Picture this: It’s a beautiful Grinnell day. The sun is out, the temperature is about 22 degrees (Celsius) and as a result all the crusty eyed college kids decide to step out and toss a Frisbee around. You’re lying in the grass watching the disc fly back and forth, listening to Kidz Bop Fetty Wap on your headphones because, well, you actually like it for real. What a perfect springtime scene. Now imagine that from the perspective of your asshole. It’s objectively not as fun down there. Sunlight is an alien concept, the air is always kind of stale and recycled like an airline cabin after about 12 hours of a 16-hour flight, humidity tends to be high and time seems to stand still. It’s kind of like England, except there you could still have Kidz Bop. The point being, we don’t think nearly enough about how our assholes experience the world. Or how shitty the weather can get in England.
Life in America really taught me to appreciate my body. You see, in Pakistan (and most Muslim countries) right next to the porcelain throne there is a nifty contraption that allows you to feel like you’ve never felt before. It’s called a Muslim Shower and it’s a tiny shower head attached to a pipe in the wall that you can use to cleanse your ass thoroughly every time you stock the lake with brown trout. Fast forward to my arrival at Grinnell and the first time I called a code brown in the oval office. It was a great poop; I remember it clearly. I then immediately remember feeling lost and alone, like that one scene in Beloved, when all of a sudden there’s a deathly silent metaphoric forest in between Paul D and Sethe. That’s how my asshole and I felt. There was a complete breakdown in communication. I looked around to find no contraption, no beautiful water delivery system tailored for butt care. That was my first time wiping. If you’ve ever tried or can conceive of trying to get peanut butter out of shag carpet, I can end this anecdote here. Just imagine being the carpet. But hey, its fine, college is about adapting, changing, learning and that’s what I planned to do: take it in my stride and own the wipe, become so good at it that I’d never have to wash again.
Then I had my first real beer-shit.
Think about how shitty Keystone tastes going in. Now think about how much shittier it must taste going out. If puns turn you on, pun intended (If they don’t, there’s no cure for what you have).
I’ve always admired the saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone,” because I think it can be true in every walk of life. I think it speaks to a tantalizing and interesting truth about human beings. That we can only fully understand the value of love, friendship, companionship and all these beautiful things when they are taken from us. We find meaning when the meaningful things are no longer with us, or at least when we fear they might not be for a given period of time.
But really, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it chafes.” Let’s be honest. That is not a pleasant feeling, and it’s so bittersweet because surely you’re still glad you have an asshole that deals with the waste in your body, lest you swell up and pop like a balloon. But it doesn’t help that it kind of hurts to stand up and the eggs-to-order line is so damn long.
At the end of the day, wash or don’t wash, it’s not my business how you choose to deal with a post-Fetish Harris Sunday morning Hershey squirt (it’s weirder because of the strange things you’ve seen). I get that washing is a contextual concept and can sound strange and uncomfortable depending on what you’re used to. All I wish is that we as a people, as a species and as willing or unwilling members of this the human race unite in our appreciation of one thing we all have in common: an evolutionarily streamlined waste disposal system. And this lesson extends to the rest of our bodies, too. Like staying up late for that mid-term paper and running on little-to-no sleep, or drinking heavily and falling over because your jeans were extremely skinny and you thought post-six beers was the best time to try and undress no-handed. We put our bodies through some serious shit and we tend to forget to stop and appreciate them. Just think about that next time you call someone an “asshole.” Because it seems to me that that is a compliment. If any individual were actually willing to do that job for 24-hours a day 7 days a week (timeline may vary depending on fiber intake), I’d salute them. I’d applaud and respect them. I’d give them a damn medal. And people have been calling me that all my life.