(photo @ asianoffbeat)
Welcome to those of you that made it past the title. While many folks may find the discussion of pooping to be completely gross or inappropriate, even the most staid and prude among us have to admit that there is nothing like a large, healthy release of the bowels to make you feel like you can take on the world. This wonderful feeling can also be completely destroyed or augmented by the facilities in which you decide to do your business.
During college, you are often caught in the unfortunate situation of having to use public restrooms in classroom buildings or libraries as you make your way about campus. This presents the discerning pooper with a few major inconveniences:
1. Poor Sanitary Conditions
It has always amazed me that we males seem to pride ourselves so much on acts of kinetic precision (hitting a baseball, shooting a basketball, driving a golf ball, etc), but there seems to be quite a few of us that cannot get a stream of urine to go inside of a giant bowl directly below our pelvis. This urinary inaccuracy combined with the smell of those that have forgotten the long lost art of toilet flushing can lead to a very unpleasant and potentially unhealthy restroom experience.
2. Attacks from the Turd Burglar
No, this is not a poorly conceived character from a canceled childrens' television show in Sweden. A turd burglar is someone that suddenly and violently tries to open your stall door while you are in the process of pooping. Anyone who has experienced this knows that it is one of the most vulnerable and terrifying moments that you will ever have in your life. Normally a turd burglar will leave the bathroom out of shame/respect, but sometimes they will stay and wait, creating a unfortunate and silent confrontation that could mentally scar you forever.
Despite plees like this brilliant open letter to fellow public restroom poopers, many of us feel shame and embarrassment over a bodily function that everyone must do. This causes many people to sit in a bathroom stall in uncomfortable and anxious silence, hoping to somehow sneak the act by others (who they most likely have never seen or met) that are also inside the bathroom. Others will repeatedly flush the toilet or cough loudly, which only gives away their perceived indiscretions even more. Some people are so embarrassed about it that they will wait until the bathroom is completely empty, even if this means sitting through multiple waves of restroom patrons entering and exiting the premises.
Fortunately for me and many of my friends, this problem was solved by a combination of great facilities and personality disorders. On the facility side of things, we discovered that the University of Kentucky had what may be the greatest pooping safe haven in existence: The Singletary Center for the Arts.
Located across the street from the music building, the Singletary Center stood in stark contrast to the run down facilities that housed the band room and private lesson studios. It is a beautiful concert hall with ample seating, an additional recital hall, a spacious rehearsal room, and a huge lobby with multiple reception rooms. Below are a couple of pictures.
This is where the support group comes in. When you go to the same building everyday and have the same classes with the same people year after year, you tend to form some pretty strong bonds. In males, these bonds can become strong enough that not only are you comfortable with pooping around each other; you encourage it.
We would often go in groups, fully aware that multiple defecations were about to take place. There was no shame in what were about to do; we had found a wonderful place to take care of our business, and that was something we cherished and reveled in. One time after a weekend camping trip, we arrived back at school and parked in front of the Singletary Center. My friend AJ turned to me and said "Well Nick, I think I'm going to go inside a Singletary throne room and have my way with one of the toilets."
Once inside one of the "throne rooms," there was no shame or embarrassment to be found. We would even offer shouts of encouragement and praise as our colleagues loudly and proudly expelled weight and waste from their bodies. We became so brazen about it that we would often call out to each other :
"Hey! I'm heading over to Singletary. You need to go, too?"
We knew that everyone, ladies and faculty included, knew we were talking about dropping a deuce...and we didn't care.
On the issue of "turd burgling," there was never anything that we had to fear. No one ever came into the bathrooms when we were there except for others that were part of our unofficial pooping friends network. If we heard the door open, we knew that our stall would not be rattled. Instead, we would receive a hearty hello while we continued to do our business.
To be honest, we were not truly aware of how bizarre this pride and unabashed behavior in a bodily function was until my good friend Brad was witness (from behind a stall) to a fellow pooper in an emergency situation.
One day as Brad was taking a leisurely afternoon dump, the door to the bathroom opened followed by the hurried shuffle of very panicked feet. When Brad looked down at the floor of the stall next to him, he saw the unmistakable hiking boot/cargo pant attire of our friend Chris.
"What's up dog?" Brad asked. The only response he was was the frantic unzipping of pants, a hard plopping down on the toilet seat, and an unleashing of the fury the likes of which even the most confident of our pooping friends may have been hesitant to unleash. Brad knew that this had to be bad since Chris had not responded to his greeting and he was currently dropping what sounded like half his body weight. Instead of being appalled or offended by Chris' brazen summoning of Montezuma's Revenge, Brad decided to be a good friend and cheer him on.
"Yeah man, that's what I'm talking about!" he exclaimed. Chris's only response was to continue to loudly release the demon that was inside of him.
"Yeah dude, you got this!" Brad continued. "Rip it up! RIP THAT STUFF UP!" YEAH DUDE, YEAH!!!"
"Uh...yeah," a completely unfamiliar adult voice (that was definitely not Chris's) responded.
We decided right then and there that it was time to begin acting like adults when we used public restrooms...
...of course I'm kidding. We laughed hysterically at Brad and the anonymous recipient of his pooping support. We then went on to have many more awkward and hilarious incidents and stories that were born in the world's largest and most luxurious public restroom, the Singletary Center for the Arts.
It's time for us to go back to teaching stories, sports rants, and investigative satire this weekend, but more stories like this will grace the blog in the future if you demand it...or can stand it.
Or if you need some light bathroom reading.