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The case of the windy toilet

Manicured on March 10, 2024.

I peered with trepidation over the bowl of my toilet. Must be windy today, I thought as I watched the water carefully. It rippled slightly, undulating up and down. Then I had an idea for an invention: A home weather station that used toilet water fluctuations to tell you the time.

“This’ll be the most craffulous home appliance ever!” I shouted aloud. Becasue poked her head around the corner, saw me staring intently into the toilet bowl, shook her head, and withdrew slowly. No matter. My invention would be made.

Yet… still I pined for the quiet life: Husbanding turtles on the shores of Lake Athabasca. And I would have a whole rippling lake to tell me the time, not just this little porcelain bowl. The original man–squirrels that discovered the lake called it Aðapaskāw: “Where there are plants one after another.” There are no turtles at Lake Athabasca anymore. Perhaps there had been. And perhaps those lake-naming man–squirrels ate all the turtles. And perhaps that’s why they didn’t call it “where there are turtles one after another.”

Hitting my head on the edge of my toilet is now one of my weekend pastimes (because I can’t fulfill my dream of becoming a turtle farmer in Athabasca). And because a sudden gust of wind made the water jump and this surprised me and I lost my balance as I had been perched transfixed watching my toilet and so I hit my head and nearly fell in.

I promised my big little blonde huzzey-muffet this time I would eat all my broccoli and crabbyflowers. I really would. I wouldn’t behave like a petulant child this time. I wouldn’t. I promised.

Becasue had something else to tell me, but insisted we go upstairs and close all the doors and windows first. “Why all the secrecy?” I asked.

“The potatoes have eyes, the corn has ears, and the beanstalk,” she whispered in reply. My eyes widened as I realized that my oatmeal cookies had been hard at work making new alliances.

Then it hit me: Three days ago, twenty-five years ago, yours truly began twickling out his doings and happenings(-to) each Sunday, with only a few brief interruptions: First, to go bonkers. Then, when he got wedged butt-first in the Brundlesphere. And finally, to go plunging off the fiscal cliff with Santa Claus on one arm and a flock of goats on the other. It’s been a long, strange trip—full of gnomes, gnutes, and gnizzles, full of mirth and alabaster, full of hooting and babbling… but strangely bereft of dinosaurs. I’ve always wanted my own pet allosaurus. Perhaps someday.

Suddenly, I yerked. All my docile & perfunctory page’s resource forks were gone! They had been blown away by the wind. That delightful jack-in-the-box popped out of the top of my computer to tell me the terrible news (and other things even worse). I growled in frustration and consternation, stood up, and—

Then it hit me: The porcelain edge of my toilet bowl again. Between smacking my head on that enamel throne once, and then again, I had imagined the whole thing—the whole past twenty-five years of my life! I was back on my bathroom floor, birdies and little cartoon stars swirling around my head. I wasn’t a blogger—I was, all along, a turtle farmer on the shores of Lake Athabasca. I sat up and peered around the bathroom. It sure was windy out.

ResEdit’s final release will be thirty years old in August. is twenty-five years old this month. But I still like to act like I’m twelve. Not even actual children are that childish! Becasue didn’t believe my story when I proudly informed her that I’ve really been an Athabascan turtle-herder for these past twenty-five years—that I’m not really the zane-ridden blogger she had fell in love with. She didn’t believe me at all. I insisted and she threatened to wallop me with her sandals, so I stopped insisting. But then I thought about it some more, and started insisting again.

But not even my incredibly detailed memory of Dana Scully’s childhood fear of clowns could convince my big little redheaded huzzey-muffet to believe me. So, I did the only thing I could: With a huff that shook the walls and knocked my ceiling clock from its mount, I stormed out of the house, bought a one-way bus ticket, and lit out for Lake Athabasca. Turtles, here I come.

Twenty-five years ago (plus three days) is when it all began. Then it ended and began again because I can’t help going out of my gourd on occasion. Gnomes tried to distract me from blogging but failed. Gnutes and gnizzles tried but failed. Voices and gods and goddesses and even Fendippitous Eggmen tried… but failed. Not even Dana Scully’s delicately manicured hands and feet could distract me from blogging for those three long, enduring days (plus twenty-five years).

And it surely wasn’t for lack of trying.

These are the things that rattled through my mind as that bus rattled out of the Grimpley Street terminal. It looked like it would be a nice, quiet trip. There weren’t even any stinky crazy people on the bus with me. (I had bathed before setting out on my testudinal journey.) I jammed something resembling earbuds in my ear, lay back, and listened to an audio book about raising turtles in the tropics.

The bus broke down somewhere in Alberta. We all had to trudge back to the United Spates on foot. Since I was the only rube who bought a bus ticket to Athabasca, I was the only one of us doing all this trudging. The turtles of course could not keep up. I was forced to abandon them a few yards from the flaming remains of the bus lest I never make it home. Frozen turtles move even slower than fresh, fleshy ones, and despite my best efforts at reheating their frozen corpses, they still didn’t move very fast. But they made good soup.

I dropped the rest of my baggage train in Medicine Hat when I was attacked by a pack of Canadian yetis. When my shoes wore out, the sandals that were still embedded in my scalp turned out to be a godsend. Dinosaur Provincial Park proved to be an ass-blasting disappointment; there were no live dinosaurs there. My life remained sadly bereft of those lovable, fuzzy creatures. I couldn’t take an allosaurus home with me—but at least I got a dinosaur hat. An Alberta clipper descended on me in Ass Hat and clipped my nose right off—and all the other succulent fleshy bits that stick out in the wind.

With my turtles gone, I wouldn’t die of turtle starvation, although rabbit starvation still looked like a distinct possibility. With my fingers gone, I couldn’t fing anymore. But not all the news was bad: Alberta is frequently −40 °C in winter but rampant global warming has raised this to a warm and toasty −38.5 °C this year. So I wouldn’t freeze to death quite so fast. I always look for these silver linings, you see.

I arrived back on Bouillabaisse Boulevard just in time to find Becasue cooking dinner. I felt like a new man. I had left my tired, fingerless corpse behind in Montana when the poor old thing finally froze to death in the midst of a catastrophic and unprecedented ass-blizzard. I then hitched a ride on the side of a freight train, fell off, hitched another ride on the side of a coal train, fell off, and then hitched a ride with another hitchhiker who knew what he was doing and taught me not to fall off moving vehicles so easily.

When I recounted this zany return trek to my huzzey-muffet, she just sighed and asked me if I had any fresh dents in my head. I obstinately insisted all my dents were weeks if not years old. Zippy piped up in agreement. Becasue just put another piece of corn on my plate.

Pig-headed and ham-fisted indeed: Yea, I still had those hams in my fists and that severed pig head hanging from my belt. They hadn’t spoiled yet! And then, much to my chagrin, I realized the flaw in my toilet weather station design: A weather station is supposed to tell you the weather but I had designed it tell you the time instead. I had reinvented the water clock—a toilet water clock. But not all the news was bad: With modern toilet design, whizzing in this one wouldn’t make everyone late. I always look for these silver linings, you see.

Becasue put another piece of corn on my plate. I furtively hid the last few pieces of broccoli under the placemat, smirking at my genius. No twelve-year-old had ever been that clever. Who ever looks under a placemat?

[Feetnote: My best efforts to bribe the calendar-makers to insert another leap day this month have failed. My search for fresh bagels continues.]