Take a Left at “Cat Urinary Tract Infection,” Then Straight on ‘til Morning

When the internet came to the Tiny White Box, I was ambivalent. On the one hand, it means I can keep in real-time touch with my daughters and friends, follow national news more closely and browse podcasts and audiobooks without getting in the car and driving to strong Wi-Fi. These advantages are not to be sneered at.

On the other, it opened a huge rabbit hole leading to a time-suck on the outskirts of near-catastrophic distraction. For instance, an hour ago I began to begin this column—which will become focused and on-topic, by and by—and wanted to look up a quote about how everything on the internet comes down to a Star Wars/Star Trek analogy or Nazism. Once I got that first hit of Google, though, I was off and running like a drunk who’d been chained to a radiator and had finally chewed his wrist in two. The first article I looked at mentioned Khan, whoever he may be, favoring eugenics, which naturally led me to wonder about the Barenaked Ladies song “Grade 9” where there is mention of watching “Wrath of Khan” instead of studying. Wasn’t one of them kicked out of a two-person band? Yes and no. Steven Page quit the band, which had five members (and presumably now has four). After reading a couple of self-serving interviews with Page, I remembered they were Canadian—and likely still are—which made me wonder if Bruce Cockburn had ever made an instrumental jazz album, a snippet I seem to remember from a Rolling Stone “Random Notes” page. Since the recollection came from the period of my most intense drug use, I thought about other things I mistakenly remember. Did Richard Nixon actually say, “Sock it to me” on Laugh-In? (He did.) Did Jimmy Carter really battle with a rabbit from a canoe? (Sort of. The rabbit swam toward him.) Did Cher in reality marry Greg Allman? (Yup.) Did Socrates use the euphemism “Corinthian girlfriend” to refer to prostitutes. (He does, in conversation with Glaucon in The Republic.)Did Bruce ever record that jazz album? Couldn’t find any evidence of this, but the search led me to read a few reviews of Bruce shows I’ve seen over the years. I then tried to remember my goal—to look up a quote that seems not to exist.

I must correct that oversight.

“On the internet, everything comes down to Star Wars, Star Trek or Nazis.”—Keith Howard.

That quote wasn’t really necessary, I guess, since I’m only going to use it as a jumping-off point. Let me amend it.

“In the Tiny White Box, everything comes down to peeing, pooping and bathing.”—Keith Howard.*

Sean McDonald from WMUR’s “Chronicle” TV show visited yesterday, spending three or four hours, and this morning sent me this message: “Thanks for letting us harass you Monday. I didn’t ask . . . but where is the bathroom and shower?”

So, since this concludes every conversation about the Tiny White Box, I urinate into an heirloom-quality, hand-painted detergent jug. I defecate into a human cat box consisting of a bucket, a seat and lots of sawdust. I wash myself with a washcloth every morning and every couple days I wash my hair outside, rinsing it off with water I’ve warmed inside the Tiny White Box. I gave up shampoo when I moved here, and use a slurry of baking soda and water to clean my head.

I’ve never seen an episode of Star Trek, I saw the first episode (now the fourth?) of Star Wars in German and have missed the other five or eight or twenty, and I’m strongly against Nazis and very pro-Jew.

Any other questions?

*Typing this quote into Google led to a first hit of “Cat Urinary Tract Infection: Signs and Treatment”

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