A semi-daily chronicle of my life as a musician, a family man, and a citizen of Oregon.

Dec 2, 2007

Potty Humor

About a month ago signs showed up at my work, hung directly above the urinals:

Bathroom Sign

That huge amount of text to the left contains heartfelt pleas aimed at the users of the urinal.  The sign entreats the reader to:

  • Tell someone if there is a problem with the cleanliness of the facility
  • Try to pee in such a way as to not pee on the floor.
  • Throw paper towels in the trash (not on the floor when you use them to open the door)
  • Wash your hands after you go to the bathroom

Apparently the scope of this problem is considerable, because this information campaign includes each of the bathrooms within the 17 stories of the company's first office building as well as the 6 story building I work in.

Now, the very existence of this sign might cause one's mind to race with suppositions, but the more fascinating subject is the reaction of the assumed introverted, uncoordinated, (both in the context of urine and paper aim), filthy-handed users of the restroom to the sign.

My personal reaction to signs telling me something any idiot should already know is usually not very favorable.  At first glance, I placed the sign firmly in this category.  Signs like this strike me as an act of aggression against the many by an enraged individual.  Being a fairly accomplished urinator (5 time champion - Denver High School Regionals) and not in the practice of using paper towels to open doors, I knew that I was an innocent victim of the glossed-over venom this sign contained.

While I can certainly appreciate how frustrating it must be to be delegated the responsibility of doing for someone else what they *should* know to do for themselves, realistically this sign will not influence the outcome one way or another.  People who pee on the floor know that they're peeing on the floor.  Whatever breaker that should have tripped to keep them from doing that has obviously shorted out, and will not be repaired by a reminder.  Failing 24-hour restroom surveillance followed by frequent inspection I don't see this changing very much.

Some agreed with me and responded with their own display of misplaced aggression.  A couple weeks after the signs went up they were turned upside down and re-hung.  An individual on the other side of the debate countered by arranging all of the signs in a flower-petal pattern over the urinal that we all know has as much chance of being the impetus for the situation as any.  Not to be outdone, someone hung all of the signs on the left wall of each urinal, so that in order to read the sign while relieving one's self a gentlemen would almost certainly displease its author.  As almost a sign of truce each of the signs appeared in its original place and position.

Just as I had suspected I have not perceived an increase of cleanliness in the bathrooms at my work since the signs arrived.

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