June20 JJ plunger.jpg
My phobia requires that I stick to a strict personal protocol.
Every Friday at 10:00 a.m. I meet with What’s Up Yukon’s editor Tamara Neely at her home in Riverdale. We sit in her dining room and review our previous week’s work and plan for the week ahead. It’s generally a lighthearted affair that includes a bit of sustenance.
She makes toast.
Because these meetings take place in her house, they occupy the grey area between the domestic and the professional. On one hand we need to get business straightened out and make sure we have a publication-worthy paper in the works. On the other hand, even the most heated editorial debate can be interrupted by a phone call from mom.
Under these ambiguous conditions I decided to use her bathroom one Friday morning. I say “ambiguous” because I maintain a code of conduct with regards to the use of toilets: peeing is acceptable in every available commode, but delivering a payload is another matter altogether.
In short, I try to never drop a deuce in someone else’s home. Sometimes the idiosyncrasies of human biology conspire against me and I am forced to do so, but it’s always a last resort.
By contrast, donating a stool sample in a public restroom or in the restroom of an office building has never been a problem for me.
So what’s the difference? Why does house-pooping cause me such consternation while public-and-office-pooping doesn’t?
Obviously, it is never good form to foul the air in a buddy’s abode. This certainly contributes to my protocol, but the girth of the issue lies in a deeper, darker, more psychologically wrought domain; I am terrified of plugging someone’s private toilet.
This same phobia does not exist for public and corporate toilets because in those cases I can always pull up my pants, scamper out of the stall and exit the bathroom with an expression of angelic innocence on my recently-relieved face.
Don’t judge me. We’ve all done it.
However, if you plug a private toilet you have to prattle around in a panic, looking for a plunger that may-or-may-not be in an intuitively reasonable location. Sometimes a given bathroom won’t even have a plunger.
I wasn’t thinking straight that Friday morning at Tamara Neely’s place. I was so engrossed in the professional aspect of putting a publication together that I forgot I was actually in a private residence — and by extension, a private bathroom. So when I plugged her toilet and was forced to ‘fess up, it soiled the meeting’s congenial atmosphere and reinforced my deep-seated phobia on the subject.
But not being one to shy away from self-improvement, I am determined to conquer my fear. The first step is to ensure every house I frequent has a plunger readily available for my use, should I need it.
With that in mind, when my roommate Chris Madden recently announced he bought his first house, I knew what I would be getting him for a housewarming gift.
It’s not the most thoughtful or heartwarming present, but when I’m visiting his new home it will sure take a load off my mind.