Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Mechanics Of Profanity

I perform a daily external patrol around my place of work pretty much as soon as I arrive on site each morning, armed not with a telescopic baton, pepper spray or a taser but with a bin bag and the keys to the bin store.

You see, I’m not on the lookout for armed blaggers or tooled up psychopaths but for litter louts and damned defacers. Or rather, I’m on the lookout for their multifarious droppings.

This is just one of the many uplifting and status elevating jobs that I perform regularly for my employers.

On a good morning my rounds will net nothing more than a couple of empty cans of Special Brew and an empty cigarette packet (usually Marlboro). Though on occasion these items are augmented inextricably by the presence of a pair of ladies shoes, the cellophane wrapping from an Asda T-shirt (which will be missing – presumably on the purchaser’s / shoplifter’s back) and an odd collection of serviettes still folded up into neat little squares.

Plainly the drunks and tramps around the Leamington Spa area have standards. Not necessarily high standards but standards none the less.

On a bad morning I will encounter what is known in the trade as “a man turd”.

Now, this is not to be confused with a dog turd.

A dog turd is bad enough. I don’t need to describe one to you because you’ve all seen one / walked through one. They’re disgusting and unwelcome in the extreme but have one small positive; one saving grace. The odour of a dog turd (unless stepped into and thus reactivated) is relatively short-lived. A quick slide action with a shovel and they can quite successfully be scraped up off the ground and catapulted into nearby undergrowth without too much post-contact shovel cleaning required. If you’re really lucky the turd will already have turned quite crusty and will barely have left a mark on your spade of choice. Job done (no pun intended, etc).

None of this is ever true of a man turd.

Now, you can tell a man turd by the size and smell.

They smell bad.

And they smell bad forever.

So bad in fact that even a passing hyena would gag.

And they take a hell of a long time to go crusty. In fact they retain a Christmas cake moistness of such magnitude that they may one day be identified as reliable sources of H2O in a post atomic holocaust world.

If you’re lucky the “bricklayer” will possess a healthy digestive system and will deposit a single neat sausage that can be scraped up quite cleanly and lobbed somewhere out of sight and out of mind. If you’re unlucky, however, the owner will have the digestive system of a cat on high strength worming tablets and will leave matter that can be variously described as “a broken muffin”, “a Spanish omelette” or, worst of all, “a walnut whip”.

And such matter will defy any and every attempt at efficient shovelling. In fact using a shovel is just a big no-no. You’ll just get the offending matter spread over a wider surface area and the shovel itself will be transformed into a chemical weapon so effective it would make a muck-spreader vomit.

What is needed is an industrial strength hose and a bio-suit.

I was faced with one of these this morning.

Now, I’ve become something of a stoic when confronted with these still-warm examples of ethno-botany but a couple of niggling questions always buzz around the back of my head (like the flies) every time I encounter one.

The mechanics of producing such an offering... I mean, how exactly does someone go about it?

The pulling down (or up) of clothing and the squatting down I can just about envision (though try not to)... but... cleaning yourself up afterwards...? What happens there, eh?

Do these people come pre-prepared with toilet paper or freshly bought copies of The Big Issue? If they do this suggests something premeditated about their whole activity and therefore a sickness of the mind.

Or are such droppings evidence of people genuinely caught short... a case of the poo-train is coming and the brakes they ain’t a-working?

What happens then? Surely you don’t just pull up your kecks and walk daintily home, ignoring the uncomfortable localized heat and the feeling of greasy skid marks working themselves deeper into the gusset of your Y-fronts?

You must surely make some attempt to clean yourself up, to scrape off the worst?

But with what or on what?

Nearby foliage? The wall of a building? The pavement itself?

A sleeping tramp?

My mind boggles.

Answers on a piece of toilet paper to the usual address please...


MommyHeadache said...

As you say it is a mystery why someone would shit outside to do hard man turds because in that case you could wait till you got home or to a restroom. The only excuse is if you have diarrhoea and in that case yes the poor bloke would probably walk home with his trousers full of poop remnants. You have such a glamorous job!!

Rol said...

Back when I was working on the phone-in show, a listener once sent us a manturd in a box, labelled "my thoughts on the show".

We still treasure it now.

Steve said...

Emma: I have decided to view my job as an anecdote collection exercise before I achieve fame and fortune. I can then talk about all this stuff on the Jay Leno Show (or Jonathan Ross if my fame is limited to the UK) to raise cheap laughs at my previous employer's expense. This dream is the only thing that keeps me going.

Rol: ...and I bet it's still moist, isn't it?

Reluctant Blogger said...

Well I suspect that is what the ASDA t-shirt is for. Not sure what else you'd nick one for.

I feel quite ill now actually. I really don't like the idea of poo. I used to gag when I had to change nappies so there is no way I could shovel up a man turd. Dear me no.

No wonder you poor son doesn't eat if this is what you talk about at the dinner table. "What did you do today, Daddy?". "Well, son . . ."

KeyReed said...

This post made me feel sick! Surely there must be chemicals and equipment you can use (I Googled for you but nothing useful was found). At school, if a boy vomits, they chuck some special stuff over it which dries it all out and it can be swept up. Is there not a poo equivalent?

All this does remind me of the cylist who didn't know he had diarrhoea until he took his bicycle clips off!

Steve said...

Gina: ha ha! Yes - I should have made that connection with the Asda T-shirt myself! That's Asda price! I'm glad to say I don't discuss such work matters over meals... I leave my job (and other people's) very firmly in the work place...

Tenon_Saw: I haven't even got a pooper-scooper! Surely the cyclist noticed his wind resistance was increasing?!

Owen said...

Oh my Steve, I suppose you could use this story as a sort of psychological litmus test... to establish a person's mental age... I'm afraid I didn't do too well, I was laughing uproariously while reading this, perhaps partly because of the uncomfortable and sadly disgusting subject, but surely more due to your terribly comic rendering of this utterly vile and despicable behavior on some crass and probably drunk human's part. At least they could go off behind a tree or something, and not leave their droppings in plain view. In all sincerity I am appalled and saddened that such a wonderful guy like you should have to deal with such issues, gggrrrr, doesn't the town have a sanitation department with street cleaners ? Here in Paris they have little motorbikes with vacuum attachments for poop scooping. Although I don't know how effective they'd be against the fecal matter you describe here.

Gosh, is this a serial defecator at work ? Is it always in the same spot ? Are there accompanying taunting clues ? Is it maybe spiteful colleagues who have it in, or in this case, have it out for you ? Pretty sad business. Maybe you could organise a stakeout? No surveillance camera video you could re-run to catch the culprit ?

I think you should be equipped with a flame-thrower... to burn away the offending matter...

Thank you for the scatological release of laughter at least, on what was otherwise turning into a dull Thursday evening here... !

And some people say their shit doesn't stink... !

Steve said...

Owen: I'm proud to admit that my mental age is about 10... possibly 9 on a good day.

I love the idea of a motorbike... maybe I could combine it with a flamethrower? Mind you, that might be dangerous... I strongly suspect that the man turds are being left by a small group of drunkards who regularly converge around the building to down their cans of cheap beer... I daresay late at night when nature calls these guys are far too inebriated to do anything but answer immediately. Adding a flame to the resultant inxicating brew might cause an explosion that can be heard all the way in Paris...!

Leamington does have street cleaners but the area around the building in which I work seems to be off their radar and falls to me to "govern".

Glad to have caused you so much mirth though... maybe next time I shall post some photos...! ;-)

Savannah said...

Now normally Steve, I quite happily munch on a piece of toast while I do my morning rounds. Thank goodness, today was not such a day.

Not only would I probably I have "lost" my breakfast, but I would have almost certainly choked on it from laughter.

You have reminded me of something I've been meaning to blog about though so thanks for the reminder...and the giggle. You have a wicked sense of humour hiding behind that proper British facade and I love it.

The Sagittarian said...

Oh, sh*t, I can see that this is no flash in the pan concern! I hope you get a wee allowance for this job? This activity would be enough to drive you round the S bend. All that hard work scraping and shoveling would make you rather flushed would it not? I'm on a roll with this....

The Sagittarian said...

Sorry, Steve, didn't mean to take the p***.

Owen said...

And maybe with the photos, you could include a "scratch & sniff" patch on your blog page like the ones that come in some of those glossy fashion magazines ?

Steve said...

KayDee: glad to hear I've focused your ruminations... though Lord knows what type of memory I have stirred! Hope it's a good one... Can't wait to check it out!

Amanda: you're very welcome to take the piss. In fact, would you mind taking the poo aswell?

Owen: now there's an idea. Or I could set up a spot the poo competition and give away a specially embroidered poo sampler as the first prize...?!

Anonymous said...

You * really* have to get another job!
You're a funny guy, you can get your anecdotes anywhere, you don't need turds.;)

Steve said...

Missbehaving: it's my own fault for wanting to specialize in toilet humour...! ;-)

Clippy Mat said...

okay so now I need to know... what on earth do you do for a living and WHY in God's name is this YOUR job?
Surely this is not in your job description and must be above and beyond the call of duty. Is there an employee of the week/month/year plaque in the lobby of your building with your pic. on it with you displaying an award for best turd gatherer on your shirt front??
There should be!

We are lucky here in this part of Canada, there are very few dog eggs on the pavement, most dog owners scoop and you never see a stray dog as you do at home.


Steve said...

Clippy Mat: my job - Building Supervisor - requires me to have an overview of all aspects of building security, fire safety, health & safety and hygiene. Alas it often requires me to have a hands-on approach. On such occasions rubber gloves are provided.

I visited Canada in the mid nineties and was hugely impressed with the general cleanliness and friendliness of the place. I would love to return one day and savour the turd free streets once more.

Annie G said...

As you have a 'hands on' approach, I recommend 'Bob Martin' anti-
bacterial poop scoop perfumed bags. You can feel the squelch of the offending stool without actually touching it. Unless the bag splits of course.... You also need to practice holding your breath for a very long time.

Steve said...

Annie: the turd I lifted this day required a black bin liner. I kid you not.

The Joined up Cook said...

I've only ever known one person who did such a thing. We were 12 or so at the time and we were in some woods messing about. He said he had to go to the 'loo'. I assumed a pee but no, he wanted a poo.

I was gobsmacked that he couldn't wait to get home.

When he finished he showed me his efforts; we were 12 after all.

It looked like a great yellow slug crawling along a tree root. Perfectly placed.

I didn't stay friends with him for long.

Another time I unwittingly disturbed a burglar in our garage.

I only realised later when I found a rubber car mat used as a toilet in his panic; I had been pratting about in the garden while he had been panicking in the garege.

Steve said...

AWB: at least he did on a rubber mat rather than the floor itself. Some consideration shown there at least...!

Wasn't your old friend paying a visit was it?

English Rider said...

This post is a keeper. I've printed it out to disseminate amongst troglodyte family and friends. Guaranteed to break the ice at parties. Thanks.

Steve said...

English Rider: very glad to hear that - I'd hate to be a party pooper...! ;-)

femminismo said...

OK, I read the whole post and am commenting while still laughing so excuse any mistypes!!!! Hawr, hawr, hawr!

Steve said...

Femminismo: glad my poo experience had some higher purpose...! ;-)