My showerhead is the ego of human progress

Posted by jdg | Monday, September 25, 2006 |

So I stole the showerhead from our apartment in San Francisco. I had to. It was magnificent. Yesterday I found it in one of our moving boxes, and after wrenching off the piece of shit watering-can spigot that came with our house, I installed our old showerhead and took a long shower.

I had a lot of complaints about our little apartment in San Francisco, but the shower wasn't one of them. When you turned on the water and stepped into its cascading warmth, it was like walking into an Irish Spring commercial, with all the redheaded nymphs massaging you with kelly-green washcloths and the sweaty, soot-faced leprechauns stoking the flames that kept the waterfall gushing over your body at a perfect 119 degrees.

See, our stolen showerhead is old: handcrafted by skilled Chinese factory workers before 1992, when California law and federal regulations required that all showerheads imported, sold, or installed here had to release 2.5 gallons per minute or less. As most people who have had the pleasure of standing under our shower in San Francisco will attest, in comparison, 2.5 gallons per minute is like getting pissed on by a squirrel with prostate cancer.

Now, I know that all of you environmentalists who have somehow retained the enthusiasm of a college sophomore will scream and shout about the waste of our freshwater resources. And I'd almost feel guilty, if I weren't in the city of Detroit. One of my friends here lived across the street from a broken fire hydrant that gushed water two feet into the air for more than four months. When he finally got through to the city's water department, he was told it would cost more to repair the broken hydrant than it would to just let the water run. He was considering adding some cement lawn statuary and fallen architectural elements from the nearest abandoned mansion and calling the broken hydrant a public fountain. Besides, our water is paid as a part of our Association Fee, just like cable television. I have been watching the History Channel almost nonstop lately, and the other day I watched a show about plumbing in Ancient Rome. Holy crap, do you know how much water the Romans used per day? They were the cleanest people in human history. Then came the dark ages, when people were more environmentally friendly and only showered once or twice a year. Tell me, environmentalists, who would you rather hang out with? The fucking Visigoths?

All of this is to say that yes, I do occasionally take showers. After Melissa linked to that scrubby-ass picture of me on Suburban Bliss last week, I have to say that I understand if there is concern out there about my hygiene. I received an e-mail last week from a Detroit-area blogger I still need to meet who said the following:

". . .it is almost eerie how you have completely embodied the essence of Michael Keaton in Mr. Mom. Dude, you are Michael Keaton, and that would make Wood very "Teri Garr" which rules to say the least."

Mentioning Mr. Mom to a stay-at-home dad is really throwing down the gauntlet. It's like mentioning the film Baby Boom to a career-minded Manhattan mother (luckily, both movies are available in a double-sided disc on Amazon, so now I know what to get Wood for her birthday; if only they could have packaged it with the third film in the 1980s, fish-out-of-water screwball parenting comedy triumverate: Three Men and a Baby. That would almost be as great as the time Wood bought me the single-disc version of Revenge of the Nerds and Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise for my birthday). But to accuse me of embodying the essence of Michael Keaton in Mr. Mom (presumably after he has sunk to his lowest low and started watching his "stories" and slipping male strippers dollar bills between his teeth, not after his clean-shaven and victorious comeback on the corporate obstacle course), well that was just a slap in the face. But after looking at that picture again and examining my scrubby-ass beard in the mirror, I have to say she got it all wrong. I haven't come to embody the essence of Michael Keaton in Mr. Mom. I have come to embody the essence of Michael Keaton in Beetlejuice. Holy crap I'm dirty!

I hope all this is just a phase, some kind of reaction to those four years spent in business casual hell. I would have rather worn suits every day than dress "business casual." Hell, I would rather dress like a fucking matador every day than wear khaki pants. Just the word khaki grosses me out. I hate looking at it. Pleated khakis. Khaki Dockers. Fuck. Now I'm going to have to wash all this stomach bile off my keyboard. But I won't let a little spilled puke prevent me from wearing the same holey jeans I've been wearing every day for the last two weeks. No sir. Ain't no one the boss of me now.

Wood wrote last Thursday about taking baths, and I'm writing about taking showers today. I'm not above recycling the old trope about the difficulty of showering when there's a demanding little 20-month-old wombat running around. It's so hard I only manage to do it once every three days.

But at least now when I do it, I'll be using enough water to wash away three days' worth of dirt.