Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Primary Goal As A Parent: Raise A Child Who Flushes The Toilet

I don't have any children. I will, some day, so I'm getting my parenting priorities straight. My son/daughter will be literate; s/he will say please and thank you. And, most importantly, s/he will flush the goddamn toilet.

I don't even mean the toilet in our house. But I guess that's where it'd start: the home. That's where kids learn such complex tasks as opening and closing the door, turning on the lights, turning off the lights, and washing their hands. I'm sure this is all a long, complicated process of indoctrination, but eventually people learn.

(I have a feeling being a parent is about as embarrassing as getting your penis caught in a manhole at Yonge/Dundas Square or having a tampon fall out on Wimbledon's centre court. I have a lot of sympathy. And as long as you're teaching your kids that soap's their friend, I love you. Keep up the good work.)

Even if it's only token handwashing (running the water, wetting the soap, and rinsing your hands), it's still something. God knows why you wouldn't go all the way and just lather and rinse, but the gesture shows your heart's in the right place.

But there are people who don't even go that far. I'm an atheist--and here's one of the reasons. If you're arguing for Intelligent Design, try explaining how men and women, putatively modelled after God, can exit a public washroom without washing their hands. You want me to believe God designed the Krebs Cycle, but couldn't figure out a way to force people who've just touched their dicks, vaginas, and assholes to pause and use a little soap and water?

I don't even care about germs. I don't necessarily object to turning a handle that might as well have been plucked directly from your uterus. But the stupidity's shocking. It's like when a friend asked me why all these New Yorkers were driving around Buffalo.

But it gets worse.

I was in a library washroom a couple days ago, standing at the urinal, when I heard the sound of ripping toilet paper coming from an occupied stall. A pause and then more ripping. Then more ripping. Then the sound of pants being raised and a belt being fastened. By this time I was standing at the sink, lathering. A guy emerges from the stall, the door swings open, and he walks out of the washroom. The last thing I saw was a pair of pants being hitched.

Forget handwashing. This guy didn't even flush the goddamn toilet.

Sometimes, when I see a guy in a souped-up Honda pass me at eighty over the limit, I wonder what type of guy's in that car. What kind of person's ego pumps and thrives on the thrill of driving fast?

Well now I know because the guy from the washroom was stopped beside me at a red light. The huge spoiler on his cobalt Civic looked like it came from a Flying Fortress. As soon as it hit green this guy was weaving down Steeles at 85 kph.

So that's my new standard of parenting. Does your kid was his/her hands? If so, guess what: You're on the right track.

An unflushed toilet? Better start saving for law school.

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