Wide Stance

Generally speaking, I don’t have much of a problem with using public restrooms. For people who hate to use urinals because they’re worried about splash back, all I can say is “How the hell did you get this far in life without learning how to take a piss right?”

What I really don’t like though are using the stalls. I’m sure we’ve all seen some stalls that would deter anyone from ever using any toilet again, so you probably know where I’m coming from. I don’t mind taking a leak in a public restroom, but if I have to go number two, I’ll try and make it home first.

It’s not just because my bathroom’s probably cleaner (Well has the appearance of being cleaner. Public restrooms in places like the mall and whatnot probably get doused with disinfectant three times a day), but also I don’t have that industrial grade single ply toilet paper that causes anal bleeding from abrasions. Plus, I just don’t like the idea of people hanging around nearby while I’m on the john.

Call it performance anxiety if you will.

So for me, using the stall is like an absolute last resort.

One time, I was at the mall, when the Mexican food I’d eaten for dinner the night before came a’callin’. So I made a dash for the restroom, dreading the prospect of having to use one of those dreadful stalls.

I’m going to spare you the scatological humor, but suffice to say I made it to the restroom, found the one available stall, and did my business. Of course it wasn’t until AFTER I’d done my business that I found out WHY this was the only unoccupied stall;

There was no more toilet paper.

You know those scenes in movies where the camera zooms in at the same time they pull the camera back, and it has that effect where it looks like the background is pulling away from the character as they move forward at the same time? That’s what it felt like for me.

Here I was, stuck in a stall in the mall with no toilet paper. I have nightmares that aren’t this bad…

So what could I do? I suppose I could have solicited some from someone next to me, but the stall had since been vacated. I could have just hiked up my pants and changed stalls, but there’s no way I could bring myself to do that in a bathroom that was constantly full of people…

So I waited. I waited for the bathroom to empty out, but it was a relatively busy mall, so it never happened. I don’t know how long I sat there, but it seemed like a very, VERY long time, and all I could do was rack my brain to figure out how to get out of this mess…

After a little while, I heard a bang like someone kicking the door open, and a gruff voice should “EVERYONE OUT!” There was a brief shuffling of feet as everyone else in the restroom beat it, whereas all I could do was hike my feet up and brace them against the door so it would look like it was unoccupied.

I didn’t care what was going on, I wasn’t leaving that restroom until I got some damned toilet paper…

Anyway, after everyone had vacated the room, there was some more ruckus, and I saw a pair of shoes stumble past my stall, followed by the steady, deliberate pace of a pair of black boots.

Wait a minute… I recognize those boots!


Batman was roughing up some thug, right outside my stall!

There was another thud, like Batman slammed the guy against the wall. “Alright, no more games. Tell me where the ambassador’s daughter is, or things are going to get… ugly…”

“I tell you American pig-dog nothing! NOTHING!” yelled the thug defiantly. There was another thud, and what sounded like someone’s head being slammed into a stainless steel sink basin.

“Last chance,” said Batman.

“Foolish American superhero… you really think I come to country without support?” Whomever was being beat up suddenly started laughing, and there was another sound of the bathroom door being kicked in.

What the hell was going ON out there, I wondered?

That’s when all hell broke loose outside my stall. I don’t know what exactly was going on, but judging by the feet that were running by my stall, I think Batman took on an army of ninjas or something. There was much smacking and the snapping of limbs, and at one point someone’s face got slammed into the door of my stall, making a relief impression of a rather pained expression.

“There’s someone in here!” I yelped instinctively.

Apparently after the ninjas were polished off, the bathroom was invaded by some leather-clad chicks with whips, followed by some robots, and what I think may have been either aliens or genetically engineered monsters created by some sort of secret shadow government.

It’s kind of hard to tell what’s going on when all you can see are feet.

And of course, Batman took them all on. Everyone knows Batman cannot be beat, it’s just common knowledge. Eventually everything died down, and all was quiet in the restroom save for the omnipresent buzzing of the fluorescent lighting. I heard the footsteps of what I can only assume was Batman walking away from the site of his victory.

“Uh… Batman?” I called timidly.

“Yes?” He replied.

“Um… By any chance do you have any toilet paper on you?”

I heard him click some compartments in his utility belt open and he rummaged around a bit before handing a roll of toilet paper under the door.

“Thanks!” I said.

It was the good stuff too, two ply.

Man, he’s got EVERYTHING in that belt.