Wednesday 2 July 2014

Keeping the shitty side down

This is probably too much information, but I’ve just noticed that about half of the perforated sheets of toilet paper I use do not actually touch my shit. At least for me. I tend to use two or three sheets per wipe, folded to make a layer of two or three, depending on the softness of the stool situation. Obviously on softer days three layers is best. Who wants to get shit on your fingers, even if you’re going to wash them afterwards?

Thinking about this this morning in the outhouse as I’m folding three sections (it was that kind of day) it comes to me that only one of the three sheets actually performs the dirty work. The other two work in support as a kind of insurance against an untimely breakdown. Of course if the work is getting done by the first layer, the second and third layers function only as a redundancy. An engineering sidebar. Just in case.

Which led me to the observation that, if my usage represents something close to the norm, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 50% of the perforated squares of ass-wipe are produced to function as back-up. They get one play during which they remain relatively unsullied and then are dropped into the same shit-hole as the others. It’s sobering that this redundancy might be a principle of nature. Half or more of us function as place-holders. Back-up plans. Unlikely to be used, but still necessary enough. You might get called up. You won’t know when and you might not like it when it happens, but it’ll be important. That shit is going to matter and you are going to stand in the gap. It may be your destiny, it may not.

Sometimes it seems that you have bad timing, that you end up being on the shitty side too often. This past long weekend I’m out riding mountain bike with a large group of friends. It’s Cuyuna and it’s awesome – SO AWESOME – and I’m on the way back to the campsite after about six hours of riding with 20-year-old JW (who only has two bikes and no kids, and me with my kids all grown up, so we end up riding together on our own schedule and, like I said it’s AWESOME) and I’m done, as in almost no water and legs of jelly done, and the rest of the group of dads ride up yelling for glory, set free from the constraints of responsible parenting. Now. Now they’re going to ride and it’s going to be super fun. Well of course young JW turns around to join them, but this old guy is done. I know it. There’s no other way to put it. I play it prudent, accept my destiny, and ride back to the tents alone.

It's a matter of perspective really. Even though not turning around and going back for another two hours was probably a mistake, I’m willing to live with it because I don’t rightly know what the shitty side might be or when my destiny to catch the shit might come up. I mean I’d just had six hours of awesome riding with JW and I was rightly bagged. This much I knew. Why tempt fate with what I didn’t know? I don't know. Shit. It could’ve been awesome. The shitty side might have held strong, leaving me clean and redundant. I know the analogy doesn’t hold all the way. I kept the shitty side down, and I didn’t get thrown into the shitter as a redundancy. You could say that my roll hadn’t come up. It could be that I'm just hanging over the top now (or under, depending how you install your roll) waiting for the next cosmic peristalsis. Who knows? As for the weekend, things stayed awesome and unshitty right to the end, and here are a few pics to prove it.

Tents, sky, bikes - not shitty at all.

Even 20 year olds tire out.

The Bobsled - Keep 'yer outside foot down!

Minor shitty - a flat at the bottom of Sand Hog Mountain.

The 29er was ... sweetly not shitty.

27 year anniversary - The couple that rides together, rides together! Amen!?