Saturday- March 9, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 179
Vigilance And Going To The Bathroom
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City,
Mar. 9--Don't lacquer your bathroom floor! It will create a
terroristic situation when you have to go to the bathroom. Unless,
that is, you apply the Principles of Vigilance.
I had this brilliant idea--make our
private restroom tile floor glisten like a mirror.
In our pre-World War II East
Village apartment we are fortunate to have lots of space compared to most,
at a reasonable price. Finding any apartment in New York
City is like searching for bin Laden in the caves of Afghanistan, but we
were lucky. We got the right place and the right lease.
Certain sacrifices had to be made,
however. One such includes a single bath. We came
from Southern California where we enjoyed three and sometimes four
bathrooms in our homes--(and, 3,700 square feet of living space.)
Some of our baths were nearly as large as our apartment is today, others
were spacious but utilitarian.
Living for years under a
three-bathroom roof creates some Terror when you suddenly shift to a
one-bathroom living arrangement. And the bath we have is very small.
I had to have the superintendent cut a hole in the sink cabinet so I had a
place for my knees when sitting on the toilet. (I'm 6-4 and weigh 270
pounds, so no matter how large anything is, it seems smaller to me than
for most people). When I first looked at New York City bathrooms they
appeared like telephone booths.
I also learned
the importance of Vigilance when it came to bathrooms--especially those
outside our apartment. Bladder control is a vital part of New
York City Vigilance Management.
Restrooms in this city are hard to
find. You have to know where they are, and I always check the
bathroom map before I venture out to an area I'm not familiar with.
Even famous author Henry Miller knew the problem back in the 1930's when
he wrote "Black Spring." Here's his quote: "I know that I am
in distress when I walk the streets of New York. Wondering constantly
where the next stop will be and if I can hold out that long."
Yes, one of the most precious maps you can
get was designed by a woman who found a vacuum in "guide books."
There was none on quality bathroom's. So she put together one that
tells you where the best public bathrooms are--her name is Rebecca Webber.
Everything in New York City seems to have a guide book--restaurants, cabs,
entertainment--but the most precious is a definitive guide to bathrooms.
Rebecca began to take notes, and accumulated a huge list of bathrooms,
their locations, and, of course, their ratings.
I salute her as the Sentinel of Bathroom
Vigilance. She takes the Fear, Intimidation and Complacency out of
the Terror of wondering where one can relieve himself or herself in this
city of mazes, where the ultimate treasure is finding a restroom when the
Call of Nature sings so loudly in your ears your teeth chatter and your
eyes begin to swim.
I also took a page from her book this
Yesterday, I spent the entire time grinding
and stripping from every square-inch of tile the old wax and stains that
have accumulated since VE Day (Victory Europe). Then I applied
a product called Lascaux, used to make tile glisten. I chose a high
gloss, to make the bathroom explode when you walk in; to make the morning
come alive. Bathrooms are for many people, especially me, a
place of contemplation. I use it to think about the day as I
am doing my morning "duties," and my wife loves to take a hot bath in the
morning and use the "quiet time" to clear any mind clutter for the day
Therefore, the effort necessary to assure
we didn't mar the floor until it hardened properly became paramount.
That's why I wrote the following
instructions for my wife this morning. I find that one can
apply the Principles of Vigilance to just about any situation.
I also find that if one constantly employs them in all his or her
thinking, it makes Vigilance a way of life, rather than a mere Pledge one
takes and then stuffs it in the corner of one's mind to be recalled in
moments of panic. Keeping Vigilance "the main thing" means
when a situation arises for you or a loved one to muster the Courage,
Conviction and take the proper Action, you have oiled it, honed it, so
Vigilance becomes a Second Nature and not a proactive response which can't
be maximized because of disuse.
So as you read these instructions, think to
yourself how you can apply them to everything you do daily.
Play games with them. Get your children, spouse, loved ones to
enjoy them with you. Whether they be tools to help you
negotiate your way to the bathroom, or in dealing with the horrors of Nine
Eleven, or a future crisis in your life, you will find their benefits rich
and rewarding. And, the tile in your bathroom will gleam too.
Vigilant Bathroom Entrance
For Lori--March 9, 2002
This morning I tested these instructions. They
work well for me. I would suggest you read them before you
enter the bathroom, as the floor is still sticky. I've
attempted to make them interesting and informative. And, I've
applied the Rules Of Vigilance to them. Good luck!
STEP #1.) Vigilantly scan the bathroom. Vigilantly
means without Fear, Intimidation or Complacency.
STEP #2.)Notice the glistening shine of the tile, and its
STEP #3.) Realize that the beauty of the floor comes above
any incontinence regarding your desire to relieve yourself.
(Since you are the one who wanted a spotless, shiny bathroom!)
STEP #4.) Further, realize that Complacency—the lack of
Vigilance—can cause footprints to be embossed in the beauty of the
gloss (at least until it is finally dry). Therefore, brace
yourself for the diligence of entering the bathroom in a
non-conventional manner. Do not let the Terror of pressure on
your bladder overwhelm the Vigilance necessary to protect the beauty
of the floor. Fear of wetting your pants, or the Intimidation of
climbing into the tub to work your way to the toilet cannot override
the end-goal of a beautiful floor. Vigilance is not given, it is
earned. O.K.? Let’s move on to step 5.
STEP #5.) Having scanned the bathroom, place your left hand
on the door jamb for support and swing your left or right leg into
(Note: Earlier, I found it easier to lift my left leg up
and over the edge of the tub. I had tried my right leg, but when I
entered the tub, I found my back was to the toilet causing me to
turn around in the tub - akin to getting on a horse the wrong
way). Unnecessary movement can cause imbalance and possible
incontinence—so, if at all possible, try and enter the tub facing
the toilet so you can be positioned properly.)
STEP #6.)Once the left or right leg is in the tub, shift your
left hand over to the wall next to the tub and place the flat of it
STEP #7.)Lean slightly to the left with your weight and
slowly lift up your right leg, testing to make sure your balance is
good. Remember, the tub is made of porcelain, and could be
slippery. It is dry, so you should not have any trouble. But be
cautious. Remember Rule #1 of the Laws Of Vigilance—“Expect The
STEP #8.)Now that you are confident your weight is leaning
left, and your balance is solid, carefully lift your leg while
leaning to the left and ease it up and over the rim of the bathtub.
STEP #9.)Place your right foot ahead of your left, in the
center of the tub. This will give you maximum balance as the
flattest part of the tub is in the center.
(Caution—do not reach for or grab at the shower curtain or
shower curtain rod for support. It is extremely fragile. Keep
leaning left at all times. If you feel you are slipping for any
reason, try and sit down in the bathtub rather than fall. The tub
is a contained space, a porcelain life raft. Should you feel
uncomfortable standing, you can flex your knees and squat, grabbing
hold of the sides of the tub and duck walk slowly toward the
toilet. Should you experience any vertigo, or sense of
claustrophobia, take deep, slow breaths and repeat these words:
“Vigilance requires Courage….Vigilance requires Courage.” Soon
the Fear and Intimidation will pass. If it does not, yell out:
“Senintels of Vigilance, Help Me!” )
STEP #1O.) Balanced, and still leaning
to the left, hand on the wall, move toward the toilet.
STEP #11.)When you reach the end of the tub (where the
faucets are), congratulate yourself. You are halfway to your goal.
STEP #12.)If you have not already, it is vital that you now
remove any undergarments that might hinder your ability to go to the
bathroom. Use the side of the tub for support, flex your knees,
and carefully remove your underwear (if necessary.) Do not worry
about the bathroom window. In earlier exercises, I closed it so
that no one can see you going to the toilet via the bathtub path.
Avoid any Fear, Intimidation or Complacency. If you need
additional confidence, glance up at the window. Make sure it is
closed for your own satisfaction. If for some reason, which I
cannot imagine, it is not closed, apply the Second Rule of
Vigilance—“Ready for Anything, Counting on Nothing.” This will
give you additional Courage and Conviction to lean over, bracing
yourself with one hand on the back of the toilet, and close the
STEP #13.) At the end of the tub,
carefully look at the toilet and sink. You will notice on the
shiny floor in front of the toilet is a piece of silk. This is
where you will place your feet, as silk does not stick to the floor
as readily as cotton. The silk is your Landing Zone (LZ) for your
feet. Since we do not want to mar the finish until it hardens,
focus on the silk LZ. This is your goal.
STEP #14.) Reach forward for the ledge of the window next to
the toilet with your left hand. Place your palm firmly on it.
Slowly lift your left leg out of the bathtub and place it on the
silk LZ, leaving room for your right foot to follow. (Note: if
the toilet seat was down, as it should have been, lift it up prior
to executing this step.)
STEP #15.)Confidently stand, trying not
to place too much weight on either foot. The pressure of your
weight should be evenly balanced to avoid any foot impressions on
the surface. You may use the edge of the sink for balance, but do
not put too much weight on it.
STEP #16.) Seat yourself on the toilet
and release your bladder.
STEP #17.)Completing your morning
constitutional, you can freely wash your hands and face and brush
your teeth, and apply any makeup you desire. Please do not move
your feet while doing so. Should you be concerned about leaving
any impressions on the floor, you may wish to kneel on the toilet
seat. This is your choice.
STEP #18.)Upon completing your duty and refreshing yourself,
reverse these steps. Swing your right leg into the tub, using your
left hand against the wall for balance. Return cautiously to the
bathroom entrance and exit.
The above procedure is a test of
Vigilance. During it, you will face Fear, Intimidation and
Complacency. Fortunately, you will have the tools of Courage,
Conviction and the desire to take Action that will overwhelm any
Terror you might feel during the trek to the toilet.
Each step along the way requires that you employ the Vigilance
Laws: 1.) Expect the Unexpected, 2.) Ready For Anything, Counting
On Nothing, and, 3.) First Thought, Second Thought.
During the explanation of how to enter the bathroom, I did not
discuss the 3rd Law of Vigilance—First Thought, Second
As you know, you aren’t responsible for your First Thought, but
you are your Second Thought. Simply put, Fear, Intimidation or
Complacency can rattle through our minds and take their course
without us controlling them. If, during any of the negotiations
toward the toilet, or upon your return to exit the toilet, you
become awash with any of Terrorism’s three ingredients—Fear,
Intimidation or Complacency—take a deep breath and say, “Stop
Thought!” Fight the urge to panic. Be responsible for your Second
Thought, which is your Vigilant Thought. It will help you
construct the Courage and Confidence to take the Action necessary.
Our goal for the bathroom is to have the floors shine and
glisten. If we keep the goal clear in our mind, the shiny
brightness of its worth will cast sunlight on the Terrorism of
waltzing through a bathtub to go to the bathroom. The effort and
risk taken on such a journey will be handsomely rewarded later, when
the floor completely dries, and the tiles glisten and gleam. Months
from now, when the floor is still radiating its beauty, without mars
from footprints, you will look back to this day and smile. You will
be glad you were a Sentinel of Vigilance on March 9, 2002. And the
gleaming, pristine, glazed bathroom tile will be your proof.
Semper Vigilantes—Your Loving Husband, Cliff!
Go To Mar.
8--Apples & Oranges Of Terrorism
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