Sunday, April 20, 2014

Apparently I have been giving insufficient attention to how I sit while I poop. (Thinking The Lions)

I took Mr F out for a ride today, a nice Sunday morning with the sun shining and the farm animals out in the fields and outside the barns, and as we drove through the countryside, I listened to the news and got the headlines from the world.  The ferry sinking, a kid getting suspended for asking out Miss America, the usual kind of stuff, and then something amazing happened:

I learned I've been pooping ALL WRONG.

Probably so have you.

(At least I have an excuse. I've been busy.  What's your story?)

I learned this alarming poop-posture-related news because a commercial came on and two excited women -- it's always women, and I have a theory about this*

*the theory is this: Men are threatened by the way women are increasingly earning more money and making decisions and probably not wearing sexy skirts to the office anymore, and possibly running for president again, all of which women insist on doing even though men don't like it, and so men are fighting back in the only way they can: by creating commercials in which women characters are obsessed with their poops.  See, men know that it's over for them, as a gender.  2,000+ years of being in charge and getting to club sabertooth tigers on the head or make fire or insist that the "World Series" be put on television have given way to a world in which men are simply a caricature of what real men once were (Cary Grant), but men are fighting back by leaving a historical record in which whatever intelligent species takes over after us (my money is on the squirrels) is led to the belief that one-half of our entire species thought about nothing but being regular.  It's genius, in a way: if Galileo had hit on this, we'd still believe that the universe was heliocentric and we'd learn in school that Roman aqueducts were built to help women poop better.

-- two excited women came on talking about the latest revolution in pooping, which is, if I may boil it down to layman's terms, "Pooping While Being Uncomfortable."

There are those who would say the very act of pooping is uncomfortable in and of itself, and among "those" would be The Boy, our third-oldest, or third-youngest, depending on which end you start counting from.  The Boy is extremely uncomfortable when it comes to pooping, so much so that he will sometimes stop by on his way to or from somewhere else -- The Boy doesn't live at home anymore -- to use our bathroom.

"Hi," he'll say.  "I just thought I'd stop in," and then he disappears into the only bathroom he can actually use without inflicting psychological trauma on himself.

That is in contrast to Mr Bunches and Mr F, his younger brothers, who are exceedingly comfortable with pooping.  When either of them has to poop, we are likely to find that out because they start gathering up supplies as though they are going to hibernate or possibly they are going on a long voyage that kicks off by pooping.

Take this actual conversation I had with Mr Bunches last night:

Mr Bunches:  Can I poop in the potty?

Me:  Of course.

Mr Bunches: Can you get A To Z Dinosaurs?**

**this is the latest alphabet book he likes, filled with dinosaurs I'm pretty sure are all made up because I never heard of a huayangosaurus when I was a kid, and it's not like they're inventing new dinosaurs: every dinosaur that ever existed was named by the time Adam left the Garden of Eden, if I remember my science class correctly, and so the odds that there was a dinosaur named Huayangosaurus and I never heard of it are pretty slim, especially when  you consider that we went to church regularly as a kid.
Another dinosaur in that book is supposedly named Khaan.  That's it: Khaan.  Not "Khaanosaur" or "Khaanodactyl" or "Khaanplodicus" or anything.  Just Khaan.  That is like calling a dinosaur Jim.  Or Steve.  
Museum Tour Guide:  And over here you will find a completely assembled skeleton of the latest find in the dinosaur kingdom, a fierce predator that paleontologists conjecture roamed the great plains of Pangaea for over a million years.  We call it Todd.
I also need to point out, in the interests of science, that anyone who is old enough should right now be shaking their fists at the sky and yelling "Khaaaaaaaan!"

At what point did scientists decide to see just how lame they could make dinosaurs and
still have kids love them? "Let's tell them they had feathers! And that they
didn't really hunt so much as scavenge! What? They still like them?
Tell them dinosaurs were made of broccoli!

But we were not discussing dinosaurs, in case you forgot: we were discussing pooping, and the way Mr Bunches and Mr F view this as possibly a respite from the daily struggles they go through, struggles like having to wait all the way until May before they get the second of the two Spider-Vehicles (TM) from Shopko (TM) because they already got the Spider-Man Web Striker Battle Tank and we simply are not also buying the Spider-Man Biplane (With Real Spinning Propeller!) this month.***

***Spoiler alert: We are, and did.
To get a break from the traumatic experience of getting their next toy only three weeks ahead of schedule, Mr F and Mr Bunches will sometimes retreat to the bathroom, where they stay long enough to need sustenance.  Mr F, in particular, likes a well-stocked potty, and so when he goes into the bathroom (leaving all his clothing outside, a habit we are eventually going to break both the twins of but for now we are just relieved that they poop in the bathroom at all) he will frequently take one of his favorite books with him (The appropriately, if inaccurately, named Let's Go being his favorite; sadly, the book simply has many pictures/names of things that go, like trains or roller-skates or double-decker city buses, so perhaps the world isn't ready for a Let's Go! book showing people happily pooping on the potty.****

**** I am being sarcastic, of course.  Every parent knows that there are roughly 1 quinjillion of those books around; they are so numerous you can see them from space.  Future civilizations (of squirrels) will wonder why, if so much of childhood was based on teaching people to poop, women had so much trouble with it when they grew up.

"So I said to my kids, well, if you ain't gonna visit me I will
just have to post something about my poops on Facebook!

"You did the right thing, Agnes."

But Mr F will also take snacks in there: a bowl of cheese puffs, perhaps, or a plate of macaroni and cheese, or, horrifyingly, a Hershey bar.  I like to think of myself as not being squeamish, at all (even though everything in the world is disgusting, especially if someone who is not me touched it or was near it or maybe thought about being near it), but there isn't any way I could possibly get myself to eat chocolate while I was pooping.  That is why I will never amount to anything.*

*one of the reasons, anyway.  Another is my inability to get the jokes in Marmaduke.
And sometimes Mr F is in there so long that he needs refills, something we learn about when the bathroom door gets whipped open and a naked, possibly-still-pooping seven year old runs out of the bathroom like a linebacker and we chase after him until he finally slows down and lets us know he just needs some more goldfish crackers or whatever.

But I have gotten amazingly sidetracked even though I cannot stop thinking about the commercial I heard which let me know that I, personally, have been pooping all wrong because I have been sitting while I poop and did you know that the human body is not made for sitting?

That is what scientists say, and you could have fooled me because I love to sit.  It is one of my three most favorite postures, beaten out only by

2. Lying down,

and my number one most favorite posture:

1. Lying down after I have just eaten pizza.

But sitting is still pretty good, as a posture goes, and that's why I never realized the incredible amount of harm I was doing to my body and its ability to poop by sitting to poop when it turns out that the human body was made for squatting, something I only learned by listening to the commercial this morning for the Squatty Potty (TM!):

Note that none of those people in the beginning of the commercial are actually squatting.  Also note that if I do not get an "I [HEART] 2 Squat" t-shirt for my anniversary I will never get over my disappointment.

Did you watch that video? Did you see that they used actual geometry to show how scientific the Squat To Poop movement is? Did you realize that you now are going to need a protractor to do your squatting, unless someone has already invented an app that allows you hold up your smart phone to determine the correct angle of squat, which I am sure they have by the time I finished typing that.

There is a follow-up to that video, one that has way less Jumping For Poop but way, way, more science:

This one helpfully starts by noting that this squatting stuff isn't just a matter of opinion: they researched the science of squatting, and in related news I am no longer feeling inferior to people who got a B.S. in college because not one single part of my job involves researching how people poop.

At 0:38 into that video, you learn that the rise of Western Civilization, which is responsible for so much good in our life, like:

1. Pizza.
2. Star Wars.
3. Other kinds of pizza, which you can eat while watching Star Wars.

is also responsible for us all slowly dying of Improper Pooping Posture, because the modern toilet is directly responsible for hemorrhoids, colon cancer, and the trouble in the Ukraine. (The video doesn't come out and say that, but if Vladimir Putin wasn't all chock full of constipation, do you think he'd invade people? Probably, yeah, he would, but without being so mean about it.)

At 1 minute in, you get to see that bathroom posture plays perhaps the primary role in causing colon cancer/nuclear warfare:

Every pie chart in history is meaningless to my generation because all we think when we see one is
Hey, Pac-Man!

A graph that I take to mean that if you get proper dietary fiber, you could pretty much poop standing on your head and not run any real risk, but that's because I don't properly understand The Science Of Squatting:

This is perhaps the only scientific survey about which you can say
"I pulled these numbers out of my butt," and have it be
the perfect summarization.

The video also notes that at Stanford University, squatting is required for people with colon issues, which raises a whole bunch of other questions, questions like:

-- Do they tell you that before you sign up for classes at Stanford University?

-- How do they monitor that? Is it strictly on the honor system?

-- Did you think I was going to put another pizza reference here? Discuss.

-- EXTRA CREDIT: Did you poop today?

The video, if you didn't watch it, goes on to explain that the reason squatting is so great is that there is a muscle in your belly that has something of a Full Nelson on your colon and only by squatting can you relax that muscle enough to poop the way God intended us to (Proverbs 2:12), but you have been duped by the Western Civilization Military Industrial Poop Complex into deliberately sabotaging your own body by using the toilet.

This all leads to their amazing discovery, the thing that had those two ladies so happily chatting about their pooping, as ladies do (Am I right? Let's hear it for your poops, ladies!), a footstool.

But, because nobody ever got rich telling you to use a footstool to poop**

**Except Sir Edmont Footstool III (1712-1767), who used to give highly-attended lectures on what was then known as "Her Royal Majefty's Illuftrious Lecture & Compendium Of Historological And Scientific Vacating Of The Bowels."  Ironically, Sir Edmont died.
No, I know that wasn't ironic, at all, but if I hadn't said ironically you wouldn't have kept reading that paragraph. 
it was necessary to invent the FOOTSTOOL OF (POOPING) SCIENCE,

It took 10 years to put a man on the moon, but more than 2,000 to figure out
a way for me to have visitors to my house feel uncomfortable
the moment they first ask to use the bathroom?

With the "Squatty Potty", I was told by the women on the radio, there's no need to replace your old Toilet Of Mass Destruction with, say, a hole in the floor (which would also achieve the same effect while at the same time being far more gross), or with what I first pictured as I listened to this on the radio, a reclining toilet (I was picturing something with the toilet seat angled back towards the tank, not a toilet with an actual reclining lever and a footrest like a Barcalounger, but now that I think of that, I bet my idea would work every bit as effectively as The Stepladder To Proper Pooping, there.)

It is not often that a simple Sunday morning drive ends up revolutionizing the way I poop.  In fact, this is the first time in 45 years that it has happened, but it comes not a moment too soon, I am certain, because I certainly do not want to catch colon cancer or appendicitis from pooping the wrong way.

The only thing the commercials don't tell you is what to do if you find yourself outside of your house, and needing to poop.  After watching those Videos Of Science I am no longer willing to put my colon, let alone my butt, in that kind of danger, so for now I am simply going to have to order two of these, one that I can leave at home all the time and one that I can carry with me, perhaps in a decorative over-the-shoulder sling.

"What's that?" people will ask, as I am sure it will be a conversation-starter: who could resist the allure of a pooping stool carried with a saucy insouciance by a smiling guy who knows that he'll never face the shame of hemorrhoids?

"It's my Squatty Potty!" I will beam back, excited at the chance to finally -- FINALLY!-- discuss pooping with extended family, friends, neighbors, even total strangers.  That is what has, after all, been missing from my life. I just didn't know it, until now.

Hey, do you want a FREE BOOK?

Click here to get, absolutely free, "The Scariest Things, You CAN'T Imagine," my collection of short horror stories. 

None of them are about pooping, sadly, but they're still pretty good.


Robin said...

Well, you learn something new every day. I had no idea that we were literally KILLING OURSELVES with this new-fangled toilet.

I am one of those people who experienced the uncomfortable state of constipation most of my life... Then I saw a doctor a year ago who changed my DIET. And... woah... I became regular for the first time ever. So, I am a statistic on the "wrong" side of the pie chart. Didn't even try squatting, but changing my diet did the trick!

That said, I definitely think YOU should get at least two. You want one in the bathroom your son "visits" so he can benefit, plus the other bathrooms. Mr. F and Mr. Bunches will likely do their business much faster if they are squatting. Think of the free time they will have... And you need one to carry around... just because.

Andrew Leon said...

I have great empathy for The Boy. Mostly, I just will not poop away from home. Unless, you know, I'm actually out of town for an extended period of time. I would be happier if I never pooped again.

One day, I will have for you a dinosaur(ish) surprise.

Andrew Leon said...

Happy Easter :)

Pat Dilloway said...

I should get one for my nieces to teach them while they're young.

A Beer For The Shower said...

I learned about this recently, too. Which is why toilets in Asia are just typically holes in the ground. They aren't uncivilized... they're just helping their bodies.

I know human bodies weren't designed to sit, but as a writer who sits up to 12 hours a day... well, I figure I'm already screwed. What's an extra 10 minutes on the toilet gonna do?

Andrew Leon said...

Oh! And, hey, you know, you don't actually need a stool for your, um, stool; just lean over and put your elbows on your knees while your going. It achieves the same angle for your body.

Briane Pagel said...

Andrew, if everybody just did stuff for free instead of paying $39.99 to do it, the USA would collapse. What are you, anti-American? I'm telling the government. Although they already knew.

Andrew Leon said...

If I still lived there, I would so, "No, I'm Texan."