fecal Friday: workplace tales

Gawker has a very entertaining piece on how to poop at work. It’s a must-read if you have workplace poop tales that make you laugh, or that you have to deal with in therapy.

Anthony once excused himself for a potty break during one of those all-day job interviews. Unfortunately, his future boss followed him into the restroom. Even more unfortunately, Anthony had to take a dump, but the guy stayed and kept talking as Anthony voided his stool. 15 years later, this is the only thing I remember from my debriefing with Anthony about how the interview went. Anthony was mystified, horrified by the strangeness, but he took the job anyway. Not surprisingly, the boss turned out to be a complete nut job, and Anthony moved on quickly. Lessons learned.

I used to work in one of those fancy law firms with Chihuly and a beautiful receptionist in the lobby. The library would order multiple copies of papers and magazines, and each would circulate to 5 or 6 lawyers. Thanks to the mail guys who came around every hour, periodicals would arrive all day long in my in-box, each with a little check-off list of names stapled on the cover showing me who had already read it. The restrooms were near the beautiful receptionist, who took note of a particular partner who hit the can for a long spell every morning, always carrying a circulating newspaper or the Economist. The receptionist was a great source of fun gossip. Needless to say, everyone in the know had their names removed from circulation when they saw this partner’s name above theirs on the check-off list. I know I did, pronto.

It’s really about etiquette, I guess, but how does one associate etiquette with pinching a loaf?

By the way, I learned that phrase when I was a little girl, listening to a Cheech and Chong album that my brother Ted had. I didn’t know they were supposed to be stoned. I laughed and laughed, and accurate or not, this is how I remember the album starting: Hey maaaan, I gotta pinch a loaf… What? I gotta drop a stool. Whaaat? I gotta take a dump! And then there was something about a dog chasing a car… Huh. I must have snuck that album, because I don’t really think Ted would have put it on for me.

Anyway, in the workplace the one paramount behavior that etiquette requires, in my opinion, is the courtesy flush. A dear old friend who shall remain nameless once made me cry laughing when he described going to the restroom at work for his usual morning bowel movement. He settled on the can, and just a few seconds later the outer restroom door opened and an anonymous voice barked just two words, “COURTESY FLUSH,” causing my friend to have a minor existential crisis about whether everyone in his office thought his shit stunk.

Well of course it did, but so did everyone else’s. The pre-conclusion courtesy flush was sound advice.