by Regis Boff
Growing up, our family had one bathtub. You made the stream of water hotter or colder by turning the two spigots with your toes on the opposite end. I got too big for it fast, so half of me got wet but not clean, and the rest of me I sponged. Sitting in dirty water used to be the American way.
My first shower happened in our neighborhood municipal swimming pool. The experience would have been more pleasing if not for the panic of being naked in front of other boys. Boys in my age bracket did not grow up narcissistic. We hid our genitalia like one-eyed pirates burying treasure chests on distant island beaches.
In high school, I was a year-round athlete, so I showered after practice every day. It was the first time in my life I was frequently clean. I wasn’t tempted by homosexuality because it did not exist back then.
In our hot summers, we had the garden hose, which was to us a toy. Showering in cold water prepares boys for pain and non-specific sorrows. And you can keep your pants on. Always a plus.
My family never graduated to an indoor shower. They went to their graves half dirty.
I was an inventive kid, one of our best and brightest in the neighborhood. One day, late in my high school years, I dragged our long hose through the basement window and hung it over the indoor piping affording myself year-round ice-cold indoor showers. Presto, Ivy League!
In this time of sticky virus, our bad feelings will be finally washed away. We have gotten grimy over the past years, divided in half as we are by our bathwater. Of this, I have no uncertainty. And remember, I invented indoor plumbing.