I recently read an article by the estimable John Birmingham in the Brisbane Times. It's not often that a newspaper piece prompts me to put pen to paper, but the views expressed in Birmingham's column left me little choice. In a word: absolutely outrageous.
The topic was toilet reading- a slightly off-colour subject for a respectable newspaper, but relatively innocuous by today's journalistic standards. But not the old-fashioned, wholesome, paperback-and-porno thunderbox fare of my day: the seated entertainment Mr Birmingham was advocating was the electronic kind: iPads! Kindles! Nooks! NOOKS!! I ask you.
Now please don't assume that my disapproval stems from an aversion to technology. This blogger is far from a luddite- I've had a mobile telephone for several years, and am quite adept at operating the VCR. My issues are cleanliness and, as I understand it, the very real possibility of of radiation poisoning. Don't forget, you will be at least partially naked in there. In short, these modern devices are fine in their place, but let's keep them out of the toot!
If you really need more diverse diversions than those offered by the traditional Aides de Toilette, I've come up with some classic alternatives to our death-ray-emitting gizmos:
It all seems to be about "gaming" these days, so why not do it old-school? Many timeless games can be adapted for throne-top use. Why not try lap-top Boggle? Or lap-top Yahtzee? Or if you're up for a real challenge, lap-top Jenga! Lap-top Mousetrap! You'll need steady knees for a game of lap-top Test Match- take a blinder in the slips while you're putting one down in the deep!
Let's take the action down a level- there's an even playing field at your feet! Amuse yourself with a round of Pick-up Sticks! Why not construct a relaxing and bucolic scene with an intermediate-level jigsaw puzzle? Assemble a realistic WWII fighter plane out of balsa wood! And nothing says bathroom fun like solo Twister! Stay on that seat...!!
If you're like me, you enjoy peace and quiet in the smallest room. A break from the rough and tumble workaday world. Well, take a tiny leaf out of my nook, nothing provides tranquility and contentment like a little on-the-bog Bonsai. Relax those inner workings as you trim away your every care! Or focus your energies Mr Miyagi-style, and rid yourself of those pesky poo-flies with some precision chopstick work!
Want some action?! Draw a target on the shower curtain, and get some target practice with a mini paintball gun! Washes off in the shower! Practise some airborne maneuvers with a remote-controlled helicopter: build up some steam circling the exhaust fan, then execute a dramatic dive-bomb on the shampoo bottles!
Just because you're having a private moment, you shouldn't have to rule out two-player excitement. I'm not suggesting your other half perched on the side of the bath tub- that would be ludicrous. But The Underside's chess correspondent has suggested setting up a chess game in easy reach of the commode, making a move while you're making a move, then leaving it for the next player. For added fun, announce your move loudly as it happens: "Bishop to Rook 4!!" That'll keep visitors guessing...
So next time you're heading for the dunny, can the Kindles, nix the Nooks, and keep it 3D in the WC. Speaking of which, I'm off to KerPlunk!
Next week, Ravi Shankar and some biting political sitar! Righto...