LIFE LESSONS FROM THE PUBLIC RESTROOM
(AKA “Fudge Yeah!”)
by Joe Buonfiglio
Today I was challenged by a good friend and colleague to come clean. Well, “go clean,” actually. He bet me that I couldn’t post a completely “clean,” sans any foul language piece to this blog; the use of “fudge,” “cheese-n-crackers,” “bunt” or any other synonym masking true profane intent would constitute a resounding failure and result in forfeiture of the game. At stake is a, well, steak, as in steak dinner with unlimited martinis.
Without really giving it the proper thought necessary to discern whether or not this would be in any way achievable for me, my bloated ego and unwavering adoration of all things flame-cooked meat and vodka had me blurting out “YOU’RE ON, MOTHERFUCKER!” before I really knew what I was getting myself into.
Okay, obviously we haven’t started yet. Besides, that’s just a recap. Recaps don’t count. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand go….
STALLS & WALLS
The most meaningful life lessons one can possibly embrace are most often found in unexpected places. In my case, these guiding principles emerge out of the minds of the world’s most scatological littérateurs and onto the stalls and walls of public restrooms. Airports, bus terminals, train stations, sports stadiums and arenas, performing arts halls, libraries, BBQ joints, pubs and bars, college campuses, museums, government buildings, public facilities et al … stalls and walls.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. For all intents and purposes, he’s already lost the bet. There is no way — NO WAY — he can be an honest reporter engaged in this subject matter without at least dropping an “F-bomb” or a “C-word” or two. While I won’t go so far as to exclaim, “Au contraire!” I will take a rather smug wait-and-see attitude toward your thought’s accusation.
FOR A GOOD TIME CALL: Is this God, the karmic forces of the universe or at least a wandering psychic attempting to reach out to me with prophetic aim behind the hastily scribbled missive in stall #4 at the Tampa bus terminal? Is it what “The Entity” composer of this otherworldly dispatch sees as “a good time,” or is it my view? And if so, how does He/She/It know what I consider to be the aforementioned “good time”?
Is the Cosmic Creature’s attempt at enlightenment meant for me alone, or is it intended for all of those of the male gender seeking relief from intestinal distress before the motorcoach’s departure for the late-night run to the Hemingway Days festival in Key West?
What if it is not meant as a positive force in my life, but has malevolent intention? What if this is cruel temptation, a call from the Sirens trying to lure the ship of my soul against the rocks of an alternative destiny?
What if I call and it winds up being a “bad time”?
What if I call and it winds up being a fatal time?
What if I don’t call? What if I never find out? Would this lead to salvation … or a lifetime of regret?
What if I— There’s no toilet paper in here.
BIBLICAL VERSE: One would expect the more vile prose that emerges from the mind of man to come gushing forth in the environment of the public restroom. However, I am always amazed, surprised and more than a little bit puzzled when apparent True Believers feel compelled to testify utilizing the metal-parchment of the bathroom stall to deliver The Word in a manner intended to save my soul.
For example, how do they know if Jesus loves me? What if the Son of God actually finds me a waste of the Earth’s life-giving oxygen and schedules me for brunch with the Grim Reaper immediately upon the completion of my “morning constitutional”?
And even if the meek shall inherit the Earth, I question whether this is the time or place to bring that up.
Sure, you may believe that “Prayer is the answer.” Nevertheless, you do realize that while this stall is shaped like a confessional, it doesn’t actually function as one, right?
Although I have no problem accepting that you believe that “God is my co-pilot,” I trust you’re referring to the circumstance engaged in once back out on the road and not right here on the commode.
And let us not forget Matthew 19:26; the golden child of the potty-poet set. “With God, all things are possible.” Obviously, you’ve never been as constipated as I am at this moment, pal.
HERE I SIT: Assuming you knew I’d be reading this to myself in the first person, how did you surmise that I’d be brokenhearted at this moment as well? More importantly, how would you know I’d be sitting? I could be standing right now. Many men use the stalls as a substitute strategy if there is a long line at the urinals.
LOVE: Sorry, but I don’t really care if you love Melissa. Nobody will give a second thought to the understanding that Alicia is your bae. And I’m quite sure if Heather knew you had written what the two of you did under the boardwalk last night in such detailed and vivid language, and then presented this as reading material for all we road-weary travelers to relieve ourselves by, she’d no longer be your “one and only soulmate.”
Even though they apparently love you “long long time,” please stop confessing your devotion to your one true loves as if they were streetwalking toilet-tarts.
POLITICAL SAVVY: Sure. Why would I have any problem whatsoever believing that you have a full grasp of the political landscape simply because you’ve chosen to expound on the subject on the bathroom walls of Terminal 5 at LAX? If you’re flying out of such a big, big airport as Los Angeles International, you must be a big, big man on the political scene … or a broke wannabe-actor who had to ask mommy and daddy for ticket money to get home for the holidays. You know. One of the two.
But hey, please go on with your Sharpie-delivered opinions on why the president’s foreign policy is treasonous while I continue the evacuation of my bowels. Your commentary is so riveting that I may just have to miss my connection to Atlanta in order to take in every syllable.
THE WONDERFUL ARTWORK: Now this is a real treat. The way you have captured the female anatomy in relation to the porn-industry quality of your own masculine joystick is an unqualified triumph. It is beyond belief that the art world hasn’t yet demanded the dismantling of this restroom stall so that your masterpiece could be hung with all warranted and due honors in the Musée du Louvre. I’m sure that if Francisco de Goya, Peter Paul Rubens or Édouard Manet could somehow be transported in time and space here to the bathroom of this Rapid City truck-stop eatery and they were driven enough to study you as their inspiration, they, too, would have named the artistic man-bits in their aesthetic pièce de résistance “Excalibur” as you did.
I could go on for hours. But if I stop now, I win my bet. So guess what? That’s right. Fuck me, bitch! I did it. I fucking did it! You owe me a nice, big T-bone dripping in—
So, how do you take it. Medium-rare? Well-done?
© 2015 Joseph P. Buonfiglio All Rights Reserved.