There are times when one simply does not, as they say, put two and two together. It appears I have been a singular failure in this regard, ever since I first arrived in this metropolis. To wit: the toilet. Derived from the French toilette, meaning a small cloth, doily, or dressing table. I had always pictured the toilet as such. Alas, literature does not seek to reinvent, only to explore this thing we call modernity. The gory details of daily human experience are mercifully omitted (except of course in Henry Miller and some Bukowski).
Perhaps I owe my breakthrough today to Henri Bergson and his “Introduction to Metaphysics.” The metaphysician attempts to “know” a thing by liberating himself from the manacles of subjectivity, by striving to bypass entirely the fallibility of the senses. Bergson is right to argue that we cannot possibly reproduce reality by the creation of referents. A toilet is a toilette is a john is a loo. Which is it? Can we really say it is all of these things at once? What Bergson might call a “multiplicity” of identities? Yes.
Hence, a breakthrough! Nothing quite describes this sensation besides that oft-maligned word, epiphany. An epiphanic thrill. Epiphanous. How else to convey the joy of discovery? Today, I ventured into the white-tiled room adjacent to my ghostwriter’s kitchen and proceeded to “jiggle the handle,” as it were, partially out of frustration and partially out of the desire to know this strange object before me in the metaphysical sense. Imagine my surprise when, through an apparent miracle of gravitational dynamics, the water within this porcelain throne suddenly swirled about and disappeared, “flushed,” you might say, into some nether region of human invention.
And to think, all this time I had been depositing my excrement in bundles of newspaper and burying them under trees in the park. Bergson posits that:
“Now our mind has an irresistible tendency to consider that idea clearest which is most often useful to it. That is why immobility seems to it clearer than mobility, and rest anterior to movement.”
Finally, it all becomes clear. Until now I’d considered excrement-filled packets of newspaper most “useful” to my purposes. But if we were to follow such a course of action to its logical conclusion, I would eventually run out of trees! Of late I resorted to leaving the bundles in the mysterious metal boxes affixed to my neighbors’ front doors, receptacles which seem to lack any discernible function whatsoever.
No more. I have won a battle today, a small one, but a battle nonetheless.