When I was younger and gave a few more fucks, I stayed out of public restrooms. I was very uncomfortable when I went to the bathroom, so I liked the home field advantage. Plus, moving my business took a decent amount of time and produced some godawful sounds. It was awkward for everyone involved.
Nowadays, I can’t be as picky. Though I do have my preferred toilets—Barnes & Noble, Target—the shifting retail landscape combined with my shifting bowels means that I’ve learned to go anywhere there’s a hole and a roll of toilet paper. Plus, technology has made it easier than ever to read on the can. That’s helpful.
I’m starting to see Back to School displays, which fills me with great joy because I’m not going to school. But rather than spend my time hanging out by the displays and screaming “Have fun with your book learning, nerd!” I thought I’d address dealing with Cystic Fibrosis at school.
Of course, there are plenty of other places where you can get information on dealing with CF at school—this link from the CF Foundation is pretty helpful – so I’m going to talk about a subject that hasn’t seen a lot of time in the spotlight: shitting in the classroom.
Back in my day, classrooms had a small one toilet/one sink bathroom in the back corner. I don’t know if they still have bathrooms in the classroom, but I had them up until I was in 3rd grade, so I’m going to assume nothing’s changed in the last 23 years.
For peeing, this was rather convenient and more comfortable than peeing one’s pants. And because most kids made appropriately sized poops with appropriately portioned smells, it didn’t impact the learning environment. My ass, however, produced something akin to low grade bio-terrorism; with nothing but a slice of pizza, a handful of pills and a couple of hours, I could bend a biscuit that would clear out—best case scenario—an entire classroom. If I somehow got my hands on a Big Mac, I bet they would have pulled the fire alarm.
With great power comes great responsibility, so I would hold back the power until the sweat started to pour and I lost concentration. If I was lucky, I’d make it until I got home, running through the front door with my pants already undone, so as not to ruin my Bugle Boy jeans. When I wasn’t lucky, I clogged the classroom toilet. Not enough that I had to ask a responsible adult for help, but enough that other kids had trouble concentrating on their multiplication tables because they started to wonder why I’d need to flush a toilet four times.
Anyone who went in after me figured it out pretty quickly. One time, after I dominated the porcelain, a girl went in to the bathroom and pulled an immediate u-turn, holding her nose and making an awful face. It was one of my prouder moments.
But I did not repeat that performance often, as I didn’t want to be known as the kid who smelled like shit; I was much more comfortable as the skinny kid with no lungs. But if there’s a lesson to be learned there, I suppose it is this: you don’t go to school with normal kids; they go to school with you.