i thought about what to post on 9/11. instead, i decided to share with you something i've been reflecting on for months now:
everyone on the planet, at some point every day or two, sits down or squats down, and expels solid waste from his or her body. wait. stay with me. i mean, everybody does it - it's like eating, or breathing, or blinking.
angelina jolie and brad pitt poop. barack obama and john mccain will probably poop today. gerard butler? pooper. nicole kidman, michael buble', don henley, tom cruise ... all will stop for as long as it takes and have a bowel movement. your mayor poops. dustin hoffman poops. so does barbra streisand. and all of the jonas brothers, right? and miley cyrus. and the pope.
yes. the pope poops.
a billion chinese people, give or take a few thousand, will take a break at some point today or tomorrow or the next day, depending on how things are going, and poop. every playboy bunny poops. every football player poops. (okay, that one isn't even strange-sounding.) the queen of england? yep. pooping today. maybe even right this second, six time zones ahead of where i am here in texas.
kids at school - at least, those who can't hold it til they get home. (i hear so many grownups say that they held it the best they could because school bathrooms were either a. disgusting, b. scary, or c. crowded.) teachers at school. yes, your english teacher pooped. and your principal. and chemistry, geometry, foreign language, history, p. e., and health teachers. all sat and pooped. terrorists poop. the person you admire the most. the person you can't stand.
all pastors poop, and professors. all manual laborers. all babysitters. nurses. inmates in prison. obstetricians. cowboys. pharmacists. politicians. gas station attendants. bus drivers. congresspersons. the ups guy or gal. gay and straight, christian and muslim and buddhist and jewish and unitarian universalist and atheist. democrat, republican, independent, green, communist, socialist, libertarian. your friends and those whom you perceive as your enemies. everybody you will see today.
every human being as being pretty much like every other human being. nobody's so high and mighty, or so unimportant, that she or he doesn't have to stop, just like me and you, and sit down for a little while, and do what the human body has to do, and then get on about their business. and rather than bringing people down to the same level, for me it reminds me that we're all "fearfully and wonderfully made" (psalm 139:14). that for all the clothing and makeup and uniforms and education and masks and roles we construct for ourselves, we're still very much in a human body, for a while, all of us, together. all the labels, ultimately, are only part of who and what we are while we're here. another part of who we are while we're here is an organism that takes in fuel and expels what's not needed.
which is, poop.
ps - what's the big deal, by the way, about talking about b.m.'s? is there some shame attached to poop? because nobody likes poop. it smells bad. it's pasty. it is, after all, waste - so maybe we're programmed to want to stay away from it. maybe that's why we make jokes about it.
and we all get together in public and eat, and drink, and read, and shop, and talk. but pretty much nobody poops in public. nobody even wants to admit that they pooped today. (although i did see an episode of oprah a few years ago that was, seriously, really cool because this doctor was talking about the importance of a healthy intestinal track and he normalized the whole thing. eat healthy. everybody will pass wind, on average, fifteen times a day. have a b.m. and then look at it. is it healthy, or not? he gave suggestions about what to look for - shape, texture, etc. ... at first i was freaked out and then i realized, yeah, good for you doctor - help us get over the weirdness and take care of our bodies. - and - oprah said, Yes, i've passed wind today.)
maybe it's because we're sitting down, and stuck, and vulnerable to predators. maybe it's because it's not like you can fake that you're really doing something else at the time ... "me? was i picking my nose? no, just rubbing something off my face." that doesn't work here.
i don't know. but it's okay. relax. you don't have to be ashamed. remember: the pope poops too.