I hear the authorities in Portland have drained an 8-million gallon reservoir because a man was filmed urinating in it.
“Nobody wants to drink pee,” said the head of the city’s water bureau.
Who gave him the authority to speak for mankind? I know for a fact that many humans are dedicated piss-drinkers, convinced of the fluid’s therapeutic properties. A celebrated exponent of the practice is the English actress Sarah Miles, whom I met many years ago after a circus show.
“Miss Miles, how delightful to meet you!” I said. “What a fine performance you gave in Ryan’s Daughter! You must have been pretty uncomfortable when Robert Mitchum slumped on top of you in the wedding night scene.”
“Thank you, GB,” she said smiling coyly. “Fortunately I emptied my bladder into a thermos flask before we shot that scene. It gave me something to drink during the tea break.”
“How fascinating!” I exclaimed. “Did it taste good?”
“It’s a bit like weak beer,” she said. “Would you like to try some?
“Thank you, Sarah, but we gorillas have no need of beverages. We get all the moisture we need from our lush and fruity diet.”
It goes without saying that I would have rather sucked a frog dry than sample Sarah’s effluence, but one has to be tactful when refusing a woman’s water. She went on to say that drinking your own pee protects you against allergies and poisons any parasites in your blood. I almost believed her.
But let’s get back to the Portland piddler. By my calculation, the concentration of urine in the reservoir following the unlawful micturation was one part in 100 million. This is less than the concentration in the sea (where fish relieve themselves continuously) and far less than the concentration in swimming pools, which human infants use as pissoirs. Thus, the decision to drain the reservoir cannot be explained as a public health precaution.
Perhaps the real reason for pulling the plug on all that water was to protect the honour of the city’s residents. Taking a leak on another person’s property has been an act of ritual humiliation since the Bronze Age, when the Assyrians pissed in the wells of their enemies. Witness the rage of the suburban householder whose flowers beds are watered by a neighbour’s dog, even though the nitrogen-rich dog-pee is a tonic for thirsty plants.
Another possibility is that the fellow chose to empty his bladder into the reservoir because it was too big a target to miss. As every lavatory attendant knows, the human male is a remarkably inaccurate pisser. My friend Lady Chuffington has a grand home in England which contains several bathrooms and standalone lavatories. In every one of them is a sign with the following instructions on it:
IF YOU SPRINKLE WHEN YOU TINKLE
PLEASE BE NEAT AND WIPE THE SEAT
As no human males reside in the property, the sign is purely for visitors. Shaming men into cleaning up their mess is more tactful than telling them to pee sitting down, which would be an affront to their manhood.
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