I was at a cousin’s baptism lately and surrounded by my family. Lots of very articulate, amiable people who endearingly drink a touch too much. I was hiding from the over stimulation of the main room with babies being passed to me by hanging out with the smokers outside. I don’t smoke, but I was hungry and needed the opportunity to stuff my face with broccoli and carrot sticks without somebody asking me, “SO! you’re going to the moon, right?” I love smokers, they never judge. And so, happily snacking in the back yard, I came to chat with my uncle, an educated and elegant man in his fifties who perpetuates Great Gatsby-ian aura.

Our conversation turned deliciously macabre and I put down my little plate of party food and sipped my beer, as he thoughtfully turned his cigar away from me and whispered to me conspiratorially, “You know, I heard from a credible source that a lot of people die on the toilet, a lot.” I thought, I mean, how many people would shock me? 20? 100? 1,000? Nobody wants to die like that, and he said it to me in the resigned and bemused tone of a man who knows that we must all suffer terrible pain an unavoidable ironies. He meant it as a joke, to lift my spirits from the stress of the party with a little bathroom humor, but I started talking of all the mothers I know.

Being a weirdo fake hippie, many of my friends had home births. The laxity in rigor amongst these women (Oh, hell, I don’t think I’ll cut my hair or shave.) is abruptly encountered with admirable determination. They grown their own food and, upon going into labor, ably call a midwife and handle their business. From what I hear, a fair portion of them end up sitting on the toilet, it being a convenient place to perch their ravaged selves. Think of all the abandoned babies found in toilets.

It made me think of how strangely elegant the cycle of life is. We’re all just revolving around the shitter.

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