A Turn of the Worm

This won’t be the last turn of the worm, to be sure; but it is hard to see how he could twist himself up any further than this, without brasting all to flinders.

My wife and I were exploring Sonoma County this last weekend. It is a beautiful, hilly, forested redoubt, a difficult hour and a half north of San Francisco, and so spared the downside of American urban life, while at the same time blessed with abundant good cheeses, markets, restaurants, chocolates, beer, and the like – wines, too, of course, with gorgeous world-class vinyards on every side – and most importantly for yours truly, good coffee. We stopped at my favorite chain, Peets Coffee of Berkeley (Alfred Peet is the fellow who started the North American coffee craze with a little store in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, about forty years ago), with their glorious oaky smoky dark roasts, as dense and roborative as beef. My wife stopped in to the restroom, and returned with this photo:

Reclaimed Toilet Water

I swear I am not making this up. One couldn’t, really.

By the time I got back to our car, I had mostly recovered my composure. We got in and toddled off, and then the implications of the placard on that toilet began to force themselves upon my stunned apprehension. I gave them voice; my wife laughed so hard she nearly drove off the road. A selection:

“I think I’m going to call the manager at that Peets and ask him if this was some sort of in-your-face over-compliance with the ridiculous Sonoma County regulations about reclaimed water. I mean, I very much doubt that Peets thinks their customers are a bunch of *farm animals*. Farm animals who can read English, that is.”

“Wow, *that* was a close call! Good thing they had that sign there. I was just about to drink my fill, and they stopped me just in time!”

“Definitely don’t drink the water from this toilet, because it was used to water the lawn a while ago. But, if you want to bathe your baby in it, no problem!”

“You do NOT want to drink the water in this toilet, because it’s rain that we collected in our downspouts. That is some seriously disgusting sh-t.”

“Damn, and I was really thirsty, too. If Peets was a quality establishment, why they’d have fresh municipal water in their toilets for their customers to drink. Cheap sonsabitches.”

“That sign is *so discriminatory.* What if some poor Mexican or Chinaman came in, who didn’t read English, and he was to go ahead and dip his head in the bowl for a nice refreshing draught, never suspecting that he might be drinking disgusting revolting rainwater?”

Our laughter was deep, cathartic, and completely satisfying. I swear, I haven’t laughed so hard in twenty years.

But, really: How much longer can it be, how many more obvious insults to our intelligence will it take, before it becomes generally understood that the Emperor is Naked? It is difficult indeed to see how our current masters could possibly make themselves more obviously, intensely ridiculous than they here have. Still, I suppose almost anything is possible.

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9 thoughts on “A Turn of the Worm

  1. I bought a sunshade to cover my car’s front windshield to keep it from overheating in the ferocious Florida summer sun. There was a warning affixed to the lower left hand corner: “Do not operate vehicle while this device is in place.”

    I remember saying to my wife: I’d have loved to be on the jury where those damages were awarded.

  2. I wonder if the sign is for pet owners who are tempted to let their animals drink from the toilet? That would be terrible. Imagine a pet owner letting their dog drink reclaimed water! Ghastly business; Gaia-bless-it.

    There is a possibility that it was a prank. When I worked in retail as a teen I placed a sign that said “Do not play with balls in the restroom” on the men’s room door. The women’s room door said “No balls allowed.” It wasn’t my fault- some store planner had decided to place to toy aisle by the restrooms, and two towering racks full of giant colorful (beach?) balls right by the alcove. I left a ball loose on the floor in the alcove to really drive the joke home. I think the signs lasted about half an hour.

  3. Next time I get the urge to get a drink of cool, refreshing toilet water, I want it to be in Peets. That has to be the cleanest public toilet these eyes have ever seen! Oh the temptation!

  4. Was there also the nearly ubiquitous sign from Prop 65: “This facility contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer, and birth defects or other reproductive harm?” I am waiting to see at the trailheads in California State Parks: This forest contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer, and birth defects or other reproductive harm.

  5. Pingback: Links for a Sunday afternoon | Patriactionary

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