[The dad and his son sit at the kitchen table. Dad says:]
-Your mom wants me to teach you stuff. So I’m gonna teach you stuff. Look at me when I talk to you. Are you drunk right now?
-I’ll take that as a yes. Come on, man. You have to lay off the sauce. You’re only, what, eleven years old? You have your whole life to descend slowly into alcoholism. What’s the rush? And why are you drinking now anyway?
-I know, you like gin. You’re not chasing tail, that’s for sure. You don’t have any demons to suppress. You don’t have job-related stress. You’re drinking because you’re bored, and that’s the worst reason to drink. The first thing I’m gonna teach you is when and to drink. Drink on a first date. Drink on a second date. Drink at a party that has girls. If you’re drinking alone, you better have an excuse: a lady left you or you got fired or a parent died. Now. No ladies have left you, your parents are still alive, well, your adoptive parents are, and you’ve never been fired from a job. You’re drinking alone because you’re lonely and bored, so you need stuff to do. Living a decent life is about having stuff to do. What do you like to do?
-You like to eat Lunchables, I know. And I hear ya. I used to eat those too. Because they’re great. But it makes Mom upset. They’re unhealthy, she says. She says that you should be eating organic hippie chow and fresh fruits and veggies and what not. I’ll be straight with you: I want you to eat Lunchables. Lunchables make your stool manageable. When you’re eating Lunchables you shit adorable little logs that are easy for me to clean up. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this but after you eat apples and granola your shits are goopy and unruly. And the black as night, it’s weird, man. And then you touch your shitty asshole and spread it around the house. It’s a problem. Mom says the mess is the price we pay for you being a healthy boy. I say we’d all be better off if you ate Lunchables and shat adorable little logs and died younger. Do you have an opinion on this?
-Gin! Tonic! [he’s excited now]
-No gin. You’re not drinking right now. You’re learning stuff. How about this: if you sit tight for a few minutes and learn stuff then afterwards I’ll pour you a mini g and t. But only a mini. And you have to drink it before Mom gets home or we’ll both be in the shithouse and I won’t get laid for a week and it’ll be your fault. Do you copy?
-Gin. [he nods]
-Good boy. I think we’re getting somewhere. Back to shitting. It would make my life a whole lot easier if you could shit without me helping you. I want to get you out of diapers and onto the shitter. I’ve known cats that can shit on the shitter so it kills me that my eleven-year-old son can’t yet. How do you feel about that?
-Good. Let’s learn how to shit then. Do you have to shit right now?
[Little Ann shakes his head. He doesn’t have to shit.]
-Well you’re in luck. Because I have to. To the shitter! [they walk to the bathroom and dad takes off his pants and sits down on the toilet.] Step one is to take off your pants and underwear and sit down. This is important. If you don’t take off your pants, you’ll shit in your pants and you’ll have a huge mess on your hands. Well, it would be on my hands because I’d have to deal it. And cleaning up shitty pants is more of a hassle than cleaning a shitty diaper. So please remember step one. Step two: reading material. A man who is not reading while shitting should reconsider how he is living life. What you read while you shit isn’t too important. It can be the book you’re reading, a magazine, a newspaper, a book full of bad jokes that was made to sit next to toilets. It doesn’t matter what. What do you like to read?
-Of course. Your animal book. I’ll leave that next to the toilet for you. The animal book is a picture book. There aren’t a lot of words in it. But that’s OK for now. That’s a fine start for you. Step three: the release. This can be the easiest step or the hardest step. It depends on the type of shit you’re about to have. If it’s loose and soupy, you won’t have much to worry about. Soupy shit will release seconds after you sit down. You won’t have much time to read, though, as it will almost immediately be time for wiping, step four. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. If you have a soupy shit, and you’d like to get some reading done, no problem. You can remain seated for as long as you please. You may want to flush the soupy shitty way, though, so you can read in pleasant air. I often read for five, ten minutes after quick soupy shits and it would make me proud if you did too. But let’s say your shit isn’t coming easily. It’s not soupy. It’s the opposite of soup. It’s like all the food you’ve eaten in the last three days has been condensed into a log with the consistency of a Nerf football. The release will be a process. Don’t rush it. It’s about give and take. A big fish never goes down without a fight. You will need to be patient with the solid shits. Focus on your book. Plan on reading a few pages without even thinking about the shit which is every so slowly making its way out. The more you think about it, the less pleasurable the shit will be. And after a few minutes, when you release – and, yes, my boy, it will come out eventually, they always do – you will feel great joy. Releasing a Nerf shit is always better than releasing a soupy shit because it’s an uphill battle and it’s always better to be faced with a great challenge and win than to be given an easy challenge and win.
-Gin. Tonic. Now.
-Not now. Not until I’m done with this lesson. Keep in mind that many shits won’t be soupy or Nerf-y. They will fall in the middle. Some logs will be sponge-y, or soft like a baked sweet potato. Some will be tiny pebbles as hard as a Nerf shit but different enough in size as to produce a unique sensation upon release. In the vernacular these are known as pellets. Pellets are a nice treat once and awhile but if you’re shitting pellets all the time you should let me know because that’s fucked up. If you feel great pressure in your stomach and butt as you’re sitting down, then you may be about to release a quick-and-heavy. A quick-and-heavy is a large amount of shit that’s released all at once. It doesn’t come out as shapely logs or pellets, and it’s not soupy either. Imagine that you left ten to twenty squares of shredded wheat in a bowl of milk for half an hour until they were puffy and then quickly dropped them in the toilet. That’s a quick-and-heavy.
-Soon. Step four: inspection. Look at what you’ve done. Be proud. Remember the types of shits I’ve told you about today and determine what yours is. Is it sponge-y, soupy or solid? Maybe it’s a hybrid. Or maybe it defies classification. If you don’t know what it is, ask me or your mother to check it out. We’ll be happy to classify your oddity. Step four: the paperwork. If you’re not careful, step four can be messy. Even as an adult I’ve had trouble making it through step four without smudging my hand with shit. It happens. And I guarantee that the first few times you try step four you too will get shit on your hand. It’s life, son. A little shit on the hand shouldn’t bring you down. If it does then you’re in for a lifetime of being down all the time because there’s a whole lot more shitty things out there than getting shit on your hand.
-You’re a shitty hand.
-Listen up. The first wipe is key. Take as much paper a you need. If you had a quick-and-heavy, you’ll need a lot of paper. Cover your hand in it, and don’t worry about wasting paper. Having a clean butt trumps saving a few pennies on toilet paper. If you released pellets, maybe a small amount of paper will do. Trust your gut. Generally the rule is: the harder the shit, the less mess you’ll have on the first wipe. BUT THIS ISN’T ALWAYS TRUE. Shit has a way of tricking you and making you think the cleanup will be cake when it’s actually going to be a difficult endeavor. While releasing a soupy shit the other day I was thinking, This is going to be a six-wipe shit, but when it came time to wipe, there was no mess to deal with whatsoever. So don’t go into the first wipe thinking you know for sure what it’ll be. Keep an open mind, and get as much shit on the paper as you can. You want to do as much damage as possible on the first wipe. Wipes two and three and four aren’t as important. Dig in there and get work done, but don’t sweat them too much. Now. Say on wipe five there was very little shit left. Just a thin black streak. You might think: All done. It’s time to flush and pull up the trousers and go about my business. WRONG. You need to do the insurance wipe. Always wipe one more time than you think you have to. Don’t live dangerously when wiping.
-In a minute. You’ll get your Lunchable and your g and t. We’re almost done here. There are two optional substeps you should know about. One: While wiping you can hold the shitty paper up to your face and smell what you’ve done. This is only for when you’re a boy, so if you want to do shitty-paper smells, do it now and get it out of your system. And don’t smudge your nose with shit. Another optional substep: the courtesy flush. It’s a flush that comes before the first wipe. After a quick-and-heavy that rots the bathroom it’s a good idea to do a courtesy flush if you want to read for a while before wiping. If you’re shitting in public and there’s a dude shitting in a stall next to you and you’ve released an exceptionally rotten shit, it’s nice to do a courtesy flush. And if you’re shitting in an especially weak toilet and you fear that the combined mass of shit and paper will clog the machine, do a courtesy flush. Always do a courtesy flush or two while shitting on a friend’s boat. Clogging the shitter on a friend’s boat and causing it to overflow is one of more humiliating things you can do in your life. Alright. I’m done teaching you stuff. Let’s drink, but only mini g and t’s. You slice the lime, I’ll get the glasses.