Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: How many of these sins are really deadly?

"I hate these sin-themed clubs. "The Deadly Sins." "The Seven Sins Inn." Give me a break. They're all lust-themed. If you go in there you won’t find any terminally slow people. The girls dancing on the tables won’t be deeply envying anything about you – except possibly that you aren’t embarrassing yourself for tips, and even that will be kept private. Wrath? The bouncers have a strict policy against unnecessary aggression to prevent getting sued. Gluttony? Please, they won’t even let fat people in the door. It’s all lust, and lust isn’t even that deadly a sin. Usually it costs a couple hundred bucks or a dinner. If you're unlucky, it costs a broken heart or syphilis. If lust is getting you killed you’re doing it wrong, and probably so wrong it’s good that you’re out of the dating pool."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: G1 and G2

We stole this idea from Japanese cartoons. Reincarnation is huge over there, and they like to do series asking what it would be like if the Shinsengumi or some mythological characters were born again today. So we’re going to do that here, asking what it would be like if King Arthur’s court were all reincarnated today in the same state. I’m saying Montana, because that place is almost barren as it is, giving us plenty of spacious settings for giant-scale fight scenes. We’ll start off with it just being Arthur and his wingman, Lance. Natural birthing issues will intervene; use of forceps in Sir Galahad’s birth leave him clinically brain damaged, and Guinevere is divided into two monozygotic twins. The multiple Guinevere solves most of the Arthur/Lancelot love triangle, though I’m thinking G1 and G2 swap boys without telling them, just to mess with them. We can play it up if we’re optioned by one of the trashier channels.

Arthur and G2 wise up on the whole reincarnation thing and avoid disaster in future seasons by aborting Mordred.

The Holy Grail will be the trophy for the state football finals. The reincarnated Gawain will fulfill the legend of being the only one who reaches the grail by transferring to another school at the last minute and winning the thing. The last episode will focus on his retrospective, reading hard history on how Arthurian folklore was almost entirely bogus, leaving him to wonder how all these crazy stuff happened if they aren’t living an actual mythological cycle. He’s about to figure it out when he gets eaten by a dragon.

If it’s successful we’ll do a spinoff with the Founding Fathers. Ben Franklin will make an awesome cheerleader.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: A Thmale’s Pace

Currently it is not legal for same sex couples to exercise the privileges of different sex couples in many states. The biggest issue for many couples is a same sex partner not being allowed to visit his or her spouse in the hospital or make decisions for him or her when he or she is incapacitated. This legal right is reserved for different sex couples and is the topic of some dispute. For those trapped in this dispute I recommend not moving to some crazy hippie state, but simply inventing a new sex.

Take me. I am male, heterosexual and some day might get married. However, being rational and having great experience with many women, I have no desire to let one do whatever the heck she wants with me if I’m in a coma. Thus I will happily cohabitate with her, but will instead partner with a man – preferably a Quaker ACLU lawyer will study me like I’m the Bible in order to carry out whatever I might want.

But you may say, “Hogarth, this QuaCLU lawyer may be a male!”

True enough, but I will not be male for the marriage. Instead I will add some tufts of hair to new parts of the body (I’m thinking along the hamstrings and my collarbone), and add some new genitalia I’ve designed using a scented candle and half a bottle of Mountain Dew. Henceforth I will be a “thmale.” I won’t share the design because you might then steal it and copyright my personal form of sexual liberation.

When one studies the human body and realizes that the external differences are little more than the differences between an innie and an outie, it shouldn’t be too hard to invent your own gender at home, in the deli, or at an arts and crafts class.

Reproduction with your new sexual identity may be more difficult. I recommend adoption, and sterilizing your new genitalia before application. All the penicillin in the world won’t take the embarrassment out of explaining thmales to your doctor.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Philociraptor

The scariest thing about them is that they can open doors. That means at 2:00 AM one of these bipedal creatures can come busting into your dorm and lecture you on Kierkegard, and if your eyes glaze for even a second she can gut you with her retractable toe claw. The retractable toe claw is not unique to philociraptors, though most other species of philosophy professors are subtler about it, having taken to wearing more expensive shoes. My worst experience was when I thought I was stealthily avoiding one in line at the dining hall – he was terrorizing some freshmen about his upcoming Immanuel Kant seminar – and just as I passed the lime jell-o, ba’am, his teaching assistant got me from the side. They spent the entire lunch hour chewing my ear off about cloning and bio-ethics.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Chlorophyll is Green

The yellow man tapped his cigar on the plate, letting the ashes mingle with the remains of the red cuisine as he lectured, “Money is not the root of all evil, but in every story of evil there is a bill. Money is a conduit of evils. It links one state to another. You being hungry on the street can be linked to you eating pork roast in here by a Chinese fingertrap made from a rolled-up twenty. But you eating pork isn’t necessarily evil, nor is you paying someone to prepare it for you. That’s where the evil really gets in, you see, because there’s no evil in owning a gun. There’s no evil in walking to streets of Baltimore at midnight. Sometimes a gun is purchased with evil intentions, and sometimes you go out at night with evil intentions, so sometimes evil exists before the action. Sometimes you get carried away while the action is going on, and suddenly her painting is ruined. Sometimes you carry out the action with a mistake at the end, and the wrong man sits in the electric chair. Evil can be an accident, and evil can creep up at any point in it. Money so expedites things and so attracts the attention that the moral sense is dulled. But money isn’t the root. Money is the chlorophyll in the evil plant. It’s necessary to keep it going, but it’s just one part.”

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Obsessive Compulsive Order, OR, Love You, Deirdre

Husna Selznick suffers from many conflicts. She is a second-generation Pakistani immigrant that married a Russian Jew, a publishing agent that constantly tries to sell Literary novels to her contacts at big agencies, and a pork-lover that cooks Kosher for family. These conflicts, she says, are “arbitrary amusements” in the face of the one thing that has truly pursued her. Some call it Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, though if you mention the complex to her she will correct.

“It’s Obsessive Compulsive Order,” Husna says in her living room, minutes after vacuuming over the steps my socks made in her carpet. “I obsess. I am compelled. But I am obsessively compelled to order, and I know exactly what I’m doing.”

She has a series of hooks for brooms, moops, vacuums and steam devices on the back one of closet door to prove it.

Husna was diagnosed with OCD some twenty years ago. In her first series of treatments she realized much of her disorder was intentional.

“I liked things being clean. My compulsions were mostly conscious,” she explains. “Even when I was bitchy down on my knees re-grouting the kitchen, I was happier than I was thinking about fighting with Papa or figuring out credit bills. The funny thing was that afterwards all the stress was gone and I could react reasonably. Plus I actually felt happy. There’s a buzz to order.”

Aaron Selznick, Husna’s husband, adds, “Beats Zoloft.”

Aaron does not suffer from OCD or OCO, but claims to sympathize with it thanks to a life in Accounting. He likens her perfectly aligned series of clay doves on the living room windowsills (which she attended to twice during the interview) to the squeeze toy in his desk.

“When I get worked up over something, he tips something over,” she says, eyeing a part of the floor that looks as clean as any other part to the mortal eye.

During the interview Aaron, her husband, explained that she’d been very nervous to meet me and have a photo printed. When she got too nervous he simply squirted a little ketchup on the floor. When Husna was through yelling at him and scrubbing it, she didn’t feel any anxiety. They spent the rest of the night watching Monk.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Thirty-Three Wiswell Squats Next to the Shower

This is part of my exercise routine from last year, dropped when I realized a dozen doughnuts are much easier than a dozen laps. Thirty-three Wiswell Squats. I’m the only Wiswell that does them, so it’s actually a recessive feature of family, but names are important to me. Get the hand weights, squat bending the knees and pushing the chest out until your ass is parallel to the floor, then straighten back up to proper posture, moving your arms in semi-circles until the weights are high over your head. One makes you feel like an idiot. Thirty-two make you feel like you’re alive. Thirty-three, provided you stop on it, makes you feel like your body has fired you from the company. Legs turn to linguini, the arms ache, the back screams, and because you’re a Wiswell and never undertake exercise too far away from comfort, you flop onto bed. After a while you’ll catch your breath and be able to walk about decently, but if you doubt the Wiswell Squats took effect, take the stairs. The sudden feeling that gravity is auditing your records will give you faith in the exercise.

Thirty-three is my maximum before asthma kicks in, no matter how I pace myself. Last year I was doing three sets of thirty-three a day. Every other day. There are only so many audits a man can take.
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