By Shana Genre
Well, hello there. It’s that time again: potty time. I know you think that I am just bidding farewell to my Pampers, but what you are about to see is actually an interpretative dance in which each of my movements is fraught with significance.
Notice the folding stool that I have in my tiny hands and perceive how I place it in its upright position. Observe its four legs, which appear strong but shake almost imperceptibly beneath my twenty-eight pounds. Does this stool symbolize an important step in my forthcoming independence? Or does it represent democracy starting to crack under too much weight?
You may notice the great oval that I bear in my pudgy hands, and no, it is not an emblem of the circle of life. While the uninitiated might call it a “potty insert,” a brief perusal of Being and Nothingness will recast it as my existential buttress. When I place this ergonomic cradle for the derriere atop the commode, I assert my personal identity and stake my claim as a member of the human race.
Watch carefully as I ascend to what some call a “throne.” Treat this as my coronation, wherein you ceremonially read to me, preferably a work of literature about a toddler using a potty because being meta is all part of my design. I am also open to books by Richard Scarry because perching here as long as possible heightens my critique of the insidious ways in which corrupt forces monopolize power and thus remain ignorant of the struggles endured by the proletariat.
Now, listen closely. Strain your ears. While you may hear the faint whistle of breath through my perpetually stuffed-up nose, what you won’t hear is the tinkle of urine splashing into water. Why is that? It’s because my sitting here is not, in fact, an exercise in learning to empty my bladder; it is actually a commentary on the futility of women trying to be heard in a world that systematically marginalizes them.
Study my movements carefully as I incorporate toilet paper into my performance. As I tear an individual square to shreds and let it fall to the floor like confetti, I want you to stare into my eyes and think about nihilism. Observe how I go back for more, unspooling several squares, seemingly heedless as the dowel spins and unravels much like our world is unraveling around us.
Contemplate the ribbon of butt tape that I have coiled into a form that resembles a snake. Am I alluding to the temptation of Eve? Or am I making an obscure Birdman reference? Only you can decide.
Finally, I ask that you become a participant in this performance by flushing the toilet along with me; my tiny fingers aren’t strong enough to push the handle down on my own. Together, let us bear witness to the dark abyss at the heart of the bowl and try to find meaning in nothingness just as Nietzsche would want us to do.
I ask you: Did any of this even matter?
About the Author
Shana Genre (@GenreShana) writes for The Belladonna Comedy, McSweeney’s, and The Second City. She lives in Maine, where she writes, teaches, and occasionally parents.