On the Bathroom Floor

A definitely true story about beginnings

It begins in the shower two weeks ago. My ablutions were interrupted by the buzz of my phone on top of the toilet cistern and I decided to check the message rather than wait for the end of the shower – my hands were wet but my phone is nearly old enough to buy a lottery ticket. And I decided, some might say recklessly, to jump out of the slippery bathtub, over the edge to land neatly on the wet floor-tiles.

To those who call it reckless to jump out of a slippery bathtub, over the edge to land neatly on the wet floor-tiles, I say that a life lived without recklessness is a life wasted. I will not apologise for being free. Besides, I'd done this hundreds of times and never once slipped. “Oh, but it only takes one time!” You shriek. Well, have fun in your prison. The fact that I slipped will not unlock your cell of bathroom cautiousness.

My foot slid across the plastic bottom of the tub like a fart against a leather settee. I tore at the shower curtain and heard a “cloink” as the back of my neck connected with the rim of the porcelain toilet. I was on the floor - crumpled, twisted and pathetic. The shower was still on and hissing like a broken analogue television set. The Danes call that static myrekrig which translates as “the war of the ants”. An overly poetic way to signify a lack of signal. But, as I'm sure everyone would agree, the biggest downfall of the Danish people has always been their reliance on an elaborate turn of phrase to make up for a lack of emotion. An awful thing to be guilty of.

And I couldn't move. At least I couldn't move at first and then I was afraid to try because I knew I would never be able to again. Suddenly my legs and arms were like mutton on a butcher's slab, organic but inanimate and separate from me. My medical knowledge is limited but, having seen Muriel's Wedding eighteen years ago, I am aware that a simple fall can leave you paralysed if you damage your spine. And lying there covered in a layer of shower water, like a gently pulsating albino slug, I saw it all before me. I would live, maybe even be happy, but it would never be what it once had the possibility to be. Someone else would have to clean me, someone else would have to feed me, I could no longer have an independent existence. And when I anticipated what was ahead I looked again at what had come before.

I have always thought that the most important thing in life is to be sure that, if you get hit by a Daewoo Matiz while crossing the street tomorrow, you know you did the best you could with what you had. But on the bathroom floor I was not faced with death, I was faced with longevity. I would have to stare into the void rather than becoming one with it. And I suddenly didn't feel so great about what I'd done. The thousands of hours spent rewatching episodes of the hit NBC sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S were wasted hours. I could watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S forever, but I would never again be able to run a marathon or jump in a puddle during a rainstorm. I'd never hated F.R.I.E.N.D.S so much in my life – especially Joey.

I don't know how long I lay there. It could have been hours, it could have been less than a minute. But I faced myself, and if that only took a minute then I would have to be a pretty shallow and empty person. Of all the things I'd left undone, for some reason, the one question that plagued me was, “Why didn't I start that blog when I had the chance?” And I vowed that if I was ever able to stand and paint and type again then I would also blog.

I mustered the courage to test the movement in my fingers. I'm not going to say that I prayed down there on the floor. I'm not going to say that I asked a higher power for a second chance, but I felt something as I looked across the ceramic at my fingers stretched out beneath the toilet. A warmth spread over me, a comforting feeling that began in my mid-section and spread through my back. I bit my lips and there, in a puddle of piss, I made a fist. I was given my second chance! I was born on the tiles next to the toilet. And so was this blog.

I swayed as I got to my feet and my vision faded. When I coalesced there were three words written in the condensation of the bathroom mirror. I don't recall writing them but I must have. The three words:

Sunday Dog Parade

And I knew what I had to do. I don't believe in destiny, I don't believe in a master of ceremonies... But if there is some kind of rhythm to what looks to me like chaos, if there is some kind of purpose to this machine that is unfathomable when you are merely a cog... Then now I know what my part has to be within it. I know what note I have to sing out in the chorus line of life. This... This is that note! 

Welcome to The Sunday Dog Parade.

I will be updating this blog daily until Tuesday, from then expect updates every Tuesday for the forseeable future.

To start us off, here is a comic I made for the Bristol based comics zine Bearpit. You can find further information on them at http://bearpitzines.tumblr.com/.  
(click the pages to expand)

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