Just click your heels


Deposit toilet paper in wastebasket.

“Wait! I have to go to the bathroom!” my son Adam shouted when we entered our room at the Days Inn Motel in Laredo, Texas. He pushed Alex and me aside and then ran to the bathroom. He immediately called us into the bathroom. “Watch,” he said as he dropped one sheet of toilet paper into the toilet and flushed it down. We watched it spiral downward until it vanished with a roar into the underworld of sewers.

My sons were glad to be back in the U.S. after spending two whole weeks in Mexico without all of the creature comforts to which they are accustomed here in Chicago. I explained that we would lack some of these American luxuries to them, but they were still unprepared mentally for what was in store for them in Mexico.

For example, I told them that in Mexico they only served Mexican food. They were surprised that even the McDonald’s and Burger King food tasted a little Mexican. I think going to the bathroom was activity that most struck home with them. They didn’t like the idea of putting the used toilet paper in the wastebasket next to the toilet instead of just flushing it down the way we do here.

Overall, I think they adapted well, but I don’t think they ever want to go to Mexico again!

Bathroom graffiti


C'est une pipe

I have seen a lot of graffiti in public bathrooms over the years. Normally, I try to avoid public bathrooms altogether, but sometimes, nature calls at the most inopportune moments. I’ve used a lot of public restrooms over the years. Let’s just say that I’m a regular guy. Since I’m a voracious reader, I even read the graffiti while I’m sitting there. I remember a few gems more so than others.

I still remember, “Kilroy was here!” along with the drawing of Kilroy peering over the wall. I haven’t seen Kilroy in bathrooms in years and I really miss him. I always loved, “After every job, there’s always a little paperwork.” Another memorable piece of graffiti was the poem, “Here I sit / Lonely hearted / Tried to shit / But only farted!” Poetry doesn’t come any better than that! I still see this poem on bathroom walls from time to time. However, as a purist of bathroom graffiti, I hate when someone tries to improve on this classic poem. Anyone remember this poem scrawled over the urinal? “No matter how much you shake and dance / The last few drops are for your pants.” Where are the bathroom poets of yesteryear now?

Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Mexico

I read a lot of graffiti in the Lincoln Hall bathroom at University of Illinois at Chicago. Once, above the toilet paper, I read, “Get your UIC diploma here.” When Wayne Gretsky was really popular, beneath “Jesus Saves” someone wrote, “But Gretsky gets the rebound and scores!” Years later, in the same bathroom, I read, “The graffiti isn’t as good as it was 1978. It turned out my friend Vito had written that when he returned to college–again.

Once I had to go really, really bad. So I was sitting down in a public restroom reading the graffiti on the wall. I heard someone enter the stall next to me. I read, “Tap foot for blowjob.” Only then did I realize that I was tapping my foot! I stopped tapping my foot immediately and hurried up out of there. Phew! That was close!

When I was a police officer, I witnessed a wonderful exchange among a series of bathroom graffiti artists. Someone wrote “Bob.” Then, underneath, someone else wrote “Bill.” Then, someone else put a plus sign between Bob and Bill: “Bob + Bill,” implying that they were a romantic item. But another bathroom poet who didn’t understand the nuances of subtlety added the obvious: “Bob + Bill are lovers.” The next addition, however, was a stroke of genius! I assume either Bob or Bill penned the following masterpiece of a conclusion so that the finished text read: “Bob + Bill are lovers of all God’s creatures great and small.”