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It was with some degree of reticence and following a great deal of pondering on it that I decided to wade into the kind of shitty subject that only someone like Rhythmic could broach and present to all and sundry out there. Yup, it’s about derrieres and their emissions and the selective process taken by one and all with regard to ‘mopping up’, as it were.

Different stokes for different folks’ is one of Java’s standard responses that covers all sorts of stuff, but even metaphorically speaking, this would apply appropriately in a very literal way. I remember as a wee tyke, my mum would always encourage the wet wipe after the dry one – the method was simple enough – damp some folded toilet paper (one sheet would not make the trip) and clean off whatever traces remained after the initial ‘dry’ attempt. This worked very well – until boarding school.

I would imagine that most school hostels, in Sri Lanka, at any rate – from the prestigious ones, right down the line – must all have pretty shitty toilets. Ours was no different and I had a helluva time at the start just being able to enter the premises, as the smell was pretty overpowering (to put it mildly), and then there were the wet floors – not all of the wetness due to water either. Most of the walls of the individual units had all sorts of stains on them – most of it from fingers trailing shite on the surface and a lot more that had to be ejaculative impressions from kids with hormones pumping and many of them with nowhere else to deposit the accumulations.

Anyway, at the very start I couldn’t handle it and sometimes went for days without dumping my load, although I did manage to sneak into either the sick-room toilet, the one in the swimming pool premises, or the staff toilet (and woe betide getting nabbed in that one), all of which had commodes instead of the ‘squatters’ that were par for the course in the main toilet block of the school – affectionately known as ‘the lavos’. Of course there was no such ‘extra’ as toilet paper (known as ‘bromo-paper’ in those days) and the few kids that brought their own were soon cured of the habit, as all manner of appropriate nick-names would be instantly devised (of which more than a few stuck through their entire school experience – and even after!). ‘Washing’ was standard and the modus operandi would be to find one of the four or five large ‘tins’ (usually used and discarded powdered milk cans) in various states of disintegration and fill it up to take with you into your unit for washing after the job was done. If there was no ‘tin’ available, you would have to knock on one of the occupied units and tell the occupant what the number your unit was, so he could fill the tin up after doing his thing and slide it under the door for you. Some of the ‘tins’ leaked, so you would have to either act like the Dutch boy and the leaking dyke, or finish your ‘business’ before the entire contents trickled out along the floor and into the squatter that you bestrode on your haunches – which meant that you would have to do a nude walk with a shitty bum and fill it up yourself. That, or hope for some Good Samaritan to pass by and ask for the favour of replenishing the empty ‘tin’. I’m still shuddering – just from the thoughts!

Then there’s the anthropological slant on this. I’m told that Arabs and other Moslems living in desert regions shave around their anuses for two reasons. One was due to the shortage of water, so ‘wiping’ was either with sand or some other means available to them and the other is because they all have their heads just behind the asses of the guys in front of them when they do their worshipping number. Maybe someone knowledgeable about these cultural traditions (RD?) could either confirm this or diss it as a bunch of crap?

It also seems to me that Asians – particularly the poorer folk – have this weird value system when it comes to hygiene and although this is a pretty much of a generalisation (like ‘all Jews are stingy’, kinda number), it does seem that bathing and keeping clean is rather high on our cultural conditioning scale – so much so that wiping with paper to them is ‘unhygienic’, but on the other hand, the general state of their toilets is at the other extreme. Is that weird? Public toilets in Sri Lanka, or for that matter in most of South Asia, are the pits!

There is, however, hope for us, as more recently I find that most of the rest houses and smaller restaurants have upped their standards considerably – and the advent of the bidet-spray has made all the difference, which means for the most part, no more stained and yucky looking plastic bowls that one is reluctant to handle in the absence of toilet paper. Perhaps it is time for more inventive and functional design of commodes – for instance a development like a built in ass-washer that precedes the flushing operation – one that shoots a gentle spurt of water to the precise location (RD will have to have the heater built in for them chaps and chicks in the UK – so no more excuses about the weather and all that shit to avoid a decent cleanup). I’m pretty certain the successful designer of such a contraption will make a considerable fortune – and who cares if it is based on shit!

And so those are a few of my thoughts stemming from that groundbreaking post that RD, pretty as you please, dumped on us unsuspecting readers of his ‘never a dull moment’ blog. And at the risk of sounding gross and vulgar, I kinda expect more to follow suit, with maybe some insights that may just wipe those traces of ‘squeam’ off the faces (I did resist the temptation to be punny there, okay RD, DJ?) of the offended.

As Java put it:

Shheeet happens maaan – yo jus gotta know how to clean it up right.


July 2007
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Ephemeral Ruminations by Java Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
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