To Pee or not to Pee



 Truth and politics are on rather bad terms

                                                                      ...Hannah Arendt






When we went to bed at midnight on Sunday, the winter hurricane had not yet vented its fury on the city even though the weather channel had predicted in its afternoon forecast that the dangerous storm would strike by 9 pm and weather advisories framed in red banners warned us to secure all loose objects which in the 190 km winds would become life-threatening missiles aimed at any pedestrian foolhardy enough to defy the forces of nature and attempt a leisurely stroll down the Prince Phillip Parkway. Catastrophic storm surges in excess of 6 meters were foretold for coastal areas, which in theory could wash away whole residential neighborhoods along Topsail Beach and in Quidi Vidi Village.

Instead, like an outcast from the Liberal Party, the stubborn cyclone raged in the doldrums of the Humber-Bay of Islands directing its wrath at Gros Morne instead of obliterating Muskrat Falls as many had hoped, or bringing down the walls of the Nalcor headquarters like in olden days at Jericho, as others had wished-for.

Spouse and I were well into our journey through the Land of Nod before the storm broke. As we trekked through nightmares of Grieg salmon farms and Canopy Growth cannabis facilities enjoying the tepid night winds, we encountered all manner of shadowy figures resembling well-known politicians with Pinocchio-like snouts, snuffling and snorting along, sniffing at the pajama pockets of dreaming taxpayers.

The problem in the Land of Nod, as you probably know, is a total lack of restrooms.

Being predisposed to a sensitive bladder, a condition worsened by the torrent of rain cascading down the bedroom window, I left spouse behind and re-entered the earthly realm. Nature called. I stumbled to the bathroom at 3 am only to discover that a miniature tempest, complete with breaking waves, had formed in the toilet bowl which now approached the overflow stage. Several tomcods were swimming around in the mini-ocean of the commode.

Without relief for my expanding bladder, I tip-toed with tightly crossed legs back to the bedroom and awakened spouse. "Wake up," I shrieked, "there's a school of fish in the toilet and I think I saw an octopus, and dozens of crabs are crawling around in the bathtub. Who knows, there might be a shark in there."

My story sounded so convincing, she believed me.

"Then go downstairs and pee out the door," she said. "DFO will charge you with illegal fishing if you disturb those things.

I rushed downstairs, resisting the urge to pee, and turned on the radio to get the latest emergency alerts from CBC. Waves, the announcer said, have now reached a height of 30 meters offshore and some have washed halfway up Signal Hill and have flooded into low-lying areas of the city overwhelming the sewer system.

In desperation, I stepped outside in the lee of the porch and peed into the wind. I experienced so much relief that I immediately began to revise my fish story.

All next day, 'as the tempests raved and the wild winds blew' we were reduced, out of desperation, to watching clips from our esteemed House on the Hill. Our black and white analog TV, a gift from the Salvation Army, offers us limited entertainment options, the People's Channel, of course, and the other one which interrupts its programming every half-hour to present a banshee shrieking O Canada. Spouse thinks we should stand to attention each time to show our patriotism. It has become our daily exercise.

We watched as Solemn Tom, Minister of Taxes, stood and described the new prosperity staring our province in the face. "Our infrastructure plan--53,000 person-years of work, our health care infrastructure--46,000 person-years of work, Equinor, 11,000 person-years of work...Canada Fluorspar, 525 jobs, Grieg Aquaculture, 800 jobs..."

Good-bye Alberta.

"Have you noticed," I said to spouse, "that even though he's smiling through his teeth, he has a pained expression on his face."

"And he's holding his knees tightly together," said spouse. "I wonder what he's holding back."

Next on his feet was Mitchelmore, Minister of Tourism and Stuff, trying to explain away the cronyism in the appointment, without competition, of Carla Foote to a plum job at The Rooms. "...a lateral transfer...more than qualified...Ms. Foote is going to be the connector between government, all of core government, and The Rooms, and the public..."

Like a coupling in a sewer pipe.

Mitchelmore, too, had a pained countenance and tightly crossed legs.

The camera panned to Parsons, Minister of Laws. He talked about the new carbon tax, on top of the 300 other taxes and fees imposed by his government. "...the people who really benefit, Mr. Speaker, from the additional tax are every man, woman, and child who will have more money in their pockets instead of paying it the same time reducing emissions...for a 60-liter fill-up you pay just 25 cents more..." Pained look, bent over, crossed legs, hands clasped between his thighs.

Some honorable members: "Hear. Hear."

Eddie Joyce (Alias Big Eddie) speaks. "...something happened last week, two weeks ago. The Minister of Natural Resources stood on her feet and it was very telling, very telling. It was a question from the Opposition, and the question was from the Opposition because the former mayor was up in the gallery...I was accused of taking 30 million...that's the allegation that was made against me...and I had to defend it, and I'm sitting over here, just think about it. Just think about it. And I have the e-mail..."

Big Eddie looked normal.

We turned off the TV.

Later that night as we listened to the BBC World Service on our 60-year-old RCA Victor shortwave radio, we learned of an astounding scientific discovery from a recent study in the US. Scientists wanted to know how a full bladder affected our ability to become better at lying or telling the truth.

Half the subjects in the study were told to drink 50 ml of water and the other half, 700 ml. After 45 minutes, the water had trickled down to their bladders. As they were being interviewed, the subjects were instructed to lie about issues they cared about such as gun control and the death penalty.

The conclusion: Those who wanted to pee most urgently (because they drank more water) lied more convincingly than those who drank less water. Those who really, really, wanted to pee, invented longer and more complex lies.

Suddenly, it all became clear.

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