On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a lone long pube staring back at me from the wall of the gym shower. Nobody knows its origin or what it wants. But there it is looking menacing on the gym shower wall. It laughs at your attempts to splash water in hopes of ushering it down the wall and ultimately into the drain. This pube has set up roots in these parts and don’t plan to leave. If you don’t like it then, well, there’s to be a reckoning. It’s not revenge this pube is after, but a reckoning. It forces an ancient philosophical discussion: What is grosser, a known pube or an anonymous pube? It was debated by Socrates and Plato and rages still today.
This random pube fundamentally alters your showering technique. You must now be on high alert as well as maintain precise balance at all times. You will have completed a strenuous core workout by the end of this shower. When it comes time to wash your feet this is when the real stress begins. You must remove one foot from your shower sandal to get soap between the toes, entire body balanced precariously on the opposite foot which is lodged in a slippery shower sandal resting on an equally slick shower tile floor. Normally you half-ass your way through this high-wire act knowing that a loss of balance results in nothing more than an elbow catch on the wall followed by a forearm push back into your center of gravity. This is where the wall pube looms large. One momentary loss of concentration; one false breath, and you are forced to make full contact with a pube most malevolent or choose to bail and allow your entire body to crash onto the shower floor where other dangers await, such as the piss runoff from the guy possibly urinating in the adjacent shower. You thought you were sweating during your workout. As you rise back to a normal bipedal stance you freeze with horror. Is your mind playing tricks on you? Are your eyes capable of such deceit? The pube, it appears to have moved. You want to scream out “Jesus H. Fuck! What do you want from me? Take the shampoo, soap, conditioner, razor, shaving cream, all of it. Just leave me the fuck alone! You want the towel too? Take the goddamn towel, I’ll walk out of here naked if that is how you want to play it. You cold, calculating, sinister bastard!” If this pube is mobile, combined with obvious hostile intent, I need to get the fuck out of here, stat.
The stress and fear only intensify during the head washing portion of the cleansing process. Given the recent discovery of this pube’s mobility, closing my eyes to rinse my head is a considerable gamble. You have to manage your risk; stinging eyes versus opening them to find that the pube has gone airborne and landed on your person. While washing my hair and face I felt like Clarice Starling in “The Silence of the Lambs” as she wandered around Buffalo Bill’s dungeon in complete darkness. It was horrifying and my heart raced in my chest. I stole glances in the pube’s direction as torrents of water cascaded down my face. The anticipation of death is worse than death itself.
Though you’ve successfully completed the washing portion of this shower taken under high duress, you aren’t out of the woods yet. Now you must towel dry, short-stroking every swipe so as to not bring an appendage or the towel too close to the short and curly wraith positively glowering at you as rivulets of water cautiously roll down the wall in their own effort to avoid its wrath. Once dry of water but sweating bullets I collect my toiletries and back out of the shower stall eyes locked with the pube in a Mexican standoff where all parties know who has the upper hand. I escaped with my life. As I made my way uneasily back to my locker I was forced to accept that there are times in life when answers will not be provided. I will never know how that pube arrived on the shower wall or what it sought. Maybe the pube’s fight was not with me and it patiently waited until the intended target happened into that same shower stall. Perhaps there was no mission, no meaning, no target, no reason. What I do know is that on this day I stared into the abyss for so long that the abyss, it stared back. Pube, you spared me this day and for my part, I mean you no harm. This day maybe, maybe that is good enough. Given the way this Christmas season has progressed this does not surprise: