During the day I am supposed to be a licensed Psychologist and a role model of rationality and emotional stability. At night, however, I revert to being CaptCliff, a Jewish Pirate, a blogger and a 58 year old man with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Watch for the clever segue here: This Saturday is World Toilet Day, a subject near and dear to my heart. The campaign is oriented to promoting the fact that there is a pressing need (no pun intended) for toilets and better sanitation around the globe. Matt Damon has publicly addressed the tissue, er issue, by reminding us that there are more people who own cell phones than people with functioning toilets. Ever since visiting the polished copper lavatories at the Madonna Inn in San Louis Obispo, California as a child, I have been fascinated by toilets and become somewhat of a “connoisseur” of bathrooms that combine the blessed trinity of form, function, and excellent ventilation. How irritating is it to visit a good friend at their nice house, stay at a swanky hotel in Las Vegas, or eat at a fantastic upscale restaurant in New York City or San Francisco, only to find that they lack a simple bathroom fan that would provide adequate noise cancelling effects as well as sufficient air flow/ventilation? Awkward much? I dont mean to talk shit but let’s face it, this is a part of being human that makes us all equal, no matter how much money we have, how fancy and expensive a car we drive, or how good-looking we might be. No matter how big or small our butt is, we all have to park our rear ends on the porcelain throne and do our business. The only difference is that Donald Trump’s throne is gold plated. I still, however, think he’s an asshole, and that his shit DOES stink.
I admit that I may come by my obsession for toiletry by virtue of my Ashkenazi German Jewish heritage. Consider how many Yiddish words there are for poop……..too many to mention here, in fact. Let’s just say that snow is to the Eskimo as “dreck” is to the average anal Jewish person with my family background. Dont believe me? Look up the names of GI doctors and licensed Proctologists in the phone book and count how many Dr. Goldsteins and Dr. Schwartz’s there are. We specialize in Nobel prizes, entertainment, medicine, and…..shit. Even in non academic circles and sans professional accreditation, my people have shown an unusual interest in all things related to bowel function. Passing gas and engaging in “productive” BM’s are considered, along with music, food, culture and literature to be important even ubiquitous avocations of the civilized. In contrast, constipation, irregularity and the absence of normal stool are seen as a sign of weakness, infirmity and pity. “Oy, I havent gone in 3 days!” was perceived in my youth not just as a simple complaint, but as a full fledged lament and solemn prayer for absolution. Such an utterance evoked not only tremendous empathy from others, but also the ultimate Kinnahora (the evil eye/spirit that was so feared it engendered an immediate superstitious behavior like spitting or throwing salt over ones shoulder to ward off doom, or in this case to keep from catching a bad case of constipation). For those of you guys (goys) who cant grasp what I am saying, consider what is worse, chronic constipation or unremitting insomnia, day after day, week after week? To the Jew, both suck big time, but most of us would prefer to stay up all nite watching old reruns of the Honeymooners and the original Twilight Zone then spend a whole day with a full roll of Charmin and nothing to show for it. Lastly, I just returned from Boca, after visiting my cousin Donna at her pied de terre at Century Village, also known as “Cemetery Village” to the locals who are apparently used to the nightly sirens and fire trucks cruising into the complex searching for the latest casualty to old age and old school delicatessen food (Ben’s Deli was excellent). Not only were the bathrooms in the clubhouse meticulous and the toilets so powerful that I nearly felt my hind end sucked into the vortex by the industrial turbines they use for waste disposal, but the elderly residents conversations were rife with references to all things bladder and bowel. On the last day I was fortunate to visit the nearby Morikami Japanese Garden and Museum. After touring the exquisite gardens we entered the original Yamato house now turned into an art center and architectural display of Japanese culture. While most of the others pondered the superbly tended bonsai trees, the colorful food court, and the Samurai drawings and sculpture, I was mesmerized by the 2011 Toto Japanese high tech toilet demonstration. Not only does that baby wash, dry and sanitize your butt, but it plays music, has temperature controls more sensitive then my Lexus, and can respond to multiple language voice commands. As far as I’m concerned that trumps Trump’s sleazy gilded bath fixtures any day. More on this subject later. Right now I gotta go…..so to speak. CaptCliff has IBS…. Arrgh!