I'm a reader, what can I say? I seldom go far without a book, but there is the occasional little necessity trip when it is simply impractical to delay action long enough to browse for reading material.
So, one reads the walls in the stalls. It's there. You're something of a captive audience.
I never told a soul about any of the angst, humor or poetic injustice I've seen on those bathroom walls, because when it comes to restrooms, like Las Vegas, as they say, what happens there certainly ought to stay there.
That was until George W. Bush inspired me. You may recall the great flush of controversy during his presidency, when a photo that Reuters News Service ran around the world showed the president, apparently studiously taking notes during a crucial United Nations Security Council hearing, which he then handed to Condoleeza Rice. What the photographer claims to have never noticed until it went out blown-up in print worldwide, was what the note actually said:
"I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible."
Editor & Publisher spanked the press corps as childish - "You should be ashamed."
What's the fuss? Do we expect that our heads of state is so powerful that they no longer needs to visit the little boys room?
LBJ was known for conducting meetings in the White House bathroom from the toilet - he did his business while he did his business, you might say.
In a recent interview, Michelle Obama reports that her husband "Is in the bathroom all the time, just singing."
This begs the obvious question.
I'm guessing "Push It" by Salt-N-Pepa. Or "Something In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins. Britney's "Oops, I Did it Again." "Takin' Care of Business?" Or maybe that song from Frozen: "Let it go, let it gooo.... can't hold it back any more..."
Personally, I prefer the 1812 Overture.
Maybe the prez enjoys a good read in there too.
This bit of graffiti is supposedly written on a men's restroom in the House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
"If pro is opposite of con, then what is the opposite of progress?"
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating graffiti in public places, which is quite illegal. I haven't engaged in such activity since Kristin Finneran broke my heart in fourth grade and I put her phone number on the wall in the boy's room in Hawley Elementary. Sorry Kristin, I hope you turned out okay, anyway. If so, can I have my Hot Wheels back?
In case you are curious, Google lists 7,140,000 entries on the subject of restroom graffiti, so now I don't feel so bad for reading it.
According to the American Restroom Association (I kid you not), the White House discourages public access to the powder rooms, and directs the desperate to the nearby Willard Hotel. So, for the moment, I cannot report on any graffiti in the presidential household.
These days, too much of the writing is gross or dirty. There's nothing worse than a vandal without an imagination.
But there are some interesting examples, and there is even a real term for bathroom writing - "latrinalia":
* On a college restroom door: A kiss is two questions answered at once. Hmm.
* Written on a stall's left wall: "Toilet Tennis. Look Right." On the right wall: "Look Left."
* I am told by a reliable source that this one is written next to the toilet handle on the restroom of the Music Building at Hastings College in Nebraska: "Please wiggle Handel. Written below it: If I do, will it wiggle Bach?
* "Most live and learn but by the time most learn it is too late to live." Seen in a Des Moines airport restroom.
* "Beauty is only a light switch away." A university library restroom.
* "Not all who wander are lost." And written underneath, "Not all who launder are washed." Portland, Oregon
* One to think about: "Homophobia is gay."
* "You could fill our bathtub with the tears I've spilled in here," a new tenant finds in teal eye shadow on an apartment bathroom mirror.
* I leave you with these thoughts, from an ISU loo, "Oh, bathroom philistine, erase not these lines;
There'd be nothing to read here, if not for my rhymes."
I don't mind the graffitti, but I do mind those infernal public restroom toilet paper dispensers that give you only one flimsy postage-stamp size square, no matter how slowly and daintily you attempt to pull. You try and try, and just when you think you've got it rolling, at the last second rippppp, and you're struck trying to get your hand up the dispenser to locate the loose end of the roll and do it all over again. Don't tell me you don't know exactly what I'm saying here.
I'm not going to name any names *coughstormlake publiclibrarycough*
I don't want to get all graphic on you, but if you think you can consume a Six Pack and a Pound at Taco John's and get the job done with one square of TP... I do not want to sit next to you at work all day.