Monday, February 20, 2012

Fun with the public school system: When committee meetings devolve into talking about the smell of urine

Near the beginning of the school year, I discovered that I had been put on the "Wellness Committee" for my school.  This was a group dedicated to promoting proper exercise and healthy eating among the faculty and students.

Believe it or not, this group actually wasn't pointless.  There were changes made to the school cafeteria (like taking out the fryer and baking food instead) and events like fitness challenges and tennis tournaments.  There are even plans to try and get our school a "learning lab", where students can exercise while reviewing their studies.


 Unlike other committees and initiatives that plague public school systems across the country, this one was actually doing things to make the quality of life and education for students better.   I'm all for initiatives like this to help improve the health of students...I just didn't want to have to stay after school for meetings about it.

Unfortunately, the Wellness Committee would meet after school dismissed every few Wednesdays to discuss our plans and initiatives.  Since many of my  own personal plans involve eating massive amounts of chicken wings and/or burritos (and the fact that I hate tennis), I felt a bit out of place being part of a group like this.

May I be excused to go to the vending machine, please?

So during these long meetings after school had ended, I would mostly offer to do manual labor (put up posters, distribute information, etc) or just sit quietly, waiting for it to finally reach its conclusion.

On this particular day, myself and a group of 8 others were discussing a school wide initiative to get students to try eating fruits and vegetables during lunch.  I was the only male in the group, so the meeting mostly sounded to me like an episode of 'The View,' but with a lot more fiber and nutrients.

As the discussion dragged on, someone brought up trying to add in asparagus to the menu for the students.  This of course led to someone bringing up the fact that asparagus affects the smell of its consumer's urine.

   Everyone skips over the part where it tastes terrible

Teacher 1: You know, if we have everyone eating asparagus, a lot of people are going to have funky smelling pee.

Teacher 2: Oh trust me, I know how that is...

Teacher 3: Not necessarily.  It never does that to me.

Teacher 4: It actually doesn't affect everyone's urine.  Some people don't experience any smell....

Teacher 5: Well, I know that when I eat asparagus, I definitely can smell the effects from it.

Shut Up,  Shut Up,  SHUT UP!!!

Realizing that I was sitting in an after school committee meeting with a group of women discussing what their urine smelled like, I finally snapped.

Me:  SERIOUSLY?  Is this really even an issue that needs debate.  I know that when I pee, I don't linger around to take in the aroma.

At this point, my friend Nadine (who shares my passion for saying exactly what is on her mind no matter what the setting is) spoke up.

Nadine:  Well Nick, of course you don't have to smell it like we do.  You get to stand when you have to pee.  Us ladies have to sit right over it and deal with the smell.

Me:  Nadine, I got my first smart phone years ago.  It has been a very long time since I actually stood to pee.

          To say nothing of the time spent when I actually should be sitting

At this point, I was bombarded with screams of horror and disgust for what I had just said.

Teacher 7:  Nick, that is so gross!!!

Teacher 4: That's disgusting!

Teacher 3: Yeah, Nick!  T.M.I.!

Me: Oh really?  It's gross for me to say I take my phone into the bathroom with a room full of women who were JUST DISCUSSING WHAT THEIR PEE SMELLED LIKE?


After a bit of a stunned silence (and a hearty laugh from my girl, Nadine), there was no more talk of stinky urine or my bathroom phone habits.  The meeting was officially back on track and heading towards its merciful conclusion...

...though I did excuse myself once to go to the bathroom.

I, uh...may have to poop and pee during this trip.