Thursday, July 2, 2009

Toilet Humor

Let us take a moment, step away from my Moroccan reflections, and come to terms with a cultural phenomenon taking the West by storm:

Men spitting in urinals whilst peeing.

I remember the first time I experienced this curious habit (and it is a habit; you're either a spitter or you're not). It was my freshman year of college, and I was a shy, young, shaven, and naive lad of 18 years. I was standing in the dorm bathroom- a spartan space covered in those small blue tiles that apparently exude a cleanly confidence- readying myself to pee, when I overheard the guy in the toilet stall next to me. Now, I know what you're thinking: Dude, spare us the details. Have patience, dear reader! I didn't hear what you thought I thought I would hear. No, instead, I heard this guy pee, spit, and then the plop of spit hitting the water. This sequence of pee, spit, plop continued for the remainder of the year. And it continues to this day.

I don't know why they do it. The act isn't a manifestation of manliness, I imagine. Rarely is the spit prefaced with a hardy hock. No, it is usually a contemplative spit. Almost an introspective spit. And I've noted how the spitter often watches their spit admirably [no, I don't make a practice of observing other guys peeing. Sometimes, you just notice things without necessarily trying], tracking its progress in its new watery abode, watching the dissolving puddle with a mixture of curiosity and wonderment, much like a dove being released into the breeze. Quietly they mouth, "Carry on, my wayward son." Then, silence. Tranquility. And there is not even a face shredding guitar solo.

So what motivates the spit? Peeing is, granted, a very soothing activity (foolish be the man who claims to not revel in a good pee [I think Shaw wrote that]). Perhaps the spit is motivated by a hybrid of Chaos Theory and that biological mechanism when we get the urge to pee when listening to running water. Peeing produces calmness, and the only appropriate subconscious response is to slightly agitate the tranquility with a single drop of our life juice, thereby proving the perfection: to skip a pebble on a glassy lake, to drop a penny in a fountain, to watch the rain in a roadside puddle.

Spitting in the urinal is, therefore, an affirmation of the divine.

Conversely, the spit can be a means of personal purification. Peeing- ridding oneself of the undesirable, is often accompanied by an honorable fart (I used to laugh and laugh whenever my father would fart in a public restroom. I just couldn't come to terms with how he, a respectful businessman, could let loose with such carefree abandon! Hippie. I, the prudish youth, could only bring myself to maybe cough and smuggle a minuscule, disreputable, glaucoma eye test, puff out, and subsequently blush profusely).
The pee-fart combo isn't enough for some. They, the Great Ones, strive for total baptism. These modern day Johns (Huh... You think that's where the term came from? I guess toilets kind of resemble baptism fountains. I think John the Baptist would be kinda pissed if he discovered what his name is associated with today. [Oh, I am feeling so very punny.]) must even evacuate their saliva. Therefore, pee-fart-spit is the ultimate ablution.

Before this reflection degenerates into the definitive text on bodily fluids, I shall stop. But, the next time you see or hear a fellow spitting into a toilet, stop and appreciate- another soul was just saved.

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