Fearless Essay

Written 18 years ago

So as not immediately to off-put some readers, I need to introduce the topic with a few prefatory remarks.

I have read, and do believe, the adage put forth by experienced writers that one must be fearless in one’s writing. One must be true to oneself, in order to be true to the reader.

To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. –William Shakespeare (Polonius’s advice to his son Laertes, Hamlet’s buddy).

These prefatory remarks must include that I am on the cusp of attaining 77 years of age. My son-in-law Ken said to the family, upon my uttering something in questionable taste, that after age 60, which I then was, one can say what one wants. At age 77, it seems imperative that I say what I want, for the time is growing shorter in which to say it. Furthermore, the subject has a direct relationship to my age.

Now the subject: it’s about my scrotal sac. There—I said it. Allow me to explain.

It becomes inescapable as one ages to find certain portions of the body to begin sagging or growing larger. My nose, my earlobes, the skin at my throat are not those which I had at age 21. It is also inescapable to realize the same happens to other, less obvious parts.

Consider the ordinary toilet, western style, where one has the convenience to sit as if on a chair instead of squatting as people in many other countries do. My bones and sinews are not made for squatting. I have visited countries where squatting is the norm (Afghanistan, Thailand) so I appreciate this comfort when it is available.

Now, consider something about toilet bowls—they have water in them, usually, at least a little at the bottom. There seems to be a trend in toilet design, especially in fancy hotels and restaurants and in private homes that are trendy, to have deep bowls (a good thing) filled almost to the brim with fresh, sparkling water (a bad thing).

Why is the latter a bad thing? Because my scrotal sac becomes completely immersed in the clean, sparking water and I dare not micturate or perform even more complicated tasks, lest the cover to my blessed balls becomes anointed with unwelcome fluids and materials.

 Toilet Levels

I must not fail to speak of the sudden shock of unexpectedly immersing this container of formerly precious family jewels in cold water when sitting on an unfamiliar toilet while my thoughts are engaged with things other than the immediate task at hand, or bottom in this case.

Yes, one grows longer in the tooth and longer in the sac. This is a warning to my younger male colleagues and a reminder to amateur and professional designers of toilets, and interior decorators of all kinds, to please, for the love of your fellow (aging) man:

Keep the level of water in your toilets to the minimum necessary for a sanitary conclusion of their sacred function.

Addendum: I will not write on the horrors of trying to perform necessary functions on a toilet in an airplane or long-distance bus, except to say they typically have no water, but they are shallow and cold, and do not allow room for a proper, unimpeded dangle.

Thank you for listening.

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