I felt moved to share my own bathroom stories after reading the crap (pun intended) in your recent column (11/23/07 and 12/7/07). I come from a family of four: three females and one male. And guess who got up at 5:30 a.m., took his shower and ran off to work before the rest of us even woke up? Yup. After he was gone, the rest of us simultaneously took over the bathroom. It was basically a rotating open-door policy. Someone would be in the shower while someone else was on the toilet while someone else was brushing her teeth. I assumed all families left the door open.
My husband grew up an only child and therefore never had to share his bathroom time. When we got married, one of the first rules he laid down was that he never wanted to see me on the toilet. Nor did he want me to see him. This was the result of an ex-girlfriend of his who did something I thought no woman in her right mind would ever do: She changed her tampons in front of him.
At one point, my husband and I shared an apartment with a good friend from a very large family. He and I had no problem walking in on each other if we needed the toilet. Proper etiquette requires that you knock on the door, open it a crack and ask before entering all the way. And since I liked to take long baths, he'd often ask me to pull the shower curtain so he could come in, whereas my poor husband would wait until I got out, then race to the toilet.
But after seeing how easy it was for me and our friend to do, my husband finally overcame his fear and asked me to just close the curtain. One step at a time....
In response to Queen of Hearts, who needed a card trick to demonstrate at her husband's family get-together (12/21/07), here's one I've demonstrated for years. All you need to do to pull off this "mathemagical" trick is apply the following code: An ace equals 1, the numbered cards equal whatever the number is, a jack equals 11, a queen equals 12 and a king equals 13. Among the suits, a club equals 6, a diamond equals 7, a heart equals 8 and a spade equals 9. (Note the alphabetical order.)
Have someone pick a card and, without telling you what the card is, do the following simple calculations using the card-into-numbers code. (Let's say the card is the 8 of clubs.) Step 1: Assign the card its number. (In this case, 8.) Step 2: Multiply the number by two. (8 x 2 = 16) Step 3: Add 1. (16 + 1 = 17) Step 4: Multiply that number by 5. (17 x 5 = 85) Step 5: Add the value of the suit: (Clubs = 6, so 85 + 6 = 91.)
Ask them to tell you what the number they arrived at is. Then, to tell them what their card is, subtract 5 from their number and decode what's left. In this case, you subtract 5 from 91, which gives 86. The first part of the number reveals that the card is an 8 of something. The second part reveals that it's a club. So, the card is the 8 of clubs.
For more about the math club I belong to, go to matcmadison.edu/studentlife/clubs/mathclub.
Regarding your column on whether cousins can do more than kiss (11/9/07), you neglected to mention the one thing that lawyers have gotten wrong all over the world: double cousins. Double cousins are what you get when one pair of siblings marries another pair of siblings and their offspring marry each other. With only four grandparents between them, the children of the sibling pairs are genetically the equivalent of brother and sister, but legally they're just first cousins.
Don't worry, quibbling is just a hobby, not my life's work.
John A. Frantz, M.D.
Whether to share your crap or show your ass (bun intended), write to: MR. RIGHT, ISTHMUS, and 101 KING ST., MADISON, WI 53703. OR CALL 251-1206, EXT. 152. OR E-MAIL MRRIGHT@ISTHMUS.COM.