I just returned from the bathroom. Now, right there I have reached into the TMI zone, but that information is critical to the rest of this blog entry.
When I was in there "doing my business", there was another gentleman two stalls to the right who was, shall we say, having a severe bout of intestinal distress. That is the only way I could describe it without being in violation of the Blogger terms of service.
It was nasty and sounded quite painful. Because he was two stalls over, I could not see his shoes, so I was unable to identify through the most common technique, the shoe ID As I was about to finish, another gentleman stepped in to the stall between us, and, based on the direction of his feet and the ensuing sound effects, he was just there to take a tinkle.
I quickly finished, flushed, and fled. I stepped to the sink on the right, extracted a single pump of the honeysuckle infused hand soap and began to wash, but damn, I heard the stall door opening. Wishing to avoid eye contact with my apparently dying associate, I moved one sink over, hoping that the change in angle would hide my prying eyes from his as he exited his stall of death.
Luckily it was the middle door, the tinkler, who stepped in to view. We gave each other the “Dude, I think he’s dying” head-nod toward the unknown offender, and finished at the sink, not knowing, and not wanting to know the name of the poor victim in stall #3.
So here’s my question: Why, in this day an age, can we not acknowledge a rippin’ nasty trip to the john?
If anyone in the office sneezes, cough, hacks up a phlegm sandwich, or hurls up lunch on the conference room table, we chuckle, nod our heads knowingly, and ask if they are OK. If they are quietly sitting at their desk, skin pale, cheeks flushed, eyes bloodshot, or their lungs rasping the a death rattle of avian flu, we flash the bullhorn hand sign, give them a high-five, and ask them where they partied last night.
But heaven forbid the crack a fart, drop a stinky dookie, or make an un-natural noise that could pass for sulfur-fueled geyser in the lower rings of Dante’s hell. Does that elicit sympathy, concern, or care.
We run, we hide, we avert our noses, blame the baby, point at the dog, or just ask if the wind shifted from across the city dump. We run as if the accusing finger of shame were pointed at us, for in times past we have all been there, the one who secretly knows, that “He who smelt it, dealt it.” It was our finger that was pulled, our cheeks that squeaked the seat, our fiends that looked at us in disgust and said, “I have a hunch, you just lost your lunch.”
So yes, I ran. I finished, flushed and fled. I am ashamed.
But will I change? Will I have the courage to knock on that metal stall door and ask,
“Dude, that was nasty. Are you OK?”
Only time will tell.