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There are a lot of things about the real world that college prepares you for, and prepares you for well. There are a lot of things that being in a fraternity or sorority prepare you for as well. Our organizations, like our schools, tend to do a pretty good job. The adjustment to the real world is not a sudden, life-altering shift. It’s subtle. A lot of people make it seem like graduating to life after college is like moving to a new country. EVERYTHING CHANGES NOW! It’s not, it doesn’t. Graduating is more like moving to a new city. There are subtle differences. Things you have to adjust to. But ultimately life goes on, just in a new but not unfamiliar place. So you see these new little things and adapt. No big deal.
Well, MOST of it is no big deal. Some things are harder to adjust to than others. For instance, the rancid, explosive craps your older coworkers will be taking on a daily basis in the office bathroom. Yeah you didn’t see that coming, did you? It’s okay, no one ever does, and it’s impossible to get used to. This isn’t a universal problem though. If you work for a young company (as I currently do), then you won’t have to deal with 50-year-old men and their post-lunch ritual of unleashing hot, wet, high-pressured punishment on their nearest toilet.
Indigestion, IBS, coffee shits, etc. Ours is not to reason why. Older coworkers are just that, older. Their bodies are slowly breaking down, and apparently melting from the inside out. Walk into an office restroom around 2:00pm and you’re bound to hear what sounds like someone shooting Campbell’s Chunky Soup out of a fire hose and directly into the mouth of a wood chipper. The smells range anywhere from “shallow Bosnian genocide grave” to “sulfuric demon hell pit.” If one of these old farts (LOL GET IT?!?!?!) had to take a client out for lunch, specifically a client who enjoys something like Thai food, STAY AWAY. You can count on that bastard spending thirty minutes putting on a spectacle so offensive to the senses that should you witness even part of it you won’t know whether to laugh or chop your own head off.
I don’t know how these old men put up with it. Their assholes have to be more torn up than Muammar Gaddafi’s. The worst scenario, BY FAR, is being stuck in the stall next to one of these walking waste geysers. This tends to happen to the unfortunate parties who enter the bathroom when it’s empty and are later joined by their ass-sploding coworker.
The scenario tends to play out the same way every time. You’re comfortably seated on the toilet, enjoying a normal human being’s deuce, and reading something on your cell phone. Then the door opens. Who is it? You wonder nervously. As the mystery man enters you can tell by his lumbering walk that he’s somewhat heavy set. Maybe not fat, but definitely carrying the weight of an older man. FUCK, please just need to take a piss. Your prayers, and they ARE prayers, go unanswered. The lumbering man opens the stall next to you, undoes his belt, and groans as he labors to seat himself on such a low perch.
The man settles in and the countdown begins, not that you know when the human pyrotechnics are set to start. Even if you did, the initial salvo wouldn’t be any less jarring. When it begins all you can do is sit there and try not to laugh hysterically at what sounds like a thousand Harley Davidsons being started underwater. It doesn’t stay funny for long. Even if the toilet bowl were filled with Febreeze and bleach instead of water, the smell would be muffled only briefly. Once the stench of that ancient evil creeps up all you can do is try and finish your own business as fast as possible and sprint back to your office. As you hurry to leave you might notice that his exit and impact sounds stop matching up with what would seem to be consistent with the laws of physics. It’s because his expulsions are so rapid they’ve broken the sound barrier. Thousands of wet, brown Chuck Yeagers rifle into the toilet as you frantically try to leave, feeling both awe and disgust.
I wish I could say it was just the men. It’s not. From what I’ve heard from many past female coworkers, as well as lessons learned from a few truly unfortunate experiences with office unisex single toilet restrooms, this is not solely a male problem. It IS true what they say, girls don’t poop. Fat secretaries on the other hand… they are the destroyers of worlds. Yes at some point they too were girls. But age, occupation, and a terrible office diet has activated what should have been a permanently dormant colon. And Jesus Christ does that colon make up for lost time. What the secretaries call “Pizza Wednesday” in the break room should be referred to as the “Hump Day Holocaust” in the women’s bathroom.
I know I’m not the only one who knows about this. At my first job out of college it was a frequent topic of conversation among the younger workers. The building planners must have known about it as well, because the water pressure in the toilets was crazy high. Flushing those things was like witnessing a mini tsunami. They were made like that for a reason. I’ve seen it at other offices as well. I like to assume that the water pressure in the toilets was so high because, at one point in the mid-90’s, the building manager installed low flush toilets in a misguided attempt to go green, but then all the building occupants caught the plague and died. For that fateful week rivers of shit no doubt flowed throughout the hallways.
Mostly, the real world is just like the world you live in now. You don’t stop drinking regularly at 23. You (hopefully) don’t stop chasing girls once the dean hands you a diploma. Yes responsibilities and time commitments change, but not the attitude, not completely. Marriage changes your life, children change your life. An increased income and time commitment? Not as much. But there are things that are different. Things that you will never quite get used to. Old people shitting their brains out within an arm’s length of you is most definitely one of those things.