On Regurgitation
(Physical and Commercial)
by Brodie H. Brockie

I don't expect to enjoy the music I hear when I use a public restroom. The music in such places is usually the kind that has been chosen simply because it is unlikely to annoy anyone in particular, and that usually annoys me.

But the music I encountered the other day was not a nuisance by blandness, but a desecration more evil than mere muzak. It was Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World," but it was not Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." Normally, I enjoy this song. It's a simple, optimistic ditty by an old master who got it just right. Except, some hubris-filled hack somewhere thought they could make it better by adding a schmaltzy Kenny G-esque tenor saxophone part over the whole song. I don't know if this was actually Kenny G or a Kenny G imitator. I don't plan to find out, though, as I'm afraid what I might do with that knowledge.

Yes, Hemingway wore Khakis. The ad implies "and if you want to write like Papa Hemingway, you should too." Of course, Hemingway also shot himself. If I want to write like Hemingway, should I shoot myself too?

Please, advertisers, tell me what to think.

As I sat in stunned horror, I heard a sound it took me a few moments to identify as vomiting. This noise was coming straight through a thick concrete wall from the ladies' restroom. It was a violent regurgitation the like of which I have never heard, and would not have thought possible from a human being. It was a rhythmic, tortured vomiting, as if the vomitor were ejecting internal organs or deeply repressed emotions.

The smooth sax mewed like a hungry kitty, in no way blending or complimenting the raspy baritone of Louis Armstrong. The woman's vomiting cressendoed. I knew how she felt.

Fred Astaire is dead, yet you can see a new work starring him. This is not a long-lost gem from Hollywood's musical hey-day. It is instead, a modern technological wonder in which Astaire performs with his trademark class and unmatched grace alongside of a vacuum cleaner.

Fred Astaire is dead, and cannot say "no."

John Wayne is dead. I imagine those who reflect at the end of their lives always have a few things they wish they could have said to relatives, loved ones, and close friends. On TV, digital technology allows John Wayne to appear before living actors and pretend to chastise them for taking his beer.

If John Wayne could send just one message to us from beyond the grave, I wonder if it would be to tell us what brand of beer he prefers.

When I thought it could get no worse, another thunderous vomit shook the restroom. The vile saxophone and deceased jazz legend finished together. Louis Armstrong repeated, "I think to myself, what a wonderful world. I think to myself, what a wonderful world."

And I think to myself, "no, Louis, not always."