When you’ve Gotta go you’ve Gotta go
I read an article in Parenting magazine today where a columnist said that it is unacceptable for kids to pee outside. I disagree. Obviously I don’t think we ought to drop our pants whenever we feel like it. But heck, when a kid has to go – let him (or her). There are two problems with telling kids they can’t do their business outside. The first is that when it really is an emergency, and there is no other choice, the kid will feel shamed by his actions. Bears and fish and spiders all do their business in the wild. Bears, fish, and spiders even crap in the outdoors! Wow, imagine if Johnny tried that. The other problem with telling kids it’s bad to pee outside is that it goes against logic. I understand the need for some decency and not to be lewd, but peeing in a bush hardly qualifies as lewd. Kids will naturally ask, when told how wrong it is, why it’s so bad. And you, the parent, will say something like, “We are civilized people, we don’t do that.” Really? We’re civilized? Compared to what?
Yes Pee If…
1. It’s an emergency and there is no choice. I was stuck on a closed highway for 4 hours once, and I can’t tell you how many people I saw scurrying around in the bushes trying to find modest ways to do their business. Freezing and slushy conditions is no time to be discerning. I had to respect the people who just stepped off the highway and peed down the embankment not caring who saw. And, you know, nobody did care. In those conditions nobody cares.
2. The bathrooms are gross. I’m not going to make my kids endure an unsanitary bathroom. We’ve popped into some park restrooms before that were totally rancid. I just said, “Go tree-pee.” and my kids went to tree-pee. No biggie and totally sanitary as long as it’s not right in front of a swing set or in the path of foot traffic. Again, nobody really cares, and if they do they need to get a life.
3. You’re in a really big hurry. This doesn’t really apply to kids because they’re hardly ever in a big hurry. But, I ran the Chicago marathon a few years ago and the city had set up rows upon rows of porta potties every 5 miles or so. Did anybody use them? I ran by all of them and only saw women going into them. Poor women, I feel sorry for them. All the men just peed in the fields. It all depends on the circumstances. I think most of us are grown up enough to be discrete about it and to decide what is an emergency and what is not.
Don’t Pee If…
1. It’s on pavement. Dude, that’s gross. Don’t do that. I saw a lady at the mall once who opened her car door so her kid could pee in the parking lot. That’s not right. Other people will step in that. I carry empty Gatorade bottles in my car for such emergencies. Again, poor women. I feel sorry for them.
2. In a crowd. There is no explanation needed. It might be an emergency, but there is always an out somewhere. Find a bush or something, but don’t do it in a crowd. Have you heard of the people who were peeing on each other at the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square because the cops wouldn’t let them out of their little gated areas? I’d just skip it all together if it meant I’d be walking around in the pee from the guy standing 3 inches from me. Funny product alert. There is actually a little device designed for women who need to pee in public. I saw it on Top-Gear (funny place to see such a thing). They said it was advertised to be able to use in line and in crowds. They made understandably good fun of that idea. In case you don’t believe me check it out here.
3. It’s just for fun. I understand the urge to just whip it out for the hell of it. However, we really ought to teach kids that peeing is no joking matter. It can be quite unsanitary if not taken seriously. Also, it’s a good idea to carry wipies at all times.
We’re animals. And we’re not as civilized as some people think we should be; some people expect too much. There are circumstances where peeing outside is perfectly acceptable. I don’t want to teach my boys that doing their business outside is at all times wrong. I’m not suggesting acting like a bunch of bums peeing in stairwells and bus-stops. I’m saying that sometimes it can’t be helped, and it is many times more sanitary than the alternative when the alternative is some dump of a bathroom that’ll make you sick. That is all. Carry on.