96 Bags of Poop on the Moon


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I awake at 5:30 and everyone in the bed is asleep. No we’re not swingers (at least I don’t think we are). The cat’s at the foot of the bed in a ball, Burke takes up the right side, and between us, the little sliver of white hair known as Maisy the Shih tzu. I slowly slip out of bed, careful not to alert anyone to my movement. However, before I can put my toe on the floor a little head pops up and two sleepy black eyes blink at me.

I’m caught. Before I sit up, the dog is next to me as if she’s riding shotgun to my driver. She stretches her lower half and then awkwardly tumbles to the floor where she stretches her upper half. The stretch depletes her and she plops down into a long-bodied position and waits.

I am not sure if dogs are lovers of routine or if our dog has just become accustomed to our routine. But now she has her own. She’s up with the earlier person (usually me), who brings her downstairs to relieve herself. Once back upstairs, she aggravates the cat with nosebutts until she gets fed. After breakfast, she might wander the flat for a few minutes before getting back into bed with Burke. When Burke moves to the living room to start planning and organizing her day of teaching, Maisy sleeps on a blanket on the couch until about 10.

Bringing a dog outside between 5 and 6 in the morning is an activity that becomes far more pleasant as the winter turns into spring. It’s lighter, warmer, crisper, the grass is green. The only advantages winter brought were that the dog did her business more quickly and I could more easily see the poop of other dogs in the snow. Now, as I bring down Maisy in the not-quite-light, I tiptoe through the faecal minefield.  

The Czechs are enviably good with dogs. We slowly train our puppy to do things like sit and to not do things like pee inside or bark at the door. But the Czechs seem to have an internal mechanism for training dogs well. Their dogs walk along behind or aside them, waiting patiently at crosswalks for cars to pass before they look both ways and cross. With barely a word from its owner, dogs will stare from two feet away at our little puppy without moving a muscle. I think our neighbors’ dogs make them waffles every morning. It’s impressive (I can’t even use a waffle maker).

However, there seems to be a breach in the training with poop. Unless the Czechs can train a dog to pick up its own poop (which I’m sure has happened), this one’s on the humans. And I don’t mean to generalize, I see plenty of people picking up after their dogs, but the proof is in the thousands of soft mounds of poopy pudding all around our house. One must be careful, lest one end up with one’s shoe is roughly one pound of poop. We start our walk in the back in a strip of grass Maisy likes to pee in; aka: Shitz Alley. We then tiptoe across the side lawn where several St. Bernard sized dogs have left their latest meals with no concern from their owners; a place we call Defecation Row. Depending on where we walk that day, we may pass through Crappington Way, Turd Avenue, and Dallas, Texas.

This is no recent observation. When I first moved to Prague I noted that I had to walk around this city of architectural beauty with my head bent towards the ground in front of me. Train stations, bus stations, school steps – no place was innocent of the remnants of our best friends’ squatting sessions. I also do not mean to suggest that this is only a Czech thing. One of my first experiences with alternative conflict resolution was over the refusal of one neighbor to pick up the poop of his terrier. Despite that fact, someone was indeed picking it up and he came home one day to find his mailbox stuffed with many days’ worth of terrier poop. No word on whether this was against the Homeowner’s Association.  

The fact is, poop is everywhere. There are 4,000 kilos of poop around the top camps of Mount Everest. The highest place in the world is littered with dried up human poop. Though it spends most of the year frozen, it does thaw and when it does it gets into the ice and water. Many Everest climbers in those upper camps get sick from this every year. And when they get sick, they produce more poop. A lot more poop. The circle of poopy life.

More alarming than the realization that human poop has reached the highest place on Earth, is the fact that human poop is on the moon. The moon is currently home to 96 bags of human poop. These were left by the various Apollo missions, since they were ordered to bring moon rocks, dust, and cheese, they had to leave their waste to offset the weight. The tallest mountain on Earth and the moon are covered in human poop, so logic states that they occasionally become something of a poop beacon. But if you’re like me and prone to private bouts of terror over conspiracy theories, you might wonder if it’s possible that our poop is going to grow and develop on the moon. Surely, there are microbes in our poop from our intestines. And the microbes in the astronauts’ poop must be super tough, smart, and full of tang. But life in the universe is there and created by us. It’s almost certain that our poop will grow into sentient beings and attack Earth.

And we will deserve it. All I’m saying is, is it really that hard to pick up poop in a bag?

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