Drinking tons of water is a lot of work. Not the drinking part. That’s easy. It’s the pissing part that takes so much time.
The human body loves water. My new scale says every day that I’m something like 66.6% water. I’m not going to analyze the fact that there are three “sixes” in a row in that number. Water cannot be the sign of Satan. Beezelbug cannot swim. Everyone knows that. Otherwise, why would the River Styx be protecting the gates of hell? Satan is afraid of open water swimming.
Which puts you and me in good company if we overcome our fears and learn to swim across big bodies of water all on our own power. But then we have to consider why Jesus thought it was so important to walk on water. Was he afraid of open water swimming as well?
These are theological conundrums of the highest order. Right up there with how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. If both Jesus and Satan do not like open water swimming, that means the rest of us live in a weird sort of multisport purgatory in which we flounder around between heaven and hell.
And that pretty much describes swimming for me.
But you know, I also refuse to pee in the pool. Which means, to get back to the original direction of this post, that every time I have to pee during swim training, it means hauling my sorry ass out of the pool, walking over to the bathroom which is often located by a very cold section of the natatorium, flipping down the seat and sitting down to do my business.
Yes, when I’m at the pool I sit down to pee. When you get out of the cold water and have to pee, there is no guarantee how that male unit between your legs is going to appear. It might be in full George Costanza mode, rife with “shrinkage,” and therefore unable (or unwilling) to perform its duties with full-on enthusiasm.
Which means dribbling or worse, the dreaded “double-spray” penis that shoots whizz in two directions. Before you know it, there is pee all over both sides of the toilet seat and that means wiping the thing down with toilet paper as a bare minimum. But when your hands are already wet from swimming, and you grab a strand of that single-ply toilet paper that exists in virtually every public restroom known to the human race, it soaks throw and you’re left with a handful of uselessly dark paper and can’t wipe up a thing.
Thus it is much easier to sit your ass down, nudge your male crank into some sort of downward pissition, and let ‘er rip. Easy Peezy.
Still, you have to wipe the seat down after that because your ass and upper thighs are already dripping from the pool. By appearance, even clear asswater is no better than piss in the mind of the next person who crawls out of the pool and comes in to sit down.
Fortunately, your hands drip a little drier by the time you’ve whizzed. Then you can manage to wipe down the toilet seat without creating what looks like the Toilet Murder Scene from some seven-character crime show. They’re all the same, these shows. Blood and scattered toilet paper make great prime time visuals.
Even when I’m not swimming, drinking extra water means more trips to the bathroom than I’d perhaps like. While doing a painting the other day, I was drinking lots of water and the sudden urge to pee snuck up on me, and I really had to go. My hands were covered with acrylic paint and I had to somehow sideways get the zipper open to avoid getting paint on my pants. Yet when I went to fold my unit back into its place I had to laugh. There was a bright blue tip of paint on the end of my crank. That. Was. Funny.
Interestingly, this campaign of increased water intake has had the curious effect of actually dropping my evening weight measurement. I’d lost two pounds of some sort after drinking six sixteen ounce bottles of water during the day. Thus far, I’ve been treating myself to the zero calories sort of waters such as San Pellegrino, Perrier and La Croix. But also some good old bottled waters too.
The next step is to hunt down a big-ass but still manageable-to-carry Personal Water Bottle. A fellow Board Member showed up at Batavia Main Street this morning with an elegant looking water bottle. It had nice designs on the side and a wooden top with a little rope sticking out so you can carry it anywhere. I had instant water bottle envy.
The goals are manifold. 1) : stop drinking other liquids rife with sugars and 2) stay more hydrated, which is healthier for me.
Mr. and Mrs. Hydration
So far, so good. And other than having to piss all the time, the results already feel good. It doesn’t mean I’m ready to become Mr. Hydration on the run. If I take a few sips before a 10K run or race, I’m plenty fine. My stomach hates ingesting liquids during hard efforts. Always has. But my fiance loves staying hydrated. She senses the difference in her running if she doesn’t carry water. And both of us hydrate plenty on the ride.
Admittedly, I’m a little Old School on the run and drink thing. If I’m going out for more than an hour run I’ll find a drinking fountain for a sip, but usually not more than that. but Recently talked with Tom Burridge, the former US national record holder for the half-marathon, and asked him if he used to hydrate during his peak years. “Are you kidding?” he laughed. “None of us did that stuff.”
I think the truth about drinking water is somewhere in-between the Old School Suffering we used to abide and the New School Hydration Theory that says you should be absolutely sipping water while you’re peeing because, you know, you have to replace that percentage of liquid in your body as it flows out your urinary system.
I guess peeing is a lot on my mind given the difficulties our cat Benny has had to sustain this past week. Watching him strain to dribble gave me new respect for the issue. Then I got a call from Craig Virgin, two-time world cross country champion, who from childhood had to battle congenital kidney problems.
His new biography will chronicle those issues and how along with the tough demands of growing up on a rural Illinois farm helped him develop the mental toughness necessary to excel in every phase of distance running from track and field to cross country to marathons. Even with congenital kidney disease to battle his entire life, Craig had the world’s best 10K time going into the 1980 Olympics, which were canceled for US athletes for political reasons. And wouldn’t that piss you off? All that work and risk of personal health and sacrifice. Then, denied a chance to participate and compete in the Olympics.
In a bit of historic irony, that action by President Jimmy Carter was done in protest of the Soviet Union and Russian invading Afghanistan. Of course, the United States invaded that same country thirty years later, with no more success in taming its tribal nature. Now Russia has invaded our nation by hacking our democratic process. Yet those who question such intrusion are basically being told to “piss off.” Do people not see the irony in all this?
So I’m pissed, in the rhetorical sense, on behalf of all those people for whom opportunities have been denied. We’re already hearing about pompous plans for oppression of arts, culture and the environment. The National Endowment for the Arts will likely be cut and National Public Radio, privatized. Who knows what approach will be taken with our national Olympic teams, or any other federally supported sports programs. Will those go on the chopping block too?
Or will the jingoistic value of such endeavors fuel more funding? Athletics on the world stage often falsely feed that national pride for brief, marketable moments that Make America Great Again. Often this involves thrusting black athletes into positions of triumph even as respect for the personhood and rights of black citizens back home are denuded, neglected or oppressed by the very police charged with protecting communities all over America.
Not just me
So it’s not just me that’s pissed for some personal agenda or perceived need. This is not just “my opinion” about what’s going on in America. The facts about many of these issues of cultural and political discrimination are there. People just choose to deny them because it profits and protects their cozy worldview and the advantages it confers on them.
Last night we watched a documentary on the life of musician Michael Jackson. It illustrated how his album Off the Wall served as a transitional force in the ultimate crossover of black music to the mainstream. Recall that when MTV first launched, black musicians were not welcome. This is only 1981 we’re talking about. Not that long ago.
The Grammy Awards the year that MJ issued his Off the Wall album handed out his award during a commercial break to avoid acknowledging a black artist in prime time. And long before that, it was black musicians who led the world of popular music. Despite massive layers of prejudice that persist to this day, black artists invented blues and soul music, Rock and Roll, Jazz and many other forms as well. But such genius was forced to hide behind a white wall of cultural fear and jealousy, theft of material and purpose.
Being a dick about race
These prejudicial truths are facts of recent history. And while strides have been made over the years in race relations among those enlightened enough to break down stereotypes, the seemingly “positive” stereotypes so many whites project on blacks have centered on things such as giant penis size and sexual performance. And wouldn’t you be pissed if that was one of the only compliments you heard about your culture over the years?
The point here is simple: All these biological challenges and needs are human problems. I joke about having to pee too much because I’m human. Flawed and clueless at times. Susceptible to the foibles of diet and water. Made of the same stuff as everyone else. We’re all human. Every race and nationality and religion on earth. Human. We all pee and we all poop because we have to. And when things go wrong, we can laugh about the humbling troubles we face in the process.
Addendum: Today in history
I make some bits of fun of myself in blogs such as this to make a point that while I do point out the foibles in others at times, I’m also willing to admit the flaws so evident and obvious in myself. I’m human.
People who can’t or refuse to do that do indeed piss me off. And when the culture at large takes on his arrogant brand of shallowness, it is a sign that something has gone wrong in our culture.
I realize that a ton of people in America voted for Donald Trump because on a basic level, he refuses to apologize for who he is. That seems to empower others to feel the same. This approach tends to be paired with the idea that the nation got a raw deal somehow under President Barack Obama.
By any measure, this combination is stunningly shallow. Somehow the humble and difficult work of bringing the nation back from a bitterly painful economic recession was not enough for them. They wanted prosperity handed to them perhaps?
The problem seems to be that people expected President Obama to wave his hand and reverse decades of American corporate, industrial and international practices that have essentially gutted the middle class? Obama couldn’t do that. At one point he tried to encourage collaboration between government and business by pointing out the benefits of infrastructure. In addressing the need to invest in American roads, bridges and other infrastructure he told businesspeople, “You didn’t build that.”
But the message was twisted around by conservative media. Pundits insisted that Obama meant to tell people they did not build their own business. That’s how fucked up the messaging and meaning can get when people are so determined to disrespect someone.
But most of all, Obama’s political opponents seemed to blame him for being an intelligent black man who would not cow to their demands. That was his principal crime in the face of so many white Republican men in Congress.
And I see the legitimate parallels between how blacks have been treated over centuries in our country and how so much of our nation responded to the first black President of the United States. Many claim that it wasn’t about race, and that it was about “policies.” Even some black Americans complain that Obama did not do enough for “his own people.”
Cynically, some pundits jumped on opportunities such as that to blame President Obama for the racial divide in America. This political ploy was stolen directly from the playbooks of men like the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, who understood that the best method of combatting strength is to turn the strength of that person against them.
This was all done in a growing atmosphere of anti-intellectualism and distrust of academic as fomented by a conservative information machine the likes of which the world has actually never known. So we’ll leave this day’s blog with a quote from Joseph Goebbels, that illustrates how pervasive and effective it can be to overcome the intellect with unthinking ideology if need be. “Intellectual activity is a danger to the building of character”
If you believe that intellectualism and science and liberalism are the real problems in America––and that is the heartbeat of neoconservatism as a rule and a practice––then consider yourself in interesting company. History knows what you’re thinking already.