After being a nurse for a few years I started to notice that I talked about poop more than most other things. Even in mixed company. I found talking about poop… easy. And humorous. Why didn’t everyone want to talk about the funniest thing, ever, in detail, all the time, I wondered?
For me, poop is hilarious because we all do it pretty much every day, but nobody talks about it. The less we talk about something, the funnier it can be if poked at. Beyond that, it’s this incredible by-product and proof of our metabolism — our living. It’s also pure, stinky death. That’s fascinating! And with all the stories I accumulated having to do with poop in the hospitals, I could talk about it all day. I am not exaggerating.
Now poop is taboo, but what’s even more taboo is pooping in anything but a toilet.
Yeah, most of you poop in perfectly clean water. That should make you think. Granted, people living in places without plumbing sewage treatment are more susceptible to fecal-oral diseases, but certainly not when they are able to 1) get away from their poop and 2) wash their hands well if contaminated while pooping or wiping.
While scanning PCT thru-hiker forums I noticed so many people arguing about how to go poo-poo in the woods. People accuse one another of not digging deep enough cat holes or not digging holes at all, contaminating other people’s food with dirty hands, and leaving toilet paper “white roses” scattered along the trail. It sounds petty, but it is not: just like wild animals do, we need to do a good job of choosing where to go, hiding it, and keeping ourselves clean. Most importantly, we need to keep poop away from clean water! Oh, the irony!
This video features a lot of nervous laughter as two men demonstrate how to poop in the woods, assuming you still poop out of your anus*. But there are some solid (yet so intuitive) ideas here, many of them in unabashed pantomime.
There are also good instructions over at Gossamer Gear on how to poop in the woods.
Do you feel strange or embarrassed that you are just now learning how you were born to poop, at your age?
Squatting on the ground?
We were not born to sit on toilets and poop. In fact, there is science indicating that sitting with your hips flexed at 90′ while defecating is deleterious to your health, and companies making stools to help you squat on your toilet. There is also the rumor that the healthier your digestive system and firmer your stools (without being constipated), the less need to wipe you will have. Then again, when you’re burning 3000-5000 calories a day on the trail, you’re more likely to have very urgent bowel movements and accidents. Yikes! Better have a clean-up plan ready.
The bottom line
Poop isn’t a taboo subject for me and most other nurses and PCT hikers. And if it wasn’t taboo for more people, the world would be a healthier place.
*Don’t get me started talking about colostomies and ileostomies! I could talk about them forever.