founder/mentor of an accelerator programme, and he’s now an author. On top of that, he’s one of those guys that downplays it all. That’s Josh. Cheryl still has a love for international missions work and is pursuing body sculpting at the moment. What impresses me most is that she becomes more herself each time I see her. That is hard to do in today’s environment.
At home, I am seeing crisis-pregnancy/miscarriage/post-abortion clients a majority of the time I work at the centre. I’m still helping advise a few non-profits and social enterprises, and I’m still working with ex-offenders and helping someone with a learning disability find gainful employment. My mentorship programme with 2 university students is ending but I will probably keep in touch with them both. They were great students. And just two days ago a student in India emailed to ask if he could work with me on his aerospace engineering thesis. I was shocked but was open to it; he happened to read a paper I wrote a few years ago. Now that I don’t have a lot of trips planned, I can start up my music lessons on the ukulele and work on the accordion (I have a kids one, and it’s really cool). I’ll keep you posted on all that.
As usual, I deal with lots of thwarted attempts. The North American Actor’s Guild here will not take me due to some professional requirements; I can work professionally at night but not during the day and that doesn’t work for them. So I have to revisit my plan on the acting scene here. The IDEO.org fellowship didn’t choose me, again, this year and only told me because I sent an email asking to visit their offices since I was in California. I haven’t heard from a lot of other people. When I was in California, however, a group called TechSoup Global has been interested in talking. I also tried to visit Khan Academy while out there but didn’t get any email contact with them until I landed back home. But it is nice to be in contact. I think I’d like to use them if I go back to the math classroom.