Thursday, March 22, 2007

Do scholars possess urinary systems?

I will answer that question: yes. I even once acknowledged that fact in passing in a blog post, and later supplied a urine wheel. Now Mary Beard has written an entire post on the subject of scholars and their pee. Along the way, she has somehow made loos at Cambridge University relevant to the waste systems of the ancient Romans.

Why do I bring all this up? Last Saturday I was watching the animated film Grave of the Fireflies with Kid #1. When the main character announces "I have to pee," my son enthusiastically declared "YES!" When I shot him my trademark quizzical look, he explained "I've been waiting my whole life for someone in a book or a movie to use the bathroom." After ten years, the wait was over.

By the way, if you are looking for an unremitingly grim film that will leave a dark cloud hovering about you for several days, watch this one. The inability of the boy and girl to give up hope even as their fate becomes increasingly evident to them is as beautiful as it is wrenching.

3 comments:

michael uebel said...

"I've been waiting my whole life for someone in a book or a movie to use the bathroom."

I second the boy's ecstatic exclamation. I recall my own first cinematic exposure to the urinary spectacle. But we dasn't go into that here.

Glauk├┤pis said...

I third that. It really bothers me that nobody ever needs to pee in fiction.

I once wrote a "fanfic" (ack horror!) in which Riker from Star Trek: The Next Generation needed to pee. I've heard there are only two bathrooms on the Enterprise (but that's probably a lie--there probably aren't any!).

Karl Steel said...

Certainly not true in Tristrem Shandy. Or Ulysses. But these are of course exceptions.