Why Poop?

So I’ve been agonizing over what to write for my next blog over the past several days. I’m not the best blog writer around. It comes from a certain lack of narcissism and ego (or so I tell myself.) When I mentioned my difficulty to a friend of mine, the first thing she said was, “poop!” It wasn’t at all surprising, considering my friend’s somewhat benign obsession with scatological topics. She takes a unique delight in the act of pinching one off. When asked why, she’ll simply respond, “and you don’t? What’s wrong with you?” Anyone who’s ever been constipated would totally get it. Face it, dropping a log is vital for survival. Everyone does it by necessity, and society does everything it can to hide it.

Hilarity ensues.

Poop, shit, scat, turd, crap, dung, excrement, stool, feculence, waste, or feces.  A poop by any other name?  No, wait, that was last blog….

Shit! Nobody should be surprised to know the Wikipedia entry is extensive as it’s possibly the most popular word in the world with the exception of ‘sex’ and ‘Apple’. My favorite excerpt from the entire post would be from the description of its usage, “An unspecified or collective occurrence of feces is generally shit or some shit; a single deposit of feces is sometimes a shit or a piece of shit, and to defecate isto shitto take a shit. While it is common to speak of shit as existing in a pile,a loada hunk and other quantities and configurations, such expressions flourish most strongly in the figurative.

The Online Etymology Dictionary states that the word ‘poop’ likely comes from the 14th century word meaning to make a short blast on a horn, then in the 17th century was used to describe breaking wind softly. It later became a children’s euphemism for farts or fecal matters.

Alternative Usage:


 

Poop in Culture. Poopular Culture?

It’s been a topic broached many times before. Why don’t heroes go to the bathroom? They don’t. Ever. Admittedly, it’s a mundane task that many take for granted. But can you seriously suggest to me that when John McClane found his way to a bathroom to mend his glass-torn feet, that he didn’t also stop by the toilet for a little release? True, there’s a small chance he may have pissed his pants prior to that so he might not have had to go, but a full night of bad guy shooting should definitely call for a celebratory bowel movement at the very least.

Then there are fantastic worlds like in Star Wars or Star Trek that are so fully realized. They eat, they drink, they have night clubs, police forces, taxis, vendors for everything, even their control panels are planned out to the T, they even have power generation worked out in scientifically plausible ways. You can take for granted that potty breaks are generally bad story telling. However, it became painfully clear while playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, that they simply don’t have bathrooms. They must just “force” it away. They’ll have starships the size of a small house that fit 6 or 7 people complete with bunks and tables for eating and gaming, but not one restroom or even a sign suggesting such facilities.

It is only when you get into the gritty, nasty, apocalyptic stories that we see the dark side of humanity. Play through the Fallout series and count the bathrooms. They are literally everywhere. Silent Hill 3, Bioshock, or Dead Space all feature bathrooms in the game. Final fantasy, not so much.

Poop Fallout Style!

Of course, if this is what we have to look forward to, I don’t mind glossing over it a bit.

In bygone eras humans treated feces with all the respect they gave dirt. Considering most of their roads were paved in dirt and shit, it’s really not a surprise. An accurate description for the medieval peasant would be “covered in shit.”  If you walked on a street, you would have to wade through it.  Anyone wealthy enough for a cart, horse, or carriage would be relatively unscathed.  There was a literal smell difference between the lower and upper classes.  In a way, that’s advantageous to the lords.  Peasants weak with cholera and dysentery have a very hard time overthrowing their tyrants.

Any city which managed to figure out sewage systems tended to be far healthier. While sewers do have a bronze age origin, they were rare through much of the world for much of the time. Any city which implemented them and whose populace managed some form of hygiene tended to grow more populace, making those cities incredibly successful by comparison. Socially, we have evolved to shun feces, making us more successful as a species.

We’ve grown uncomfortable with it even to the point of aversion, especially if it’s of unknown origin (is that yours?) We hide it and hide from it in a general sense, and actively ignore or seek to eliminate it when it has no specific link to us.  I recently heard a fellow go on excessively about how awful it was that people in sub-Saharan Africa still used dried dung as fuel for cooking fires. Anyone familiar with the history of this knows that dried dung is among the cleanest burning fuels around. It burns slowly and hotly allowing its use for everything from cooking to forging metal to firing clay. Dung is one of the wonders of the ancient world, and the uneducated deride it as a disgusting energy source simply because it’s poop. Poop is bad.  It’s a fact in popular culture that when played straight, the person who poops is in big trouble.

 

 

It’s our discomfort with these matters which makes poop and potty humor hilarious. Someone farts in an elevator, people look about sidewise. Seeking to avoid blame, the perpetrator looks derisively at his friend and steps away, saying “nice…”  Most jokes or references involve relatively benign bits like fart jokes or a child having to pee. South Park broke the poop barrier, causing an enormous stir in the American culture when they introduced Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poop who not only came out of the toilet, but sang, and danced the most cheerful ditties while smearing a coat of poop on everything.  It’s cute and acceptable when it’s a small child.  It’s vile and disgusting otherwise.

 

Potty dance

Seriously, what’s not cute and hilarious about this?

 

Poop Conclusion

Everybody poops. Unless you’re and android, and should be destroyed.

I think my friend has it right. Pooping is one of life’s little pleasures. Not only is it relieving when you take a dump, but it’s like a little celebration of life. You know what happens when you stop pooping? You die. Or you die and then stop pooping. One way or the other not pooping is a bad thing.  Awesome things come from embracing the poop.

 

Poop themed restaurant!

Soft serve in toilet dishes! High end dining with a sense of humor.

 

Also, sci fi needs more bathrooms.

 

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