My friends,

Please excuse this late posting. I was…uh, busy tackling the healthcare debate, and, uh, flossing. OK, we got addicted to episodes of Psych, all right?

Actually, I’ve been tackling work, trying to catch up to the insanity. Mr. Nguyen, my 85-year-old administrative assistant, whom I mentioned in the post about bunny pee (JN55), had to be let go, because it was too negatively affecting his benefits. There is no justice in this world, I tell you! It’s just a myth, like fairies, or the Loch Ness monster, or AIDS. (Kidding, really, please don’t burn me in effigy because of the AIDS joke. The cartoon TV show Southpark told me that we can joke about it now).

There has been so much work since I got back that I feel like I need a vacation. Few things have gone right. We tried to make banh beo (small rice cakes mentioned in JN59), and failed miserably, having to throw out over 100 of the little suckers. And Jameelah’s car still has not been found. A friend, Florazel (really? Florazel? That’s the pseudonym you choose?!), told me to stop blaming Fate for all these bad things that keep happening to us. So instead, I’m blaming Florazel. Look, it’s important to blame someone or something, OK? The opposite is too terrifying to think about: That life is a just a series of random occurrences outside our control, that our existence is the constant result of probability and statistics. No, it’s all Florazel’s fault, and when I go talk to her and tell her to knock it off, all these bad things will stop happening.

One thing, though, that has brought us joy these past few days, is the bidet we bought. You read that right. Bidet. We were so impressed by the digital toilets in Korea that squirt your underside with water, that as soon as we got back, I started researching. Apparently they are very expensive, from $700 to $2500 or more. The Japanese are developing them, and the sophisticated models are ridiculous. My eyes teared up as I read about toilets that greet you and play music when you enter, or ones that take urine sample and analyze your glucose level. They’re working on models that take medical data and email them to your doctor!

“If we skipped lunch,” I proposed, “and eat pasta every day, we should be able to buy one in a year.”

“No,” said Jameelah.

“Ok, what if you moonlight as a stripper?”

“No.”

“Uh…what if I moonlight as a stripper?”

It was futile. No matter how we calculate it, there’s no way we can afford a digital toilet. So we got the next best thing: The Luxe bidet. For 60 bucks on Amazon, you get a no-nonsense contraption that you rig to your toilet and the water pipe. With the simple turn of a dial, you get a pleasant stream of cold water that shoots upward in an arc. Pressure is adjustable, from gentle caress, to broken fire hydrant. It was a little tricky to install. Jameelah usually does all the assembling of stuff at our place, including the bookshelf, bed, and TV stand, but I figured I would tackle this one, because when I was young, my father took me aside and said, “Son, there comes a day in every man’s life when he must install a bidet so he could gingerly rinse the place-where-the-sun-don’t-shine. And you must remember two things: First, install it yourself, or don’t you look me in the eye, boy…”

So I did. And it worked. It’s beautiful, almost magical, like having your bottom cleansed by a thousand unicorn tears. And it’s great for the environment. Sure, it does take a while to dry, but I’m working on that by rigging a hair dryer next. And after that, a laptop and a coffee maker. There’s no reason to buy an expensive Japanese model when you can just buy all the parts and put it together yourself.

Anyway, what is the lesson of all that? Well, I hate to admit it, but Florazel was right. There is no reason to blame Fate, or God, or whoever, for one’s bad luck. When life seems out of control, TAKE control. Since installing it, I feel much more empowered. The bidet is just a metaphor of what we can do to take control of our daily existence. For this week, I want you to try waking up with the mantra: “What is my bidet today?” (I’m already working on patenting the “WIMBT” bracelets.)

Huy

PS: You may wonder what the OTHER thing Dad said was. “And the second thing is,” he said, “always test the bidet by sitting on the toilet. Never look at it directly.” I didn’t heed his word, and got shot in the neck.

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