7.16.14 The Condition of Being Human

So Dominic Monaghan once said, “Obviously the idea of being human is a very human idea.” This thought resonated with me today when I was reflecting on the truth that when it comes right down to it, what makes us human is really the ridiculous things we all go through that bind us together as a species – specifically … the embarrassing things.  Animals aside from homo sapiens never feel this emotion.  They go about their business without any fear of being seen doing the things they do, not so with us. There is a list I’ve been compiling in my head of all the things I’d be mortified to have anyone see me do, so I decided to share it.


1. Going to the bathroom: Animals do this with no shame what-so-ever, but if we so much leave a trace of a scent we’re devastated (ladies not men).  I actually have several friends who refuse to use public restrooms because they are paralyzed with the fear of someone realizing their body functions like everyone else.


2. Plunging the toilet: This means something significant enough happened during bathroom time to need to!  Whether your fault or not, I think plunging the toilet is equal parts humbling and humiliating and definitely humanizing to a fault.

3. Blowing your nose: There is no way around this one. Allergies, colds, winter … you name a season and I blow right through it. I wish I could be dainty about it and politely dab at my nose but it does nothing unless you get rid of what’s blocking you.

4. Getting sick: There is nothing less attractive than throwing up. Remember that disgusting powder they used to sprinkle on vomit when a kid threw up in school? Nightmare. The body will get rid of what it needs to, whether you’re too cool for it or not.

5. Zits: Pretty self-explanatory here … we’ve all gotten one (or more than one) at a really inopportune time. I think the worst was right before school pictures, and, cliche as it sounds … I’ve got the Sixth grade proof forever framed in my parent’s album of adolescent horrors. Yay middle school!


6. Doctor appointments: There may be no more belittling experience than having to show off all the parts we (well, most of us) so desperately try to hide.  I think my favorite is the dermatologist who methodically checks each and every square inch of your body for a polka-dot birthmark that may or may not have changed shape or color. Only one word for it – awkward.

7. Dentist appointments: In a stand up comedy show, Bill Cosby once did a stint about dentists. He was discussing the tools they used and said after the shot he, “Puts this thing in your mouth. This will suck up your face. The dentist goes outside to laugh at you. Now you sit, grown-up, intelligent human being, arguing with this thing.” I have SO been there. My favorite is the bib we need to wear as we watch ourselves drool profusely. Not sure if the clean-teeth feeling that lasts half a day is worth it or not.


I know there are many, many more of these “human” experiences, but I’ve embarrassed myself enough for one day.  So while you go on doing the things that make you normal (whether you’ll admit them or not) know you aren’t alone, and privately, we’re all suffering this condition (being human) together.


Literarily yours,


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