October 01, 2010

Art can be wet sometimes

First there was this big bang, then a drop of chicken soup fell somewhere and all things great and small came forth (it had to be chicken soup – if it was pea soup we’d all be vegetables). From all that came forth, the man bit stood upright, picked up a lumpy stick and beat every other creature over the head, stuck it on the barbeque, and ate it. Then he created a brick, a wheel and a fire-stick, religion and art. He fought disease, got a phone and started a stock market – which crashed.

That’s the condensed version of the history of the world.

And immediately after man stood upright, woman stood behind him and said: “For Neanderthal’s sake – how many times must I tell you…” mercifully cut short by two dull thuds: the first when club met skull, the next when she met earth. Strangely, in modern times, this effective form of marital communication is sometimes frowned upon. Which leads to a whole set of new problems.

Look, I'm a man – I know this because I check every morning. Being a man, I have certain built in defects - it's a given. This will never change. The wife loves that about me - it gives her something to work at for the rest of her life.

And as a man, I am defined by certain quirkish (yes, that’s my own word) traits that set me apart from her: some are not pretty, a couple remind of cave-dwelling days, but on the whole, most of it is downright brilliant from where I’m standing. They are what makes me me. And being me very much helps… me. “No dear, I didn’t forget to put them in the cupboard. I put them where I found them… because I left them there earlier… for convenient retrieval, later.”

And no, it wouldn’t bug me in the least if she left her wondrous frillies lying about. No harm, no foul – it’s all good. I know it, I accept it, I’m a man.

I have four remotes and know which buttons do what. I have five chargers and I know exactly which five things they charge (no dear, it’s not a stupid phone – it’s a calculator). I drink beer and belch occasionally, I scratch my bum when it itches, I have meaningful conversations that last less than 20 seconds, I gel my hair (I must admit that one even confuses the dog), and I pee standing up!

And herein lies the art.

Yes, yes, of course you'd have something to say, you always do. You have an opinion – I know. You’re entitled to it – you’re a girl. I, however, don't care. I'm a man – eternally optimistic – it’s part of the design. I accept it, I like it, I move on with my life – and NO, I DON’T want to talk about it.

From where you’re sitting, you may think it’s all plain sailing standing upright, both hands clutching at something down there that is always smaller than I remember, aiming into a bowl that appears large and still. However, it takes a fair amount of dedication and training to pee while standing! Only determination can hone a specialised skill integrating pressure, arc, flow, wind, and a generous portion of pure luck. You may accuse me of being a Neanderthal, but at heart I’m an artist…

But you also know – and I know you know because you remind me seven times a day – that “my little friend” has a mind of its own. And so it doesn’t matter what I try to do, because the little dude will do whatever it likes and I’ll take the blame.

Now if you think this is going down the toilet, just bear with me. If you’re someone who does your make-up while driving, never has anything to wear, can quote an argument you won six months ago – verbatim, and knows what color taupe is, the following might give you insight into a world seemingly foreign, yet so close and familiar that you can smell it on a hot day – and I’m not pulling your chain! Besides, a little toilet humor never hurt anyone… one or two people might’ve smelled bad, but that’s about that.

It’s a daily challenge: man stands at the edge, staring into the infamous abyss - knees trembling. Man alone has the power to direct his fate, favour and consequence. He alone can decide… In these times – usually mornings – responsibility bears its heavy load when, standing at this edge, looking down, a decision must be made: seat up, or down?

That’s the easy part.

Once the decision is made though, all man can do, standing at the edge, staring into said abyss, is hold on tight – both hands – and hope his “little friend” is staring into the same abyss. Man trains his friend toward the centre of the bowl. He trusts, he hopes……. he goes:

STOP! (Dammit!)

Little to the left and…… go!

STOP! (Rats!)

Slightly up and release with a curve… and, go…?

STOP! For Pete’s sake Jetson – try hit it for ONCE!

And if you are slightly prostatically challenged (yes, I made that up) you can say STOP, but little Jetson will go “wee-wee-wee-all-the-way-home” and there’s not a thing you can do about it. Just bend the knees slightly and go with the flow – it’ll be over soon.

Seriously, contrary to all you believe, we actually don’t try to miss – it kinda comes naturally.

There’s a science behind the entire process. And science is flawed. With all good intent we casually approach the bowl, not thinking very much about anything. But as we get closer the pressure builds. No matter the intent, whatever the will, there is no way of knowing… Once we’re all good and ready we’ll release a tester salvo – to get an idea of where the little dude is aiming today. From the initial burst and the wet spot on the wall it is CLEAR that he’s aiming high. You may therefore correct by aiming at your shoes – release:  $%#@^#*!

This is on a good day.

On other days the “Little General” surprises us with a two-pronged attack: no matter how hard we try, no matter how well we aim, one part streams just high enough to miss the upper rim while the other dribbles short – complete miss. On two fronts. No intention. Big mess. Melodious co-habitation at risk.

Then we get two beers down our neck, and things happen more often. And they get more interesting. Apparently beer can influence one’s ability to focus and we tend to hit the spot less often. I disagree: I believe it is because we insist on talking rugby to the guy next to us with the slightly wet shoes. And secondly, no matter how hard we try hitting the centre of the bowl – if the bloody thing won’t stand still, how can anyone expect us to hit it?!

And then someone switches off the light…

You think it’s hard hitting the bowl during the day? Now try it at night, when you can’t see a thing – not even THE thing! We do however try, because we’re courteous, we’re men, and we can. So for night-peeing, evolution developed radar. Remember science? Radar is flawed. Again the tester salvo – listen… For porcelain, carpet, tile or foot, readjust slightly. Pinch off another tester – listen... Keep readjusting (and thinking up excuses for the morning) until you hit water. Then adjust slightly either left or right and fire for effect. End off with a muffled drum-roll (or a flimsy squeek if she made you eat pesto-pasta again – what the hell is that stuff? Fish?).

Today - a totally new dimension:

Where having to go to the toilet was a very personal and wondrously lonesome experience, today it became a team sport. Because today, the wee man (no pun intended whatsoever) decided it was time he learned the art. And from the above you now might have insight into the nuances and intricacies of the challenges we men face daily. But add a little 18month old face staring up at you from about knee-height and two inches away from the edge, poking his inquisitive little fingers at the tinkling flow, and it becomes a totally new ball game…

Yes, this is definitely a fine art – and like all art, it’s never perfect. More like a work in progress.

Sit? What do you mean sit? And wee…? I don’t understand the question…