Friday Firesmith – You Have Email!

The fact that I write online gives the illusion of knowledge of the inner workings of websites. Nothing could be further from the truth. I get by with the bare minimum of navigation, much like a drunk that can make it to the bar and back. I get what I want or need, and I get out. There’s no level of sorcery that I have mastered to do any of this. What has to be done for the words to appear on the screen is all I really know.

That extends into a lot of the areas that are covered by the internet, including email. Yes, email, there are four-year-olds out there with email accounts, and none of those toddlers have destroyed the world yet. I might have come close Saturday morning. Gmail and I had a conversation.

Gmail told me I was using 20% of my 15 Gigabytes of email storage. I do not know much, but I do know that 20% of 15 is 3, and three Gigabytes of emails is a lot of emails. It is an overwhelming amount of emails. It is more emails than Hillary lost.

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Dutifully, I went through my inbox and deleted a hundred old emails. It changed nothing. Then where were these emails that were running up the score? I looked in my Sent folder, and yeah, I needed to nuke those, and then I looked in the Spam, and damn, look at all that, but none of these really had that much in them.

Then I discovered “Categories”

Apparently, everything that arrived in my inbox was also stored in different folders in “Categories”. I had not checked these folders since 2007. For thirteen years, email has been building up in these folders, like dust on top of an old abandoned bookshelf.

I deleted tens of thousands of emails. It took an hour.

Wait, there’s more!

Okay, there is also a folder called “All Mail”.

Even after I cleaned out every nook and cranny of every folder, there were still emails from the distant past that showed up in “All Mail”. I had to delete this at five or six at a time, because there were “Important Emails” and emails in the “Hold” folder that showed up there as well, and I need those. By the way, the emails I absolutely have to keep number less than a dozen.

But the whole experience was like deleting a timeline of my life. Email from women I’ve dated, emails from people I’ve known, emails with subject lines of divorce and death passed before my eyes, and were gone, once again. But there were literally thousands and thousands of emails whose voices did not speak to me.

Again and again and yet again, I hit the delete button, and they were, finally, all gone. My inbox is empty. The send folder is empty. Spam and trash are empty. Categories have been disabled. My past is buried, yet again.

I found an email from someone sending me money to help save Lucas. If you were one of those people I haven’t forgotten you, and what you did for us. Thank you. Again. And forever. Some things, some very rare things, things that are really important, we don’t need reminders to remember.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Tomatoes and Atheists

Way back in the mid-nineties, when a person could actually say they had visited every website ever created, in one day, there was a very limited number of people online, and a small number of platforms that could be considered social media. Moreover, there just were not that many people who had the time to spend online. People didn’t care if there was someone out there screaming at the rain. It didn’t mean anything.
At that point in time, I lived in a small town in South Georgia, and I had moved into a fairly nice subdivision close to the office where I worked. This led to me having close neighbors, which was both very nice and a pain in the butt. It also led to me being able to get to work in less than five minutes. But it also led to people from work dropping by after work because I had beer.
I’ve always considered the clergy to be parasitic by their very nature. They’re like people you pay to spray your house to get rid of unicorns. That opinion was not overly popular with the people who lived next door to me, seeing how their dearly beloved grandfather, who had just died, had been a preacher all his life. Repeated attempts to lure me into some social setting where I would be eased into the church caused more than a little friction.

I wonder how many people submerge into the world of the internet because it’s the only place they think they can find likeminded friends? Certainly, if your hobby is snakes then you’ll find more people in a snake group who will talk snakes with you than you’re going to find in your local diner.

Where there might have been some conversation between two people in that diner, “Hey, how are your tomatoes doing this season? Damn worms got mine before they got out of the ground good.” There’s now a feeling there isn’t anything there anyway so why bother? Why go through that awkward stage of conversation with a stranger trying to figure out if they’re a total nutcase or someone who can grow a decent tomato?

The first reaction is this is a good thing, that a person doesn’t have to wonder what another might be like, but then again, the unknown quality about someone might be good for you both. Can you navigate a conversation with someone who has no interest in tomatoes, but might have a story to tell about someone who did? There’s real work here, real tedious sifting through idle talk, but isn’t that how we used to make friends with people we never met before?

Of course, now in the Time of Plague, talking to strangers in diners isn’t a possibility, and being online is a given, but I remember being in the Army, and getting new guys in the barracks who might be black, or brown, or from Chicago, or secretly gay, or just plain boring. It was a game of chance every time the door opened and someone new arrived. The net has eliminated most of that before we even hear a person’s voice. We already know everything they want to tell. But what we do not know is what they are not saying. We can’t feel the hesitation in their voices when we ask why did your marriage end, why did you leave your last job, why do you still wear that necklace he gave you, or questions that hit a soft spot, and you can see it when it does.

It’s hard to garden as an atheist. There’s a lot of faith in asking the earth to produce food. Yeah, I know, there’s a process that will work, but so much depends on luck. The God of the Rabbit’s Foot must smile upon you. Meeting people used to be like that until the net made it easier. It’s like buying tomatoes now, and there’s something lost in getting what you want when you want it, instead of having to cultivate a friendship.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Facebook and Bugs in Your Food

I’m not sure how long it will last, but I’ve left Facebook. At the end of the day, what I could say was time well spent versus what I knew was wasted time was exceedingly lopsided. What bothers me the most, I think, is it’s a platform that has no ethics when it comes to misinformation. For those of us who at least make an attempt to be as factual as possible, those out there who are spreading manure faster than the cows can make it, have us outnumbered and outgunned.

I belong to, or I belonged to, a group dedicated to reviewing the food, prices, and service at restaurants found in the Valdosta Georgia area. The Admin, and I as a moderator, decided never to allow bullying or cussing, or rude behavior. That was a fight, but after we started blocking people, things stabilized. However, the behavioral issues never truly went away. People like abusing other people online.

Then there was the “roach in the food” photos.  There was a period of time where random members of the group started showing photos of roaches in food at local restaurants. The problem was that in one photo, the table setting wasn’t the same as that found in the restaurant in question, and the plates were different, too. The person who posted the photo, when confronted with the evidence, then admitted they had seen the photo on someone else’s page and reposted it. That happened three or four times. And there was at least one stock photo that wasn’t even in Valdosta.

There were managers who were telling their employees to join the group to both promote their business and to defend it from bad reviews. That got weird, too.

But you see where all this is leading, don’t you? Integrity is hard to find. It’s nearly impossible to police. And FB isn’t trying at all to even remotely make sure that people don’t ruin other people’s lives with smear campaigns.

Worse, if you aren’t careful, you can find yourself scrolling down, hitting one of the emoji buttons, scrolling down, hitting the button, scrolling down . . . and suddenly you’re little more than a chicken trained to peck a button for a treat. You aren’t really investing in what you’ve seen, you’re not even going to remember it in fifteen minutes or so, but there you are, liking, or loving, or caring, or being sad, or laughing. Or are you?

At least here, at Friday Firesmith, we have Jon, who isn’t going to let things get out of hand, and he’s going to make sure no one gets too mouthy, too. (Even if it’s me) You have two choices, like it or not like it, and you can even choose to scroll on past to look at the photo of some guy nearly killing himself on a skateboard while trying to fly. But the difference is not only how the site is managed, but how people react to what they find here. Generally speaking, with a few notable exceptions, people have been pretty decent about how they disagree with me. FB doesn’t cull the stupid or the violent.

Dog Rescue and Snake Identification are the only two reasons for me to be on Facebook. Lives are saved and families reunited because of the Dog Rescue Groups that camp out on FB, and it is an incredible thing. At any given moment, someone out there is posting a photo of a snake, and discovering what it is, nearly instantly. That also saves lives, and that is a wonderful thing.

But I am worn down, and I am worn out by all the negativity on social media.

I need a break.

I need to reconnect with my life.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Thief

The young blonde man with really long hair was destined to be fired. He’s one of the first people I met in the construction business, and back in 1992, there simply weren’t that many men working construction who had long hair. His name was Kim, no really, that used to be a common male name, years ago, but in this case, it made it even more surreal that he had long hair. But Kim stole things, and he had done time for stealing. One of the first things I was told was to lock my truck around Kim because he stole things. It turned out to be true, he came to work carrying a large cooler, for his lunch, Kim said, and at the end of the shift, they caught him trying to sneak an electric hand drill into the cooler.

I asked him one time, why he stole things, and he told me he didn’t understand why people didn’t steal from companies and businesses because they stole from people. In an odd way, that makes some sense, but at the same time, I’m not getting into shoplifting for social justice.

One of the weirdest people I knew was a great employee when he wasn’t trying to rip someone off, and sure enough, to do business with this guy in any form was to get shafted. He had a side job in the timber cutting business and when his employer died he stole three chainsaws out of the man’s truck before the body was cold.

Years ago, I dated a woman who stole over a thousand dollars from a store where she worked as a manager. The place had been hit by two guys wearing masks and carrying guns, but they just got what was in the two cash registers. Mary took some hundreds and twenties from under the cash tray and stuck them in her purse before the cops got there. She quit right after the robbery, citing fear of it happening again, and no one ever knew she took the money. I was shocked, really, because as far as I knew, she had never done anything like that before. I asked her what she did with the money, and she said she paid bills with it, bought her niece some clothes, and saved the rest. She felt bad but never offered to pay it back.

I’m not sure what drove what was a fairly ethical person to steal money, especially in light of the fact she had just experienced an armed robbery, but she told me the idea hit and was executed in a matter of seconds. They weren’t out of the parking lot before she was moving.

Trauma? Opportunity? Who knows?

There’s no way for those of us here, who have never served any real time, to figure out why people do the things they do when they do them, and if they’ll return to that sort of behavior, regardless of the costs. It’s a complicated issue as far as the why, I’m sure, but some of us have just never stolen anything to cause our lives to be complicated by theft.

Stick Man got arrested for stealing an ATV on the third of July. He’s been fired. His foreman told me he said, “Tell Mike I’m sorry.”

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Cheeseburgers and Crow

If you read last week’s Friday Firesmith you met a guy who thought a Brown Water Snake was a Cottonmouth. Google and I couldn’t talk him into believing anything else, and to make matters worse, for him and his story, one of his cousins died of snakebite which was disputed by someone on his crew.

Tuesday, he comes up to me to tell me a massive, huge, Cottonmouth is hiding in a bush, and waiting to ambush someone, from the bush, get it?  He asks me if I’m packing. At work. Anyway, the alleged adder turns out to be a stick, and the crew, who he was trying to talk into allowing him to toss a Molotov at it, dies laughing at him. For the rest of the day, this young man is mocked mercilessly by the crew, and myself. I show him a photo of a bunch of sticks in a pile and tell him it’s baby Cottonmouths.

The nickname “Stickman” pops up and it’s as funny as hell.

At three in the afternoon a storm pops up and I’m on the wrong side of the bridge. It’s twenty miles further away from the main road, so I’m in for a longer drive as we quit for the day. And then there’s a tree down. I have no equipment with me; no chainsaw, no pull strap, no winch, and nothing at all. Still, my roots are redneck so I hit the ditch and go around the tree. But the work truck is a four-cylinder with road tires on it. I can’t get back on the hardtop. I call the foreman, and even though he’s thirty miles away by now, he turns around and comes back to rescue me.

The crew divides up between two trucks, with the foreman, another guy, and Stickman coming to rescue me.

There are two things here: The first is if a man calls for help in this sort of thing, he has to have tried everything in his power to get unstuck. I try rocking it out, putting sticks under the tires, and cursing it in the name of the Mud Gods. The second thing is not to make things so bad it’s an ordeal for those coming to help. I stop before getting stuck to the doors.

The foreman and the other guys show up with thick canvas straps and a Ford F-350 with all-terrain tires and a trailer hitch designed to pull heavy machines.

Before I can say a word, Stickman hits the ground with a strap, crawls under my truck, and has the strap secured. He comes out with half an acre of mud all over him. They pull me out with little effort and Stickman gets the strap unhitched, again, without a word. I offer him twenty bucks and he refuses it, flat out.

I bought them all lunch today, and I feel bad about the things I’ve written about Stickman. He’s young, excitable, and doesn’t know anything about snakes. Despite his faults, the kid has a heart of gold. His poison of choice is cheeseburgers, and because he’s at the low end of the pay scale, a free meal means something. I’ll eat my crow. I’ve earned it.

One of the primary causes of injustice is the inability of humans to simply help one another without expectation of reward. Another would be ingratitude; people don’t appreciate what they have and they don’t show gratitude when they’ve been helped.

Stickman and I make a good team, I think, and he asks if I’m going to finish my fries, so I push them over onto his plate, and he starts telling me why he’s wearing an ankle monitor.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit. Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Out of State Snakes

Odd thing, I keep getting reminded, how even people from another state can be exactly like people here. There’s a construction company based in South Carolina who, and don’t ask me how or why, wound up getting contracts to build bridges in rural Georgia. I never intended to come out of retirement, but a bridge in Echols County is pretty much enough. It’s out of traffic, it’s close to Fargo Georgia, one of my favorite places ever, and the pay is enough.

Echols County is a place many people wouldn’t even so much as fly over, but I like it. I like the people. I like the swamp and flat woods. I like the wildlife, and the wildflowers are incredible. It’s a place you don’t have to make much effort to be left alone, and that’s my sweet spot.

Anyway, one of the guys on the crew saw me taking photos of a Brown Watersnake. It’s pretty much de rigueur for someone to tell me “It’s a moccasin” when the snake is close to the water. But the Brown has a pretty much distinguishable pattern and my cell has Google so there it is, what I’m saying, Google is saying, and the snake on the bank looks like the one online.

“I know what a moccasin looks like, and that’s one”, the guy tells me. Then the story about the girl who fell in the water while water skiing, with moccasins hanging onto to her dead body as she’s pulled out of the water and then, because I tell him there have only been two cases of anyone, since the beginning of time, being killed by a Cottonmouth, he says this:
“My cousin was bit by a moccasin and he died.”

Name please, city, county, state, date, and was it actually anaphylaxis? (What does that mean?) Not saying I thought the young man was lying, truly, but if this is a case of someone dying of a Cottonmouth bite, I have to know it. Okay, actually, I did think he was lying. Because since the beginning of time, only two people have died of Cottonmouth bite.

Meanwhile, one of the other crewmembers has wandered up.

“Your cousin died of snakebite? Which one?”

They know each other and aren’t necessarily friends.

“Uh, on my mama’s side, Roy, the guy who farmed out past Columbia.”

“Hey, I remember him.”

The second guy pauses and squints and cocks his head, and eases his own phone out of his pocket. “I know your sister. I bet she remembers Roy dying of a heart attack.”

And it’s on. The modern age of cell phones meets ancient snake myths.
Texts to the sister are fired off, and finally, her brother calls her to try to get her to say Roy died of snakebite but she’s pissed off and scolds him, I think, I can’t hear her side of the conversation, for dragging Roy into this, to begin with.

And at the end of the story, he still claims the heart attack was caused by snakebite, and considering how some people feel about snakes, it’s not the most unreasonable thing he’s said.

Meanwhile, the Brown Watersnake eases back into the creek and disappears into the red-brown water. Whatever else I’ve accomplished, there’s less attention on the snake, which means it lives to see another day.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit. Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Board of Education

When Coach “Shorty” Williams cracked a bone in Jimmy Joye’s wrist while paddling him, the world changed in an instant, and it changed hard. The Coaches, and all of them were football coaches, baseball coaches, math teachers, substitute teachers, and basically the school Gestapo, all carried their own paddles with them wherever they went inside the school.

It wasn’t a question of if someone was going to get paddled it was merely a question of when. The coaches, particularly men like Coach Owens, who taught Driver’s Ed, were a sadistic lot. Owens would paddle you for not turning on your blinker at the right moment, or taking a turn too quickly, or even for not reading his mind as to where you were supposed to go. He and Shorty had this thing going where one of them would stop someone in the hallway and ask them where they were going. If the kid stopped to talk he might be late, and therefore get paddled. If he ignored a Coach he would get paddled. If he ran to be on time he would get paddled. Shorty and Owens loved this game.

They would also grab a kid, and by the way, it was always young men, and never young women, but they would simply grab a kid and tell him he was getting paddled. If he told them he hadn’t done anything, that was “talking back” so he would get paddled twice. That’s what happened to Jimmy. But he was tired of the abuse, and he was trying to get away, and put his hand back to far, and Short popped him hard.

The paddles were short pieces of boards, usually with a handle, and often with holes cut in them to make it hurt more. When Shorty tagged Jimmy, Jimmy let out a yelp but Shorty was going to get his pound of flesh. Jimmy’s wrist swelled up and finally, hours later, they called his Mom.

All. Hell. Broke. Loose.

To begin with, Jimmy begged them to call his parents and they threatened to paddle him if he didn’t shut up. Then when they called his Mom, they told her he had been injured in the gym. Mom gets there, picks Jimmy up and they go to the hospital where a fracture is discovered in Jimmy’s wrist. Mom works as a secretary for one of the lawyers in town.

The next morning Mom shows up in the Boys’ Locker Room office looking for Shorty and looking for blood. In a voice loud enough for us to hear it in the locker room, she tells Shorty he’s going to write her a check for five hundred dollars, now, right now, this very instant, and don’t tell me to calm down, I am calm, but that’s not going to last very long.

Shorty has to go to his meat wagon looking white van and get his checkbook, and write a check on the spot. Then Mom takes Jimmy to the principal’s office, and it begins anew. Someone who was in the office at the time said she got face to face with the principal and told him the next time anyone hit her son she was going to take that paddle and beat him to death with it.

For my part, I got away with a lot more than I got caught doing. The threat of being paddled never stopped me from doing anything I wanted to do. It did scare some of the kids, and the idea the teachers had that much authority over a student meant something to a lot of kids. I think schools were safer when there was more discipline, but I also know there were those teachers who took it too far simply because there was no one there to stop them.

One of my sisters is a teacher, and parents will come in now and throw a real fit because their kid failed a test. The fact the kid can’t spell cat and is in the ninth grade, “Don’t matter none” as the last set of parents told her.

I’m pretty sure the list of things I learned in high school is a short list. I’m equally confident there wasn’t a coach qualified to teach tic tac toe on a good day. But no one ever shot anyone else, and all our fights, even the bloody ones, never really hurt anyone, and likely, you’d get a paddling for that, and then move on and be friends with whoever you fought.
Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit. Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Blakely

If you don’t think memory is a weird thing all that needs to be done is to visit some place from the distant past, or better yet, watch a beloved movie that hasn’t been seen in a decade or two. When I was a small child, it was nothing for the kids from the neighborhood to get together on a Saturday, bike all the way downtown, and pay a dime to see a movie. All those old Westerns with Clint Eastwood in them were common fare, but I also saw my first R rated movie there; if you had a dime, they would sell you a ticket.
They also had Disney movies, long after their release in big cities, but I remember watching “Herbie” in that little theater, and that’s the last Disney movie I remember. That was 1968, when I was eight years old.
The last movie I saw there was in 1973, “The Exorcist” and it scared me worse than any movie I had ever seen or would ever see.

The theater closed at some point soon after that movie, and I left Blakely Georgia. I returned when I got a job in the area in 1992, and it was very strange to walk those streets again. I went to the closed theater and stood in front of the box office, where I had stood hundreds of times before, and suddenly, it had shrunk. The counter was much lower than it had been, and the office much smaller. The double doors leading into the theater were boarded up, and the place smelled of decay.

There was a five and dime next door to the theater on one side, and Gray’s Jewelry on the other. Redding’s drug store was across the street, and suddenly, I can’t remember what was next door to the drug store, wait, yeah, the dance studio, that taught little girls ballet, that was there.
I can’t remember the name of the five and dime, but it had everything. It was built out of the same wood as Noah’s Ark, and as kids, we would pad around barefoot. The wood floors were cool and smooth after we had walked on hot pavement, and going into town was an adventure.

1992 was an odd year. I didn’t remember what was there in Blakely, only what wasn’t. Storefront after storefront was closed, or infected with a Speedy Loan store, or something transient. I didn’t know the owners, or their kids, or their dogs. I was an alien with memories and nothing more. I crossed the street to where the Courthouse was, and still is, and remembered, bits and pieces, of what had been, and wondered at what point things were forgotten until I saw some fragment of the past.

There, on the corner, was a gas station, that turned into the bus station, and now is empty. Down the road, heading east was the Piggly Wiggly, and across from it was Davenport’s Garage, which exploded one morning, and killed three people. And it broke every window within a mile, including every window downtown. Go past that and there was a meat locker, the VFW, the fairgrounds, and finally, the city limits. I went past that sign one day and was no longer a part of the town. I never wanted to be again.

I haven’t set foot in that town since 2013, and only then for a funeral, and only for a few hours. Going back now, with most of my friends gone, dead, or ghost haunting their own pasts, it’s pointless. But I have to admit, standing there in 1992, with a dime in my hand, and leaving it on the counter, I felt like a kid again, about to go in and see a movie. Barefoot, with shorts and a tee-shirt, a coke in one hand and a box of candy in the other, life was as good as it could have been, and just for a few moments, I could taste it.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Orange Socks

A friend of mine and myself were talking about serial killers and the people they hunted, and as she was living in Texas, we were kicking around the women the police had found, and couldn’t identify. One of them, whose body was found in 1979, was only known as “Orange Socks” because of the color of her footwear because that was all she was wearing. Beaten, sexually assaulted, and strangled, Orange Socks was just another dead woman in a long list of Jane Doe murders in Texas, and the United States.

It’s easy for someone to disappear, and even easier forty years ago. I think serial killers have been driven into being a threatened species of murderers by the Internet age. DNA technology alone has put many of them in prison or in a grave. Yet for every serial killer that reaches our collective consciousness, you have to wonder if there are those out there who are just so damn good at what they do, no one ever hears about them.

I’m one of the few people I know who have logged thousands of miles hitchhiking. I did all of my free riding back in the early ’80s, and it was already getting weird and scary back then. Orange Socks was found in 1979, about the time I was beginning to wander a bit.

But women, back then, and even now, have a hell of a lot more to worry about than guys ever have or ever will. It’s unknown where Orange Socks was, or what she was doing, or who she was with, at the time of her murder, but we do know a man killed her. Her body was moved out of a vehicle thrown over a guardrail and dragged into a culvert. It’s believed she had only been there a few hours before she was found.

The American urge for genealogy has also proved to be the bane of serial killers. They’re relatives submit DNA, and law enforcement will submit forensic evidence to see if there’s a close match somewhere. This has put more than a few criminals behind bars, and I’m guessing there’ll be more in the future.

It’s hard to believe they released the crime scene photos of this woman, this person, this human being, but they are out there.

I wonder if it’s worse when there is nothing. No body, no trace, just a loved one who was there and then not. Elizabeth Gill went missing from her front yard in 1965, at age two. Her sister, Martha and I are FB friends. She’s still trying, still looking, still doing everything she can, but what can she do?

I wonder why the family of Orange Socks never put that sort of effort into finding her. She was never reported missing. We know this because last year, her sister saw a composite drawing on television and contacted police. Orange Socks was identified as Debra Jackson. The family thought she was out there on her own, “doing okay.”

I’m not sure why the stories of Elizabeth Gill and Debra Jackson have stuck in my memory the way they have. Both missing for a long time, one searched for relentlessly and the other nearly forgotten in her own life. But both of them living in a country where girls and women go missing and have gone missing, and there are still no answers as to what we can do, or how to do it, and why we haven’t yet.

The Grave of Debra Jackson.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – The Bottom Line

You’d have to be an Old Timer, like me, to remember Crocodile Dundee, and his adventures in the city. One of the more memorable scenes is… here this guy is, fresh out of the Outback, and he encounters a bidet.

The most memorable scene might be, “This is a knife!” and certainly none of us really want any more detail, no pun intended, on what people do in the bathroom with that particular device, but the Time of Plague had taught us many lessons about our fellow human beings, and the first of which is “People are stupid.”

Despite there being no evidence of a shortage, or an upcoming shortage, or any sort of real data suggesting something even remotely affecting the toilet paper supply, people began to buy toilet paper en masse, because other people were doing it. And water. Most people either have a well or some municipal supple line, but for reasons that escape most of us, there were those who thought the plague brought us drought.

But back to the toilet paper. Not since the roll under/ roll over debate, as which way the toilet paper should be installed on the holder and for those of us who are single men, that point is moot, there’s never been a time when bidets have been more talked about.

First, let me say, I have never used one. I have never even seen one. But I’m thinking about installing one in my bathroom, just to see if it would be better or worse, or pretty much the same.


People are stupid. The next big crisis, be it Murder Hornets or the release of another Justina Beaver album, might cause another toilet paper shortage.

Oh, what is a bidet? Basically, it’s the touch-free carwash version of toilet paper. Instead of the corpse of a tree, a stream of water does the job. My research into the subject, while sober and not while sitting on the toilet, mind you, suggests the models start out fairly cheap and very simple, with a jet of water cleaning the suggested area, to models that have temperature control for those cold mornings you just cannot bear the idea of icy water on the nether regions. Or perhaps the night of Carolina Reaper Chili allowing you a cooling jet to relieve the agony of heat and arrogance of eating peppers that were sure to haunt you.

There’s some appeal to this, you must admit.
There’s also a model that would allow you to sit and be air-dried, by gentle fans that would blow either hot air or cooler air upon your bottom.

My grandparents, both sets of which used outhouses and corncobs, would be amused by this, to be sure.

Yet my personal experience in this matter is null and void. I’ve never seen one. Is there anyone out there who owns one? Has used one? Pros? Cons? Horror stories of high pressure misadjusted jets blasting away at tender spots and screaming agony? (Just kidding)

Anyone out there using one right now, as they read this?

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit. Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.