What did you learn in elementary school?
I learned that restroom stalls are where people write messages to one another. Nothing worth reading – just some crude jokes. There was never a shortage of invitations to make a phone call to someone’s mom for a good time. I never dropped a deuce in those stalls, far worse; I allowed my head to poke around the door (albeit to your benefit some 36 years later).
What did you learn serving with the Marine Corps?
Funny you should ask. I learned that people still write on stall doors. I guess every elementary school must teach this tribal knowledge because Marines from all walks of life still participate. I’ve been obliged to employ a Porta-John a time or two during field exercises. Reading material was conveniently etched in black marker all over the walls to include phallic sketches and phone numbers posted for a “good time.” I recall one list that stretched from floor to ceiling asking participants to describe their poo with a movie title. Some of the answers were downright funny. But at the end of the day was still just kids writing on a wall.
How does that apply today in 2020?
Our stalls are no longer limited to enclosures around commodes; nevertheless, the comments can be just as grotesque as the putrid smell at a truck stop. Think of the last time you scrolled through the comments section of controversial topic. Did it feel rewarding, educational, and thought provoking? Or, did it feel depressing, divisive, and dehumanizing?
THE CHALLENGE: Every day we are being nickel and dimed for our time. So, before your hourglass gets pick pocketed by a few comments here, some click bait there, trendy advertisements and subtle spam, ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” Consider how much time adds up in this futile effort day after day, year after year. If you don’t have to go, stay out of the stall! After all, it’s just a bunch of kids writing on the wall. (I apologize in advance if you identify as an adult and got offended.)