[* Alternately: Tah-rah-rah-poop-de-ay!]
If you've ever doubted the didactic power of television, you may now rest easy. I've lauded the arrival of "Dirty Jobs" on the "Record Every Episode No Matter What" list on the DVR, but only as a diversion, an exercise in vicarious filth. For the Berts, however, it's becoming something of a cautionary tale.
The episode we saw yesterday was especially nasty. In one vignette, Mike visited an exterminator who had to eradicate some 70,000 cockroaches from one of the most squalid homes you'd ever hope to see. Ripped furniture, clutter on every surface, dirty dishes, appliances covered in brown scum, and two sheepish occupants skulking around to avoid the camera. Roaches teemed everywhere, by the dozens.
Robert watched this for about 10 minutes, his face frozen in a horrified rictus, when he suddenly decided he wanted to play Recycling Center. Then he put on swim goggles, work gloves, and his mother's rain boots that rose to his mid-thigh, emptied his toy bins unto the floor, and spent the next hour "sorting through" the boytritus. Lots of crap that had been Missing and Presumed Dead suddenly turned up, which is great because 1) I got to pitch about three gallons of broken and useless junk, and 2) the toys and games and puzzles that we've ignored for months can at least be ignored in complete sets, the way god made them.
You might think that's enough of a story, but hoo-boy is that not the truth. As usual, I've buried the lede in the interest of building to a narrative crescendo. Because in the next vignette, just about every third word out of Mike Rowe's mouth was "poo." (It turns up in lots of places you might not expect, like in the molds used to make church bells.) Little TwoBert, who is living the dream by spending most of his time bottomless, watched intently as the host ran toward a shitting cow and caught a stream in a tin cup, for analysis. And just as he held his steaming mug of That Ain't Coffee up to the camera, TwoBert walked over and took a seat on his potty.
I expected a little pee, because that's thankfully become pretty commonplace. But then came ... the Grimace. You know the one: forehead furrowed like a horseshoe crab, eyebrows searching upward, mouth stretched horizontally, bottom lip quivering slightly.
He tensed and wiggled and grunted, and presto: the little scamp put the biscuit in the basket.
So you might be out tonight at some fireworks display thinking it's for the country's birthday, but for me each blossoming bunker-buster will represent TwoBert's Targeted Defecation, the snow-capped summit of toddlerhood. Granted, he's bound to slip down the slope a few times before he's out of diapers, but it warms my heart to think that before the summer's over I'll spend more time wiping vertical buttcracks than horizontal ones.