Super [Toilet] Bowl

Stadium Bathroom
Having watched the Super Bowl recently, seeing the fans in the stands and the crowds gathered outside, I am reminded of the last time I went to an event in a stadium. It was for a concert last summer. I only occasionally go to stadium events anymore—mostly just to see an occasional football or baseball game, and that one band when they tour every few years. Yeah that one that’s still touring. The one that I still love despite the fact that they’ve had another entire career since I quit liking their new albums after I graduated from college.

Funny, at that show last summer I realized who I have become. I am one of those ‘old guys’ who only likes the old stuff. Those guys my college roommate and I made fun of incessantly the first time we saw this band back in… um… 1987. Yes, this band had been around long enough to have an ‘old period’ by then. So what would you call it now? Paleolithic? Yep. They were on the scene when America discovered rock music, just a few years after cave men discovered rock tools. We liked it all but just didn’t understand why those old-timers hated the cool new stuff. They were has-beens, we figured. Well, I guess that’s what another twenty-some years did to me too.

Anyway, one of the reasons I tend to avoid concerts and large sporting events nowadays is the trouble of what to do with twenty-dollar beers and fifty-dollar hot dogs after I’m done with them. I mean, after I’m finished eating. Even though my digestive ailment has become much more stable than it used to be, I still can’t go through a whole concert or game without visiting the restroom at least once. Especially when you consider that by the time I arrive I’ve already been through a traffic-and-parking ordeal, waited in ticket lines, and finally gotten inside.

But at these places restrooms are hardly restful. In fact they’re hardly inhabitable. It’s no surprise that, when a beer costs $20 at the game, many folks stock up before they go, storing large amounts of alcohol in their bellies and bloodstreams. And waiting in line to pee in a urinal/trough is too much trouble for them, so they flood to the toilet stalls and pee on the seats. And puke. And who knows what else. I’ve seen some pretty unrecognizable crap in places like this. Literally.

Last summer, just before that show started, I inevitably had to part with $90 worth of refuse (you do the math). I wasn’t in a super-hurry like is often the case when my colitis is less controlled, but I couldn’t wait until after the show, and I certainly didn’t want to have to run off in the middle. Of course by then the bathroom would be a toxic waste dump. So I put on my game face and braved a stall after waiting in line for a few minutes. As usual, the dividers were rickety and abused, so there were large gaps that people could see through as they waited in line for the trough. There was no privacy at all. And it turned out the feared toxicity level had already been achieved. I was faced with the typical pre-show cesspool, but I still felt relatively lucky because the TP roll hadn’t been peed on yet. Plus I had tissues in my pocket. It doesn’t matter how stable my colon may be, I always have a supply handy, especially in situations like this.

I carefully half-squatted, trying to hover above the festering pot without sitting down, and without contributing further to the surrounding mess. It wasn’t my easiest evacuation for sure, but I’ve had much worse. As I worked to coax some paper out of its jail, trough the gaps in the divider I caught a glimpse of two guys in line, one of whom had been looking at me through the crack. He was elbowing his friend who could also see me. Despite the noisy atmosphere I could read his lips easily. “Dude, are you catching that?” he asked, nodding his head toward my stall. “Yeah dude… Nasty!” Dudes. Yes. Nasty indeed.

I spent a few moments wishing I were one of them. One of those guys who only has to pee at the stadium, who never has to contemplate entering a stall like this one. But then I reminded myself that I simply have no choice. Yep, it sucks. Mind you, not as bad as it did for the guy who’d been on his knees barfing in this stall before I came along. He got what he deserved, I suspect. But I didn’t ask for this, except for having eaten a hot dog I suppose, and I certainly didn’t deserve it.

Regardless, it doesn’t matter. It’s made me stronger. Having lived through years when simply getting to the toilet in time was as tough as running back a touchdown, I actually feel lucky any time I make it without an accident. After a decade of living like this I can even handle being laughed at, by guys wearing baseball hats backward, without getting upset about it. Turns out I can take a dookie pretty much anywhere nowadays. And frankly, that makes me a champion of a kind of adversity that many people never have to contemplate… I’m a Super Toilet Bowl champion. As are many of you out there, accomplishing impressive feats of your own. Frankly, when disease is active, it’s no small achievement just to venture as far as the front gates of such an event. It’s really too bad they don’t award sparkly rings for that kind of victory. I’d have more than enough bling for every finger.

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About the Author

Andrew Tubesing is an acclaimed advocate and humorist on the subject of inflammatory bowel disease.