Stations of the Poop


Sing it Sign

Though everyone on earth poops (though I have had questions about Mick Jagger), carrying around fifteen rolls of toilet paper tells the world that not only are you going to poop, but you have the resources to poop all day long.

Yet it’s also a labor. People know you have fifteen rolls of toilet paper because there’s virtually no way to hide it on your person. You can’t shove fifteen rolls of toilet paper in your pockets or reasonably work them in among the other things you have in your backpack. It’s also bulky and awkward. There seems no way to carry it around so that it doesn’t get in your way.

The fifteen roll pack of toilet paper becomes something of a mytho-religious burden represented by its own stations and container of its own sorrowful mysteries.

I was condemned to carry my lot because I can’t turn down a good deal on toilet paper. I am no slave to bulk discounts; I can walk by barrel-sized jars of capers and bags of apples at just about fertilizer prices without batting an eye. But toilet paper is both something I need every day and something I don’t like buying. It doesn’t provide the same enjoyment as picking out a good steak or a non-dented can of chick peas. I just want to get it over with for as long as possible.

Of course it won’t fit in my backpack or the shopping bag. I tried stuffing it in an empty shopping bag, but it stuck out ludicrously, as if I was carrying a French baguette in a condom. And so, I begin the slow walk home. I drop the 15 roll pack of toilet paper a couple of times, both while attempting to get a better purchase on it. Some huge rolls of toilet paper come with a handle built into them; this is not of those. There’s lots of shifting and contorting.

The only way my toilet paper chore can be worse is if I am seen by a student or an acquaintance. Though this is an irrational worry, would you like to be seen carrying a fifteen roll pack of toilet paper? They know where that toilet paper is going and what it’s going to do once it gets there.

As I walk through the faceless crows I take solace in the facts that they understand my plight. Everyone knows what it’s like to buy and then have to transport an ungainly bulk of toilet paper. However, I can tell that though people may want to offer help or comfort, they know it’s better to leave me to cope with my trial alone. When I get home I am no doubt humbler.

Transporting my toilet paper home was a trial not unlike martyrdom to some cause. Yes, a trial…but a public one. What would really prove my zealotry in the cause of this particular mythology would be suffering in private. Fortunately, this coincides with a need for another store-bought poop tool: kitty litter.

As little as I enjoy buying toilet paper, it can’t begin to touch the disdain I have for purchasing kitty litter. Sure, cat owners might champion a brand of kitty litter over another due to its qualities (i.e. durability, clumpability, scentability) but at its essence, we are buying a big bag of sand.

It’s a very heavy bag of sand that my cat won’t even poop in. She will pile it against the side of her box to cushion her feet and give her leverage while she poops on the floor outside of her box. It’s as if I wore hats made out of toilet paper while I cleaned my butt with my shirt.

My disdain for the object only strengthens my resolve. Nobody can see the 11 pound bag of kitty litter in my bag, but it’s there, weighing me down, aggravating my back and shoulder. Its unpleasantness is as omnipresent and secret as a hemorrhoid.

And I cash in on this secret unpleasantness by doing a lot. I go to aikido practice with my 11 pound bag of litter, bring it nestled heavily in my gym bag into the dojo, where it strains the bench. I then bring my 11 pound bag of litter to the shop, and then we dine at KFC at a table in the corner, me in one chair, my 11 pound bag of litter in the opposite, quietly imploring for a bite of my double zinger with cheese. But we’re not done, and my 11 pound bag of litter joins me in the pub to meet a friend. I sit for two hours and sip beers, the tentacles of guilt oozing from the bag beneath my feet.

To quell the guilt, I fortunately have a long walk home, roughly the same one I’d undertaken with my flashy fifteen roll pack of toilet paper a day before. I hoist it onto my shoulder, groan under its weight. I switch shoulders several times to readjust the load. I have to pause twice on the steps up to my flat to wipe the sweat from my brow. This is great.

By the time I drop my 11 pound bag of litter next to the cat’s box, I am exhausted. I fall in a heap on the couch, welcome the burn of newly earned knots in between my shoulder blades and in my lower back. I might need to see a doctor.

The cat is sniffing around the bag with excitement, like a kid awaiting additions to his sandpit. I will get up in a moment and fill up the box, thus ending my poop-related trials for this month. I am a little sad.

The B Monster, sensing my glumness, cheers me up by creating a wall of sand in her box, standing on it with too good poopy posture, looking straight at me, and poops on the floor.

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