Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Talking Poop

I am learning to be shameless. Sadly, if you believe in your message, it is important to be bold enough to put it out there, to entice people in a way that speaks to their most base instincts and needs. For example, putting ORGASM in all caps in my blog teaser on Facebook. One friend/reader said, "You definitely got my attention!" Others obviously agreed. I got the most readers I’ve had so far in a single day the day I wrote about orgasms and shamelessly promoted the entry by changing my status, twice.

Of course, I should not be even mildly surprised by this. I was a journalist after all, writing about marketing, for more than a decade. Although I didn’t write too many headlines at my last job, I wrote them endlessly as editor of my high school paper, for tests in journalism school, in my head every time something happens in the world. Obama won on a one-word headline: Change! I scoffed, seeing it as both brilliant and manipulative, like all good marketing. Simple, easy, playing on an idea people were already thinking about, that they needed. We are all thinking about orgasms more than we will admit openly and, it could be argued, we need them. It's a no-brainer.

It was with all this in mind that I recognized right away the necessity of making POOP the subject of a blog entry when it came up in conversation the other day. But then I wondered: the adage is that sex sells, not fecal matter. But don't people secretly want to talk more about poop, know more about it than they might admit? If our children are the barometer of what we want to talk about but shouldn't in 'polite' company, then poop is certainly right up there with sex.

What's funny is that, being a parent, you are allowed to talk about poop, your children’s if not your own. It becomes possible to openly discuss the consistency and color of what moves out of the bowels if it is moving out of little bodies. But the other day, in conversation with a cafĂ© friend, one I covet when I see him because of the honest words that come out of his mouth, the honesty that shines straight out of his clear blue eyes, the subject of poop came up regarding adults, regarding him in particular.

At first I thought I hadn’t heard him right, but all of a sudden he was talking about some health concern and how he had discovered it: through his poop.

“It just wasn’t right, hadn’t been for a while, so I got it checked out,” he said. Makes sense. He went, he said, to a "reknown gay proctologist..."

I laughed. "That sounds like a punchline, 'the reknown gay proctologist.' Does it matter that he was gay?" I questioned. My friend is gay but I wasn't sure how it pertained that the proctologist was...

"Well, actually, he wrote The Book on anal sex, so..." here he trailed off, shaking his head disappointedly. "Turns out he was terrible, though, a total asshole." He had gone on to someone else who helped.

I should just end here. Hard to top that. That anyone thinks they can "write The Book" on any kind of particular sex is funny to me, that the 'reknown gay proctologist' who wrote the one on anal sex is an asshole...Wow. A writer dreams about material like this, rarely comes upon it. Gold star, friend, gold star!

At this point, the conversation about poop faded in favor of something else, something less But I was glad it had come up. It had reminded me that it's worthwhile to be cognizant of one's poop, of one's children's poop. He reminded me that I need to check in every once in a while despite my kids being able to wipe themselves now to make sure everything is coming out all right, so we don't end up at any proctologist, let alone the asshole.

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