I don’t like to poop everywhere. This is a good societal position to have, and is why I would be a terrible homeless person (a subway is NOT a place to poop, guys). What I mean, though, is that even when it comes to locations socially-deemed acceptable for placing your poop (or “pooping,” as it’s commonly referred), I’m still picky.
Before I go on, I’d like to point out that I’m using the word “poop” deliberately. “Poop” is the perfect word to use for this act. It’s much shorter than a word like “excrement,” but not as vulgar as “shit.” It’s more versatile (e.g. “I poop”, “A piece of poop”, “That was a poop thing you just did”). It’s palindromic (poop forwards and back). But the greatest thing about the word “poop” is that it nearly perfectly illustrates what’s happening, anatomically. After you read this, go to the bathroom. Don’t poop (unless you have to). Instead, look in the mirror and say “poop”. Say it slowly. Look at your mouth. Think of a butthole. You’re welcome.
Anyway, I think the reason that I’m particular about where I poop is because it makes you so vulnerable. Your ability to react is basically nil. That’s why reading material in a bathroom is so crucial. It distracts you of the fact that at any moment a terrorist organization hell-bent on destroying bathrooms could burst in and there’s nothing you could do but make a deer-in-the-headlights face.
So the #1 thing that I’m particular about is privacy. I need to feel safe and isolated. Popping a squat in nature has never really been an issue for that reason. I mean, assuming I’m in a secluded area of the brush, of course (my poop is a natural bear-repellant, so the “dangerous wildlife” angle’s covered).
Pooping at work is fine too, as long as it’s private. There was one specific bathroom at my old job that was the “Poop Throne.” It was the most isolated, and was nice and roomy. The other bathrooms were either near high-traffic areas, or so small that anyone within a 10-foot radius surely could hear and smell what was going on. Others knew of the Poop Throne too. I know this because the bathroom was often occupied during the Pooping Hour, that late afternoon time when it’s time to make room in your bowels for your lunch.
But the absolute worst is a full-on public toilet poop. I never understood why public bathrooms don’t have have stall dividers that go floor to ceiling. Is it really that much more cost-effective to leave those gaps? It took me well into my adult life to muster up the courage (i.e. eat some questionable Thai food) and venture into a stall to drop a dook. Aside from the complete lack of privacy, I have three major issues with the public poop:*
The Sound and Fury. Hearing someone else unleashing their bowels to the world is unsettling. It’s both familiar and foreign. Especially if the sounds go beyond a short grunt and a resounding plop. Shit gets weird. Knowing this, I try to suppress my own noise generation as much as possible. The sheer ridiculousness of this situation puts me on edge, so if a fart manages to squeak out, it tends to make me want to laugh. So now I’m not only trying to poop as quietly as possible (not an easy task), I’m stifling nervous laughter. This informs the terror that comes with #3.
Intruder In The Dust. The smell is obviously worse than the sound. Which is why it comes in at #2 (HA!). I’m not saying that I like to thank my shit don’t stank. I know those roses really smell like poo poo-oo. But they’re my roses dammit. I’m used to their particular bouquet from years of being acquainted with them. But someone else’s roses? Holy Hell -that’s stank. Nothing ruins a solid round than catching a whiff of something that’s not yours.
Soldier’s Pay. After doing battle on the white bowl, it is time to wipe the sweat off your brow (if you haven’t been diligent with your fiber intake), and pay your soldier’s pay. Which is to say, you have to go out to the main area and wash your hands. And everyone who’s in the bathroom with you knows that you were the one stifling nervous laughter while squeaking out muffled farts. And then the smell of the dead left on the field hits them. And their amusement turns to disapproval. I won’t say it’s a walk of shame, as pooping isn’t a shameful act, but God, it is uncomfortable.
Luckily, I have two seemingly obvious solutions that can, and should, be implemented in every bathroom from here to Craponia. The first is odor eliminators in the stalls. It can be Febreeze, or Glade, or mix some Poo ~ Pourri in the toilet water supply. Whatever it is, we can do better than those terrible air fresheners currently being used, which do nothing to actually remove the smell. The second is a bit bolder, but with today’s technological advances, surely must be viable. Mount a noise-cancelling speaker on the stall. Cars have it. Phones have it. For every fart and plop, have a speaker throw a negative fart or plop sound, and what happens in the stalls will stay there. This is especially useful for those who aren’t diligent with their fiber intake.
By simply implementing these two improvements, we’re also automatically taking care of the third issue. Now that there’s no smells OR sounds, the Soldier’s Pay becomes a salute. When you walk out of a stall, people around you will still know that you just took the Browns to the Superbowl, but they won’t know whether it was a blowout, or if you muffed the onside kick late in the 4th. All the negative aspects of you having just pooped go out the window, and they’re left with your improved demeanor and inner peace. Pooping will be an act to celebrate, as it was when our parents were training us to do it in the toilet. This will clearly lead to a lot more high fives. After washing your hands, of course.
*Apparently, Faulkner knew a lot about pooping in public places.