Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bathroom Etiquette and the Art of a Well Aimed Fire Hose

The other night Seth and I had an intellectual discussion about bathroom etiquette. This discussion was prompted by my discovery that he had "sprinkled" all over the toilet.  If this had been a one-time incident, I would have wiped it up and gone about my business but it wasn't. Having hosted many of Seth's friends who have left the bathroom in a similar state, I think this must be a boy thing. I could easily overlook this lapse in potty etiquette when Seth was younger but at nine it was time to prepare him for his future as a dependable man of society. I told him simply this: Sometimes, even the best of men dribble urine on the toilet but REAL MEN CLEAN IT UP! 

Seth immediately went on the defensive. "Mom! Girls have it sooooo easy! They just drop the show and go!" This is where the discussion went south because the words, "Drop the show and go" struck me as so funny I began laughing and didn't stop for a few minutes. This didn't deter Seth from arguing his case and through my guffaws of laughter said, "Mom it's true. It's like archery. You gotta take careful aim or you completely miss the target!" This caused me to practically fall to the floor weak with laughter. 

Bathroom etiquette has always been a subject near and dear to my heart. I cannot stand it when my students show complete disregard for their fellow students in the bathroom. Former male students of mine probably still remember my little "Fire hose speech." This is an analogy I developed early in my teaching career. Every year on the first day of school, I march my kindergarten boys into the bathroom and tell them the story of "The House Fire and the Irresponsible Firemen."  

Gathered around a urinal, I begin my story. "Imagine boys your house is on fire. You call the fire department to come put that fire out. Instead of spraying the water on the fire, they spray it all around the house. Would that be a good thing? (little head's shaking no) No of course not. Your house would burn down!" 

Mind you, I had them at the word fireman because almost every little boy wants to be a fireman at least once in his life. There is always the more mature boy standing in the corner giving me a quizzical look, wondering why we are talking about this in the bathroom. Prior to my story, I placed a red dot sticker in the center of every urinal in the bathroom. When I'm ready to reel them in with my story, I point to the red sticker. "See that sticker there boys? I want you to pretend it's a fire. Every time you go to the bathroom, I need you to use your little fire hose (I gesture toward their zippers) to get that fire out!" This jaunty little speech is always followed by a second of stunned silence and then peels of laughter as understanding dawns that their man parts are the fire hoses I'm talking about. 

I always have a warm fuzzy teacher moment when I give this speech because I realize I'm probably the reason why mother's and wives in our community are not living with the surprise of sitting on a wet toilet. Recently, my confidence in this speech has been dealt a blow. Seth and his friends all were in my kindergarten class and enjoyed my little tale of the bathroom firehose and THEY STILL URINATE ON THE TOILET!  In spite of this, I will continue my fight to ensure that the young men under my guidance learn the proper way to leave a bathroom. Though I will never know it, I'm confident that somewhere in the future there will be a wife who is reaping the benefits of my little fireman story.