a one panel comic strip with a man in a bathtub with a rubber ducky watching TV

#199 "A Lonely Man Is More Likely To"

During the first 9 years of my life, my family didn't have a shower—just a big tub with gnarled feet. It's a safe bet to assume that the tub contributed to the development of a vivid imagination, and if we had just a shower, my life would have turned out differently. Taking baths back then was more about face cloth blob monsters, Ivory soap boats, and sea battles. I must have come out of the bath clean, but I have no memories of the hygiene part...only the play. After moving to a house with a shower, I don't think I ever took another bath.

Showers are an in-and-out, wash this, then that, then that, then this, and in the same order every time kind of experience. My mind still wanders, but in a different way. Instead of active imagination, my mind runs through things that have to get done or the latest thing I happen to be worrying about. It's more like mental work than an imaginary journey. Once in awhile, I'll get a little insight or solve a problem in the shower, but I wouldn't call it fun. Often, because I'm so lost in thought, I can't remember if I completed all the steps in the shower process. Did I wash my hair? Did I wash my back? For some reason, I never forget having washed the naughty bits, no matter how lost I was in the minutia of my life.

Is a lonely man more likely to take a shower or a bath? I think if the isolation goes on long enough, he is less likely to take either, thus extending the lonely period by months or years. During one of my lonely decades, I thought I heard at least a few women whisper behind my back, "he smells lonely." Perhaps, women can smell desperation, or maybe my hygiene had taken a back seat to beer and garlic fries. In accordance with my mental habit of changing and rearranging the past to make myself feel better, I think I was always squeaky clean and there is actually a pheromone of bereftness that the opposite sex can smell a kilometer away.

Someday, showers will be an ancient technology and we'll all just step through a full-body clean-beam, or our skin will have been genetically modified to either self-clean or just never emit an odor. Whatever the case, bath battles and busy-minded showers will be a thing of the past. The only real thinking or imagination left going on in a bathroom will be when we're sitting on the throne, if they still exist, and the EvapoPoo® Colon-Implanted Vaporizer hasn't yet been invented.

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Crusted Salt comics by Jimmy Brunelle