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by Noah Masterson

Stop infecting us, Human. You evacuate your bowels mere inches from where we wash our face. And every time you flush the toilet, an invisible shit-geyser blasts upward, spreads along the ceiling like a mushroom cloud, and rains down, coating our toothbrush, our hand towel–every available surface–with finely ground fecal crumbs. Stop it, Human. It makes us sick.

Your cleaning habits are laughable. Your "bar of soap"–a sticky mass of sludge that plays host to the skin and hair of anyone unfortunate enough to touch it–is like a venereal disease willingly passed among your ranks. Your shower stall, an active culture for warm water-loving bacteria, is contaminated with the toxic runoff of every other Human with which you share this nightmarish little chamber. "Cleaning" yourself serves only to make you more of a germ farm.

And what of the sponge with which you "wash" your dishware, Human? By its very definition a sponge absorbs everything around it–soap, water, the collective sneezes of passersby. And you wipe this phlegm receptacle on your dishes. Oh yes, you amuse us, Human.

And of course, your food was unclean long before it became scraps on your plate and clogs in your colon. Your weak Human eyes cannot see the mold, the spoilage, the decay that begins the moment your edibles are picked, slain or manufactured. But even a child’s toy microscope could reveal the spores on your bread as they enter your mouth.

This is what it’s like for us, Human, to live in your company. We wake each day and think of the pollutants we inhaled in the night: carbon monoxide, exhaled viruses, sloughed-off Human skin particles. We rise from our beds, slide our feet into fungal slippers, and pad off to the bathroom, which we have already demonstrated is rife with disease. We urinate, noting that the Human toilet bowl is so poorly designed that it cannot capture all of our manly, pressurized stream–diluted waste splashes outward, onto the bathroom scale and floor. If feeling charitable, we kneel down and wipe the scale with a piece of tissue, then shudder at the realization that we have touched a surface that is moist with both urine (ours and Humans’) and foot sweat. We drop the tissue into the bowl and try not to think about the locker room of germs on our hand as we flush the toilet. We move to the sink and, more often than not, wash our hands thoroughly–with all hot water (no cold) and liquid soap. (Occasionally, we do not wash our hands because we fear touching the sink handles and the top of the liquid soap container will only make our hands dirtier.) After washing, we look for the driest, least-contaminated spot on the hand towel–this usually involves folding, flipping, and refolding–to blot the water from our hands. If the towels are not clean enough to satisfy us, we leave–making as little contact with the doorknob (germ magnet) as possible–and dry our hands on the bath towel in our room, which no one else is permitted to touch.

Showers are not as frequent as Humans might think–every other day, at most–because, as has been detailed above, shower stalls and bathtubs make our skin crawl. But on days when we deem them necessary, we adhere to a strict routine: rinse body and hair with scalding water, wash and rinse hair, apply liquid bodywash, and rinse thoroughly, wash face (again, with liquid facewash), exit shower, and step immediately into slippers, keeping to a minimum contact with the pube trap known as the bath mat. Wear towel and slippers to bedroom and dress immediately in clean clothes. Stifle gag reflex.

If no liquid soaps are available to us (e.g., when traveling), and a shower is necessary, it is permissible to wash entire body and face with shampoo. Bar soaps must be avoided at all costs. The importance of this cannot be stressed enough.

The rest of the day presents other challenges. Subways, our primary means of transportation, are host to Humans from all walks of life, with the exception of the very wealthy (who, as luck would have it, are generally pretty clean). This means that every surface we touch in a subway car has also been touched–very recently–by homeless winos with shit in their pants and tuberculosis, squalling children who play regularly with dead animals, needle-sharing junkies with AIDS, and all manner of careless, snot-nosed Humans who think nothing of expectorating bile from their mouths and noses onto seats, doors, walls, hand supports, passengers, and luggage. Riding the rails engenders lots of obsessive hand washing, of course, which brings us to the vile topic of public restrooms.

There is an art to using a public restroom without contracting disease and filth. We touch diseased surfaces with our left pincher and thumb, our penises with our right. In emergencies (provided there is no visible urine, feces or vomit), we do, in fact, place our buttocks on toilet seats–another myth shattered!–because we know that "hovering" breeds less sanitary conditions than sitting, as the practice forces matter to spray outward to the toilet seat, floor, bunched trousers and ankles. We wash our hands only if paper towels or, better yet, a hot-air blower, are present. We like touchless, infrared faucets, and wish doorknobs worked the same way. In some cases, an extra piece of tissue or paper towel is used to turn the knob on the way out.

An unavoidable blight on our kind is Human financial transactions. Money itself–coins, bills–is transferred from toxic waste dump to toxic waste dump, and is never washed. Coins in our pocket date back 50 years without ever being scrubbed, and paper money might as well be printed on soiled jockstraps and handkerchiefs. ATM and credit cards are a slight improvement, although the sweaty mitts of insolvent bug ranches jab at the cash-withdrawal machines all day long.

We know there is no escaping you, Human. This is our life, our constant struggle. Our perfect, Human-free world would be a place where retinal scanners replace house keys, where toothbrushes are replaced after each use, where people fold towels properly, and where bar soap is banned from existence. Also, we’d like Human females to have larger breasts, but that’s just us.

It is not to be. We must continue to coexist. So please, Humans–clean up your motherfucking act!

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