In Praise of Shitholes

Consider the shithole:

In the anal of a cave

It does not envy the hand for being the hand, it does not envy the feet for their gift of movement, it does not strike against other body parts, but in humility and pride carries on its duty without complaint, aiding bodily functions, enabling the health of the body as a whole. You can know the health of the people by the way their shitholes function.

Consider the shithole literally. What we may call a toilet. A latrine. A dump pit… Who can live a day without a visit to the shithole? An absolute necessary place that contains our waste, what we no longer need, what our bodies cannot keep inside for our own wellbeing. We may as well confer upon the shithole the title, “the greatest containment.”

Consider the shithole through which every living organism passes waste. The opening at the end of the alimentary canal–the anus. That short, blessed word, anus. Without this opening, we would be in crisis. In fact, we would not be. We would die. Imagine eating your favorite meal, you’re sitting at a table, perhaps in good company or alone. Before you is a delicious meal of chicken, beef stew or a burger, the freshest looking salad, fruits, squash, a sumptuous display of good quality food, so you eat, each mouthful a delight that gives you a glorious vision of what heaven might be. When you are full, you push back your chair and lean. You might use your free hand to massage your tummy. You feel good. Very good. Perhaps you drink some water, beer or wine, whatever it is you like. A few hours later when you need your shithole to pass out the excess, lo and behold, it refuses to open. Or maybe it threatens to open but you cannot find the other shithole for your dump so you run, shouting, asking for help. At this point, in panic mode, you might jump out of your dignified self and start asking anyone, everyone you meet to direct you towards a shithole. You might even curse if you expected the decent restaurant or home where you just ate your wonderful meal to have had a shithole. It’s a shithole for goodness sake, everyone needs it. Everyone uses it. How can there be none? A child may step forward and tell you; in this place, we have no shitholes. In which case, you gape and touch yourself, beat yourself up for a sign that you’re real, that what’s happening to you is real, you’re not dreaming, you’re not trapped inside a Kafka novel, you’re real.

You might end up in a hospital and die alone. Or you might just pull down your pants and shit all over yourself. Or you might want to shit and realize that your own shithole is not working, in which case you end up in the hospital. Either way, none of it looks good. You will abandon all the previous good feelings you had about food. Nourishment. The lavish experience will dissolve in the new nightmare. In your final glimpses of earth, your imagination not failing, you will erect shitholes all over the place. You will anoint them as new places of worship. You will tell everyone who cares to listen about the importance of shitholes. You will know for sure that humanity cannot go far without shitholes and that perhaps, accessibility and presence of shitholes is our truest mark of progress and civilization. This will be your legacy as you lovingly gaze at the earth you’re leaving. Ironically, you will see that shitholes have given your whole existence meaning, they have not only humbled but validated your purpose to exist. You will give your last breath in honor of shitholes.

Perhaps you won’t die.

Even trees have their shitholes

You will live and erect shitholes for the public good. In this way, your deeds will match those of shitholes. You’ll be doing exactly what the shitholes have done all along–for the public good. Poets will compose Anthems in honor of shitholes. New affirmations will come into being honoring shitholes. As a collective, we will praise the mouth that opens and helps us take through our food, the joy it gives us which cannot exceed the relief we feel when we release the excess through our shitholes, our greatest enablers.

We will say: Thank you, my shithole, for opening to release what I no longer need. Thank you, my other shithole for containing what I cannot contain. Thank you for being with me through good times and hard times. You have seen me through constipation and diarrhea but you have not given up. Through soft and hard shit, you are with me. Release and containment. Release and containment. How could I ever thank you enough?



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