In my measureless years dispensing advice to surface-stumbling gruntmonkies like yourselves, I am consistently both shocked and awed for what passes as a "good question" in your circles. Throughout the ages, time and again my assistants have brought me questions either absurd or non-sequiturial, with the demand that these, as "good questions", be addressed poste haste.
"This a good question," Jarwaun did say late last week, pressing upon the glass of my tank a printed out paper of the above query.
"THERE IS NOT EVEN A REQUEST FOR COMMENTS; IT IS NO QUESTION FOR AN ADVICER SUCH AS ME."
"But this the sorta thing the people wanna know: How do you go to the bathroom?"
"IF I WERE TO VENTURE UNTO THE BATHROOM, JARWAUN, I WOULD USE MY VELOCITATING ENVIRONMENTAL SUIT, IF IT WERE IN FULL WORKING ORDER, WHICH IT IS NOT, WHICH IS WHY I VENTURE NOT."
"So you just been holdin' it for three months?"
Franjo, who had been sent for to repair the function of our air-conditioning faculties, did sigh. "Excuse for my interruption, but this is confusion. When Jarwaun, he say 'Go to the bathroom', he does not mean for you to enter a room where one does bathe. Americans, they do not like to say toilet, for they think word is dirty —"
"Toilets are dirty," Jarwaun affirmed.
"Da, da, Toilets, dirty." Franjo removed his pliers from within the wall panel and put them in the hip pocket of his pants. He brought forth from the alternate hip a hand-kerchief. "But the word, ne; is just word," he dabbed at the perspiration poised upon his wide, slavic brow, "All in Europe — in Croatia, in Serbia, in Russia, in Hungary, in England, in France maybe additionally — when we are going to toilet we say 'Now I go to toilet.' But in America, where the words are dirty," he replaced his hand-kerchief, and brought forth a hair's comb, which he did use to comb his head's sparse hairs, "They are not saying this. They are not calling the toilet a toilet, but it is a bathroom. Is very confusing. My wife, Dasha, and I, we look at houses in Hamtramck, da? In the papers from the house-selling lady, it maybe say 'This house, two bathrooms', and when we go to visit, we see there are two rooms, each with bathtub and toilet and sink. But if it maybe say 'This house one-and-one-half bathrooms,' we think 'Maybe there is one room with big bath, one with little? Or little room has stand-up shower? Or is all-tile with shower-head, like Spanish shower?' But is not none of these: one room, has toilet, has sink, has big bathtub with the feet of a dog; other room, is like water closet in cheap pensione."
"Ain't you s'posed to be fixin' the air-conditioning?" Jarwaun asked, petulantly.
"Is fixed," Franjo shrugged.
"Still hot up in here."
"Is mostly almost fixed," Franjo knelt for a screwdriver, then closed the panel, "This, here, is fixed. Now, to the circuit breaker, then fixed 100%." He stopped, "But, what I am saying to you is this: In America, I maybe cross street when the little hand in the box is red, and a man in car screams 'You suck the cocks!!!' — in the street, with my wife, a man does say this — but in same country, if that man needs to sit on the toilet, he pretends he is going to take a bath in a room with no tub."
I nodded of the headsac, "I SEE. SO THEN, FRERE FRANJO, YOUR CLAIM IS THAT THE QUESTION, TRULY, IS HOW DO I VISIT THE TOILET?"
He twisted the screws with finality, "Da," clapped his hands, and made exeunt.
We sat for a moment, I gathering my thoughts, Jarwaun preparing to type them swiftly.
"JARWAUN," I then asked, "WHAT IS THE TOILET?"
"Ain't you been listenin to Mr. Franjo?"
"YES, AND WE DISCUSSED BATHROOMS AT LENGTH, BUT THE TOILET, SHE REMAINS A MYSTERY."
Jarwaun sighed, "Well, in the bathroom there's this, this kinda chair—"
"I AM NOTABLY ASS-LESS, JARWAUN; CHAIRS ARE OF LITTLE USE TO ME. I WOULD VISIT ONE NAUGHT."
Jarwaun shook his head, "No, it ain't for sittin' on. I mean, you sit on it, but . . . it's . . ." he hemmed, then groaned and sighed again, and looking away muttered, "It's where you poop."
"I MAKE NOT THE POOPS N A CHAIR, JARWAUN. YOU MAKE TO POOP IN A CHAIR?"
"No!" Jarwaun said quickly, flustered, "It isn't a chair," he insisted, "It's white, and got water in it — it's this white bowl. It's porcelain."
"YOU MAKE POOP IN A TEA CUP?
"NO! It's big, with a lid—"
"A BEER STEIN?"
"It don't matter!" Jarwaun shouted, "It don't matter what a toilet is because he ain't askin' that!"
I admit, now, that I too had become exasperated, "THIS IS EVER HOW IT PASSES WITH THE SO-CALLÉD GOOD QUESTIONS, JARWAUN: THEY ARE SINISTER MATRYOSHKA; YOU ASK OF THE VISITS TO THE BATHROOM, BUT BATHROOM IS NOT THE SUBJECT, FOR BATHROOM IS A METONYM FOR THE TOILET CHAIR. I ATTEMPT TO ATTEST TO MY NEED NOT OF CHAIRS, AND YOU TELL ME THAT THE QUESTION IS NOT EVEN ABOUT CHAIRS, BUT ABOUT TEACUPS AND STEINKRUGEN — WHICH I ALSO USE NOT."
"He askin' where you poop!" Jarwaun shouted. Then there was silence, and Jarwaun looked at his hands, slump shoulder.
I gasped, "GREAT GODS OF YORE! WHY?"
"Because . . ." Jarwaun looked not from his tiny, delicate little manipulators, "Because . . . " Jarwaun took a deep breath, "Because some folks . . . wanna . . . steal squids' poops?" his voice rose at the end, making the statement into a question. But when he continued, he was firmly declarative: "Some folks steal it, to get powers to . . . to see what's inside people's heads."
I startled. "THIS IS A MATTER GRAVE. PLEASE LATCH THE DOOR."
Jarwaun scurried forth and locked the lab's door.
"FIRST, WE SHALL COMPOSE A FAUX RESPONSE, TO THROW THESE INTERLOCUTORS FROM OUR TRAIL."
"Yeah," Jarwaun said, "That's good, that's good."
"EXCELLENT WELL. TO BEGIN: DEAR STEADFAST INTERLOCUTOR—"
Jarwaun typed not. He looked to me, and stitched his brows, "But where do you, you know, do it? You only got this one tank, and the water is all clear inside and all sort of out in the open and easy to see."
"ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, DO YOU NOT BELIEVE IT IS BETTER NOT TO KNOW SUCH TERRIBLE INTELLIGENCE, JARWAUN? FOR WHAT IF THE SCHEIßENMENSCH COME, DESPERATE FOR THEIR FECULENT REPAST? TO WHAT EXTREME MEASURES MIGHT THEY TURN TO EXTRACT FROM YOU THIS KNOWLEDGE OF MY TOILETTE?"
Jarwaun was struck dumb with consideration of this unimagined threat.
"TO CONTINUE: DEAR STEADFAST INTERLOCUTOR, I AM GLAD THAT YOU HAVE TAKEN THE TIME TO ASK AFTER MY EXCRETORY HABITS, FOR IT SO HAPPENS TO BE A LONG AND STORIED HISTORY, FILLED WITH ARCANE MYSTERIES. LET US BEGIN BY DISCUSSING THE HYGIENIC HABITS AS PRACTICED IN GUINEA AND THROUGHOUT MICRONESIA, AS IT HAS SOME SMALL BEARING UPON THE MATTER . . ."
To You of Whom Remain,
Your Giant Squid
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson