The Urinal Poop Scandal: Confessions Of A Turd Terrorist
It all started as a harmless prank. But the law of unintended consequences snowballed into blind accusations, employees being threatened with firings, and a tale that is still being told years afterwards to new hirelings. And, most importantly, a lesson in moral responsibility for me to live up to.
Our story begins the week after Super Bowl XXXIX. I was working the night shift at an industrial factory and getting pretty bored at my job. One of the things I do to relieve that feeling is to come up with hare-brained schemes to entertain myself and maybe others.
For a while, I had been toying around with the idea of leaving some poop in the urinal. I remember going into a movie theatre restroom years before and seeing some urinal poop. It always fascinated me because I wondered: why someone would crap in a urinal? Were they drunk? Were all the stalls taken? Were they new to this country and didn't know what urinals were? It gave me a good laugh at the time, and I felt it would be noble of myself to spread good cheer and happiness to my fellow co-workers.
So one night, after getting back from Jack-in-the-Box on my lunch break, I had about ten minutes left before I had to get back to work when I suddenly had the urge to poop. Now, I always thought about how I would go about doing this prank. I couldn't pull down my pants and squat on the urinal, because what if someone would've walked in on me? But as I sipped the last of the Sprite, inspiration struck me: my drink cup!
I walked into the restroom with my drink and nary a co-worker in sight. So far, so good.
I went into the furthest stall. I emptied the ice into the toilet. Then, ever so carefully, I squatted over the toilet, holding the empty cup just a few inches below my ass. However, I miscalculated the angle to hold it ; the first log skimmed the cup's rim and fell into the toilet. Damn! So I tried again, this time getting a nice little morsel dead center on the bottom. It wasn't anything to brag about. Just a little four-inch chunk, a leftover from its departed brethren. But I didn't have any more to squeeze out and I wanted to make it quick.
So far, no one had come into the bathroom. I wiped myself and flushed the toilet. Upon exiting the stall, and hearing no one coming around the corner to the restroom, I dumped the little gift into one of the urinals.
Quickly I threw the cup into the trashcan, covered it with some towels to hide the evidence, and walked briskly out of there. No witnesses. No evidence. And a turd in the urinal. The perfect crime!
I went back to work, business as usual; and for about two hours, nothing happened. Then our shift manager, Ramon, announced a shop floor meeting. I was pretty sure I knew what it was about, and my psychic senses were right. After everyone gathered around his desk, he announced with authority: "Some person here defecated in the urinal. This is absolutely disgusting. I can't believe someone would do this. If you know who did it or have any information, get back to me and let me know right away."
I wasn't too worried because the boss didn't seem too upset, more so upset out of principle; and besides, no witnesses. And he really didn't make too big of a deal out of it -- he was just a little pissed.
The next night I came in, and people were talking. Most of them were amused. "Why would anybody shit in the urinal?" one asked ponderously. Another co-worker remarked, with all honesty and understanding, "Maybe all the stalls were full and he really had to go." We all had a good laugh picturing some desperate gopher-holing it to his nearest available depository. "At least it wasn't the sink." While I shared my laughs with my friends, I laughed harder inside knowing the culprit walked amongst them.
Then this matter all went to shit. Literally. At the end of that shift, around six AM, there was an announcement over the loudspeaker. "All third-shift employees report to the break room for a meeting." What? Another meeting? Nah, this must be about overtime or changing vacation permissions or something...
I entered the break room. Everyone sat down at the tables and I noticed the factory manager -- my boss's boss -- Jim, with a stern look and some papers he was holding. Total Type A personality, an asshole. You know the type.
He spoke in a thunderous, angry voice: "Some disgusting sick human being just took a shit in the urinal here!" Uh oh. He was getting red-faced, he was swearing, and he was completely unlike the cool, professional persona of Ramon. He was a MAN, personally offended. "How dare they take a shit in my house?! MY HOUSE! This person just shit on all of us! They think this company is nothing more than crap and that is what they are telling us!" His anger was building. The vein on his forehead was beginning to bulge.
Then he started passing out the paper he was holding. It was a picture of my poop in the urinal. Apparently he had the fine idea of photographing it with a digital camera. He tells us: "Look at what this person did." People looked at the picture, some with disgust, others with no emotion, and passed it on to the next person. I carefully studied the reactions of others to best gauge how I should do mine. As much as I was nervous, I kept my cool. I received the paper, looked at it for three seconds, grimaced, and passed it to the person next to me.
Then he threatened. "Whoever did this, we will find you. We are going to do DNA testing and find out what sick person did this and they are going to be fired!" The tone of his voice indicated he was completely freaking serious. As much as this guy was known for being irate, I have NEVER seen him get so worked up before. I knew this "harmless prank" really crossed the line with him and I actually started feeling guilty about it. I just wanted to make people laugh and talk... I didn't want to give my boss a heart attack!
After the meeting was over, some people were somber, others jovial and entertained. "DNA testing? What, he's gonna make us all shit in a container?" they laughed. I laughed too, knowing the futility (and legal problems and cost) of getting everyone tested for DNA. Besides, if they were going to test the poop for DNA, that would mean they would have to freeze it to preserve the specimen. What, is my "evidence" safely stored in a Zip-Loc bag in the corporate break room's freezer? Yet, with Jim being so irate, and a man of action, who's to say what lengths he wouldn't go to catch the perpetrator? Suddenly I felt like Jean Valjean pursued by Javert in Les Miserables.
And yet, it was about to get even worse. Apparently my friend Adam called in sick to work the day of Jim's meeting, making him the only one absent. Soon, baseless rumors spread that it was Adam who did it. He intentionally missed the meeting, they claimed! Besides, the turd was rather small and Adam is a skinny 120 pounds, and only something like that would come from him. And plus, he's kinda crazy and would do it! It was Adam! It must be Adam! Everyone was talking.
It got all the way up to upper management. Adam was called into the HR office. Ellen, the HR lady, flat-out said to him, with a serious face: "Why did you defecate in the urinal?" She didn't ask him IF he did it -- she asked him WHY he did it. He vehemently denied being the donor of the gift. They pressed him further, trying to make him confess. He responded back saying he would get a lawyer if needed. They let him go.
I felt really bad for Adam, since he was a good friend and an innocent caught in the paranoid crossfire. But at the same time, I couldn't confess, since I would lose my job and my friendship. I did my best to help him. I reassured him they couldn't fire him because they had no evidence, and even if they did, he could sue them and win easily.
Fortunately, the whole thing blew over. No DNA testing was done. No one was fired. All that was left was some good laughs and some company lore. But, to be honest, I still felt bad knowing that I unintentionally pissed off my boss Jim to such a degree and for it to go so far as to threaten a friend's job. After some careful introspection, I realize why I don't poop in urinals anymore.
And as much as I feel bad for my friend getting the blame, I admit I'm amused every time someone mentions the urinal poop story and says, "Yeah, Adam did it." I try my best to hold my laughter when one person sees Adam goes by and says to another, "That's the guy that shit in the urinal!" At least Adam is cool with it. It doesn't really faze him. He always denies it's him, but at least he can laugh about the whole thing.
And like I said, it's now a part of company lore. A little while back I was talking to some temporary workers who were on the job for about two weeks and one of them brought up the urinal poop story. Funny how they've been here for a little time and already heard the story. "Man, what kind of sick bastard..." the temp said.
"Yeah," I replied. "What kind of sick bastard..." But there was a twinkle in my eye.
For years, people have been talking about the incident and getting a good laugh over it. So in a way, I did what I was meant to accomplish. And I got away with it scot-free. I'm glad to have amused others. I'm glad to have given them stories to tell to newbs. And even though I may have pissed off my boss and almost got my friend fired and given him a sordid reputation (more so), in the end, no one was really hurt.
And maybe it's poetic justice, but last month I was laid off from that company. Adam still works there. But even though I may be gone, my little precious turd I left in the urinal so many years ago lives on the memories of all the workers still there. People may forget me a couple years from now, but they won't forget the turd.
The turd is my legacy. My legacy is my turd.