Etiquette

Why is it
That when we try to establish rules
About the nature, placement, disposal of,
Masking of related odors, and general attitude
We carry when divesting ourselves
Of our bodily fluids, that we feel the urge to be cute,
To make little rhymes out of our rules?

Let me offer a few examples
For the purposes of illustration:

“If you sprinkle when you tinkle,
Be a sweetie; wipe the seatie.”

“If it’s yellow, let it mellow.
If it’s brown, flush it down.”

“Please enjoy our –ool.
Notice there’s no “P” in it.
Please try to keep it that way.”

We’re all adults here.
There’s no need to dress it up
And take it out to dinner.
Say what you mean.

“Please don’t pee all over my bathroom.
If you do,
Clean it up.”

“If it stinks, flush it, always.
Twice if necessary.”

“Warning: there is a chemical in the pool
That will turn your pee bright red if you
Whizz in our crystal-clear water.
We don’t need you throwing off the P.H.
With your P.E.E.
Keep it in your trunks.”

While we’re on the subject…

Yes, I agree it is a common courtesy
For us men to lift the seat before we go,
And to put it down when we’re done.
However, if we happen to forget
And you fall in,
You’re on your own.

To the bathroom designers of the world:
You can put all the money you like
Into hands-free flushers,
Automatic soap dispensers,
Infrared sinks and motion sensitive hand dryers,
But until you work with the guy
Making the doors to the bathroom,
With its disease-ridden handles,
What’s the point?

To those facilities who have the forethought
To add a urinal at a height
Accessible to a three-year-old,
Allow me, on behalf of all parents of young boys
To offer our sincere thanks.
To the rest of you,
Who seem to think only adults use your restrooms,
When the unfortunate employee
Who is new on the job, drew the shortest straw,
Or just pissed off the boss is assigned restroom cleanup,
And they find what looks like the result
Of a urine grenade going off in the stall,
Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

On the subject of stalls,
I think I finally understand why some women
Spend so much time in the bathroom.
Yours are really nice.
You each get your own little room,
Sometimes with flowers,
Maybe a magazine or two,
Some mood music, breath mints,
A concierge and who knows,
Maybe a dry cleaning service.
I’d take my time too

As a guy,
I’m lucky if I get my own receptacle.
The really special ones even give you
A little divider in between
So I don’t have to pretend
To be counting the grout lines
In the tile wall ahead of me while a
Three-hundred-pound biker stands six inches from me,
Each of us in an unlikely posture,
Feeling a little vulnerable,
Trying to make things go smoothly,
And not get accused of taking an errant peek.
Hey, sometimes you just get curious.

And whoever decided it was acceptable
To line guys up in a row, peeing in a metal trough,
Or worse, a concrete ditch in the bathroom floor
Clearly has never peed standing up in his – or her – life.
Do you know how much splatter there is in a situation like that,
Especially at a sporting event where twelve hundred guys
Are trying to relieve themselves within the span of a commercial break,
Or when some dude with compromised equilibrium
Starts watering the walls in the communal stall with his
First six beers of the night?
It’s enough to make a germophobe like me
Burn my pants and shoes when I get home.

It doesn’t seem that hard
To design a spray-resistant pee repository system.
However, my guess is the top-of-the-class engineers
At MIT aspire to a little more than urban waste
Receptacle design.
But it only takes one –
Just one brilliant visionary to identify the need,
Apply his gifts, bank his millions,
And in the process, make the world a better place.

Until then, I’ll keep using the nasty troughs,
Opening doors with my shirt sleeves
And dangling my kid over the urinal
As his pee shoots askew at a forty-five degree angle.
It’s a humble dream,
But I will not rest until bathroom parity
Is a reality.

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