Wherein the author encounters a tiled traveler’s greeting.
By Mike Smith
I’ve read a lot of heartfelt messages in my time on this orb. I’m a husband a father and a grandfather. Messages from my wife my kids and my grandkids are usually meaningful and touching. Even from a three-year-old who simply scrawls her name on a hallmark card. (zoe)
However, there is something about a public restroom that seems to get a person’s true feelings flowing. Public urinations of empirical reality scrawled upon the shiny wall of a shelter of lowly and private necessity never fail to get me through the day. Although not exactly the kind of place you would expect a modern Socrates to give public orations and spout his elenchus to his followers, tile and/or stainless steel provides a very bland form of Socratic irony, a pushing of the dialectic to its most ridiculous form. But be that as it may. I read this on a public restroom wall the other day. Yes, while I was out driving…
Fight against the paradigm! As soon as you start to understand the paradigm, you have lost. So fight against yourself before you become the paradigm.
It seems to say something about our society while at the same time giving us a fairly comprehensive glimpse at popular culture, the writer’s ego, his (this was a men’s room in case you are concerned about my assertion of gender) lack of self-scrutiny, and the confused state of a person in want of a little renal relief. In its efficiency it is a veritable trove of worldly wisdom and hippy dippy post-post modernism, with a little bit of physical desperation thrown in.
In short, I witnessed the relieving of one’s self of more than one burden!
Now, why in the world would someone feel a need to publish their opposition wisdom in a place where only half of the population can be exposed to it? Would it not have been better to perhaps even write this informative spew on the outside of the building? Perhaps charge admission to have it explained. Sign autographs! Maybe even post a phone number for those needing clarification! Maybe even make up some protest signs. You’d have to kind of bumper-stickerize the concept, but I could get behind a sign that says perhaps:
Try to build a following at least. Be a Socrates, a Plato… a… Paradigm. Oops. I’ve lost my head!
You do have to wonder about the person who was out driving down the interstate (no doubt in his VW bus) passing the inevitable road sign that says “Rest Area, 2 miles,” and in those few private moments becoming inspired to “give it to the man” so to speak. Tell the world what’s really going on. Peel back the love-bead curtain and reveal the real darkness that works its invisible insidiousness against us.
He must be a certifiable rebel. Not only does he deface a rest area, he didn’t even use the venue for its most prosaic use and rest a bit.
Instead he composed a missive. His life’s work continued even as every man’s impulse interrupted him. He left an indelible sign on the highway of life like a wolf. Or a wild dog.
I’m reminded of how dogs and dog-like animals leave signs and mark their territory as they whiz by on their journey called life. Apparently humans do the same thing. And like the next dog that comes by any particular tree or fire hydrant, someone else left their equally relevant, clever and comprehensive textual sign as it were and wrote:
That’s what she said.
I hope you’ve been inspired to chew on these bits of wisdom for a while this morning. I know my drive home was much more meaningful after this little example of human angst and understanding. I look forward to hearing about the impact these statements will have on future generations. Here’s to pondering the deep things…
I also hope that next time you are out for a long drive, you too should be unafraid to make a pith stop as well.