My wife and I were recently in the throes of potty training with our charming toddler. And like travailing the thick jungles of an uncharted rain forest, navigating the new land or Toiletdom has been interesting, to say the least. Like a good movie, it’s been full of suspense, mystery, drama, and intrigue. There have been unexpected turns, plot twists, and shocking character developments. The potty pangs are real.
But each day we kept going and did not give up, and neither did she. As we cheered on our child and celebrated each triumph the days got better and dryer. We would remind her over and over again, “You can do it!” And then, when finally the floodgates of her bladder opened up to descend into the bowl of destiny she squealed with delight, “I did it!” Her glimmering glee as she mastered the potty has been truly inspirational.
Perhaps you are enduring the refining fire of a similar forge. Do the days seem dire and the universe ungovernable? Is your patootie simply pooped in more ways than one? Are you in the midst of an inauspicious space as you seem to have had yet another accident in the underwear that is your life? Then let me take a moment to encourage you to take heart.
If you feel like life has dealt you handful of gerbil droppings, then throw them away, that’s gross. If you feel burdened and overwhelmed by all the worries of life, then don’t hold it in, that’s not healthy, just let it all out. If you’re straining with too many demands, then don’t push too hard, just wait, eat some prunes, and try again later. Does everything seem to be full of poop? If it’s brown, flush it down. Just like our toddler, you too can wave adios to your troubles, and say “Bye, bye poopie!”
You can do it. You can succeed in this next challenge of life training. You can overcome the rump scoundrels that cause mental constipation, emotional diarrhea, and spiritual incontinence. You too can proclaim from the misty mountaintops, “I did it!” Yes, yes, you did indeed.
As In Life, Such Is the Potty
Oh what ominous porcelain peak that lurks before me?
A forbidding cliff, a fearsome instrument of torture I’m sure.
Must I ascend this frosty alp, this saucy summit?
My bawdy bowels tremble.
My delicate derriere is in dread.
My keister shivers at the touch of the dead cold ceramic.
Oh hindquarters, don’t fail me now.
Take courage and sit strong!
You wayward whoopsies don’t miss the mark.
As posterior plumps on exterior of the galvanized gourd,
Please don’t slip and be sure all exits remain interior.
Behold, this throne of smelly terrors once my bane,
Now subjugated to my will is but a hollow seat.
My caboose celebrates in serendipity!
I’m a big boy now.
Two degenerate ruffians named Jack and Jill went up a hill to fetch a pail of water. Now immediately, I have questions about this story. How are these characters related, and how old are they? I assume they’re siblings and that their parents have instructed them to go retrieve some water from a well on top of a hill. But they’re clearly not responsible or coordinated enough to accomplish this task. So, who do we blame: the five-year-old for crashing the car into the house or the parent who left the keys in the ignition? In America, we blame the car manufacturer and sue them for millions.
Also, why are the watering holes always located in such inconvenient places? Why don’t people just build their homes closer to the water source? Like, water’s important, right? I feel like I’ve heard that somewhere before. I think I learned in class once before that water is essential for a couple of things like coffee, and I drink that all the time. So, if it’s so important, you’d think people would make it easier to get to. Also, conserve water. Don’t brush your teeth.
Then Jack fell down and broke his crown. I’m assuming this refers to his head. If he had a royal crown he wouldn’t be fetching his own water that’s for sure. Alas, if he broketh his head, dost not that imply perchance he’s dead? Oh look, I made a rhyme. This is a nursery rhyme after all. And then Jill, not to be outdone by her brother came tumbling after. Because girls can do anything boys can do but better. Equality across the board, even in massive head traumas.
The morals of the story:
When life gives you a watering hole at the top of a hill, make an epic slip-n-slide.
Life is about who we are, not just what we do. What I do is write nonsensical hot garbage on the Internet. But that hardly makes me special. Legacy is about the lives we touch. Just watch Coco. It’s about the memories that we shared and leave with those we loved—like that time when my sibling and I slipped on a slippery slope (because lots of water) and busted our head making us fall into a coma—so a double fall. Except, I guess I don’t remember cause coma… but someone told me about it later… maybe?
Lessons on why you can’t make affordable health omelets without breaking a few eggs
On a particular occurrence…
There was one rotund and portly gentleman by the name of Sir Humpty Dumpty Esquire the Fifth who had a particular fondness of sitting atop certain ramparts and parapets. Basically, like planking before planking—extreme parkour wall siting. Now, given his stocky nature, it is a mystery to me how exactly he ascended these structures in the first place. He must have been uniquely agile and deft for his stout stature. Or maybe he used a ladder.
Now that I think about it, if your name is Humpty Dumpty, you probably shouldn’t be participating in high-adrenaline, high-octane sports. Like you’re just asking for an accident to happen. Also, was this his given name by his parents, or did he choose this name?
Nevertheless, one day, our plump protagonist sat on a wall, and lo indeed, he had a great fall. So tremendous was the fall that our dear Dumpty was torn asunder and fragmented into pieces. Because apparently, he was a giant anthropomorphic egg or something like that. So then, the king’s posse of ponies and paladins were called in. Why didn’t they just call a doctor or a surgeon? I don’t know. Seriously, horses have hooves—not the greatest combination when placed near a fragile egg. Government efficiency at its finest. Predictably and dreadfully, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not put Sir Humpty Dumpty back together again because he was not covered by the in-network health insurance, and eggs do not have a basic right to receive medical care, even when it’s a common, curable ailment. Also, they were terrible at solving puzzles. So, then everyone had omelets.
The morals of the story:
The American health care system is terrible, but you already knew that. So, take care of your body because the king’s horses and men won’t. Maybe consider a medical sharing or health savings plan.
If your bodily constitution is made up of essentially an eggshell, don’t sit on walls.
If you feel certain body parts are a little too round or little too squishy, don’t fret too much. You just do you, you gorgeous specimen of humanity.
There was an itsy bitsy spider. Or maybe it was incy wincy? What’s the difference? Probably has to do with those Brits across the Big Pond trying to colonialize more of our culture just like with their pop star singers and BBC television series. It’s a Second Revolutionary War, but this time, they cast an English actor as Superman.
So, this itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka-dot spider wore a bikini for the first time today because she was feeling rather confident and sassy. But her poise would become a slippery slope indeed. For as she began to ascend one desirable waterspout, the most magnificent and beautiful of all gutter drains, that is when the floodgates opened up and a torrential, watery vengeance descended upon our fair heroine. Alas, she was swept away by the wave and with it her aspirations to climb the socio-economic ladder—giving new meaning to the term “trickle-down economics.”
But then! Arise the sun did, and the floods were evaporated as if nothing but a shadowy memory. Then the vertically challenged arachnid traversed and climbed up the spout again to stand triumphantly with her dignity intact and her eyes (all eight of them) gleaming in the soft glow of sun beams.
Now, one might be tempted to deconstruct this nursery rhyme as merely a more child-friendly retelling of the tragic Greek myth of Sisyphus who was condemned to an eternity of pushing a boulder up a hill just to watch it roll back down again and again. But I believe there is more optimism warranted of our eight-legged legend.
You see, in life, there will be storms. When it rains, it pours, and when you’re stuck in a drain pipe, you’re probably confused about the purpose of pipes (I’ll give you a hint: they’re not for climbing). But it’s not about avoiding the rains. It’s about what you choose to do in the midst of them, and what you choose to continue to do after them. Falling down gives us the opportunity to learn how to stand back up. And getting caught in the rain gives us the opportunity to eat lemon drops and gum drops that taste like smog and soot.
The sun will come out again.
The morals of the story:
Keeping faith that the sun will rise gives us the strength to endure and the courage to face the rains.
Next time, just take the stairs. Or at least bring an umbrella/galoshes/raincoat. No one likes wet socks.
aka: What the curly tale of the three little pigs can teach us about the 2008 housing market crisis
Once upon a time…
There were three little pigs (not those miniature-pigs, mind you—those don’t actually exist; they’re a scam so don’t buy one online—no these were just prepubescent piggies, runts of the litter if you will). Their names were Ham, Bacon, and Prosciutto because they had cynical, millennial pig parents who had prescribed themselves to a life of pessimism and vanity after a financial crisis struck in which a parade of wolves on wall street huffed and puffed and blew down many houses of swine. But that’s another story.
Well, anyways, let’s just skip a bit here on the whole character development thing. So, yeah, one day, the three brother pigs (or sister pigs, I don’t know, whichever or neither, I’m not a sexist pig after all) decided to build them each a home. Because living in a pit of mud had become dull and they said to their old folks that they were too good to stay in that pigsty any longer. What pretentious little piggies.
Now at this juncture, I know what you’re thinking: “Wait, these animals walk and talk?” Yes, animals in these tales are always anthropomorphized for some reason. Don’t ask me why. I suppose because it would be a rather dull story to hear otherwise.
But anyways, Ham, always the shrewd one, decided to build his home out of straw—you know, the stuff many animals like horses and I’m pretty sure pigs will eat. Not the drinking straws due to a global shortage since coffee shops have decided that those plastic tubes of death suck—literally and figuratively. Obviously, he finished first. As they say, if you want a job done fast, just assign the laziest person in the office to do it because they’ll find the quickest way to get it done.
Bacon, however, opted to build his home out of sticks because there’s hardly anything better smelling than some hickory smoked bacon, and this guy was oinking for the ladies (or vice versa; again, not a chauvinist here).
And then there was Prosciutto, a more refined swine. A sophisticated gourmand with a cane, monocle, and British accent for some reason. He built his home out of bricks—you know, like what many normal houses are made of. Actually, he probably didn’t build anything. He probably outsourced and hired a general contractor.
Well one inevitably plot-convenient day, the Big Bad Wolf (I guess that’s his [or her, wait no, it’s a bad guy so definitely a he] proper first, middle, and last name) was prowling around to find another sucker to commit fraud against. He then came upon the three pigs’ homes.
Mr. Big B. Wolf then proceeded to knock on little Ham’s door and proclaimed, “Little pig, little pig, won’t you let me come in? I promise that these interest rates won’t change for the first three years!” The wee little pig then proceeded in a rather rough, rash, and rudely manner to shout, “Not by one hair follicle upon either of my double chin!” “Well, I never!” responded Mr. Wolf. “Then I suppose I’ll just have to huff and puff and blow your house down!” Because I guess that’s a normal emotional reaction from a door-to-door salesman who’s been turned away? And so, he did just that, and the house of straw came crashing down. This event would become known as the Second Great Housing Market Crash of the 2000s.
Now, if this were a melancholier and purist rendition of the classic fable, then Ham’s story would end in the gullet of the beast. However, since we want to remain family friendly in our tale, we won’t even insinuate that the piglets were devoured alive by the blood-thirsty scoundrel. Won’t mention it at all. Instead, somehow, by deus ex machina, the little pig got away and ran to his sibling Bacon’s house.
Lather, rinse, repeat. You know the story. Sticks are also terrible for building livable structures. So, let’s just skip to the next bit.
The Big Bad Wolf was now quite irate at the lack of hospitality shown by the locals. Where he came from, you invited visitors in for a nice brunch—something simple like eggs and bac… never mind. Ham, Bacon, and Prosciutto all hunkered down in the house made of bricks. The Wolf demanded to be let in. Obviously, “not by the hair on their chinny, chin, chins.” Whatever that means. Like does that mean that strangers are normally allowed in if they acquire a piglet whisker to pay a door toll? Is it a triple chin? Either way, the Wolf began to huff and puff and put on another pathetically desperate show but this time to no avail. Prosciutto announced, “We’ll have no huffing and puffing here my good man. This democratic state has not yet legalized use of such substances, and I’m sure all that dramatic Lamaze of yours isn’t for medicinal purposes either.” Nevertheless, Mr. Wolf blew again and again until he passed out due to lack of oxygen to the brain, at which point the three little pigs called animal control and the Federal Trade Commission.
Then they helped themselves to a nice bowl of slop, and they all lived happily ever after. Except for Prosciutto. Because his nice, new home was now overrun and overcrowded with his frustratingly loud and ignorant brothers.
So, now boys and girls, the moral(s) of the story are:
Avoid taking out a second mortgage, and definitely not any subprime loans on a home that you can’t realistically afford.
Also, invest in homeowners and wolf disaster insurance.
Also, also, don’t let strange, hairy people in your house.
Oh, yeah, and something about the foolish pig builds his/her house out of straws and sticks that can break my bones but words will never hurt me as much as a brick to the face, but the wise pig builds his/her house out of actual building materials. Duh.
Oh, dear scorned and neglected one! Day often approached in despair, As the final, sweet moments of weekend expire. A day bemoaned and begrudged; Oh poor, little Mondays.
None want to wake to you, All want to wait for you. Marker of the week, The work begins with you, As sighs and fruffy grumbles float across the office space.
But may it not be oh Dawn Breaker, oh Bringer of New Life! Accused of fussy scruples and pedantic pontificating. Nay! You saucy little rascal. You plucky tortoise who shall win the race.
With new week, comes new focus, new resolve. It is New Year’s resolutions every New Monday. Tis cause for celebration. May we shout and rejoice. Another opportunity draws nigh to be the gladiator champion of productivity.
So pour the robust beans, That scalding, hot elixir of the heavens. Breathe in full and deep the crisp, morning air. Admire the glittering lights of dew resting and waking with the dawn. Seize the day; grasp hold and leave your fingerprints on time and space.