According to Sha Stimuli, the release of his first book, The Toilette Papers: The #1 Number 2 Book does not officially make him an author. “A friend of mine e-mailed me and wrote that I am an arthur [sic] now since I wrote a book,” writes the Brooklyn-native. “I thought it was a typo but he really thinks that’s the correct word. I think arthur sounds better anyway.” This type of brash, sometimes crude sarcasm is home base for The Toilette Papers. Stimuli meanders about dreams, relationships, and the internal pressure felt when asked to say the blessing during a dinner party. He questions trivialities like why people say “Happy New Years” when “there’s only one New Year,” and how late in the following year is too late to wish someone you haven’t seen a Happy New Year. Spoiler alert: according to Stimuli, January 18 is the absolute cut-off.
Some diatribes seem more focused on being witty than factual. Like when he wonders why Dutch people split the cost of a meal. “What’s Denmark’s economy like since it’s accepted to divide the bill,” asks Stimuli, seemingly unaware that people from Denmark are called “Danish,” not “Dutch.” The Dutch are from The Netherlands. Could the mixup be another example of the pervasive cynicism littered throughout The Toilette Papers? Possibly. But do facts really matter all that much in a publication subtitled “The #1 Number 2 Book?”
At it’s most poignant, The Toilette Papers captures the universal change in perspective that happens as life inevitably evolves. “We used to ignore things like tip jars, friend’s birthdays, and women carrying strollers up or down stairs,” writes Stimuli speaking as his younger, former self. “And we used to pay extra attention to things that mattered like a perfectly shaped buttocks in a crowded mall, or name brand garments we couldn’t afford but we purchased anyway.”
Ironically, The Toilette Papers seems to mimic Stimuli’s actual rhyme writing style. His music is notoriously self-aware – often dissecting precisely why, in his opinion, his career has yet to broach mainstream radio (as he does on “Insanity” from Unsung Volume 1). Here, chapter after chapter maintains that awareness while straying in the same manner as his stanzas. Fortunately, most are less than four pages, and Sha’s irreverence is enough to keep from quitting before book’s end.
The Toilette Papers isn’t designed to be taken too seriously. Stimuli didn’t set out to write “the Great American Novel.” He set out to write a collection of random thoughts to peruse through when dropping a deuce. Whether he considers himself an “arthur” or “author” or neither, Sha Stimuli is absolutely interesting. And that’s really all that’s needed to take your mind off taking a dump.