Monday, September 28, 2009 this piece important?

Ten days and counting.

That's how long this little do-hickey has been sitting on the back rim of the third floor penthouse toilet.

Since this is a location where people like to store their Snapple bottles, at first I thought it was trash--plastic neck sleeve that had been left there.

Upon closer inspection, I discovered that it was metal (brass? solid gold?) and thought, "It looks like a small crown." King of the turds?

My best guess is that it is actually part of the plumbing--a piece that has fallen out of the works. Which is weird, because everything seems to be functioning as normal. But for how long?

My working theory is that Mr. Back Anus is somehow responsible for dislodging it. I don't know how, but there is so, so much I do not understand about that guy.

Anyway, if you decide to conduct business at this location, be forewarned: it may be living on borrowed time.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Not a substitute for soap and water

This story starts 383 miles from the 4th floor men’s room, occurs in the distant past and reveals the mileage on potty blogger, but there is a point, I promise.

Nearly twenty years ago, potty blogger and his girlfriend at the time used to frequent a fast food restaurant by the name of Carl’s Jr. in Marina Del Rey, California. (Potty blogger’s favorite feature of this restaurant was the three-person booth--two seats on one side of the table and one seat on the other---where he and his then-girlfriend once took a friend who had just broken up her boyfriend, which was both funny and sad...and has nothing to do with this story.)

At the conclusion of one fine meal at this establishment, I excused myself from the table to go to the restroom. As I was washing my hands, I noticed a new dispenser on the wall, next to the soap dispenser. On the front, it said, “New anti-bacterial cleaning gel--no water needed!”

When I left the men’s room and reported my finding to my then-girlfriend, she did not believe me. There was no equivalent dispenser in the ladies room and the idea of a hand-cleaning substance that did not require water seemed preposterous to her. “You have to use soap and water to clean your hands,” she said.

What neither of us realized at the time was that I had stumbled into one of the earliest test markets for hand-sanitizer. (You youngsters out there may find it hard to imagine a world where hand-sanitizer was not ubiquitous, but at the time, nobody had ever heard of it.)

The geniuses at Purell-or-whoever-created-hand-sanitizer were test marketing the substance in men’s restrooms as a substitute to hand washing. Given the proximity to actual soap and water, this strategy, in hindsight, seems ridiculous. But marketers have to kiss a lot of frogs in the early days of product development to find the best way to sell whatever it is they’re trying to sell.

Fast forward to today and we’re now living in the Jetsons-like future of 2009. Hand-sanitizer is everywhere.

Which brings us back to the men’s rooms at 720 California.

A few weeks ago, hand-sanitizer pumps appeared near the sinks on each floor. The timing was strange, since we’re well past last spring’s swine flu hysteria, but maybe they’re just getting a jump on the fall panic.

But, gentlemen, as my long-ago girlfriend pointed out nearly 20 years ago, “You have to use soap and water to clean your hands.”

Unfortunately, the presence of hand-sanitizer on the counter has confused some of my co-workers. On two occasions, I have seen men forgo soap and water for a quick spritz from the pump.

Not good enough, men. I know it’s old fashion, but you must use soap and water to clean your mitts after you make a number one or a number two. Every time. No exceptions.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lose a pen?

What was this guy doing when he dropped his pen? Where was he holding it?

Both hands on the wheel, buddy. Whatever flash of inspiration might hit you during your session, I think you can remember it until you get back to your desk.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Change of plans

“Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

Today, I heard a man make lemonade out of lemons.

I was kicking back in the penthouse when I heard somebody enter and head for the urinal. He spent some time there--maybe 30-40 seconds--and then zipped up and headed into the Peter Brady stall to continue his adventure.

What happened?

Did his wires get crossed? Did his brain think, “forward pass” when the team really needed to prepare for a pitch to the tailback?

And when, exactly, did our hero realize that a urinal would not be sufficient for his needs? Did he have an “uh, oh” moment? Did the turtle poke his head out? Did he do a quick do-I-have-time-to-make-it-to-a-stall-or-should-I-just-spin-around-right-here calculation?

I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, but he seemed to handle the challenge with grace. Well played, sir.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I am not a superhero

“The 4th floor bathroom needs you right now”

That, friends, is the subject line of an email that I received yesterday evening.

One of the occupational hazards of writing a blog about the men’s room in your building is that, inevitably, some of your co-workers come to regard you as some sort of Bathroom Batman, ready to swoop in and save the day.

Don’t get me wrong...I appreciate a good tip. Letters from in-building readers have alerted me to all sorts of developments--some good and some very, very bad.

But when you stumble across a crime scene, you should call the police, not a reporter.

If a co-worker--probably the one with the mysteriously-placed anus--has sculpted his masterwork in the fourth floor men’s room, call facilities. They have the equipment, training, and intestinal fortitude to deal with such art installations.

Of course, I couldn’t resist a drive-by. Yes, it was horrible. No, I cannot explain it. As I’ve said before, there is no position into which I could contort my body to paint on that portion of the canvas.

We fear the artist we cannot understand. And yet, on some level, there is quiet respect for his unspeakable “gift.”

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cake for everyone


On Friday, this blog gets a little bit of attention from the mainstream media. On Tuesday, new urinal cakes appear in each of the bathrooms. Coincidence or power of the press?

Who cares. It's Christmas in September.

And these aren't your plain, budget cake. These have got a fancy white plastic cage around them. (Why is that exactly? What are we protecting the cake from? Are they worried that some sticky-fingered gentlemen might lean down and pop that hockey puck into his pocket if its allowed to roam free?)

Things are getting fancy over here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day greetings


Three things that do not go together: 1.) three-day weekend, 2.) letting the janitorial staff take the weekend off, and 3.) selecting that weekend to make repairs to the building’s heating and cooling system.

The one stimulus that the 720 California men’s restroom bio-chemical experiment did NOT need? Heat.

Those of us who have the pleasure of working here at the office over the holiday weekend are enjoying the tart and tangy aroma liquefied corpse? (My nose and brain are currently working overtime to try and make sense of it.)

Imagine a hobo at a bus stop on a warm summer day. He relieves himself in the middle of the bus stop. Then he plugs in his portable microwave and begins to cook a raccoon.

It’s a little like that.


A warm welcome to our new readers.

Thanks to some unexpected press last week, it seems that readership blossomed from five guys in the building to...a few more.

All are welcome, but in light of some of the new comments and emails, some clarifying comments seem in order.

This blog is not about poop. It’s about man’s inhumanity to man. It’s about trying to make life a little better for the poor schmos who must conduct their business in this building.

We don’t do in-the-bowl photography. We don’t name names. This ain’t toilet porn, friends. It’s a community of freedom fighters.

And so, while you have every reason to be extremely proud of that 19-incher you dropped in Denmark, I don’t need to see the photo. Seriously.

With that said, welcome to the party.

For you newbies who would like a sampler plate of some favorite posts, may I suggest the following:

This is Not a Library

My E-Level Vietnam


Soundtrack Etiquette

Black (and Brown) Tuesday

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The saddest stick-up ever

You have to applaud a co-worker who takes matters into his own hands. Evidence suggests that a gentleman on the fifth floor did just that.

In both the penthouse and the Peter Brady stalls, low on the stall walls, are two stick-up air fresheners.

As far as I can tell, this is an anomaly unique to the fifth floor men’s room. They are clearly not standard-issue.

In other words, at some point in the past, some fifth floor fellow said to himself, “This place does not smell as good as it should. I’m going to use some of my own money to purchase something that will make it smell better.”

The key here is “in the past”...because these two little stick-ups have maintained their silent vigil for more than a year. Any air-freshening properties they once possessed are long gone. All that is left is the sad little plastic disks, reminding us that once upon a time, one man dared to dream of a better world.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Now THAT'S courtesy

Somebody on fifth floor has been reading his copy of Miss Manners.

Did he leave the sports magazine on the floor by the toilet? No. He thoughtfully draped it over the handicap rail, putting it within arm's reach for the next patron.

Not only did I get a chance to catch up on pre-season college football, I did it without risking hepatitis.

That's how it's done, men.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Heavy lifting at the urinal

I was conducting some business in the penthouse stall the other day when I heard the bathroom door open and somebody walk in. He headed over to the urinal, unzipped and then, let out an enormous sigh:


That was followed by more deep breaths and semi-grunts.

Honestly, if I hadn’t been sitting there with my pants around my ankles, I would have thought that I’d stumbled into the Olympic weightlifting competition. (Insert your own “clean and jerk” joke here.)

What the hell was going on with this guy? Is breaking out Mr. Wiggly that much of an ordeal?

Maybe the guy has a bad relationship with his wang. Perhaps the heavy breathing was his way to summon the courage to give this whole pee-pee thing one more try. “OK, little fella. I know we’ve had our trials and tribulations. But I believe in you. I want to make this work. Here we go.”

Or maybe he was just having a rough day. We’ve all been there, big guy. Sometimes when work is a major nut-punch, you just have to let it all go in an exhale. But maybe the urinal isn’t the optimal location for self-expression.

His transaction was completed before mine, so I did not lay eyes on the fellow. But he is out there, among us. And he needs a hug. Just not at the urinal.