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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's a Poo-ey Life

(I think this is the permissible way to refer to that thing which every creature leaves behind after digestion. At least, that’s what Mike, the Dirty Jobs guy calls it on T.V., so I’m assuming it’s ok.)

Women should get some kind of reward for this. Of the two sexes, we have the more sensitive sense of smell, yet we get most of the poo jobs. "Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice..." --and, ladies, don't forget the poo. Women, as a class, probably move more poo than the average dairy farmer.

Let me just predicate this, however, with the fact I’ve always been Cinderella. My mom didn’t like housework, so as soon as possible, I found myself doing a lot of hers, including scrubbing out the toilets and bathtub. I grew up scrubbing other people’s you-know-what, and although I’m in my sixties now, this business doesn’t show any sign of letting up. In this world, poo is guaranteed.

My husband did his share when we had the diaper people at our house, don’t get me wrong. He had been the oldest child in his family, and was an accomplished baby-sitter, so he knew how to rinse that stinky diaper in the pot, wring it out, and deposit it in the pail, then clean up the baby’s dear little pink bottom so he wouldn’t get a rash. I, however, had been told repeatedly that I was too clumsy to hold a baby, so I’d hardly even held one until I had one of my own to take home from the Boston-Lying in Hospital. Let me tell you, diapers weren’t the only shock which lay in store.

At first, as I was breast feeding, diaper changes weren’t so bad. Hardly any smell at all, just like bread dough that has over-risen. As baby grows and adds more variables to his diet, such as bananas, rice cereal and the occasional cow bottle, this changes, as all parents know. In those days, we hadn’t enough for a washer, so I carried my diapers to the Laundromat, and snuck them into the farthest off machine in the farthest corner. I’d usually do two cycles, add bleach and Dreft, and hope for the best. At home, in all sorts of weather, it was line dried. Sunlight, btw, does a good job on bacteria.

Then came the pets—cats. Another privileged group, who, like babies, have things worked out so that someone else cleans their bathroom. (Guess who!) I was outside today with buckets of hot, soapy water and the potty brush, giving one of the many boxes a scrub down. Clever devils, these pussy cats.

Next came the aged relatives, who also needed help in the potty department. I’ve done a lot of that kind of cleaning up over the years while my mom was in decline. And now, for the grand finale, my husband and I have both had colon re-sections, thanks to cancer. My husband’s surgeon cheerfully dubs his patients members of the “Semi-colon Club.”)

What with colonoscopies etc. in the news, there’s what might be called heightened poo awareness in our society, especially for those of us in our later years. But don’t get me wrong, there's absolutely no way I'm really too upset by all the Mrs. Clean I do. After all, I'm still on the green side of the grass. Let us never loose sight of the fact that where there’s poo there is Life—that much is for certain!