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 Texas : Features : Columns : "The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"
Lightening the Burden
by Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
I was feeling mistreated and petulant recently. Because I was cleaning the bathroom. I hate this job and there is a reason that I hate it. I sit down to take care of business and the act of sitting absolutely negates any possibility that I will miss. I donít have to worry about it. There is nowhere for anything to go but down. As it should be. And yet I am obliged to scrub all around the toilet, the back of it, the seat, the sides, the floor around it and the wall beside it. I donít mind that things have to be cleaned. Thatís O.K. But, my heavens! What do they do in here, these boys? Is it like a big pee-pee Mardi Gras? Are they practicing the Macarena? Writing their names? Looking at the ceiling? Pretending thereís an earthquake? What? What? What! What is the problem? Micturition related seizures? Is this the way they relieve all their pent up resentment and frustration? "Oh yeah? Clean up my room? Well, take that! Liver for dinner? HA! Hereís what I think of liver for dinner!" Is that it? It wasnít enough that I carried them around for nine months as they sucked the very life out of my bones, not enough that I spent a year on each of them smelling like spit-up milk. Not enough that I ate pounds and pounds of leafy green vegetables when my entire being was screaming "CHOCOLATE!" That I sacrificed my figure, my youth and my disposition for them? That wasnít enough? But they have to pee like theyíre blessing the earth? Like they are the clouds and the bathroom is the desert? Like somebody else (me, Me, ME!) is going to clean it up?

So. I was feeling mistreated. I was thinking, "I know Princess Di never had to put up with this." Which was stupid. She probably had a special HazMat team on call especially for her family. I bet Dorothy Parker never found herself on her knees in front of a toilet. O.K. Bad example. On her knees scrubbing a toilet. How about Edna St. Vincent Millay? Imagine her up to her elbows in Ajax. What would she have to say about it?
* * * * *

Tidy Bowl

With what a limpid, gentle grace,
With swish and swirl and sigh,
With what a passion pent and spent,
The mold do battle I.
If ever men were meant to pee
Upon the wall and floor,
And leave it all there just for me,
An unrelenting chore,
Then thereís no justice in this world!
Itís surely not my lot
To leave my hopes and dreams tight furled
Whilst scrubbing round the pot.
If men can sail the seven seas
And make it home again,
Is it too much to ask them please,
To keep within the rim?
If they can travel to the stars,
Determine speed and thrust,
To land upon the breast of Mars,
Count more on aim than trust,
Is it too much to hope and ask
That it could be the same,
When they are at their toileting
Count less on trust than aim?
If this be so, if this be right,
Then follow ye my reason,
Let men stay here to fight the fight,
And weíll be back next season.
* * * * *
I had a lot of fun with that and believe me, it made cleaning the bathroom much more fun.

Then it made me think of work. You know. Since I was being poetic. So hereís one more, that you might enjoy. I hope you will. Maybe you can read it while you clean the bathroom.
* * * * *

Medical Resident
or
When They Grow Up

You're a fine young American brain
You don't think this because you are vain
But you've often been told
By the young and the old
That you're headed for riches and fame.
You've chosen the study of medicine,
Unlike Misters Tesla or Edison,
Engineering's a drag
The Arts aren't your bag
And it's too late to change and begin again.
After long years of hardship and toil,
Burning right through that ol' midnight oil,
It's your first night On Call
You've been handed the ball
Each dilemma you'll conquer and foil!
Fever and seizure and rhonchi and spots,
None of these problems are Gordian knots.
You run hither and yon
From dusk until dawn
While your dinner congeals and then rots.
For each query you had a reply
And resisted the impulse to cry
You've been up for two days
Your brain's in a haze
And there's slime on the end of your tie.
Oh where is the glory and valor?!?
Your cheeks have an unhealthy pallor
But your mom is so proud,
Your dad boasts out loud,
You're a hero, a saint and a scholar!
* * * * *
© Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
"The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything" - February 16, 2006 Column
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This page last modified: February 16, 2006