Husband, children, employees of Home Despot, my fellow Americans: Major caulking operations in one bathroom have ended. In the Battle of the Bath, this moderately-heavy pregnant woman has prevailed. And now I am engaged in scouring the excess caulk and reconstructing the shower curtain.
In this battle, I have fought for the cause of watertight crevices and for freedom from mold and mildew. I am proud of this accomplishment, my willingness to face danger, to contort myself into positions which I wasn’t quite sure I’d be able to heave myself out of without a lot of butter around my edges, and all so as to get that caulk in those tight spots, for my country and for my family. Because of me, our subfloor is more secure, secure from the drips, seepage and eventual rot caused by children’s overzealous bathtime water battles. Because of me, my husband is free to forgo a bathmat and just step out the tub, allowing all 200+mumblemumble pounds shed puddles of water like so many ducks exiting a pond and not using the ducky bathmat. Or using a bathmat and letting it lay there all day in its tyranny of sogginess.
Operation Mildew Freedom was carried out with a combination of precision, and speed, and boldness the enemy did not expect, and the world had not seen before. From distant home improvement warehouses, I bought highly toxic caulk remover, new mildew resistant silicone caulk, sharp pointy objects with which to remove the old caulking, a caulking gun - which I was able to obtain with nary a background check, proof of citizenship, nor being required to sing our glorious Nation Anthem verbatim, in tune and in English, which should be the only true test of patriotism - and one pair of big-ass blue rubber gloves rated for safe handling of dangerous chemicals and just plain funny-looking to wear. Every time I looked down, I kept thinking of that Smurfs episode where Papa Smurf eats the bad mushrooms and spends two days sitting in a glade waving his hands in front of his face.
I thank all of the members of my coalition who joined in a noble cause. I thank my children who shared in the hardships of not being allowed to take a bath for four days even though they smelled worse than twenty camels and had enough soil collected between their collective toes to pot a flat of pansies. I thank my husband who joined in the liberation of old caulk by applying the highly neurotoxic and very stinky old-caulk- remover-substance, and who subsequently wasn’t able to stop blinking or shouting out “Bin Laden!“ at inappropriate times for at least three days. And tonight, I have a special word for the builder of the house who evidently installed the bathtub by just “eyeballing it”- perhaps forgetting his level at the last job and it was getting close to the end of the day and what the hell, if we just smoosh enough caulk (i.e. enough to provide a watertight seal on an elephant's dunghole) into the left corner of the tub, no one will ever notice that there is a three-inch gap between the tub and the shower wall. And that word is this: You stink out loud. May you spend eternity, alone, rehabbing a 200-year-old farm house with only a handful of Leggos and a stepladder missing two rungs.
In the images of the celebrating Plank family, we have also seen the ageless appeal of human freedom. Three years of intimidating Bob Vila videos entitled “Removing Old Caulk: And You Thought Guantanamo Was Tough” and “How To Apply New Caulking in 34,567 Extremely Difficult Steps, You Sissy Man and Don‘t Even Try This If You Are A Panty-Girl” could not make this family love their oppressors or desire their own enslavement. Men and women in every culture need indoor plumbing like they need food, and water, and, well, indoor plumbing. Everywhere that freedom arrives, humanity rejoices. And everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear and Bob Vila bite me.
I still have difficult work to do in the bathroom: stripping wall paper, figuring out how to strip the wallpaper behind the toilet without having to remove the toilet, choosing trendy towel bars, and shopping for cute boutiquey soaps. I am bringing order to parts of the bathroom that remain icky and other parts which still look yucky. We have begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons, and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated. (Oddly, this was the only line from the original speech that I didn’t have to alter when also referring to our bathroom.) The transition from poo room to spa extraordinaire will take time, but it is worth every effort. I will stay until my work is done. And then I will leave - and take a long nap - and I will leave behind a free Iraq.
I mean, a very nice bathroom.
As for now, my mission continues.
It is my duty to doody.
And wherever I go, I will carry a message of hope — a message that is ancient, and ever new. In the words of Sir Thomas Crapper:
"To the captives, 'Come out!' and to those in darkness, 'Be free! But most importantly, always go to the bathroom when you have the chance.”
May God bless you all, and may God continue to bless this mess.