I wiped two different bottoms today.
One was a large, hairy white moon that refused to bend even an inch, forcing me to shred a few wipes in my efforts to clean house.
The voice at the other end of this momentous and unyielding ass jabbered on about how it was all like a real roller coaster.
He kept calling me "Mark" and then seemed hurt when I did not respond.
I am sorry, person who I just met five minutes ago and am now performing a most personal duty upon, but that is not my name.
The other bottom was tiny, and it's owner, though just as vocal, was much less articulate than my previous customer.
Thankfully, this one did not stink.
My son is now a week old, and I am still amazed at how little he is, how gross a spectacle is his swollen red circumcision and his black and slowly drying nub of an umbilical cord.
Such a frail thing; and even before he was out, he managed to give us one good scare:
In the hospital room at night, the continuous whump of the monitored baby's heart lost its momentum, and fell off to a sporadic rattle.
Nurses filled the room, urging and assisting my wife into new positions to try and rekindle a good pulse.
I jumped up to assist her, to do anything, and felt myself begin to weaken.
"I think I'm sick," I mumbled.
More nurses came in, two for me alone.
They brought me graham crackers and peanut butter, and a little cup of juice with a straw in it.
I sucked on my juice and wondered if we would watch the Wiggles after quiet time.
My wife fought back panic, shifting from position to position, while the head nurse shouted orders and they all prepared for the worst.
Everything seemed terrifying and beyond our influence.
I spread peanut butter on the cracker and munched away.
"Daddy, what did you do when I almost died in Mommy's tummy?"
I pat his tiny head with those creepy soft spots where the fontanel has not got it's act together.
"Buddy, I ate some of the best damn peanut butter you ever had in your life."
He scrunches his face up critically.
"That doesn't sound very helpful...."
"Well, I'm wiping yer ass good now, aints I?"
After a time he says, "Yeah, I guess so..." and lays his five pound, eleven ounce body back down so I can finish changing his diaper.
My new baby lets me off easy in the fecal department; my new student is less kind.
After I clean him up, he turns to me and says "hand".
There, across the tops of all his knuckles, is a bronzing of pooey.
I think of hating jobs, needing jobs, wasted degrees, the slow but unceasing skid into utter burnout, and I wish I could walk out of the stall and let someone else wipe this grown man's shit plastered hand.
But I can't, unless I want my family to compete with raccoons for the choice trimmings at the top of the neighbor's compost pile.
We cannot win that fight; they are crafty, their little hands so strong and dexterous, and they are oft rumored to keep good company with rabies.
They would enslave us.
The thought breaks my heart just enough to resolve to clean his hand.
We stand over the sink for awhile, letting the water run hot through our fingers.
"Mark?" he says.
I die inside.
"My roommate's name is Punk." He begins to giggle hysterically as I lead him back to class.