Yesterday I had a monday moment of no uncertain depth nor fate. From my place of work walked I into the restroom, and being as I was in the common mid-morning state of intermingled braindeath and utter lucidity, I noticed and I pondered the sign affixed upon the restroom door. It was (as you well know) an image of a man, stylized to a simple sort of atheistic perfection, an immaculate balance of positive and negative space contained and constrained by smooth lines formed solely by the heightened contrast.

This, thought I, was indeed a symbol no less powerful, in its own right, than the Holy Cross of Christianity, or the Yin and Yang of the Chinese. This was, to be fair, a simply jotted glyph universally recognizable as a valid, if unilateral, representation of Man. And yet it was likened to both those symbols for it, too, had been horribly bastardized, twisted and perverted, as you soon shall see, into a taunting reminder of our own truest natures. You see, it was not so simply tarnished as those above; not merely an image reduced to a pop-culture adornment by commercialism run rampant, nor a set of lines forever tainted by the gross excesses of Big Religion; this was a picture expressly crafted to mark, to put it bluntly, the crapper.

Think, now, of the works of man that could have been represented by such a sign; it was, after all, a readable representative of the physical form that unites us all into our loose association of humanity. But the essential was that this symbol which was Man was ultimately and inexorably linked to the action, the process, of (sic) taking a shit. And after all, how can one complain? Speak, I could, of arts and morality, or science and religion, of the proverbial good and the yet more proverbial evil, but all of these hold disparate meanings for disparate peoples. Perhaps this was, indeed, the best possible usage for such an overreaching universality; it shows us united in the common, all-encompassing, ever-present need to defecate.

But as my spirits were again picked up, I again looked closer, and my newfound joy in the discovery of human truth and meaning was bogged down by the insufferable details. The symbol, which but a moment ago had seemed to be depictory of the glorious synergy between the intellectual (read: symbolic) achievements of man and the natural urges and passions, so to speak, that make us all human, had turned viciously upon me. It was no longer a unifying comforter, but rather the self-same, two-faced, returned-upon-itself villain I had originally taken it out to be. I had noticed the hands and the feet, mere rounded stumps, and pondered on the uselessness of such foreshortened appendages. Was to accept this symbol, to accept this communion, to become, in essence, powerless? Such was surely indicated. But, I asked, in detailing these details would not the simple wholeness of the symbol be forever lost? And how, I asked, could any recognition of truth incarnate be truly crippling? What great works could be done by man, indeed, without a reconciliation between the body and the mind, the brain, the head...

The head! My fundamental derision was, with finality, revealed in a flash of most glorious (and most obvious) observance. The head of this figure, this everyman, was, you see, by no means attached to the body but simply floated in the air, mocking gravity and continuity, reminiscent of the works of French surrealist Rene Magritte; a travesty, a disjoiner of the union I had just professed to see. A union, no, but a separation, a division and a dichotomy insurmountable! It was as if to say ‘Check you your head, like your hat, at the door, for here inside (and where was not?) you will have no need of it! And so in complicated interqueries crumbled my illusions of a rectified mankind, one who would no longer pray to a divided god. I was mired, not by a truth, but by a symbol so pervasive I could not help but take it as one.

Perhaps for the best, my drink from the night before was still rising in me and I hastened to relieve myself within, and with the satisfaction of a good piss, I had forgotten not the fact, but the heart of the matter and left, content again, to continue my travels of the day.

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