We are all of us influenced by others, whether we admit it or not. Our parents influence us from birth, our spouses and children influence us daily, our friends influence us, our coworkers influence us, hell even the guy who farts loudly in line at McDonald’s influences us, even if we were only influenced to get the fuck out of McDonald’s and never return. Seriously, that happened to me the other day. This dude just went and fucking ripped one in line. Not an accidental, squeaker-type fart that might slip out when one bends over to pick up loose change. No, it was a long, loud, thunderclap of flatulence that he didn’t even bother to acknowledge. It was like standing in line behind Jabba the Hutt, which would have been tolerable if Princess Leia was there wearing that bikini, but she wasn’t. It was just Jabba, me, and about six or seven horrified customers, about half of whom joined me in leaving immediately. Look, I was at fucking McDonald’s, so it’s not like I was expecting a gourmand experience or anything. But it would be nice if people kept the contents of their goddamn colons to themselves, you know? Jesus.
Back to the point: We are influenced by other people. We can’t help it. We are individuals whose identities are the sum total of all of our thoughts and experiences, and that means other people have an input into who we are, even if we slap them with restraining orders or move without leaving a forwarding address.
So it would behoove us to carefully choose the company that we keep. Hang out with philosophers, and you’ll likely learn a thing or two. Hang out with derelicts and weirdos, and you’ll also learn a thing or two, usually about how to mainline Sterno. (That’s actually not a good example because given the job market for philosophers, they probably know all about shooting Sterno. They’re fucking desperate. In the immortal words of René Descartes, “I think, therefore I am. Also, I will suck your dick for a fifth of gin.”)
And if it makes sense to choose our company wisely, it follows that it makes sense to choose what web sites we visit wisely as well. I mean, there is an enormous amount of horrendous bullshit out there, just waiting to suck you in and ruin your mind, and really, that’s what alcohol is for, so why bother?
From time to time I will be exposed to such a site, usually because I’m responsible for it, but sometimes because I am tricked into viewing it by people who mean well, but honestly they just cause me to weep for humanity:
Yes, that Tweet comes to you courtesy of Hall of Fame Commenter, all around Swell Egg, and someone whose name is now cursed on a regular basis around here, the very Reverend Back It On Up 13. She’s funny, witty, interested in the contents of Ian Anderson’s codpiece for some unfathomable reason, and she introduced me, via the Tweet above, to the concept of Family Cloth.
This is Family Cloth:
Seems harmless enough. Let’s see what the folks over at Etsy had to say about it:
Roll of 8 6×8 inch black flannel reusable toilet paper, also known as “family cloth”. Topstitched and hand snapped with the highest quality in mind. Made to last a long time, and fulfil your family cloth curiosity without breaking the bank.
Holy. Fucking. Shit.
First of all, let me state unequivocally for the record that my curiosity about reusable shit-rags has never registered above zero. Never. Not even once. And at no time did I ever feel like spending any money on reusable shit-rags, so breaking the bank to find out what it is like to wipe my ass with something that has come into direct contact with grandma’s bunghole is entirely out of the fucking question! I want to meet whoever wrote this so I can ask them what color the sky is on their home planet, because I’m pretty sure that this conversation has never taken place on Earth:
Some Guy: Hey, how’s it going?
Some Other Guy: Huh? Oh, hi. Sorry, I’m a bit distracted.
Some Guy: How come?
Some Other Guy: Well, I was wondering what it would be like if I wiped my ass with a handtowel that somebody else already wiped their ass with.
Some Guy: WHAT?!?
Some Other Guy: Yeah. Hey, look, if I gave you all of the money in my bank account, would you shit on this piece of flannel and give it back to me?
No. No, no, no, NO, NO! This is the worst idea since Genghis Khan invented feeding toddlers to dogs.
Also, who is the marketing genius who named this product “Family Cloth”? I understand that if you called this stuff what it is that it wouldn’t exactly fly off the goddamn shelf, but come on… Family Cloth? If you’re going to horribly mislead people, you may as well go all the way and call it Butterfly Puppy Jubilee Delight! That might be confusing but at least it isn’t going to lead to terrible, emotionally scarring misunderstandings such as the following:
Mom: Hey, everyone, I found something at the store that I think we can enjoy on Family Game Night! Family Cloth!
…and fifteen minutes later, mom is a richly deserving social pariah destined to die alone.
You know what I love about this product though? The snaps, because the snaps make the following exchange possible, which may very well be the stupidest thing someone could possibly say.
Peggy: Hi Sally, it’s Peggy.
Sally: Oh, hi Peggy!
Peggy: What are you doing?
Sally: I am snapping together black pieces of flannel that I have shit on so the rest of the family can do the same. How about you?
Seriously, the fact that after you’ve retrieved and washed these feces-smeared pieces of cloth there is still some fucking assembly required is just too goddamn crazy for me to deal with.
So, yeah, I have now been influenced by a bunch of feek-freak lunatics on Etsy who think it’s fucking fashionable to daub their purple-starfishes with the excrement of people who are soon to be ex-family members. Thanks, Etsy, I’ll be sure to say hi when I’m burning your goddamn headquarters to the ground.