The Internet's First PoopReporter
Just looking at Tom Reingold, you wouldn't think that he changed the world. A systems administrator from New Jersey, he sports a John McEnroe haircut and, judging from the pictures on his web site, a penchant for polo shirts. He's a looks like a normal guy, just like you or me. But he's not. Tom Reingold is an Internet pioneer. On November 26, 1990, Tom Reingold became the first person in the history of the Internet to use the word "poop" to talk about his poop.
Meet Tom Reingold, the Internet's first PoopReporter.
Tom Reingold, our new hero.
In the years before the web existed, Internet users did their talking and their arguing on USENET. Developed in 1979, USENET (a.k.a. newsgroups) became the home for any subject anyone wanted to discuss; members of net.parakeet, for instance, talked about parakeets. In 2001, Google heroically posted twenty years worth of USENET archives so contemporary historians could browse these 800 million pieces of social history. Thanks to Google, we can read the Internet's first mention of Microsoft, or Michael Jordan, or Return of the Jedi.
And thanks to Google, PoopReport could uncover Mr. Reingold's landmark post. In the context of a potty-training discussion on misc.kids, he wrote:
I used to care a lot about privacy when using the toilet. I didn't like my wife to talk to me through the bathroom door and I got upset if she didn't close the door when she used the toilet. Things have trained drastically since Madeleine came along. I don't pee standing up with her around. For one thing, I don't want her to do it, and for another thing, I feel vulnerable doing it. The thing I do which is a little hard but necessary is to let her see my "poop" in the toilet before I flush. She sees it's like hers. Then I flush and we say bye-bye.
This post is the first time someone discussed their poop online, in so many words. This is the post that changed the Internet forever, opening the door to such online cultural benchmarks as Ryan's Steakhouse, Doodie.com, and, of course, the literary exploration of poop humor that is PoopReport.com. It seems innocuous to those of us desensitized to taboo by contemporary online discourse; but back in that earlier, more innocent era, when computer users were all bespectacled gentleman-scientists observing strict rules of decorum and calling each other "old bean," someone posting about their butt sausage must have been a bit jarring indeed.
Fourteen years after his milestone, PoopReport caught up with Mr. Reingold. Taking great pains to assure him that we aren't a bunch of creepy Internet poop stalkers, I had the distinct honor of being the first to inform him of his illustrious position in history. He reacted with good humor.
"It is a bit creepy," he replied in an email, "but that's OK."
Read the groundbreaking post!
In Internet time, 1990 is ages ago. But in bathroom time, not much has changed. The ideological apparatuses of the fecal denial were set in place in Victorian times; with over a hundred of years of state and society telling us that the most universal human experience is unmentionable, it's no wonder that it took early Internet users over a decade to grow comfortable enough with the medium to break this taboo.
"I suppose I could be the first person ever to talk about his own poop on the net," Reingold said. "And maybe I even realized that I was a pioneer, because I was, of course, being extremely frank when I wrote that. That's an indication of my parenting approach."
By discussing his poop with maturity, Reingold became a historical figure. PoopReport is proud to carry on his legacy; on this site and in the ages, his place in history is assured.
Reingold's daughter Madeleine was amused and a bit embarrassed about her role in her father's celebrity. Fortunately, as Reingold reports, her story has a happy ending: "My daughter now uses the toilet successfully every day."