Triticum Turgidum

Lying Dormant and Waiting to Bloom Since 2005

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Location: The Prairie, Illinois, United States

I am a beauty-loving ambidextrous higher-order primate who learned transcendental meditation at 7, statistical analysis at 23, tap dancing at 30, and piano at 35. I tolerate gluten, lactose, and differences of opinion, but not abuse. Or beets.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Poop Artist

When I was six years old and a student in Mr. McDonald's first grade class, I had the supreme pleasure of being entrusted for the very first time with a position of honor and leadership. I was a Poop Monitor.

During recess we ran around the playground, which was located just outside the classroom door. The classroom had its own bathroom. If a student needed to go potty during recess, he or she simply went back inside and used the facilities.

One day the class filed back in from recess, our cheeks aflame from the snappy air and the pleasure of 20 minutes of free play, only to stop dead in our tracks with horror as we surveyed the scene: someone had smeared poop on the desks. Someone had actually come inside, pooped in the potty, retrieved the poop from its watery vessel, and smeared it on the desks.

And it wasn't random. There was an individualistic, artistic quality to the smearing not unlike that displayed by graffiti artists, each of whom has a distinctive tag. Had we all been poop smearers, Mr. McDonald could have recognized this particular artist's tag, much as he could recognize each child's handwriting. But, to my knowledge, we weren't all poop smearers. This was a mystery that needed solving.

Mr. McDonald started by interrogating the class. Not surprisingly, no one copped to the crime. Helplessly and somewhat naïvely, Mr. McDonald assumed it was a one-time occurrence and took no further action.

He couldn't have been more wrong.

It happened three or four more times, each more horrifying than the last. The culprit seemed to be eating a super-sized breakfast in an effort to supply him- or herself with more "medium," because more desks were smeared each time. Who was doing it? When would it end? How much poop could this kid produce?

Mr. McDonald finally decided, shrewdly, to enlist the help of his most obsequious, obedient, approval-hungry students.

K to the rescue.

My job was to stay inside for the entirety of recess and stand guard outside the bathroom door. I was thrilled to be chosen for this task. It never occurred to me that I was a stooge, sacrificing my recess. I had tasted power and I liked it. Recess schmecess. And I was good at my job: no poop was smeared under my watch. To my knowledge, no poop was smeared in that room again. Mission accomplished.

I went on to become a bus safety, little league coach, class officer, sports team captain, support group facilitator, teacher. You might say I became as obsessed with authority as the Smearer was with scatological self-expression. And it all started with that little taste of power I got serving as a Poop Monitor. But whose obsession is more offensive? Twenty years ago I'd have said the Smearer's. Having since encountered countless people whose obsession with power and authority is even more acute than mine, though... I'm no longer sure.

To this day I wonder who the Smearer was, and what he or she is doing now. If there is any justice in this world, the person in question will have spent countless hours as an adult, cleaning toddler-smeared poop off his or her own walls. A narcissistic drive for authority may be offensive, but poop is just gross.


Blogger Jonniker said...

We had a poop-smearer, too! What is it about elementary children that makes them WANT TO SMEAR POOP? I had visions of ours becoming a serial killer or something, but I don't think it's happened.

You are so funny.

12:43 PM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger Niobium said...

Over the decade of health care employment, I met a number of "finger painters" usually disguised as sweet little old ladies. Be it pain medication that throws them for a loop or plain old dementia, once a poop smearer, always a poop smearer.

12:58 PM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger WinterWheat said...

Gaaah! I am horrified. Pleasegodpleasegodpleasegod don't let me end up an old, demented poop smearer.

1:11 PM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger katiedid said...

I noticed the same thing as niobium at the retirement home I once worked at. I noticed the ones who did it the most were the old ladies who had to wear diapers. The sheer horror of discovering this actually increased exponentially every new time I saw it. And they always picked a spot on the carpeting to do it. I swear, they knew it'd be more pernicious that way. I never did have any schoolmates that were poop smearers, though.

1:59 PM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

That is just too funny!

Your creative and unique talents were put to use at a very early age, K!

No poop smearers in my day, but we had many pranksters.

Hope you are feeling good today.

3:22 PM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger mireille said...

my god. I thought the paste-eaters were bad enough. This goes way past that. xoxo

3:28 PM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

I love your stories K. We didn't have a poop smearer but a 'pernicious pe'er' in our class. (Just as an aside, how do you spell the noun for 'one who pees?' )
There is a lot of power in bodily functions and the very young and very old are often the least empowered in our society. Why not use such a delightful weapon to make yourself feel more empowered? Makes perfect sense when you look at it from that angle.

4:54 PM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger Atreau said...

Oh sick! We had a kid who'd eat his boogers, paste and suck on Magic Markers. I'd love when he'd get yelled at by the teacher asking him to admit that he was sucking on them and he's deny it with marker juice all over his lips.

10:41 PM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger Niobium said...

I was the one who would lock the stall doors in the bathroom and a rubber cement huffer in my junior high years.

5:40 PM, August 12, 2005  

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