Monday, July 26, 2010
The Mystery of the Great Pooping Bandit of '07: A Devil's Tale
For this post, dearest father, I apologize.
This is the true story - true story - about seven strangers that stop being polite and start being real.
Actually, no - no it's not. I lied. I've just always wanted to write that sentence.
This is actually the true story of a bandit - a pooping bandit. I shall call it The Pooping Bandit of '07, a Devil's Tale.
In the year of our Lord, 2007, I taught first grade at a school in which the bathrooms were situated in the center of four first grade classrooms. This worked to our advantage as no other grades had access to their use and everything had been miniaturized to meet the needs of a miniaturized population base. (Miniature due to age, not midgets.)
Now, in these trifling johns there are what are commonly referred to as "urinals". (Women, please see figure 1A for reference to what a urinal is.) The unfortunate reality was that these urinals looked a whole lot like actual toilets. At the beginning of each school year, being the only male first grade teacher on the entire planet, it was my responsibility to take large groups of boys into the restroom and explain that these urinals are for "pee, not poop."
"We don't poop in these boys. They're not for pooping! Pooping goes over there. Pee goes in these."
I mean, it's a common phrase that most 30-year-old men probably say on a daily basis at their places of work.
No matter how many times I reminded the boys that the urinals are not for pooping, there would always be a mysterious log around the second week of September. We teachers referred to this log as "the first sign of fall" and "Trevor's Revenge".*
'07 was a different sort of year. I'd like to say that it was the first year that we did not find poop in the urinal. I'd like to say that it was a breakthrough year; that somehow all my motivational poop talks actually proved their worth and that we went would escape without finding any brown urinal corn dogs. I'd like to say those things, but I can't. '07 proved to be the year that the boy that painted the urinal brown would get the best of me.
After the third pooping in '07, I was done. Granted, I didn't have to clean the poop or even look at, but hearing the teenage sweeper girl gag as she used a spatula device was enough for me. I had decided that it would NOT HAPPEN AGAIN and that ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH! Every first grade boy in all four classes would spend the next recess in my room and the recess after that and the one after that, and so on, until someone confessed to being "The Pooing Bandit".
I must say, that first recess punishment was extraordinarily painful. We all sat and stared at each other and not a single peep from any of the boys. Eventually a small group started crying and proclaiming their hope that someone would confess. By the end of the 15 minutes, most were angry and ready to riot on a moments notice. If only they had had a vocal leader to lead them in revolt, my corpse could have been found underneath five feet of playground pebbles.
I decided that the "smoke-em-out" method was not effective. It was time to break out Plan B.
At our school, and other schools like it in Utah, we have a police officer that frequently visits and talks to the kids about not using drugs. It's a semi-effective program as only 62% of kids go on to try drugs in high school instead of the usual 68%. I thought I would put this officer to good use in our fecal/urinal investigation.
After the fifth mud bunny was found in the urinal that year, I once again gathered all the first grade boys and informed them that the police would be getting involved. I told them that there would be a police officer in THAT VERY DAY and that he would be taking finger prints and collecting samples.
At the time, when I suggested that he would be "collecting samples" it seemed appropriate enough. Now, it seems altogether rather foul and wrong. I mean, it probably isn't something CSI:SLC is going to want to spend more than five minutes analyzing. Finding Pooping Bandits isn't exactly their forte.
Anyway, I talked to my Principal and it was arranged. The Dare Police Officer would come down to the first grade classrooms, pretend to look around and dust for fingerprints. I then told the boys that if whomever was responsible were to come forward, he would not be prosecuted in a court of law for the "mooky stinking" that had gone down.
Still, there were no admittance to the crime. I was mystified and discouraged. Generally, when you mention the possibility of jail to a first grader, they are so frightened that they will confess to just about anything, including pooping in a urinal.
The Dare Officer and the Principal did, in fact, come in. (However, I highly doubt that they took any samples, but they may have.) As they made their rounds through the classroom, I could feel the tension build and the whispers began. There was a general unease about the situation for SOMEONE was getting in trouble and that person was going to get it BIG TIME!
Alas, the policeman left and life went back to normal. No one confessed and the mystery and lore of the Pooing Bandit continued to build.
Two weeks later I had taken the kids to lunch and returned to my classroom to get something out of my desk. A mom was there waiting for me. She informed me that she had just seen a sixth grade boy bolt out of our bathroom and he had a guilty look on his face. I rushed to the bathroom and as sure enough, there were two brown toileteers floating in the urinal.
It was then that it all made sense: The poop was always pooped during the lunch hour, when no one was around. Also, despite a threat of incarceration, no first grader ever stepped forward and admitted the crime. Finally, the poops were almost always large, preteen sized logs.**
I was overcome with guilt as I had blamed my sweet, innocent first graders of such vile and nastiness.
Now, I would like to say that this story has a happy ending, but it does not. They (meaning myself and the Dare Officer) never did apprehend the Sixth Grade perp.
To this day, he is probably hunched over some poor, unsuspecting high school urinal with a goofy grin on his face.
Long live the Pooping Bandit.
*Trevor's Revenge refers to Trevor, a boy that purposefully pooped in the urinal because he had to stay in from recess for saying the S word. (Stupid)
** I am not sure if log size is proportional to body size, but it made sense at the time.