Thursday, September 01, 2005


Executive Washroom

Waiter Rant tells two stories that illustrate how "yuppies don't want their derrieres touching a bowl that's had a wage earner's ass warming it." These fastidious folks should get themselves fitted with their own colostomy bags.

Years ago I worked for a large multi-national corporation at a small regional lab. The chief executive officer once condescended to grace us with his exalted presence. On the day of his visit, local management informed us that we could not use any of the restrooms until after the head honcho and his entourage had departed.

Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker, chap. 11 (April 18):
He had reason to believe the stercoraceous flavour, condemned by prejudice as a stink, was, in fact, most agreeable to the organs of smelling; for, that every person who pretended to nauseate the smell of another's excretions, snuffed up his own with particular complacency.

Montaigne, Essais 3.8 (De l'art de conferer = Of the art of discussion, tr. Donald R. Frame):
Not only the reproaches that we make to one another, but also our reasons and arguments in controversial matters can ordinarily be turned against ourselves; and we run ourselves through with our own weapons. Whereof antiquity has left me weighty examples enough. This was ingeniously well said, and much to the point, by the man who thought it up:
Every man likes the smell of his own dung.
Our eyes see nothing behind us. A hundred times a day we make fun of ourselves in the person of our neighbor and detest in others the defects that are more clearly in ourselves, and wonder at them with prodigious impudence and heedlessness.

Non seulement les reproches, que nous faisons les uns aux autres, mais noz raisons aussi, et noz arguments et matieres controverses, sont ordinairement retorquables à nous: et nous enferrons de noz armes. Dequoy l'ancienneté m'a laisse assez de graves exemples. Ce fut ingenieusement dit et bien à propos, par celuy qui l'inventa:
Stercus cuique suum bene olet.
Noz yeux ne voyent rien en derriere. Cent fois le jour, nous nous moquons de nous sur le subject de nostre voysin, et detestons en d'autres, les defauts qui sont en nous plus clairement: et les admirons d'une merveilleuse impudence et inadvertence.
Montaigne was probably thinking of Erasmus, Adagia 3.4.2:
Every man's fart smells sweetly to himself.

Suus cuique crepitus bene olet.

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