I may seem like a "glass half full" type, Reader, but in fact I'm just like you: I wake up every morning shrouded in fear that I'm going to make an unfixable series of blunders and die unloved in a gutter.
WAAAAHHHH!!!! I think, in these moments. NOBODY WILL EVER TRULY UNDERSTAND ME, BECAUSE I'M TOO AFRAID TO EXPRESS WHAT'S IN MY HEART!!! I SHOULD DELETE MY WEB SITE AGAIN AND WRITE A NOVEL OR EXTREMELY LONG POEM.
In a way, that kind of wallowing is actually kind of fun. But, like so many things, I can't do it forever. There's people out there who are counting on me to do the dishes.
So how do I snap out of it? I can't pop a Xanax, because I'll just fall asleep, I can't smoke weed, because I'll just fall asleep, and I can't masturbate, because I already did that yesterday. (It was "jerk yourself off for 50% off" day at the local rub and tug.)
This is when I slam an iced coffee and smoke ten American Spirit double-blacks, to kickstart my morning shit. I need it soon, so I can go to the bathroom and read my bathroom book.
When I read my bathroom book, I'm saved.
You might think that we don't need bathroom books, anymore, Reader, because of phones, but that's not true. Phones connect you to the sources of your anxiety, and bathroom books transport you to a magical place beyond all that, where nothing makes noise and nothing has to be over-thought.
It's reading that's so entertaining it doesn't even count as reading. Just ask my childhood school teachers! They never wanted to give me credit for reading these types of books. It's a chip on my shoulder that persists to this day. In fact, if I may let you in on my innermost dreams, reader, I hope to one day turn this website (the good parts, at least) into a bathroom book. Take that, teachers! Until then, though, here are some bathroom books I've enjoyed over the years--and some I didn't enjoy!--that you should check out, if you're in the market for a bathroom book. Don't settle for the internet!
THE SCARECROW VIDEO MOVIE GUIDE
This is a "labyrinthine maze of occult knowledge" (I think that's the quote) that tells you about cool movies you can watch in convenient, tiny little paragraphs. ("B.T." is the best reviewer) I bought it at Powell's Books in 2006, when I was driving up to college with my dad, and to this day it represents the Pacific Northwest of my dreams: a place where you spend all day in a sort of Lord of the Rings-looking bar with your 3-5 friends, arguing about movies while rain pitter patters against the rooftop.
INFINITE CRAB MEATS by Byron Crawford.
All of Byron Craword's books make for great bathroom companions (nullus!), but this is the most appropriate one for this list, because of all the food/taking a shit/Rick Ross analysis.
MINDSPLOITATION by Vernon Chatman
The concept of this book is that Vernon Chatman (the beloved, fame-hating TV writer and PFFR co-co-co-founder) assigns preposterous, joke-dense homework to those online companies that do your homework for you. It's a perfect concept, really, and I'm glad nobody else thought of it before because the assignments wouldn't have been as mindsploitative. This book inspired me to exploit more people into contributing to this website.
THANK YOU FOR COMING TO HATTIESBURG by Todd Barry
I can't even describe how refreshing it is to crack open a comedian memoir and realize they're not going to tell you about their boring childhood. ("Very" refreshing, maybe?) In fact, this book isn't really a memoir at all. Instead, it's based on the rock-solid premise of Todd Barry visiting different small towns across America (and the world!), doing comedy shows and eating at restaurants.
COMETBUS #56 and 57 by Aaron Cometbus
These two issues of the classic punk rock "zine" (a word that I have to put in quotes, because I hate it) make me feel like a patriotic Northern Californian, despite the facts that #56 is about used booksellers in New York and #57 is about cartoonists in New York. The important thing is that Aaron Cometbus is from Northern California, and his writing makes me feel like I'm taking care of some intellectual, anti-corporate moral obligation instilled in me by the Northern Californian ethos.
WHAT I'D SAY TO THE MARTIANS by Jack Handey
In this collection of humor pieces (which makes it sound less funny than it is), Jack Handey makes excellent use of the style he always uses. I can't believe a guy this funny gets published in "Shouts and Murmurs!"
FAILED BATHROOM BOOKS
5001 NIGHTS AT THE MOVIES by Pauline Kael
Part of the problem with this book is that it's just too physically big. I bought it online, but I still should have been able to glean that from the title. Also, the movies are all from like, 1940.
THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA by Ernest Hemmingway
I thought I was going to be rooting for the sea in this one, but Ernest Hemmingway actually made me root for the old man. That being said, it doesn't really work as a bathroom book.