Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Potty Humor

In light of what I shared last week, you can appreciate why more than ever I need a good laugh. Is there anyone who doesn’t? “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine….”

Please forgive me for shifting gears now and resorting to potty humor. Yes, you read that right. Potty humor. Don’t tell me you haven’t had your share of laughs regarding the diverse and interesting bathroom facilities in the country where you serve. In fact,IRL I am counting on you to regale us with some stories in the comment section.

One memorable funny of mine dates back to my first overseas assignment as a young single woman in Thailand. My mother and grandmother came to visit, and I attempted to demonstrate the squatty potty technique to them. What made it impossible for Nana was that she refused to dispense with the control top pantyhose. (I want to say girdle, too, but my mom is out of town and I can’t verify this fact before being guilty of exaggerating again!) Besides that, her American feet were too big to fit in the stall once the door was shut, forcing her to perch on top of the potty to yank her undergarments back up.

Now that I am more “mature” (downright old depending on your vantage point), I pity both my mom and Nana with their shaky leg muscles trying to balance themselves on a moving train, using a non-western WC. And to think I laughed. I should be ashamed. Bless their hearts! (snicker)

Another incident on that same visit happened at my host family’s house. Nana’s southern sensibilities could not comprehend why the bathrooms were not stocked with toilet paper. Instead they only had a bucket of water with a scooper. When it was time for supper the first night, I was mortified to hear her loudly proclaim in her east Texas accent, “Well, say, HERE’S the toilet paper!” and to see her pick it up off the dining room table and haul it to the wash room.

I don’t know which was more embarrassing, explaining the bucket of water to my grandmother in Thailand, or explaining the purpose of a bidet to my preschool boys in Guatemala. Of course, being the prude I am, I told them it was a foot washer. Later they discovered a box of big white poofy “stickers” under the sink, which they used to make a mural across the bathroom wall. Talk about an expensive art project… but I digress.

Here in Mexico we live in a desert, so our house is outfitted with an “ecological” or “composting” toilet to preserve water. I can’t imagine what my prim and proper grandmother would have thought about having an outhouse INSIDE the house, but hey, at least we have toilet paper! (And a toilet seat, too, I might boast.)

Others are not so fortunate, as you can see by these photos of other Mexican commodes.

Now it’s your turn. Do tell.

IRL*the photo says it all.


  1. Once while my husband was helping our 3 year old little boy squat over the "squatty" (that just kills your back, doesn't it?!) and wait for him to go... cuz he had to go "weally bad". The cell phone in my husband's shirt pocket slipped out and fell into the pot, right over my son's shoulder... Just one of those moments you see in slow motion... NOOOOOO!!!... and yes, he fished it out (the cell phones aren't cheap! ...and you at least have to save that sim card!!). Yah, a bit gross to say the least. Good chuckle now, though.

  2. We moved into our house long before it was finished being built. It took two years until the plumbing was installed and my was that a glorious day!

    Good thing my supporters don't visit this site. (At least I hope they don't!) Because the story I'm about to share is not "newsletter-appropriate".

    At the time we moved in, we didn't even have a squatty potty on our property yet. So I had to walk to the clinic one to take care of business. I went to friends homes to shower and even showered in my living room once!

    After several midnight hikes to the closest available outhouse I announced to my husband "If you can pee in the yard so can I!" He was horrified because in his mother tongue the word "pee" means "bowel movement". After a hilarious conversation he agreed with me and not too long thereafter we had a working outhouse.

    Oh and Stephanie, we have lost a cell phone in our squatty too. Only we didn't manage to dig ours out. =(

  3. too funny... my first experience with a squatty potty was also on a train in bangladesh. when i saw the tracks flashing by beneath me and no rails or reachable walls to hold on to, i decided i didn't need to go THAT badly.

    traveling in most third world countries - i don't imagine they have too many "rest areas." they certainly don't in w. africa... my kids now refuse to drink when we travel because whenever they have to go to the bathroom, scores of people seem to materialize out of the desert just to watch how the white folks go...

    however, my own personal story, most frustrating story, happened right here in the good 'ole US of A. we were traveling through the upper penninsula of michigan through a near whiteout blizzard and i needed to go. we hadn't seen a car in over 200 miles and were driving through one of the most desolate parts... until i hopped out of the car to take care of business on the edge of the road... then we had 5 cars, perfectly spaced, drive by...


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