GUEST BLOG by fearless Restaurant Club Leader DAN KAUFMAN
Do not adjust your screen. For the next dozen or so paragraphs, the Open Trench has been turned over to Guest Blogger, Daniel Kaufman. Always one to come to the aid of authors putting the final touches on their literary work, I have stepped in for the day to help our e-host out.
My original intent was to blog the evening out with Don and friends at a Culver City Nepalese restaurant last night. But in the end there really is only so much one can say about Yak dumplings. And anyway, the best line of the night came from an out-of-town guest who responded to Don’s and mine’s wish to be living in a fascist country run by Oprah with the poetically simple, “we already do.”
There is a subject more pressing I have always wanted to air publicly. Since it looks like they’ve found a replacement for Bob Edwards, the Open Trench is the most open trench I may ever have access to. So, here goes. Leslie, avert your eyes.
The Public Shitter’s Manifesto
As a faithful adherent to the adage, “always shit on the company dime” I often find myself unloading at the workplace crapper. For many it is not a pleasant experience. For those that work at an Arco station, it probably never can be. But for the rest of us, I believe with some basic ground rules, it doesn’t have to be that bad.
To that end, I would like to initiate a public dialog on public deification. The following is in no way comprehensive, and of course it represents my own issues. I am merely putting this out to the universe as a touchstone that may hopefully bring on a new age of peace and harmony in bathrooms across America.
Article 1. Bathroom Communication
I don’t know what it’s like in the women room, but in the men’s room entering a restroom for urination carries no social stigma. If a man sees a work chum at a urinal cock in hand, it’s perfectly fair game to initiate a conversation on a variety of subjects. Even jokes are fine. One of my favorites is looking down at myself and saying, “Whoa, that thing is oozing something green today.”
However, if one enters to do anything in a stall, one wants to be treated as if one has a spell of invisibility: you are not there and you never were there. If you see me in the hall later that day, it will be like it’s the first time you’ve seen me. For this reason I propose rule 1.A. to be:
1.A. The Shitter Must Be Granted the Cloak of Invisibility
The shitter also has a social obligation if he or she is to be expected to enjoy his cloak. Now that you are in the stall, you must strive your best to be as if you are not in the stall. Gas is acceptable, as the saying goes, “shit happens,” but nothing forced or excessive. Groaning is only okay if it’s an involuntary reaction. Talking on the cell phone may be fine in Haifa or Islamabad, but not in the US of A, so put the damn thing on mute and text message if you have to. Conversation of any kind, except in dire emergency, is verboten.
Now, my brother differs with me on this. His philosophy is to break the social stigma of the public shit through boisterous communication. Frankly, his philosophy for a lot of things involves boisterous behavior. I am not my brother’s shitter which is why I propose rule 1.B. to be:
1.B. The Shitter Must Be Silent
Article 2. Hygiene
Let’s face it, nobody wants to walk into a cramped space with feces everywhere. In fact, we don’t want it anywhere. If the remains of your Culver City Yak dumplings didn’t make it down the drain with the first flush, go ahead and give it another. Give it a fourth if that’s what it takes. And if the water pressure won’t do the job, damn it, wad some toilet paper and clean that mess up. To address this issue, I propose rule 2.A.
2. A. The Shitter Must Remember the Boy Scout Credo and Leave the Stall Cleaner Than They Found it
I coined my own bathroom adage a few months back, “When going to shit on the company dime, never go into the bathroom behind a fat man carrying a Robert Ludlum book.” Bathroom reading is fine, but take what you are reading with you when you are done. As a toilet reader, I often find myself in a stall with nothing at hand, and your old newspaper is damn alluring, even though it may be the Sports page and have remnants of your doody. When reading in the bathroom, remember rule 2.B.
2.B. This Place Ain’t A Library
And so ends my brief tenure as your blogger. While it is an end for me, I hope it will be a beginning to a frank discussion of this most basic of bodily functions.
Dinner at Katmandu