Adventurous to the last, I finally dared to open the trapdoor in the bathroom last night. A ladder decorated with tiny styrofoam butterflies led down to a dimly lit chamber. On the wall was a panel with three buttons like elevator call buttons. A tiny gargoyle was to the left of each button.

I pressed the first button, which was labelled "Death", and its gargoyle was a chicken on its way to slaughter. A doorway appeared in the wall, and beyond it was another chamber. I could not enter, but I saw a bespectacled professor lecturing to row upon row of furiously scribbling moles. "The world," he said, "is like a condom. You come into it, and, er, well, the analogy breaks down a bit at that point." I saw what the moles were writing: "Security of the team is paramount," over and over, every letter slanted differently.

The second button was labelled "Verity", and its gargoyle was an earthworm dried in the sun. Another doorway which I could not enter appeared. Here there was a great pool, where radishes were being electroplated. On a platform above the pool, a judge was ordering beautiful models to leap into the pool, whereupon they became radishes. A bear with mirrored shades was acting as court stenographer.

The third button was labelled "Optimism", and its gargoyle was Pee-Wee Herman. I pressed it, and I achieved enlightenment.