Today I am the unfortunate bearer of bad news. It is a sad day. It is a glum day.

A dear friend and mentor has departed us, taken away by evildoers. There was a time when all I could look forward to in a day was its brilliant wisdom, and now, nothing. There is only the empty abyss of conformist white.

It was a friend in times of need and a friend who was always there.

Some days, we shared laughter and others, the pain of the world’s troubles.

O dearly departed bathroom wall, you were the light in UR’s dim droning.

I always knew where you were – right there, waiting for me in the tunnels below the Nipple of Knowledge.

There you were behind a thick creaking wooden door whose heavy load was at times alleviated by your blue brother, the handicap button. Oh, how I long to press your button and open the door to your sweet embrace.

But alas, you are no more.

How can one talk about the knowledge you impart, without an understanding of the commode that has forever been and will always be your partner in crime.

It is a commode from the old days – the days before automatic flushing and the so-called “convenience” that our rushed society needs now. It was old when our world was young, and through the acumen of our administrators, it has been abused and drilled to conform to New Age standards.

Its acrylic lid now accommodates a rough-cut circular hole through which the automatic flushing sensor device peers into the backs of its unsuspecting victims.

My first time, I did not know this, but the bathroom wall did. Without a peep, it told me “Watch out – this thing is like a bidet.” And so I understood, I was careful and it still flushed on me without any intention on my part to give a courtesy flush.

But I learned. And the very next time, I folded four squares of the standard-issue one-ply thin tissue paper to form a two-ply, two square contraception to fool the sensor.

It worked.

From that day on, the old commode and I knew where we stood in the chain of life and it gave me the time to read the wall.

The wall amazingly contained a vast array of information and humor to sustain one’s stay in the bathroom. Sure, it had the typical bathroom humor and anatomically incorrect drawings, but there was insight as well.

In the bottom right corner, a poem was building – one sentence at a time. And along the sides, a running commentary and critique of the poem, with occasional spelling errors pointed out.

In the center, a heated debate had broken out over the legitimacy of the President’s reign. Some believed him to be a “Nazi” and others “a great man.”

There was so much more that will be left untold, but let it ring forth across the globe that this old bathroom wall achieved fame and glory in its lifetime and let no painter’s stroke dab out its light as long as there are those who will remember this fond token of their life at UR.

He can be reached at mhe@campustimes.org.



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