I am fortunate (I think) to have a son who tells me things. When I ask him what happened at school, he tells me about his day at school. He tells me the minutiae of his day. And he tells me the goings-on in the boys’ bathroom. For years I’ve heard stories about what goes on in those dank, smelly chambers. Boys sticking their feet in urinals. Boys–cringe–rolling on the nasty floor. Boys doing things they should not be doing.
This week I think I’ve heard it all. I can’t bear to hear another bathroom story. My husband doesn’t even know the story, why I keep lecturing my son about this. “Just don’t touch anything and wash your hands. With soap. I don’t care what the other boys do.” My husband makes fun of me for this.
My son told me he went in the bathroom the other day and George* wasn’t in there, so he used George’s urinal.
“George’s urinal?” I asked.
“Yeah, George has his own urinal and nobody can use it,” my son said.
“Why is it his urinal?” I asked.
“He licked it,” he said.
My brain stopped right there. Overload. Too much to process. Where are the teachers? Ugh. Should I tell his mother? No, she wouldn’t want to know. I didn’t want to know. I mean, you don’t want them to touch anything in the bathroom and this boy had slathered his tongue along the cold porcelain. I felt weak.
“Don’t you ever lick anything in the bathroom,” I said. “Anything. Don’t even touch the urinal. People miss.” I could have gone on for an hour. My son had already moved on.
He described how a line formed behind him and then George came in and said, “Hey, why are you using my urinal?” and everyone in line started pushing.
Then George put a pencil in a toilet and flushed it and they watched it swirl around and around. Billy* reached in to get the pencil out and threw it away.
“Don’t put your hand in the toilet,” I told my son. “Ever. Just don’t touch anything in the bathroom. And wash your hands. With soap. I don’t care if the other boys do or not. You wash your hands.”
Ugh. Sometimes you don’t want to know.
*Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.