a one panel comic strip with a man peeing in a men's room with his pants at his ankles with a parody of Alexa by Amazon talking to him as a bathroom attendant

#207 "Abe by Loomazon"

This parody of Amazon's Alexa is based on the many experiences I've had in men's rooms in this lifetime. Of course, there have been no artificially intelligent bathroom assistants, but there have been the occasional human ones (a.k.a. restroom attendants).

I'm not fond of the idea of someone in a restroom inserting themselves into my "business model." It makes me self-conscious and throws me off of my game.

My normal experience in a men's room is I enter, grab the furthest urinal away from the other men, do my business, wash my hands, and dry my hands with one of those new-fangled hand dryers that are louder than jet engines. I never make eye contact with anyone, and since there is no one to tip, I never touch my money clip. The presence of an attendant looking all professional in his vest and bow tie offering me towels, mints, and Aqua Velva automatically makes me feel like I have to engage. Sure I have the occasional side-by-side conversation with a guy using the adjacent urinal about sports, hamburgers, and Newtonian physics (it's extraordinary how many guys love to talk about the relationship between force and momentum), but I never feel any pressure or uncertainty about tipping someone.

Naturally, I'm going to feel bad if I turn down the attendant's kind offers. It's his job. It's how he keeps food in the fridge and Netflix on the TV. I always give in to the pressure and take the towel, eat the candy, and partake in a male perfume. Then I have to face the dilemma about how big of a tip I should leave. What's 15% of a free service? I rarely use cash, so my money clip usually just has a few twenties in it. Is it rude to ask him to make change for a twenty? How much should I tell him to keep? What if it's not enough?

That's when I bolt from the bathroom saying to myself over and over, "he's now in the past. The past isn't real. The past has no power." I repeat until the nervousness subsides, and then try to stay clear of restaurants and hotels who have turned their restrooms into horror chambers filled with social anxiety and stress.

If Silicon Valley is currently dreaming up something like Abe in today's comic, then good. I'm sure it will only give tips and not want them. It also might add to any conversation about whether or not the New England Patriots are more of an evil empire than the New York Yankees, if Tom Brady's longevity is truly due to avoiding cheeseburgers, and if the effects of mass, force, and momentum on the brains of football players will eventually be the demise of the NFL (and not from losing all their fans to the soon-to-be-dominant sport of indoor Nerf bocce).

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Crusted Salt comics by Jimmy Brunelle