Everybody says it. Some people say it several times in one sentence. But, as a culture and as individuals, we rarely discuss it. I take that back. In our culture, other than parents of children four and under, we rarely discuss it. Scholars would say its presence in our everyday speech and absence in our conversations is the return of the repressed. But, as Taro Gami’s book explains, Everybody Poops. Eventually.
Shit. Crap. Poop. Sheisse. As swear words go, it’s one of the more minor sins.
This was my favorite. Leave it to humans to make something so natural that everyone and every living animal does it into something that requires discipline and a how-to guide. And one that has sexual connotations.
Right here on WordPress a new blog began today to address the nation’s concerns about poop.
Poop happens. But for a big part of the population, it’s not happening often enough. Witness Activia and a slew of copycat products that taut probiotics on their label. I never thought I’d see Jamie Lee Curtis so concerned about colons. Constipation isn’t just for the elderly anymore. You’ve heard that 50 is the new 40. Apparently, for American colons, 40 is the old 70. We’re a nation of non-shitters who compensate with potty mouths full of verbal diarhhea.
So what is this all about, really? Why am I writing about poop? I see it as a public service (for the two people who read my blog). Mostly I’m hoping it’s cathartic. (This is a pun. Google it).
Everyone has their own little potty routine. Mine has long included a book and a massive investment of time. I’ve made peace with this fact about myself. I’m guessing I’m not alone based on jokes about going to the library and anthologies of stories with toilets on the cover.
I also am resigned to the fact that when I travel, I will spend several days waiting for a chance to visit the library. But I’m always confident the call will come.
Enter middle age.
A year or two ago when my grandmother was struggling with constipation and its related problems, I was full of helpful advice. “She just needs to walk. Get things moving.” I could punch myself in my own teeth thinking about how obnoxious that was. Because now it’s me and walking ain’t cuttin’ it, baby. The whole thing is taking over my life and I can’t talk/whine about it. It’s ok to say, “my allergies are kicking my butt” or “I just can’t shake this cold,” “I think I’m coming down with the flu/ate some bad meat,” but no one stands around the water cooler and says, “ya, I haven’t pooped for five days and I’m starting to feel a little overfull, if you know what I mean.”
I have a plan to “open up” the national constipation conversation and “get things going.” You know that commercial that says “depression hurts?” I have an outline for a new PSA for constipation that gives a more honest face to the problem than the happy, healthy, pooping women depicted on the Activia commercials. The little wind-up doll goes in and out of the restroom with a sad face, her hands clutched over her abdomen as the announcer says, “Constipation. It’s just crappy. Or not.” After all, we might as well laugh about it because we all know what to do to solve it. Grandma called to remind me. Just walk and eat some yogurt. Guess I’m off to the treadmill, spoon in hand. If that doesn’t work, I might have to start following the poop blog.