Break in Case of Emergency (or: why a wine nose is bad in a locker room) Part 1

WARNING: The following entry contains explicit and repugnant language as well as vulgar imagery of a scatological nature. Be warned, this is not a warm and fuzzy blog post.

Sean Beck, one of the best wine people I know and a bastion of knowledge and experience made a comment on Facebook the other day about how a trained wine nose is a wonderful thing, until the one with said nose enters a locker room. Sean, as usual, made me think about what he said and I decided it was time to call for change in the age-old system of locker room decorum.

Gyms should remove all seated stalls from male locker rooms. The locker room is not a place to shit, it is a place to change and, if you must, shower after a workout. It is simple as that. However, it is a commonly practiced custom for men to set their defecation cycle to the afternoon workout and thus pollute otherwise clean locker rooms with the foul stench of end of the day feces. Oh, I am sure many of you men are already steaming that I am calling out your sacred ritual. I am sorry, but those of us who are grossly offended by the aromas of bacteria feeding upon fast food would prefer you to crap elsewhere.

Now, for illness and emergency I can see that any gym worth their salt must find a solution; and I have this solution. There should be a locked restroom similar to a  janitor’s closet with a container on the wall near the door holding a key housed behind a glass panel. On the panel is etched: “Break in Case of Emergency” using the small red hammer attached to the housing by a piece of butcher’s string. In essence, no one should be shitting in a locker room without due cause; and that cause can only be imminent diarrhea, and nothing else.

There should most definitely be an audible alarm on the glass so to give the wayward shitter something to think about lest he break the glass for a non-emergency. In addition to the alarm a fine would be assessed for using the emergency dump-hole in the case of only minor lower abdominal discomfort. The emergency outhouse’s sole purpose is protecting gym users from sharting due to the sudden onset of Ebola or related illness. You, Mister drink that extra cup of coffee at 3 to prepare your bowels for complete evacuation at 4:30; your days are numbered. When this post goes viral, and it will, gyms across America will be calling their contractors to rip out stalls left and right. There is no room in a modern America for a serial public defecator.

Now, the only exception I will make to this rule is Buc-ee’s. For those of you who don’t know, Buc-ee’s is the king of roadside convenience stores and they have stalls in their restrooms with floor to ceiling doors, exhaust fans, and hand sanitizer in each stall. Basically, this is the only bathroom outside of my apartment or hotel room I would ever consider for a loaf-pinching, and I am not alone. In essence, Buc-ee’s has built an empire on high-sugar snacks, kitsch, and clean restrooms for private events at private moments. Traffic backs up on the highway to get into these places and for good reason; because that little beaver knows how to treat a driver. If they had Autogrill food and coffee I might just spend my life driving from Buc-ee’s to Buc-ee’s eating, drinking, and shitting to my heart’s content. I suggested to them that they install iPad docks with swing-arms at eye-level while seated in a stall. Who wouldn’t want to rip through the e-pages of Kitchen Confidential  while tearing off a piece of the past in the splendor of a Buc-ee’s bubble of privacy?

All of this being said, the locker room is not the place for unloading creatine-laced smoothies, Filets O’ Fishes, or COSTCO $1 hot dogs. I have been trained to smell the difference between raspberry and raspberry jam, but I am certain I am losing olfactory capacity because every time I go to the gym, or an office building, or a Whole Foods restroom, some asshole has dropped their whole family at the lake and they are splashing merrily about without regard for their fellow-man.

Why? Why me? Why is their always some douche on the cell-phone in the crapper? Who talks on the phone while shitting?! The release and private pleasure of a morning emptying is on par with sex, Musigny, and white truffles from Piedmont. Why would someone want to go through the motions while carrying on a conversation about auto repair, weekend plans, or who is picking up the kids from school? Why are more often than not these caca conversations in Spanish? I cannot tell you the number of times I have rolled into some roadside restroom and the first thing I have heard is: “No, no puedo (followed closely by) thhhhhhhhaaaaaaccccckkkkk…and then “Si, si puedo”.

We all know how far we have come with “Yes, we can” it is now time for “No we won’t!” We will no longer say yes to locker room nasal abuse. Please go to your local gym today and ask them to remove their men’s locker room stalls. When they look at you like you are crazy ask them to follow you in and smell for themselves. Perhaps the following sample might make them remove the pools for the stool.

Once in college, I rolled into the restroom near the cappuccino bar at the University (I will not even begin to discuss coffee shop restrooms) and when I entered I heard a sound like the body of a feral cat being torn in half, followed very closely by a stench of F5 magnitude. I had by then long mastered the urination breath-hold through years of swimming pool games, so I managed to get out my stream of relief and made it out the door before having to take in a retro-nasal taste of pure country and just in time to bend over double and inhale deeply to return oxygen to my brain. At that moment out of the bathroom came the bucolic security guard, Frank Green. I looked up at Frank with eyes like the victim of a hate crime and he simply adjusted his flashlight and in the friendliest voice imaginable (and N Texas country accent) said “well hello Michael.” I came to my feet  as he ambled back towards the security booth and I knew I had been scarred for life.

to be continued


  1. David says

    Now this is the kinda twisted topic I have been expecting. I was immediately jolted back to the 4th floor at 4141 – bastard!

  2. April says

    I am not spared as a woman, I hate to say. Lately, I have noticed a severe and alarming uptick in the number of unusable toilets in womens' public bathrooms due to piss and crap being sprinkled, splattered, poured (??), smeared, plopped, and otherwise dispensed on the toilet seat. So thank you for the topic, because it gives me a chance to verbalize my frustration. Those paper toilet seat covers, where available, are no match for the quantity of bodily output left behind for the next person in these monkey-people's failed attempts to hit an 8in-diameter hole from zero distance above it, if an attempt is even made. And since women are more likely to take kids into the bathroom with them for some relief, well, I imagine this is where the cycle begins for the problem you mention, Michael. They're being taught from a young age that the public bathroom is not where we do our #1s…it's where we do our best regressing down the evolutionary chain.

  3. says

    "There is no room in a modern America for a serial public defecator." -We need the pulitzer Prize to add a category just for these sort of valued works. Hysterical buddy.


  4. says

    Haha….while I can't relate to the locker room part of this commentary, my workplace has had such problems with ladies chatting on their cell phones in the stalls that they had to send out a company-wide e-mail asking people to stop doing this. In my case, the phone convos I heard in the bathroom were usually in Russian or Vietnamese. I, too, cannot comprehend who would choose that moment for a nice chat with their hubby or whatnot.

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