The tummy rumbles— stomach stew— and I rush into the bathroom with my crumbling copy of D.T. Suzuki. “Excuse me, please, will ya, I have to go powder my nose.” The door is locked. The seat, down. And the Shitegeist wailing to make itself manifest.Thirty minutes later, I emerge in a cloud of matchsmoke, noticeably centered and halfway through the second chapter of Zen and Japanese History.
“Man alive, I think I saw into the future that time.” Friends pester me about my private time. Did I fall asleep, they ask. Am I just a marathon shitter, a literary shitter, they ask. Haven’t I heard of anal fissures, they want to know. They doubt; they do not understand. See, in my private myth-system, the bathroom is nothing less than a shrine— my sanctum sanctorum, a white, ceramic intersection of the sacred and the profane. Seriously. The bathroom is the only place in the whole wide world so-suited for the deeply inward, the private, my daily dose of la vita contemplativa. This is the primary meaning to me. Piss and shit tie for second.
Not so crazy a prospect is it? I see an obvious parallel between the private, purgative restroom stall and the private, purgative Catholic confessional (besides the fact that both often have perverts sitting in the next booth over). How is that we in the Modern West have overlooked this possibility, this archetypal overlap? Are we all ashamed of a rapture rooted in— dare I mention it— anal eroticism? Are we too careful to equate shit with the religious impulse? (The religious impulse meaning, here, “what one does with one’s solitude.”) Thinking through the intestines. Dwelling in the realm of porcelain gods. The metaphors are there, and it is hightime to reassign bathroom rituals the meanings they should have had since the dawn of indoor plumbing and the holy works of Saint Thomas á Crapper.
A few of us converts and apostles within the Center For Experimental Living intend to spread the gospel throughout the land, with pulp-pamphelets entitled “Flush the Pain Away” and “The Bowels of Heaven.” Sounding off the wisdom of our holy men: “What better shrine is there than the bathroom, my sons? Hearken what Wisdom doth speak in you, good people. Consider these things, and shut up thy bathroom door; that thou mayest hear those grumblings and needs internal.” Leaving tracts and leaflets on the lefthand side of the Toilet, naturally the chalice and ceremonial centerpiece of our new religious order.
In the midnights hours, we bathroom bodhisattvas will tiptoe around town and turn restrooms into true shrines, fitting of their lofty calling. We bedeck the stalls with red paint, candles and Christmas balls, drapes of orange cloth, plastic iconography glue-gunned to the waterpipes, framed depictions of the whole and holy intestinal system- “Bathroom Beautification,” Willie dubbed it. I’d like to make a crown or ornamental headdress, and maybe a Scepter-And-Plunger-In-One. All in all, we hope the metaphors stick- the vein-popping strain and ecstasis, the holy water, the candlelighting ceremonies, the whole shebang. We intend to make our metaphors real. Let each develop a ritual, on their own, according to their own inner needs and urges. Bathrooms are no longer just the slopshops of human biology. They are finally something more, oh, blessed be. Brian Moresburger stands up from the couch, and excuses himself— “Time to download some brownware, kids.” And off he goes, to find solace and seal himself off from a world gone mad.