Disclaimer: If you want to read a tearjerker about some sweet Third World wretch’s first hot shower after a lifetime of laps in a cesspool, look elsewhere. No, this is the spoiled story of The Human Boil in a bubble bath. The Bloated, Hairy, Sniffling Human Boil (if you prefer the entire epithet), tiny bubbles in her whine, scrubbing her toes as if for the first time. So yes, as with most first times, it’s awkward and a little bloody. This is a story you don’t want to read before or too soon after eating. Because it begins and ends with me naked. Hey, you can’t say I didn’t warn you…
Everything about a bubble bath is weird. Especially the fancy ones. Never mind that it’s hard to write in a bubble bath (this 80th column installment isn’t going to write itself), as this soggy notebook attests. And anyway what’s the point of sitting naked, drunk and alone?
But let me backtrack. I’m cheating on my minty Dr. Bronner and our ultra hot utilitarian showers because I was given an expensive, all-natural bath product and have long needed a pinch of proper indulgence. Also, I need a bath. I’ve been sweating and sick with that oogaboogawhateverthefuck virus that’s been going around. You know, the one you’ve heard about 10 times a day lately, just after someone gives you a big hello hug then says, “Yeah, dude. (Coughs!) I’ve been really sick. Got that thing that’s been going around.” Um? Yeah, dude. Thanks a lot…
Anyway, fancy bubble baths come with detailed directions because they have to. How else are you supposed to know what to do with a baseball-sized crystalline lump that—for reasons unknown—is made to look like a frosting-and sprinkle-covered gingerbread house with an actual cinnamon stick as its chimney? What, put it on a shelf? Save it up to spend on a unicorn fur coat?
Apparently I’m supposed to crumble it under running water (OK, check), meanwhile the rest of the booklet-length directions inculcates me with its bubble bath credo: “each bath is a special occasion, not a boring ritual.”
So I’m wondering, “When ever is a bubble bath a ‘boring ritual’?” Further, I don’t much like the way the word “ritual” is trivialized… And, wait—is this lumpy concoction supposed to turn the tub into what looks like 40 gallons of foaming diarrhea that smells the way sugar tastes? My guess is yes; and though I’m trying not to, I can’t help but like it.
But it’s giving me a rash. I should get out of the tub, but it feels so gosh darned good! Its like eating a freshly baked satin sheet through your nose and shitting it out your pores. Yum. I’ll knowingly lie in a steaming vat of rash juice for that.
I’m not saying this rash is all the fancy product’s fault. That wouldn’t be fair. My preexisting bubble bath conditions include being a giant walking pustule stuffed with tobacco, booze and boogers. (That’s kind of the crux of the needing-a-bath bit.) In my meager defense, I’m pretty sure my skin’s allergic to, like, the air and everything. Hence, The Human Boil and so on. It ain’t pretty, but isn’t there enough beauty in the world already?
Look, I’m just trying to get clean. I don’t think it’s a lot to ask–for everyone’s sake, if nothing else. See, St. Patty’s Day will mark a month since Source, and I wasn’t being hyperbolic when I wrote a couple weeks back that my toes’ cuticles are still black with The Mud. “Nature’s performance art stains like a mo fo,” I tell the scrub brush, aloud. Crickets in the quiet night.
All else is silent ‘cept for the slosh of suds hitting the overflow drain, displaced by my submerged lard. I hate that evil gurlgle. Down, down to Wastewater Land goes my fancified filth. Someone somewhere dies of dehydration. But what’s a girl to do? And anyway The Human Boil doesn’t have any superpowers besides being rash.
This bubble bath’s making me think strange things, man. A thousand useless thoughts smile with missing teeth: I imagine that I’m a lucky rabbits’ feet dealer haggling bulk prices on the black market. Uh, Brain? What the fuck is that? I can barely stand the feeling of peeling shrimp, let alone hacking bunny hocks… I think of that first time watching Crocodile Dundee as a keiki, its bubble bath glimpse at Venus and Mars, far beyond my little world consumed with commanding a fleet of rubber duckies, war plans drawn wide with soap crayons… I make a note to myself to Google whether bathtub sex is spatially possible; whether hairdryer-in-the-bath electrocution is a wives’ tale. Too long a moment later I have the good sense to strike that note. There are some things are better left unknown. Or at least, unseen.
Like me, for example. The Bloated, Hairy, Sniffling Human Boil.
The last of the tepid brown bubbles pop. If I linger any longer, I’ll have to be donated to science. So I stand up to dry off.
Everything about a bubble bath is weird.