Oh yes! We absolutely have a series on bathroom reading! So long as it's taking place behind the closed (or open, if that's the way you swing) bathroom door, we want to know what it is. It can be a book, the back of the shampoo bottle, the newspaper, or Twitter on your cell phone - whatever helps you pass the time...
Today, C. McGee takes it to the toilet! C.'s first novel Exteriors And Interiors is available now from Roundfire Books. His forthcoming novel Feral Chickens will be out next year. More of his writing can be found on CMcGeeWrite.com. Raised in Minnesota he currently lives in North Carolina with his wife, Beth, and their daughter, Jo.
I love reading. I love the toilet. You put those two things together and you basically have a recipe for sublimity. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to spend a half an hour. Unfortunately, Reading-On-The-Toilet does not feel the same way about me. My love is unrequited. Actually, it’s worse than that. Reading-On-The-Toilet straight up hates me. I know because it gave me hemorrhoids and you don’t give painfully swollen anal veins to someone you love, you give them to someone you despise. What a bastard.
I actually remember the exact moment that Reading-On-The Toilet revealed his true feelings. It was a summer day. The sun beamed down on us as we sat absorbed in Hemingway’s swift, muscular prose. Together we turned page after page, soaking in the sunlight that beamed through the window, keeping one another warm. It was a romantic afternoon the likes of which one dreams. Then swiftly the dream became a nightmare. As our afternoon together drew to a close, I turned and looked down in order to assess the size of the present that I had left behind for my lover, but what greeted my eyes was not a well formed brown package resting serenely beneath a layer of clear placid water, but rather a loosely shaped pile of shit residing at the bottom of a basin spider-webbed with ribbons of blood. It was a horrific sight the likes of which I had never seen. Indeed, the unprecedented nature of the scene left me both flummoxed and frightened. Desperately I combed my mind for explanations but none came, at least not right away. I suspect understanding took me longer than it should have because I didn’t want to believe the truth, I didn’t want to acknowledge that I had been betrayed … but I had.
Reading-On-The-Toilet had turned against me. He had stabbed me from behind, in the behind. It was devastating. Is devastating. Neither my asshole nor my heart have ever fully recovered. I expect they never will. I hate Reading-On-The-Toilet for that, for ruining me, for ridding me of my romantic notions. Still, I can’t help myself. Part of me is still in love with him, and that part of me won’t let the rest of me leave, not completely. That’s why I still go back. Not often, just every now and then, when I feel like something is missing.
But I’m careful when I do it. I never linger. I keep it short and sweet. Non-fiction exclusively, usually short essays by Hitchens or Sedaris, maybe an occasional comic by Allie Brosh; but no novels, no fiction of any kind. It’s too risky. I’ll get engrossed and lose my bearings. End up coming to ninety minutes later butt-hurt and heartbroken once more. I can’t do that. Not again.