They’re Everywhere!

E. Coli with Your Popcorn?

I seem over the years to have developed a reputation for being something of a germophobe. This is a ridiculous notion; I am merely more aware than most of the existence of countless microscopic armies, unified in purpose and lying in wait to kill us all and of those among us, presumably sent by Satan himself, to unwittingly and callously offer themselves as military transport.  This silent battle for our very survival occurs everywhere at once, but no more overtly than in the men’s room of any public place. I offer to you today the bathroom at the local Cineplex Overpriced as a battlefield by example and some indispensable advice in the way of defense along the way.

I use the men’s room to make my point simply because I hold the fairer sex in such high regard and assume their practices to be less Neanderthalic. I have never been in an occupied ladies’ room (save for the time one of my fellow coaches tricked me into thinking it was our team’s locker room. Fortunately, everyone had a nice laugh, save for the fat old lady adjusting her panty hose at the waist and myself, who has the sight of her constricted, blue-veined cellulite forever burned into memory). I prefer to think of women as poster children for good hygienic practice; I’m certain there are exceptions, but console myself with the notion that these particular ladies give themselves away in more obvious ways (i.e. their general appearance).

The first point of attack in the men’s room at the local theater is at the outer door; some of the troglodytes who came before have committed all manner of offense before entering (nose picking, crack scratching, personnel adjustments and the like) and left the traces for you at the handle. I prefer to enter by way of a shoulder or foot pushed into a virginal part of the door. Then it’s on to the urinals, where the first visible evidence of danger is revealed. For those of you who have yet to see one, the urinal is a fairly large porcelain conveyance of liquid waste, hung on the walls at a generally appropriate level. Some men comment that the water is often cold and even deep; while I’ve found that’s often the case, I am of course very careful and they are all lying and trying to be funny. I digress; the point is that the thing is hard to miss, and yet there is always a little puddle on the floor beneath them. What is wrong with these guys? Perhaps it’s a function of age. With kids, it’s a learning process; the little nipper still needs to be tamed, and with the older set, their prostates may be having fun with them. No matter; when I use the urinal, I find myself standing like a giraffe at a watering hole. I know urine is supposed to be sterile, but not when it’s someone else’s and festering on a restroom floor. Men who are less acute than I (all of them) inevitably step in these remnants of piddle and then track it everywhere; for this reason alone I do not subscribe to the “Five Second Rule” when it comes to dropping food on the floor.

There is a certain etiquette at the urinals to which all real men rigidly adhere; unfortunately, there is a shortage of real men in this world. First, man-code dictates that you never, ever, use the urinal next to someone else if another is open further down. This is not an issue of hygiene so much as one of general creepiness (it is, however, off topic for today and so we’ll leave it for another time). Then there is the courtesy flush; no one likes to use a yellowed urinal (least of all me). Unfortunately, the handle has been used by those that have already handled themselves. Thank God that society dictates we shake a guy’s hand instead of his junk, but that is essentially what’s happening whenever you flush. Because I’m a real man I adhere to the code, by way of a downward push with the closest elbow.

I think I can safely say that as long as I have been able to choose for myself, I have not gone “twosies” in a public restroom more than three times my entire life; in each of these incidents I would have suffered the most dire of consequences had I not (we can discuss this like adults, can we not? I suggest the wonderful children’s book, “Everyone Poops”, if this is an issue for you). I’m a home team guy when it comes to this basic function, and the reasons are obvious. Who knows what manner of man has presided on the throne before you, whether his cheeks were leprous, ridden with boils, or so hairy that he conveyed the attached DNA of dozens of people wherever he sat? The almost transparent paper with which to cover the seat is rarely available and as a barrier to pestilence is laughable at best. As this is obviously a matter of common sense, the man who routinely avails himself of the use of public facilities in this manner is clearly not in his right mind and therefore capable of anything.

I was once using the restroom (onsies) at a local movie theater when a man came bursting into the room exhibiting a most telling sense of urgency (if you are easily offended or otherwise given to propriety, you might want to turn away until the next paragraph. Wait…what?).  He went into a stall, sat with a thud and then grunted as though lifting a piano. The emanation that followed was announced by a sound like a chair backing up on a wood floor, followed by that of a five gallon bucket of dishwater tossed from a third story window and hitting a cobbled street below. He flushed and was re-panted and out before I had finished. Even worse, he left without washing his hands! I was both shocked and stupefied by the expeditiousness of his evacuatory experience. Worse still, since I wasn’t able to follow, his actions had rendered the entire cineplex a biohazard; drinking fountains, benches, seats (maybe he’s an indecisive sitter), armrests and theater doors were all off-limits. After washing my hands over and over whilst muttering the horror, the horror, I had to wait a couple of minutes just for someone else to come and open the restroom door so I could get out.

My business partner and I once had a discussion: If we were transported back into the dark ages, could we offer something to mankind to improve their condition? He launched into a detailed exposition regarding his introduction of concrete, oil and natural gas to the general population; how quickly their lives would change. I had to admit at the time that he’d likely be a far more important and influential man than I. Since then, I have realized I could offer them two simple bits of advice and save millions of lives: wash your hands whenever possible and, whatever you do, stay away from the movie theater.

About Thestrugglershandbook

I'm a middle aged (if I live to be 100) guy, married, father of three, from Tucson, AZ. I'll write about almost anything. Though somewhat bent, what I write is always true(ish). It won't change your life, however. Unless that would preclude you from reading...
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26 Responses to They’re Everywhere!

  1. Richard is there also an unspoken rule about two guys sitting next to each other in a theater?

  2. omg.. too much information, Rich! lol.

    Funny though. Really funny.

  3. Leslie Holz says:

    I equally detest the movie theatre for the reasons you mentioned, but also because of that stomach turning smell of old popcorn cooking in rancid oil with it’s only signal to the inept teenager that it is time to empty the kettle is when it’s just short of burning the place down. I’m also scared to death to lean back in the seat for fear of catching headlice from one of the screaming urchins who previously inhabited that upholstery. GOD save us all!

  4. Carol Brandon says:

    Ha ha ha!! You’ve done it again! Ever heard of Dave Barry? Well, you are much better, my friend!!!

  5. Debb Oebker says:

    Leslie-I don’t think you need to encourage him and Rich, Leslie also needs no prompting. With that said, your germaphobia sounds completely justified.
    Still laughing.

  6. Scott says:

    Hmmmmm, I never thought about the restroom quite like that before, but,,, you make an excellent point (and story) Amen!

  7. The Hook says:

    I don’t blame you! They ARE every where!

  8. I laughed out loud when I read this. I am somewhat of a germaphobe too and I work in a building with several women. Let me just say from my experience with what I encounter on a daily basis, men are not exclusively Neanderthalic. I am always surprised because being a woman I thought we paid more attention to those things. Apparently, I’m sexist in my belief of just good ole fashioned courtesy for the next person. I go through a gallon of hand sanitizer a week.

  9. sweetsound says:

    Well, you know what they say – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!! At least, that’s what I tell myself when riding the subways, while unwittingly contracting my next illness.

    I also never understood how men can MISS the target so badly, ALL the time! How hard can it be?? (I speak of home bathrooms here, as I have thankfully never been subject to mens public restrooms.)

    • Well, as far as the home bathroom goes, there IS a considerable distance of fall, so the potential for splash is there…They could sit for onsies, but that’s pretty unmanly. Or they could clean up after themselves, but some of our gender thinks that’s unmanly too(not me, naturally). Thanks for reading!

  10. I concur. I was never the same after watching a microbe movie in high-school biology and growing freaky bacteria on agar-plates we had placed around the school. Surprisingly, the toilets came out the cleanest. However, I will never, ever, sit on public carpet again.
    Just to freak you out, I contracted typhoid in India, which, to say the very least, is a twosies, non-handwashing matter. I still feel disgusted by the thought of it. Hilarious post!

  11. I will no longer adhere to the five second rule. As a member of the fairer sex and therefore a poster child for good hygienic practice, the thought that a man is walking around with piddle on his shoes never once crossed my mind. Thank you for opening my eyes and saving my stomach.

  12. dinkerson says:

    I’m not even a germophobe, like… at all. Yet I find myself wanting to throw away my shoes once I’ve stood for the required two minutes in a pool of 300 guys’ piss, festering just under the pube infested urinal at any quickstop.
    I want to either wear waders into the men’s room or simply stand back five feet and aim. I mean, what’s a little more piss on the floor, right? Right. Of course, I’m afraid that this behavior might be a blatant breach of The Man Code.

    I wonder… could we include bed bugs into this germ category? Before my much anticipated promotion at work, I was a member of field personnel. This meant having to stay at cheap motels. Some which had their “vacancy” signs spray painted on the front door. I used to sleep with the bloody lights on in effort to keep the bed bugs tucked snugly within their poop stained mattresses.

    Oh, how I love my Holiday Inn Express’s!

    • Dinkman! I had a buddy who innocently tried to flush a rest stop toilet that was filled with poo, and it blasted it all over him. I would run onto the freeway if that happened to me. As for the bedbugs, I’ve never experienced them; that is way creepy. Ewwww…

  13. Faun says:

    Thanks so much for a great laugh! Nice to meet a fellow germophobe! Trust me, women can be just as moronic in the bathroom. You would be surprised how many will do a mirror check and bypass the sink..and since we ladies have to wipe, onsies or twosies, well you do the math… 😀

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