Natural selection.

Where I work, the women’s bathroom has three stalls. As I enter the bathroom, the question always arises — which stall shall I choose? I could take the oversized handicapped stall, which gets marks for its thoughtful leg room and comfy arm rests. Or, shall I be considerate and opt for the smaller stall on the right? I can’t help but think that the middle stall (also smallish) is the way to go, for its seat sees only a modicum of assage. I say this, because I have spent an embarassing amount of time logicizing it. I deduce that the middle stall would be the cleanest, for no one would use it, unless the others were full. Taking it would mean that at any given time, you could sitting mere inches away from someone else with their pants at their ankles. It would be akin to entering an elevator and standing right next to one other person in there.

I wonder if everyone else goes through this littany of questions as they enter the bathroom. I have issues with public bathrooms — I have had them since childhood. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, untitledmother takes great pleasure in recounting the time when I held my poop for five days when I was a kid, because I didn’t want to unload in someone else’s toilet while we were on vacation.

As I’ve grown older, I have become accustomed to pooping in public restrooms. But you can be damn well sure that I have the common decency to hold it until no one else is in the room. I don’t care if my brow is sweating and my o-ring is quivering like a whore in church. I simply do not poop in the company of others. I mean, what if I happen to unleash holy hell from my nether regions, and the sound of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” comes chortling out of my blowhole? You just know that my stallmates would look under the dividers, compelled by that same shameful curiousity that keeps one watching the horseplay addicts on HBO’s “Real Sex” series, and see my shoes there. Oh, the horror.

Thank god not everyone is like this. Take untitledbrother-in-law, for example. He would gladly drive 20 miles out of his way just to poop in our toilet. And if he’s able to clog it or god forbid, leave behind some racing stripes, well then, all the better. I’m not sure if this is an exercise in demarkation, or if there is some strange magnetic force surrounding our home that pushes the poop out of him like a sausage press. I just find it odd that whenever he is here, it happens. He probably has no idea that I’m taking mental notes. But given my history with toilets, I notice these things. Does this make me strange? Probably no stranger than untitledhusband, who gets hard from the mere smell of electronics and the sensation of the Tivo remote in his hand.

Going to pot.

For the past, oh, six years, we’ve had this problem where all of our toilets are either running or overflowing or dripping at any given time. We take turns pretending like we don’t hear them, so we won’t have to be the one to get up off our ass to perform the requisite clinking. I’ve even trained untitledson how to clink a toilet, which, I must say, is quite developmentally advanced for a child his age.

Now before I get too far into this, let me just say that going to the bathroom is no fun at all when you have to lord over your kill and make sure that all the remnants and whatnot flush down properly. I can’t remember the last time I went to the bathroom, flushed the toilet and simply walked away. No, in our household, each toilet visit is followed by re-flushing or clinking or god forbid, emergency plunging.

The upside to all this nastiness is that our toilet issues have proved to be a decent cardiovascular workout for me. Few things make me move faster than chunky debris cascading over the toilet lip (except for the time when untitledson pooped in the bath and he thought it was a tub toy).

In an effort to undertake the repairs, untitledhusband dug deep and found his inner Vila (which, as it turns out, had been smothered into submission by his collection of over-priced hair product and his snappy looking Diesel tennies). Grappling his manhood in one hand and a monkey wrench in the other, he undertook the job of replacing our toilet innards. “How hard could it be?” he said.

Now let me go on record as saying that if a project requires anything more complicated than a screwdriver or an Allen wrench, in our case, it is just best to call a professional. For in his efforts to properly tighten a bolt or a nut or a screw or something, he managed to crack the toilet tank in half.

After years of withstanding untitledmother’s nuclear blasts, my bout with food poisoning (Olive Garden, for those interested), and untitledbrother-in-law’s bunker busters (which he will drive 15 miles out of his way just to drop at our house), the turlet is done in by a simple turn of the screw.

For the amount this project is costing, we could’ve easily hired a handyman to do the job several times over. But since I love untitledhusband (and the fact that I am going to need his spermies in about one week), I will refrain from bringing this point up. I may not understand compound interest, how to work my voicemail properly or the popularity of the Wiggles. But I do understand a man’s need to be able to say he fixed his own shitter.