Porta Potty Tips

by Jonah Begone

Mr. Leon G. Harris in his book The Fine Art of Political Wit relates the following anecdote concerning President Abraham Lincoln and a visit he once paid to General George B. McClellan:

He once visited McClellan's headquarters with an aide, and found it empty. He heard hammering in the woods nearby and went to see what it was. "It's a new privy for the General," was the answer. "Is it a one-holer or a two holer?" Lincoln asked. "A one-holer, sir," the soldier answered. When he was out of earshot of the soldiers, Lincoln said to his aide, "Thank God it's a one-holer, for if it were a two-holer, before General McClellan could make up his mind which one to use he would beshit himself."

Unfortunately, unlike General McClellan, you cannot have soldiers dig facilities for you. Sooner or later, you will have to enter a "Porta-Potty from Hell." When that moment arrives here are some tips to help you survive.

- Hyperventilation Avoidance Techniques classes are a must; you can only hold your breath so long.

- It is considered bad form to shout "Hi Mom, I'm home!" when entering a porta-potty.

- It is not kind to stare at hoop-skirted women struggling to enter and exit porta-potties, or to loudly comment on their efforts to do so.

- It is likewise considered unkind to gather the gentlemen in your unit together to threaten to knock over a porta-potty when another gentleman from your unit is using it.

- When using a porta-potty, by all means roll up your suspenders and put them in your pockets before sitting down (unless of course you want them dyed blue or other colors).

- If, when doing your first person impression, a member of the public asks "Where's the restroom?" and you point and respond "The sinks are that way," you have only yourself to blame when the National Park Service ranger asks you to clean out the sinks in the Visitor's Center indoor restroom.

- Don't bring your tin cup into the porta-potty with you. It just looks bad.

- Porta-potties are best used to advantage during the daylight hours. But if you have to use one at night, remember that methane is a flammable gas: use a flashlight, never a lantern!

- If you've found the one porta-potty in the row that still has toilet paper in it, don't consider selling pieces to those standing in line. This breeds envy and discontent.

- If you are a Lincoln reenactor be sure to have an Honor Guard attend you in your visits to the porta-potty. Not only does it preserve the dignity of your office, it also protects you against any Rebel kidnapping conspiracies that may have hatched...

- By all means, ascertain that the porta-potty you intend to use is placed on the ground in a stable fashion.

- Before entering a porta-potty which may be occupied, announce your intentions with a cry of "Coming through!"

- Before the long drive home on Sunday, use the buddy system. If your buddy doesn't re-emerge from the porta-potty after a reasonable amount of time (say an hour), seek help immediately!

- Finally, whatever you do, DON'T LOOK DOWN!