Some people collect salt and pepper shakers. Some like to listen to talk radio in the morning. Some people like the way it feels to close their eyes and rub on their eyelids really hard and then watch the little yellow floaty things go round and round until they disappear.
I like to talk about poop.
I don't know why. It's not like I'm obsessed with actual poo. (Note: I will interchange the words "poop" and "poo" because they are both equally fun to say.) I don't have t-shirts with little cartoon poos on them or cross-stitch "I heart poo" lids on jam jars in my kitchen. I abhor the smell of poo and would rather look at my grandparents making out than actually look at poop. But, hot damn if I don't find myself bringing up poop-related topics. Often. Even when my higher-self tells me it's not such a good idea.
Here's an example. A few years ago, I was on a run around Forest Park. (Insert "oh no! she's not going to...is she?" comments from those familiar with the Forest Park running story.) Okay. So, I was on a run. And runners, you will no doubt have a similar story. If not, keep running. It will happen to you. Here I am, at about mile 5, just a bouncin' and a hoppin' down Skinker Blvd, when a sudden cramping attack led me to replicate Jamie Lee Curtis's frantic front-door-knocking scene from Halloween, only instead of trying to escape a chainsaw-wielding psychopath, I was desperately trying to get to a bathroom.
No luck, and moments later I found myself squatting in broad daylight behind the Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center. A failed attempt at turning nearby crunchy leaves into toilet paper led me to a painful walk of shame for the 1 mile back to my car, swearing I would NEVER tell anyone about this as long as I live.
By the time I pulled into my driveway, I had called two different people. They listened in awkward silence, and then encouraged me not to share it anymore. Once was enough. Twice was two times too many.
But, I keep bringing it up. To my mother. At social gatherings. To a friend's wife. To someone who is a runner or used to be a runner or knew a runner once. I can't stop. "This one time, I was running around Forest Park..." Those nearby who know the story get wide-eyed. "Noooooo!" I can almost hear them saying in slow-motion. But by the time the last "oooo" of "noooo!" is out of their mouth, the room is already pin-drop silent and I'm continuing to dip my ridged Ruffle chips into some sour cream n' onion dip and commenting on how good and salty it is.
In college, I developed a nice case of IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome, or "Gee, we're sorry you keep nearly shitting yourself in public and after ruling out Crohns disease, we're not really sure what's going on there, so we'll just tell you that your bowel is irritable." Yeah. That's helpful.
So, about 3 years of always having an exit strategy, always knowing where the bathrooms are, nodding my head during dinner conversation on a nice date but really thinking, "Get to the end of the story, fella. Little lady's about to blow! *(And not in the way you want.), running red lights to fly into a gas station and pray to the good Lord above that no one was in the nasty-ass bathroom stall,- the end result is I became, understandably, a bit poo-preoccupied.
Today if my bowel were cast on the Muppet Show, it would be less Statler and Waldorf, as crabby old balcony dwellers, and more Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, as precise and in charge. But still, my reoccurring question when travelling somewhere new or thinking about nearly any activity is, "What if I have to poop?" Getting onto a bus with 80 middle schoolers? "What if I have to poop?" Doing a back flip off of a boat attached to scuba gear? "What if I have to poop down there?" Getting buckled into a death-defying ride at an amusement park? "What if I'm at the top of the ride and I have to poop?" Lacing my shoes for a long run with a friend? "What if we're 5 miles in and I have to poop?"
It's one thing if I thought these questions to myself. Seems normal. Even appropriate. But I tend to vocalize them to my company. "Well..." they usually say, "then you just...poop." Really? Seriously?
This also happens when I'm watching others. Say I'm at a baseball game. I may, while watching the pitcher, lean over and say, "What if he has to poop when he's out there?" Or while watching a talented Russian pair ice skating on tv, "What if one of them has to poop in the middle of their routine?" Or while watching the president address the union. "What if he has to poop right now? Like, an emergency-poop? What is he going to do?"
"Um. I've never given that much thought," is another response I tend to get. I think this is polite-talk for "Will you PLEASE stop talking about poop?"
And then I try to stop. Really, I do. But the trying seems to bring about even more poop scenarios, and I find these, too, must be said out loud.
It's amazing I still have friends. And I have a lot of them. Really, I do. Real ones who seem to like me a lot, despite my poo talk. Then there are the little related poo things.
I giggle each and every time I hear the name "Pujols."
I like when someone says "do" followed by the word "do," as in, "These seemingly useless contraptions shouldn't be thrown away. They do do something."
I like the way the automated voice on dictionary.com says "poop" with a little exhale of air after the last "p"- "poo-puh."
I think a dog pooping is funny, with its back all hunched over and its eyes darting around in doggy shame, like, "Oh, for pete's sake. Do I really have to do this in front of everyone again?"
The dung beetle fascinates me.
The idea of dingleberries, especially on rodents, is entertaining.
I don't think I'm alone in being entertained by most-things-poo, but, quite honestly, as Groucho Marx and Woody Allen both said, "I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member." Poo-talking clubs, that is. Although, I come by it naturally, I guess. Among other things clipped to a wire crossing the length of my grandfather's bathroom was a daily log about, well, his daily logs.
And that's really gross.
I mean, a girl has to have some standards, right?