In 2011, while traveling back and forth to New York for various family weddings, I had the delight of listening to Penn Jillette’s New York Times Best Seller, God, No! Signs You May Already Be An Atheist and Other Magical Tales. Last Christmas, as I attempted to clean my apartment before departing to my parents’ house for the holiday, I decided that I would listen to an audio book while I worked. I cracked open iTunes and, to my delight, I found Every Day is an Atheist Holiday!: More Magical Tales From the Author of God No! by world renowned magician of the Vegas duo Penn and Teller. In each of these books, Penn himself narrates his prose, making cheeky asides that would not normally be included in the main text of the hardcover. If you have never listened to an audio book and want to pee yourself laughing, I’d download these today.
In Atheist Holiday, Penn goes into detail about one of his deep passions: taking baths. Penn, who has never imbibed a drop of alcohol or taken any narcotics, likens taking baths to a meditative state, a simpler place where he can read a book or waste away the hours composing music or writing movies. But what fascinated me about this was a technicality. Penn Jillette is an incredibly large man, standing at six feet six inches and clocks in over 300 pounds. How does he fit in a bathtub? For this behemoth of a man to take baths, he must need a larger than average bathtub. Right?
I’ve recently moved into a new apartment that, unlike some of my previous dwellings, is pristine in its cleanliness. This new location has a luxury a 24-year-old-big-pappa-bear doesn’t often encounter: a bathtub with jacuzzi jets that maybe, if he sucks his gut in enough, is big enough that he can fit in.
The first night in the apartment I scrubbed the bathtub in anticipation of its first use. As the week unfolded, I would take my daily shower and the jets of the bathtub would mock me as I washed the soap from my chest. It was as though they were saying, “When will you try us out, big boy? When are you going to test The Magician’s infatuation with the bathtub? When will you take this devil’s plunge?”
So one day, I finally did it. I took a bath. It was amazing. It was, for a large man, like getting a hug from someone just a little bit bigger than you, or like feeling the warm embrace of a magical blanket that bubbles float on while jets massage your aching feet. As I drank my gin and ginger ale, I felt a serenity come over me as my body became one with the water.
The next time you’re home alone, or in a nice hotel, take the opportunity to soak in a tub. Crank up some Miles Davis or Penn Jillette and let your mind wander, and let me know how the magic of the tub feels.