Potty training 101
To be perfectly, honest, I never thought I would have to write this column.
I thought all college students would be the responsible adults they’re expected to be instead of the incompetent stereotypes as seen on TV.
But no, a few ne’er-do-wells had to go and spoil my pie in the sky.
By taking a dump on it.
That’s right, my subject for today is the state of campus bathrooms. In a word, they suck. Full of low-brow (if occasionally and worryingly creative) graffiti, poor material conditions (some of the library bathrooms are missing stall doors), but above all the bathrooms contain evidence that a segment of the campus population was not potty-trained.
You all know, or suspect, about whom I am talking. The person who pees and poops outside the toilet, leaves toilet paper and paper towels strewn about the entire bathroom, does not wash their hands after concluding their business, and I dare say has been wearing the same change of underwear since high school.
This has got to stop.
Imagine shaking hands with a person who does not wash his own after pooping. It makes you want to vomit, doesn’t it? Even better, imagine such a person accidentally eating some undercooked meat and catching E. coli. It would spread around campus like the plague and most likely overwhelm the medical capacity of the area. More frightening, suppose this person worked at a restaurant in town or one of the dining commons – just look up Typhoid Mary.
There is no excuse for someone not washing their hands with soap and warm water – except that, on this campus, both can be in short supply. This needs to change.
Now, some psychiatrists have suggested that toilet training leads to repressions and neuroses, which can be harmful later in life. This may or may not be true, but I don’t care one bit. Human beings are not ordinary animals, we do not run free and wild in small populations spread throughout diverse ecosystems so that the spread of disease is limited and the mortality rate among the young is so high that anyone who lives to see 20 years is going to have one hell of an immune system.
No, humans are highly populous, highly social animals with relatively weak immune systems and a life style which has developed over thousands of years to isolate and insulate ourselves from the hardships of “free-range” living.
In other words, using a bathroom correctly might make you neurotic, but the benefits of hygiene, cleanliness and general health outweigh the costs.
At this point I would like to go on to subject number two: the graffiti.
It is of exceedingly poor quality in general; although, the second floor men’s room in Herter has been rather interestingly decorated on occasion (two instances of intricate line designs, a chaos star, and some rather heated political commentary). But overall, the men’s rooms on campus are havens of misogyny, crudely drawn and highly exaggerated sexual organs and a lot of references to the Wu Tang Clan.
I suppose it’s probably asking too much, considering the materials available with which to work, but is it asking too much for a higher quality variety of bathroom graffiti? Proper spelling, grammar, punctuation and elimination of misogynistic and racist words would be a very good start.
Relieving oneself, after all, ought to be a pleasant experience and not one that makes visitors wonder if UMass is secretly a preschool with hormonal adolescents. For an improvement in the skill level of the “poetry” found in campus bathrooms, I suggest the great science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, who wrote several books of limericks which would fit in with current themes. The UMass library has “Asimov’s Sherlockian Limericks,” “A Grossery of Limericks,” “Lecherous Limericks,” and “Limericks.”
For those of a more philosophical or literary bent, I suggest investing in a copy of Bartlett’s Quotations or similar books with more specific subjects of quotations. There’s nothing really to do about political commentary, it’s already a good side more intelligent than YouTube, blog comment or forum debates online. Godwin’s Law, however, is in effect whether you like it or not.
It is my hope that with these two ideas of cleanliness and better graffiti in mind, our bathrooms will become the best in the state. We certainly do need them.
I neither like having to walk several flights to find a clean and empty bathroom, nor do I think that anyone does. So, the choice is clear: clean stalls with passages from Milton on the walls, or disgusting stalls covered in James Joyce. What will it be, UMass?
Matthew M. Robare is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com.