A Leak in Civilization

Credit: Kimball Stock

The maelstrom of liquid acid intensifies, a quiet storm churning within you, an insurmountable pressure pleading and begging for momentary relief. You are in dire need of, what the French would call, a “Oui Oui.”


You are at a clear disadvantage, devoid of a decent outlet to let loose the tempest rumbling inside you. In a last-ditch effort to preserve what shreds of dignity you might have left, you scramble about in a quest to find the closest channel to set forth a torrent of your own creation. This is the apex of your childhood ambitions. You can master the elements, manipulate the rivers and part the waters like a modern-day Moses. Your reserves are aplenty, the jet stream cocked and loaded; timing is crucial.

It’s a considerable struggle of might that many underestimate, but few have the presence of mind to achieve. As the last seconds dawn and the remnants of your social life flash before you, a miracle in the shape and form of a public restroom stall materializes itself in the corner of your eyes. You brain lets forth cries of internal joy at the wondrous sight and your prostate all but backflips in hysteria.

Deliverance is near. Your chances at remaining a decent human being in the eyes of your friends are safe. In trepidating anticipation, you maintain your composure for a few extra instants and throw yourself in ecstasy at the disease-ridden steel gate – only to find it sealed shut. The flashing red 50¢ button grins at you in playful, mocking glee and your hopes at respectable alleviation are crushed. Your heart gives a convincing impression of a cardiac-arrest as your trembling fingers optimistically ravage through your coin-scarce pockets. The frustration is tangible.

In a show of defiance at your inability to practice what most would consider a basic human right, you unleash the raging hurricane of pent-up anger, pain and sadness at the rusty metal turnstile.

A display of engaging water-works that would put the Dubai choreographed fountain show to shame; you let loose a flow of torrential rains that could threaten entire village sewage systems in India.

The relief is palpable, though short-lived. The moment of ephemeral ecstasy is soon replaced by a mix of shame and disgust at the collateral damage inflicted on your shoes. One would think that outlets for the exercise of one of our main bodily functions, the practice of which is arguably universally recognized as a fundamental right for all humans alike, would be widely provided to the masses in modern civilizations. It seems, however, that these freedoms have now been priced at a rough scattering of small change and lower denominations of local currency probably found under your couch.

For this, we can thank the concerned authorities, who seem to have decided that taxing every citizen for the evacuation of their bowel movements is definitely a productive process for all the obvious reasons.

If, dear reader, by some convenient stroke of luck, you happen to be in a position in which you have the liberty to take such sweeping decisions (say for instance, quite randomly, that you are the mayor of a coastal town on the south of France); please stop. It’s beyond ridiculous.

You are, quite literally, taking a piss.

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