Friday, March 11, 2011

Is that a sink? Or a urinal?

I have been to a lot of summer camps. A LOT. Doing the math in my head right now, it comes out to about 56 individual weeks of summer camp. That means that I have spent a little over a year of my life at camp.

So naturally, I have seen some things. Boy, have I ever seen some things! Something about camp, be it the water, the air, or the high concentration of non-parentally advised kids, just brings out a special kind of crazy in even the most mild mannered Christian youth.

At the camp I went to growing up, we had one dorm for boys and one dorm for girls. That meant that one (relatively large) bathroom had to serve some 50-60 individuals in each dorm. By and large, this wasn’t too much of a hassle--except for those rare occasions when it seemed everyone and their mother needed to use the bathroom at the same time. This was one of those times.

I don’t remember what we had been doing. I don’t remember why ALL of the boys HAD to pee as if their bladders were holding up the hoover dam. Its really not important. What I do remember was that 50 boys in line for 5 stalls leads to a rather uncomfortable wait. I also remember one precocious youth(who we will call, lets say... Austin) who decided waiting in line was a dumb idea. Austin, being the outside-the-box-problem-solver that he is, saw what the rest of us didn’t: there were not 5 stalls, but 10! We had just inconveniently labelled these other 5 stalls as “showers” or some such nonsense. So he walks over, throws aside the curtain and proudly pees into the shower, gloating in his witty rebellion.

Then the dorm dad showed up and saw him in firing position above the shower. So he got a talking to. And he had to clean the shower. And the other showers. And all the stalls. And... pretty much every other square inch of the bathroom.

What the heck does this have to do with China?

I was in McDonalds the other morning, just catching some coffee and some breakfast, as I watched a mother lead her 2 or 3 year old son to the bathroom. Unfortunately for her, the bathroom was locked. Fortunately for her, many bathrooms in China have their washing areas outside the actual bathrooms themselves. So after waiting a couple minutes, she propped her boy up on the counter, unzipped his pants, and had him pee right in the sink.

Similarly, I was walking home the other day and saw a father teaching his 3 year old to pee in the bushes along the walkway.

What’s my point in all these stories? It is simply this: it would be really easy to look at children being taught to pee in the sink or in the bushes,if need be, and say “Ewwww!”, but then I remember Austin--and I remember that the only reason we think that its gross is because we were taught that growing up. Just like they are taught the opposite. It’s not wrong. It’s different.

Maybe Austin was on to something all those years ago. I mean who wants to pee their pants waiting in line?

So here’s to you Austin, may your Chinese-like problem solving skills never die!


  1. J! I was almost certain when I started out reading that you were going to say you walked into the McDonald's bathroom and were faced with the unfortunate predicament of not being able to tell which wall mounting was the urinal and which one was the sink and that you were forced to choose and then some Chinese man walked in and saw you peeing in, yep, the sink and yelled some awesome Chinese at you.

    But... hearing about Austin was almost as good. (:

    Miss you, friend!

    -Tegan Mucker

  2. Tegan!

    One of the 39 similarities between my blog and magic is that it is all about misdirection. :D That would be a funny story though.

    Stay Awesome!

    ~J.L. Smith