Joseph Farley

The Seat of Power

I have done my business on the same toilet as the president. Not at the same time, but my tour guide has assured me I used the same stall as the president did when his motorcade stopped in our small town so he could relieve himself. There is placard on the wall of our town hall commemorating the impromptu visit.

According to my guide, the president spent a long time in the stall and had to work hard to accomplish his task, thus setting an example for all of us. As protocol on such occasions required, the mayor personally handed an extra roll of toilet paper to the president under the door of the stall when he needed seconds. Of course security had to inspect the paper before the mayor could pass it along. This nervous pause caused the mayor, who was also our chief grocer, to sweat profusely. He later confessed to fearing that the rough paper he had acquired in bulk from an overseas supplier might be too rough for the presidential rear. Despite his concerns, the paper was approved and the president made no comment about it except the utterance of a slightly louder grunt while wiping than and he had emitted while using the initial roll. The remainder of that second roll, once touched by the presidential hands is now enshrined in our town museum along with the powder horns of the feuding brothers who first settled the area over three centuries ago.

When his work was done, the president resisted shaking the outstretched hands of well wishers until he had thoroughly scrubbed his own hands, thus driving home to all his commitment to public health. Once his hands were dry, however, there were plenty of grins and handshakes to go around. My guide was one of the lucky ones to be in or near the receiving line. He had come to the town hall to renew the license for his dog, and thanks to providence had seen the president when he came in, waved and headed to the men’s room. My guide had hung around in awe until after that fateful flush, and had been able to press the flesh with a figure still loved and respected by millions. After the motorcade departed, the mayor and council quickly decided to capitalize on this extraordinary event that transpired in our village of 750 souls. A commemorative plaque was ordered, and reference to the event was placed in the town website under the tab for “Tourist Attractions.”

You cannot imagine the pride I feel to have placed my butt so close to history. I have not dared to wash it since I sat upon that throne. My wife has chastised me about this, claiming I will get ill. She has said she will not touch me until I wash. I have scolded her for her lack of patriotism. I have also reminded her that, after forty three years of marriage, she never wants to touch me anyway. I got her there. I watched her sour face trying to find a way around my logic. She could not. I watched her frustration build until she shouted, “Well, I won’t cook for you then until you wash your arse.”

My wife has dug in her heels. So have I. I have been living on take out for the better part of the last two weeks. Still, I know she will win in the end. I must wash eventually. Before I do so I will take a photo of my posterior for posterity, something for my great grandchildren to look at. It will be a keepsake to remind them just how close I once came to the seat of power.

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