Sometimes in life, you really score on the friend front. When I met Sirrah back in 1995, I knew right away that she was superlatively awesome. I could tell because I could hear 53 Brazilian soccer announcers screaming the word, “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL!” in my head, and also because she laughed at my stupid jokes. After about 8 years of total stuck-on-you friendness, Sirrah and I lost touch. She joined the Air Force, and I got married for about sixteen minutes. If Sirrah has one thing, however, it’s sticking power. She stays in your brain like peanut butter super glue. She’s one of those people that you think about to the extent that you might find yourself at work (probably making photocopies of memo that details, “How to Photocopy in 10 Boring Steps” ) and suddenly Sirrah just POPS into your brain, and YOU KNOW FOR SURE that she’s somewhere having way more fun than you, and probably flipping you the bird while she’s doing it. “Bitch,” you might mutter to yourself, and you wind up spending the rest of the day pretending to be a ninja out of sheer retaliation. Then you go home and try to find her on the internet, because CLEARLY life is more fun with her in it.
I you think I’m exaggerating the awesomeness and general raditude of this woman, read on. The following story is only one of many.
Many years ago, I lived in a ratty basement apartment that only had one selling point: it had a big blue chair that looked like it was made out of Cookie Monster that came with it. Otherwise, it was totally depressing and miserable. The general misery of the apartment was only intensified by the fact that I was going through a phase that involved using lots of black in interior decoration. The overall effect looked something like a Cookie Monster tomb. Even Sirrah, a woman who also adores black, found my apartment disconcerting. She finally even started to refuse to come over to play our bi-weekly drinking game in which we sat around and watched soap operas and did a shot every time someone cried an actual tear. “CRY YOU STUPID BITCH,” Sirrah would scream at the television, even when it was improbable that someone would cry (like during a sex scene). Anyway, SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE.
As always, I didn’t just take the easy route. I could have just gotten some lamps or something. Nope, not me. Instead, I stole a toilet.
One of the very few wonderful things about Hays, Kansas that you won’t find on any tour is the toilet graveyard. In a yard next to a plumbing company, behind an 8 foot chain link fence, sits a wonderful array of toilets prime for the picking. You have to worm your way through the gate, and have a couple of accomplices to help you boost the toilet over the fence, but after that you’re in possession of a really abused, free toilet. I got one that was electric blue and had the thunderbird logo painted on the inside of the seat. Honestly, folks, it was love at first sight.
I took the toilet back to my grim apartment and (ignoring all of the warnings on the can) spray painted it a bright and bilious yellow. I then added a bunch of flowers to the tank, covered the seat in plush purple velvet, added a votive candle, and FINALLY applied a glossy photograph of Elvis to the front. This vision of loveliness was only increaed by the rusted out barbershop sign we subsequently liberated that simply read, “John’s.”
The toilet proved to be a great draw. Lots of people (including Sirrah) started to coming to my apartment to bask in its reflected glory. Eventually, however, I had to leave that place, and the toilet found a new home.
Two years later, my friend Adam approached me. He had been the proud owner of the Elvis toilet for quite some time. “Hey, dude, do you want your toilet back?” Adam asked me one spring morning. “Why?” I replied. “We all got kicked out of the house, and I’m not moving this stupid thing into the new place. If you want it, it’s in the trunk of my car.”
What could I say? I had to take it back. At the time, I was living with Sirrah, and she welcomed the toilet with open arms. It seemed to us that if the toilet returned to us on its own, that the universe was telling us that there was something bigger in store for it, and that we were merely a means to an end. We decided that the Elvis toilet needed to go home.
Two days later we were in a van that looked like an orange version of the Mystery Machine on the road to Memphis, TN, packing a stolen toilet decorated to commemorate Elvis, some beers, and two cans of Ranch flavored Pringles. Somehow, with almost NO NOTICE, Sirrah had managed to borrow the van and score a Conoco card. We were GOIN’ TO GRACELAND!
After several adventures (wherein we met the band Cinderella and made fun of their groupies, we poked a hitch shaped hole in a Honda, Sirrah got pierced, and I accidentally got a tramp stamp) and about 14 hours we arrived in Memphis. We got some van-sleep, and Sirrah spent the next day showing me around the town. Everywhere we went, we announced that we were merely an Elvis toilet transportation system, and people wanted to see what we were talking about. A nice man named Tommy even took pictures of our toilet. He was a coffee shop owner/Elvis collector. He was very nice to us, and very complimentary towards our toilet. He even offered to buy it, but we had a mission and refused to sell.
We also reconnoitered Graceland to the best of our ability (okay, so we asked some people how to sneak in and drop off a toilet, but for Sirrah and me, that’s really trying so back off). The general consensus was that there was no way we were going to be able to pull off a toilet dump, largely because the plan was to put it LITERALLY at the gates of Graceland and drive away. We did not, however, lose heart. In face we bought some liquid “heart-in-a-box,” and continued plotting.
That night we drove to the gates. We had recruited several of Sirrah’s friends to help us, and (like all new recruits) they were jumpy. We figured we were all for sure going to jail, and we also knew that the Conoco card wasn’t going to go very far towards bailing us out. As we pulled up, we realized that there was a problem. Not only are the gates really high, they’re really lighted, and REALLY guarded. Sirrah and I immediately decided that we would distract the guard (using only our immense intellectual acumen and probably also our boobs), while the grunts snuck the toilet out of the van. We made our move.
HOWEVER, we started talking to the guard who was skinny, pimply, red headed, and looked like his body had been constructed entirely out of left-over knees, and realized that he’d probably get fired if we left dumped our sacriligious toilet on his watch. We felt too sorry for him to do that, and waved the guys back into the van just as they were about to deposit the toilet in prime gate position. We took a couple of photos with the guard, and left.
We were depressed. Our mission had failed. Even the toilet was starting to look dejected. BUT THEN SIRRAH SAID THIS: “I wonder if Tommy would take our toilet?” And so, we left the Elvis toilet for Tommy on the steps of his coffee shop: The Java Cabana — 1721 Young Street, Memphis, TN — with this note written on a torn up brown paper bag in crayon:
Please take good care of our toilet. We love it very much!
Perhaps he still has it.
Happy Birthday, Sirrah Meggido! You are much beloved. I’m glad you lived.
Update: The RCS Engineering Department (Sirrah’s finace Andrew) has just pointed out that the Elvis Toilet resided at the Java Cabana for at least two years after we dropped it off, wearing a sign that read, “Do not sit.” I asked Andrew if he ever added an H to “sit.” He has yet to reply.