My last post seemed to be a bit of a downer, so I’m going for something a little more lighthearted—or “lightheaded” as our favorite bear might say. Despite what the publisher of the newspaper I worked for in Arkansas thought, the “bathroom” columns I published there were some of my more popular columns. You can find two of them online here at my blog: Either way you gotta shake, and Is bathroom humor ever clean? Well, judged only by the number of comments I’d get from readers throughout the week. In general, I’d get about six comments per week on any given week. The “bathroom” columns, however, would get around 20. Seems I’m not the only one who finds humor there.
I’m fortunate to be in that generation that never had to use an outhouse. Oh sure, I know all about them and have heard stories about them, but I’ve never had to use them. And camping out doesn’t count. That’s a one time thing.
But I often wonder how in the world they could do it. I mean, when it’s 30 degrees outside, the last thing you want to do is go sit in a thin wooden shed. And we’re not talking about just one cold night. We’re talking long winters—especially for those of the Yankee persuasion. Makes you wonder if constipation was a common winter occurrence during the days of outhouses.
And we won’t even go to the corncobs this time! That’s another thing I have a very difficult time imagining…and I’ve got a pretty good imagination!
But running out of paper is a horrible experience. There is very little worse feelings that sitting and beginning business only to suddenly realize there is no paper on the wall! Oh come on! I know I’m not the ONLY one that’s ever happened to. When the family’s home, the solution is easy: yell for help. However, when alone, the solution generally requires walking oddly through the house with your pants around your ankles, all the time hoping someone doesn’t come home at that particular moment!
But what about in public? Do you ask the person in the Wal-Mart stall beside you to share some paper? No, that hasn’t happened to me…but in college it wasn’t uncommon to have to share the paper by passing it underneath the stall. Of course, when running late for class, it meant passing the paper back and forth more than once.
But what has happened to me in a public restroom is a turning off of the lights. Yes, during the middle of my business, someone turned out the lights and left me sitting—with unfinished business, I might add—in the dark.
It wasn’t that I was afraid—I wasn’t. I was in a very public restroom…okay, Wal-Mart (seems we spend a lot of time at Wal-Mart…I don’t know why!). I knew someone would EVENTUALLY enter and turn on the lights. But, and without going into much detail, while some of the business can be finished—in fact it often can’t be stopped—finding the paper and using it in the dark is an entirely different matter!
So I sat and waited.