Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

One Hand Washes Another

You admire me. You know it to be true. How could you not? Who else provides you the same perspective on life, inanity (insanity?), and the pursuit of hygienic restrooms?

And you want to give back. But what do you get for a guy like me? Well, this:

My birthday is the 16th of November.  Just sayin.

My birthday is the 16th of November. L to XL I should think. Just sayin.

The Toothbrusher and Other Non-Combatants

I’m trying to pull together a full list of all the non-combatant characters you might find in the course of your battles with the forces of Oblivious Dumpage. I had a close encounter with one the other day.  The Toothbrusher.

This, too, can be used to offend your coworkers!

This, too, can be used to offend your coworkers!

Now, I’ve met a few of these in my time, and let me just point out that, while I’m a fan of oral hygiene, I find that at-work-toothbrushers tend toward a bit odd and a bit over-the-top. Is it really crucial to get an after-lunch brushing in? Or a 4:15 one?

I have floss at my desk. I generally only use it after consuming a peach or another hand fruit prone to tooth-stick-betweenage. But occasionally I feel especially hygienic, so I whip out the floss and do the whole spiel. Then I leave it on someone else’s desk. That was a joke.

But the Toothbrusher I recently encountered is so beyond all other inappropriate restroom conduct that I’m sure some won’t believe my retelling of the experience.

He brushed for a full four minutes before I left the loo.  And he was still going strong.

I actually washed my hands and stared at him to see if he was spookable. Nope. Impervious, invulnerable, invincible, unstoppable. I then proceeded to pretend to need tissue for my impressively-large nose and pretended to really work at my nasal passages for several minutes, all while trying not to laugh. I failed.

Finally, I gave up. He may still be there. Here’s the thing, though. Have you ever seen those commercials about how “our brand of toothpaste is far superior to the other brands while using the same ingredients”? Notice nobody in those commercials ever seems to be actually, you know, using actual toothpaste? Where’s the foam?

It’s running down this guy’s hand and onto his forearm. I AM NOT KIDDING!!!

I’ve actually seen this guy in there before but not reported on it, so I noted that as he approached the sink with toothbrush and toothpaste (in a sealed, brand-new box – I think he used the whole thing), he rolled up his sleeves. Good thing, too. Because the foam was covering his hands and running down toward his elbow!!!

My current theory is that this guy isn’t trying to clean his teeth. He’s actually using a wire brush and planning to put on a new coat of paint soon.

Now, I classify this guy as a non-combatant, because he never enters the stall.  And he’s really just using sink space.  True, he’s a deadly danger to Secret Agent Man, who will wait until everybody’s gone before he exerts himself.  And it’s possible he could throw off your Exit Strategy, because even his vigorous brushing doesn’t provide quite adequate Cover Sound.  So if you don’t want to be busted by him (even though he’s in an advanced vegetative state as near as I can tell), you’ll have to wait him out.  Which means another Stall Patron might wait him out.  Which means the Other Guy might want to Leave When You Do.  So you could be busted by Other Guy.

I guess Toothbrusher really isn’t a non-combatant after all.  He’s actually more of a Freak Earthquake That Damages Both Sides.  Emphasis on his being a Freak.

Oh, right. Other characters. They’ll have to wait for later. But here’s a partial list:

  • The handwasher (they actually exist)
  • The face/hands/feet washer (knew a Muslim guy once who did all these)
  • The hawker (yeah…ew)
  • The Janitor (use him against Secret Agent Man if you know his schedule)
  • The hairdo/shirt-tuck/ensemble checker (usually faked when there’s a Full House or Inadequate Buffer)

Maybe I’ll hit them sometime on the blog.  But they’ll definitely be in the book.

Restroom Design: Springtime Spatter!

Well, it’s once again the time of year when I start wearing sandals, which always brings about a rude awakening:

Urinal spatter is detectable.

Yeah…ew. I mean, I know it happens all the time anyway, but there’s just something different about it when it’s hitting your bare feet.

Of course, I have a purpose for writing this. If anyone reading this is involved in Restroom Design, please make the urinal partitions bigger. Floor to about five feet would be just fine. Floor to ceiling would be even better.

And then at least I’d know whose spatter it was.

Ringers, and All The News That Is Poos

Pardon me while I bask in the glory of the subject line I just created.  It’s a thing of beauty.  It’s actually one of the things I enjoy most, coming up with great titles.  For instance, when my mother was thinking of hanging out her shingle as a lactation consultant, I told her she should try these taglines: “We bring out the breast in you!” and “You’ve tried the rest, now try the breast!”

Moving on.  I’ve decided to reveal another character name. After, that is, I report that I took one M.K.’s advice on dealing with a Ringer.  Hmm…I suppose this is a character name I’ve not previously revealed.  Oh well.  He’s not a major player.

So, the Ringer is a guy who talks on his phone in the bathroom.  This particular guy evidently carried a conversation into the Smelly Confines and took a Stand-Upper.  His technique was impressive, however, as he didn’t say a word for a full two minutes.  And then he started in at about 70dB.  I laughed out loud, then took my friend’s advice.

I flushed.  Repeatedly.  This was easy, as I was only in the stall to change clothes.  I also coughed really loudly as Mr. Ringer took to the sink for his requisite fake handwashing.  I hope he appreciated my efforts.

Anyway.  Have you ever been in the stall, changing clothes, when you realize that, after all, the throne is right there, and you haven’t gone in a while, and I mean, now’s as good a time as any…

Me neither.  But if it had happened, I’d have noticed a subtle shuffling of the Old Fishwrap in the stall next to me.  That’s right, I realized I was dealing with (and again I must ask you not to scream):

The Newspooper.

He’s a formidable enema enemy.  Because he ain’t goin’ nowhere.  He’s got him some serious perusing to do, and ain’t nobody gonna kick him out.  Now, maybe you’ll get lucky and he’s just got the Sports section.  But if it’s baseball season, he could decide to pore over every box score from yesterday’s games.  Face it:  he’ll be a while.  You have choices here.  You can:

1.) Bail.  There’s no shame in this.  He’s a toughie, and if you’re not prepared, he might make you cry.  Besides, if you’re worried about him popping out of his stall and catching you washing your hands (and putting a face to what he just heard you do), don’t be.  He has to fold that paper up.  It’s a thirty second job at the least.  Plenty of time to give your hands a thorough cleaning (if you’re into that).

2.) Destroy him.  Okay, so we’re actually talking about defeating him when he’s not really in the game.  Actually, he’s not really thinking about you in the other stall at all (like, say, Secret Agent Man is).  He doesn’t care that you’re there.  He’s reading, and will continue to read until such time as he stops, er, continuing to read.  Basically, he’s unpredictable.  So don’t do this unless you’re prepared.  And by prepared, I mean armed with a medium-length novel or similarly lengthy reading material.  A Kindle will do nicely, too.  You’re not guaranteed to win just because you’ve got more pages, but at least you’ve got a shot at it.

One aspect I just thought of is that Newspoopers are known to follow certain schedules.  Which means you can use him against Secret Agent Man if you want to.  And by that, I mean forcing SAM to stay longer than he perhaps wanted to, while allowing you to hand-off the domination of Mr. Agent Man.  If you can hold him in there until NP arrives, you can make Secret Agent Man’s life just that much more difficult.   And that’s always worth doing.  Maybe I’ll think about this angle a bit and blog more on it later.