Sunday, November 15, 2015
Phi-Lip Roth. Portnoy’s Complaint. Paragraphs pertaining to the ritual during bowel movement. Library of America. 2005.
Once a month my father took me with him down to the shvitz bath, there to endeavor to demolish – with the steam, and a rubdown, and a long deep sleep – the pyramid of aggravation he has built himself into during the previous weeks of work. Our street clothes we lock away in the dormitory on the top floor. On rows of iron cots running perpendicular to the lockers, the men who have already been through the ringer down below are flung out beneath white sheets like the fatalities of a violent catastrophe. If it were not for the abrupt thunderclap of a fart, or the snores sporadically shooting up around me like machine-gun fire, I would believe we were in a morgue, and for some strange reason undressing in front of the dead. I do not look at the bodies, but like a mouse hop frantically about on my toes, trying to clear my feet of my undershots before anybody can peek inside, where, to my chagrin, to my bafflement, to my mortification, I always discover in the bottommost seam a pale and wispy brushstroke of my shit. Oh, Doctor, I wipe and I wipe and I wipe, I spend as much time wiping as I do crapping, maybe even more. I use toilet paper like it grew on tress – so says my envious father – I wipe until that little orifice of mine is red as a raspberry; but still, much as I would like to please my mother by dropping into her laundry hamper at the end of each day jockey shorts such as might have encased the asshole of an angel, I deliver forth instead (deliberately, Herr Doctor? – or just inevitably?) the fetid little drawers of a boy.