Thursday, February 25, 2010

Things We Mustn't Talk About

Carrying on from my previous post, Life is Crap!, it often boggles my mind why the subject of excrement is considered so out-of-bounds. It's as natural as breathing, eating or sleeping. Everybody does it, but no one likes to talk or write about it. It's one of those taboo topics.

What parent wouldn't be aghast if their young son or daughter greeted grandma with the following announcement:
Grandma, guess what? I just had a bowel movement. It was this loooooooooong. It was kind of blue, but mommy says that's because I ate blueberries last night. You want to come see it? I saved it for you to see.
The poor child would be taken aside and told that we don't talk about such things in polite company! This message is drummed into our heads from an early age until we too consider it bad form to discuss one of our most basic bodily functions.

Yet, we don't seem to have the same reticence in reference to trees. Trees excrete things all the time -- leaves, needles, cones, seeds, berries and flowers. What parent would scold their child for telling grandma that they had spent the day raking leaves (tree crap) and then jumping in the pile (I shudder at the thought)?

I think a lot of this aversion is borne by religion, particularly that of the Abrahamic persuasion. In these belief systems, anything of the flesh is eeee-vil. Consequently, anything cast off from this evil vessel must be really, really baaad. Good people should never discuss bad things.

Of course, we do discuss these sorts of things, but we do it in veiled terms. Instead of telling our buddies that we need to go defecate, we say we need to take a dump. It's often quite hilarious to read all the euphemisms for feces, urine and -- the most vile and icky bodily function of them all -- menstruation! Honey, I think the painters are here!

I'd write more on the fascinating topic, but I need to take a leak. :>D


  1. HI R T

    My/our whole life is about poop. We plan or day around our poop schedule. If we are going out in the morning we both have to be sure we have pooped and now we have to be sure the dog has pooped. I even have a song I sing when a poop was particularly good. :-) Sometimes when my husband gets to work he will call me at home and ask if I "sang the song yet"?"!!!!!!

    Love you

  2. I've had a life long battle with constipation. So, when I have a particularly good bowel movement, I often get really excited and provide Della with a detailed description. :)

  3. If the problem comes from religion, that's one I may never be able to shake, unfortunately.

  4. A common greeting is 'how are you' many cultures have 'have you eaten' and there is one culture who's greeting translates to 'how was your last crap' - this greeting is like the others and does not need a direct answer but it does show some care from the person who asked as bowel movement says a lot about health.

    As you both noted above, we are much more open with this subject with close family, maybe as we understand the health benefits of a good shit. We are less likely to ask if our boss had a good shit, but maybe we care less for his health :)

  5. Ta-Wan,
    Which culture asks about a person's last crap-? I want to sign up!

    Also, the words boss and shit tend to go together, though usually in a different way. :D

  6. I have no idea where I picked that up and now I'm tested to say where it came from wonder if I have been subject to some urban myth.

    I have to ask my dad, he was perhaps the source of this tidbit.

  7. Actually my husband always says "defecate" and "urinate" instead of any euphemism. He's an Episcopalian.

    Surely you don't really think menstruation is vile and icky; what kind of Taoist are you?

  8. That was fun.
    Other animals are obsessed with poop too.
    I wrote a little piece on Poop Parochialism which may fit your theme.
    As you know, one Buddhist meditation practice is to contemplate that we are merely a bag of feces and blood.
    For some personality types it is a useful practice, for others, they should stay away from such insights.
    Tantric pitfalls are well known.

  9. I forgot about this one until I said it.

    I had been for a large dump and returned to say "Elvis has now left the building"


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