About The Author
D. R. Prescott has written a novel, a collection of short stories, a nonfiction book, a collection of essays, planetarium show/display scripts, two family histories, technical articles and business plans as well as written for and edited several newsletters.
Awards and published work include Writers' Journal, Long Story Short, Taj Mahal Review literary journal, The Orange County Register, Writer's Digest, and Writing.com and four books among other challenges.
As a former aerospace executive and planetarium program director, Prescott currently writes and explores life in Orange, California.
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"Sentience can be annoying."-DRP Abt. 1990
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Since 2008, Prescott has been a regular contributor of
essays and short stories to
The Taj Mahal Review Literary Journal
Get your copies now at: http://tajmahalreview.com/
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O R D E R   T O D A Y !
Stool Reading
by D. R. Prescott

As crude, insensitive and unsophisticated as the title may seem, it strikes me that there might be a connection between a basic biological function and thought. There are few things that humans do more consistently than to pick up something to read while in the bathroom. Do you suppose that is something that every one, everywhere has in common?

Makers of hemorrhoid ointments, soothing pads and other such remedies profit from combining these two activities. Most medical people suggest that it is not a good idea to read while attending to one of our more basic functions. Still, we do it in spite of the risks. What makes reading and relief so inseparable, so connected, so addicting? Inquiring readers want to know.

There are no known scientific reasons that I know of for suggesting a connection between reading and human waste disposal. Is reading in such a vulnerable position safe? Maybe, the bathroom with its sensory-immersing ambience (sights, sounds, tactile stimuli and smells) stimulates certain areas of the brain, triggering intellectual activity. Or, could it be instinctual, hormones set off by an obviously compromised situation?

Safe and cozy in the bathroom, hopefully with the door closed, your natural instincts to be wary and on alert, are channeled to other activities utilizing your already heightened mental acuity, normally to watch for predators, toward more abstract thought. Perhaps, it is nature’s way of keeping us healthy, balanced and regular—kind of a whole body exercise.

Regardless, it occurred to me that a book of interesting, stimulating things, each capable of being quickly read during inevitable bathroom appointments, might conveniently replace that usual stack of newspapers, television logs and assorted scraps of this and that. I began outlining such a book about twenty years ago but I procrastinated. Others forged ahead and published books targeted toward stool readers. There have been a number published to date providing unique mental stimulation for movers and shakers (sorry about that; I couldn’t resist...)

There must (or perhaps should) be a lot of research behind the very human act of stool reading. Experimentation with various subject matter and lengths might ensure that there are pieces especially good for those long, drawn-out encounters, designed to be continued at your next visit, as well as those designed for those occasional abrupt, urgent, short-burst sessions.

I wonder if publishers have thought about using soft, easily decomposable, biodegradable paper for printing these publications, permitting the reader to use “read” pages strategically during emergencies, avoiding the embarrassment of waddling, bowlegged down the hallway for a new roll of paper, or worse, calling for help.

I can almost picture in my mind’s eye scientists hooking electrodes to test subjects to measure brain activity and other anatomical responses during stool visits. Will they test the reptilian versus higher brain activity as intellectual and physical activities converge? Is there possible a correlation between subject matter and volume?

Would you sign up to be a test subject? Would your natural instincts not permit you to be placed in such a situation, even if they offered to pay you? Or would you go boldly where no stool reader has gone before, making a contribution to both medical science and the sanitation district?

Either way, have a pleasant time and keep up the good work. I hope you are moved to profound thoughts.

© Copyright 2010 D. R. Prescott (donprescott at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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' Copyright 2008 D. R. Prescott (UN: donprescott at Writing.Com). All rights reserved. D. R. Prescott has granted Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work. Questions or Comments? E-mail to prescottdc@sbcglobal.net
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