Collections, Toilets, and Philosophy

After acquiring a few demijohn glass bottles from the antique market, we have renewed  our desire to collect things—wine corks and sea glass, specifically. It’s alarming to see that we are closer to filling our cork bottle than our sea glass bottle, but I chalk that up to density and science. And the fact that we have hosted three Thanksgivings with Spaniards.

When my oldest and I were combing the shore for glass, he said, “Yesterday, this was the best place,” pointing to an area close to the breakers, “and today this is.”

I said, “Thanks how life works. The right place always changes, but we can always find it.” I was feeling impressed with my on-the-spot poetics, a metaphor coming together.

He replied, “Look, that seagull is eating a dead fish!”


I’ve traveled to many places in Europe now, and I can say with utmost confidence that Germans do not know how to toilet. The actual bowl is shaped differently, in such a way that your poop sits on a shelf, like a turdish little prize. You must stand up to wipe, unless you’re the daring type, and as you deposit your paper, you see your own waste, waiting to leap off the diving board.

It’s repulsive. I have no beef with the present day German people, but with all the fuss about toilet use in American Targets, let’s step back and see what true toilet terror looks (and smells) like.


I volunteered for the kids’ school this past week, as they participated in a school Olympics. It was an extensive, four-day affair, featuring a parade of nations, various sporting events, and a closing ceremonies with the awarding of medals.

Much like real life (and despite the toilet deficit explained above), Germany dominated. I suspect some of the 6th grade students on that team shaved on the regular. The US team (which did not specifically have American students on the team) did all right. But the real winner was my son, representing Slovakia, who earned  third place for his team. All week long I had referred to his team as the “great nation of Slovakia.”

He explained that he now understood why I called it great.

Many kids came home empty handed, or only with diplomas. Many of said diplomas were ripped in fury. Tears were shed. Youngest said, “This is different from America, where we all get medals even when they don’t mean anything.”


People here ask me about American politics. I say, “It’s just like your politics.” We both grimace and take a pull of wine.


I last wrote here on February 29th. I would like to say the muse left, but the reality is that it’s kinda a pain to plug in the computer. I strive to improve, and I mean this, for all two of my readers, I thank you.






One thought on “Collections, Toilets, and Philosophy

  1. Count me as one of your readers (I’m sure there are more than two), devoted and thrilled whenever the muse strikes and you find the will to plug in the computer.


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