The Fall of Civilization Due to the Elimination of Outhouses

A warning: if you are particularly squeamish about bodily emissions, I would pass this post up today.

Outhouses. We need them. I came to this wonderful conclusion while getting ready for work today.

For some background, you must know that Mr. Demonic is truly one strange dude. I believe it has to do with the way he was brought up. In his family, they were all about bodily emissions of every type. I have photographs of his mother, his sister and his brother, as well as my children, with their fingers up their respective noses. The photos of my in-laws were not taken when they were young; no, they were taken within the last fifteen years.

Similarly, I discovered once I married in, that there is much ado about poo. When my children were potty training, my husband and MIL (mother-in-law, not My Internet Love) would comment on size, texture, and smell, as well as whatever shape the poo ended up looking like. Mr. Demonic, likewise, used to call me into the bathroom to show me his own extraordinarily large turds, turds that looked like soft-serve ice cream with a gentle dip at the end, and ones of an unusual color or if they had interesting items like corn mashed in them. I played that game for a little while, but now I refuse to patronize him or the other Demonics when they want to show me what ends up in the toilet bowl.

Come on, people. We didn’t do this in my house growing up! It’s not because we had more money; in fact, we probably had less money than most people. It’s not because my parents had a sense of decorum and manners, because they didn’t. I didn’t know what a napkin was for until I moved away at 18. It’s not because we weren’t close, because with two parents, six kids, several barnyard animals, a horse, a dog and a cat in a three-bedroom house, we were forced to be close whether we liked it or not.

No, I think the reason my parents didn’t make much mention of poo is more nurture than nature. It’s the way my father was brought up. He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t talk about poo in any company, whether mixed or not. He didn’t have use of a flush toilet until he joined the Army at 17, so there was no in-depth analysis of human excrement. Before that, it was outhouses in the middle of the cold, frozen North.

If you’ve made it this far in the post, without groaning in disgust or throwing up, hear my argument for why outhouses are the last bastion of civilization. First of all, even with a two-seater, which my grandma had, the user just didn’t spend much time in there. For one thing, it was dark – no electricity. For another thing, grandma’s choice of reading material was mostly the really bad jokes she made up and posted on the walls. Once deposited in the outhouse, a person just can’t oooh and ahhh over the shape of the poo. It’s down there so far you can’t see it. Also, outhouses tend to have a rather piquant smell, especially in the heat of summer. Take my word for it, you don’t want to spend any time there, if you don’t have to.

In the wintertime, there were other dangers. When it is 30 below zero, the seats are rather cold – too cold to sit on. Grandma always had a warm one positioned next to her pot-bellied stove. You would grab the spare and head out, do your business and quickly return your butt and the spare to the stove area before the rest of you froze to death. In the summer time, at night, there was always the possibility of running into a wild animal. Bears, ‘possums, bobcats and skunks were always lurking about to scare the heck out of you.

So it all boils down to this. Civilized people don’t talk about poo. If you can’t see it, you won’t talk about it. If you have to use an outhouse, you can’t see it.

This brings us to today. Mr. Demonic rushed in as I was taking a shower (lathering up with sandalwood rose body wash-my favorite) and proceeded to do something which ended up smelling so nasty, I was gasping for air. I quickly jumped out of my hot shower without toweling off, and ran into the bedroom for relief. There was none. I could no longer smell my lovely sandalwood rose. Meanwhile, he was laughing hysterically.

I personally thought there was not one thing about this situation that was funny.

I can’t help but think if that guy Crapper hadn’t invented the flush toilet, we’d all be a little more genteel.


15 Responses

  1. Having had my own relationships with outhouses, I was drawn to this..

    In winter, every breeze will somehow find its way in and on some days there is the danger of freeze-drying instead of air-drying. My reading time also takes a big hit during outhouse winters, even with a pre-warmed spare seat.

    Spiders, wasps and odors are all a part of warm weather expeditions and I am always glad to be a man, no matter the season, as long as there are plenty of trees.

    Your husband sounds like a powerful man.

  2. He has a powerful odor, Quill. This is for sure. If there were medals given, he’d have won them all, hands down. (or seat down)

    I forgot about the bugs. We used to wonder if the spiders were the normal kind or the black widow kind. That’s entertainment you can’t get in the modern world.

  3. Ew.

    When I was in college I went on a month-long archeological dig in Utah. We had to dig our own outhouses. It was pretty bad.

  4. Oh! Wow! You know I’m uncivilized right?

    This made me think of the nasty tricks that kids play at hallowe’en — like knocking over outhouses. But, that’s just an unimaginative trick. Here’s pure evil: picking it up and moving it back three feet. (No. I didn’t ever do that. It is too evil. The same principle applies to stealing traffic signs. I’ve stolen road signs but never a stop or a yield or a “how to find the hospital” sign. That would be evil.)

  5. Yes, MIB, I know you and poo have some sort of bond. There’s something a “bit” endearing about that. After all, I have put up with an entire household of Demonics and their ready analysis of poo. That’s why I wrote this post!

    I would think if I were visiting you, and in the shower, you would not upset my tender moment of steam by smelling up the bathroom. (At least I hope so!) I think the Europeans have it right. They put the toilet in its own little room, away from the sink and tub.

  6. Don’t forget, outhouses are much easier to clean.

  7. I most certainly would not! My goodness. The mere thought of it horrifies me. Curiously, this very morning, my sweetie and I had a conversation about that very thing. My normal habit is if I’m showering in the upstairs bathroom, I check with the children to make sure they aren’t going have to poo while I’m in there — I assume adults will know and either hold it or go to the downstairs bathroom.

    By the way, I think there should be a sink in the room with the toilet. A separate shower/bathing area seems sensible though.

    I’m looking at kmcdade‘s comment and taking it literally. That made me laugh.

  8. This makes me very glad we have two bathrooms!

    Mr. Demonic should be beaten about the head and shoulders with your body wash bottle.

  9. We grew up tough, too. Once we had a fire in the bathroom.

    I tell you though, country people stick together. All the neighbors got blankets and tree limbs and such and stamped that thing out before it could get up to the house.

    Dr. B

  10. Dr. B, that’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. And I like kmcdade’s comment too. One less room to clean.

  11. 1) Don’t you people keep matches in your bathroom for olfactory emergencies? Sheesh.

    2) Every house should have a European-style bathroom, with the commode and sink in a separate room from the bathing facilities.

    3) Outsized excrement is as close as we males ever come to giving birth. Remember how proud, exhausted, and excited you were when your children finally emerged, after all that straining and agony? I’m sure your husband feels much the same about his Turdzillas.

  12. Mr. Rochester! I’m amazed at your thought process! I would have thought you were one of the genteel ones. But I’d never thought of the giving birth aspect. It makes a whole lot of sense.

  13. Ahh, spiders in the outhouse, the very bane of my existance. A dark privy is bad enough, but I once carried a lantern out to the potty- it was even worse to be able to SEE all of the creatures that congregated in there at night.

  14. Hey, I didn’t say that I was ever proud of outsized excrement. Personally, I strive to give the impression of having no bodily functions. I’m thrilled now that I have bathrooms on two levels of my house … no matter what I’m planning to do, I can usually get away from anyone else who happens to be here.

  15. […] because he takes after his father. If you read this post, you’d know what I am talking about.  My husband can talk poo ad nauseaum. (And believe me, […]

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