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A look at bathroom culture

To all my faithful readers (both of you): In the past year and a half we've had some good times ("Richard Simmons and other extraterrestrial beings") and some bad times ("Elvis' tunes live on through hamsters"). During the course of our relationship, I knew there would come a time when I would have to resort to bathroom humor. That greatly feared day is now upon us. So if you're still with me, let's explore the repulsive world of the public bathroom. I must warn you though, that the following may not be suitable for women, children and some types of cheeses.

The public bathroom is the king of all nastiness. It's Mardi-Gras for diseases and sicknesses and everybody's invited. So why are we so adamant about locking ourselves in these cubes of nastiness? First thing we do when we get in a stall is make sure the lock works. We don't want to be able to escape from that disease-culturing cubicle too easily.

And who is it that's collecting the locks to the bathroom stalls? There has got to be somebody with their garage filled with these things because every stall I go into is missing the lock.

Also, a good many of the locks are broken. I want to meet the guys that are tearing down stall doors. People break into cars because there is stuff inside that they can steal. But what is the point of breaking into bathroom stalls? Is toilet paper that rare? Are people hard up for toilet seat covers? What is it they want?

When we go into a stall that doesn't lock, we come up with the craziest ways to make sure people don't come in. We become MacGyver, rigging makeshift locks out of toothpicks and toilet water. We've got our bodies contorted to brace for the person we know is going to attack us while we're on the toilet.

The reason we're so worried is because we would hate to die on the toilet seat. That would be too embarrassing. All the people would come to see the crime scene and stare at the chalk outline with the pants around the ankles. If someone tried to kill us while we were on the toilet, we would probably say, "I don't care if you kill me, just let me zip up my pants!"

(For any women reading this, I will say with confidence that this next part -- well, you just won't understand.) The urinals are just as disgusting as the stalls. My problem with the urinals is that I never know where to look when I'm standing there facing the wall. I mean you can't look down, can't look to your left or right because you've usually got other guys there. A lot of the time urinals even have those dividers between each one in case someone's tempted to cheat. It's a little bit like Jeopardy.

You also can't look straight forward because there's always some sort of nasty spot on the wall or obscene graffiti. (Figuring out those lewd pictures drawn on the walls is impossible. You're saying to yourself, "What is that? I don't think that position is possible. I'll write down this number here and get some answers.") Urinals would be a lot better if there were little televisions implanted in the wall so guys would have something to look at. The problem is that if we had that, we'd never leave. That's a guy's ultimate fantasy-to be able to watch television and not have to get up to go to the bathroom.

In any given public bathroom there are essentially two types of toilet paper. First there is the incredibly painful, rock hard, absorption-qualities-of-Suran Wrap type of toilet paper that feels like you're using a 2x4. I don't see why the manufacturers even go to the trouble of making it resemble toilet paper. They might as well just supply us with a box of aluminum siding right there in the stall.

The other type of toilet paper is so thin it has more spiritual qualities than actual physical ones. It's thinner than Calista Flockart breathing in, and it just sort of disintegrates in your hands. It's really just there for moral support.

It's pathetic that some people take this almost nonexistent toilet paper and put it down on the toilet seat to protect them from the disease-fest that is the public bathroom. "Nothing will be able to penetrate this rock solid wall of loosely woven paper strains."

And guys, here's my parting word of advice. If at all possible, avoid using the urinal directly next to another guy. Whenever men have their pants unzipped, it's safe to say that you need to give them some room. There always should be a buffer urinal or somebody's going to get hurt.

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