Monday, November 8, 2004

(“Books that Really Make a Splash”)
Restroom Confidential:
Adventures in the Lavatory Underbelly

From the Introduction:

Let’s make this clear: I’m not here to “rag” on my fellow bathroom attendants. I’m writing this to show you—what we lavatory lifers call the “plopping public”—what it’s like to man a busy, pee-stinking, crusty-with-crud two-star restroom, all while being the sexiest man alive. I’ve done it all—from working a Texaco restroom off Route 66 where I brought a fugitive killer to justice mid-bowel movement; to giving five-minute warnings at the restroom of Girlz Girlz Girlz II; to working a celeb-studded party where George Michael had his own private stall; to owning my own automatic toilet in Paris (a mistake I will never make again—and I will tell you why later in this book); to working at my current restroom Les Stalls, where I hope to be spritzing Polo Sport until the day I die. You might not like what I have to say, especially if you are one of the pieces of human detritus that often leaves floaters or has “irritable bowel syndrome.” But by the end of this excretory exposé you’ll realize that restroom attendants were crapped out of the ass of God himself, that’s how superior to you we are. Want to clean up the mess in Iraq? Bring in an army of plunger-wielding, Tilex-squirting, broom-pushing restroom attendants. We don’t take crap from anyone!

From Chapter 1: A Day in the Life:

I wake up at 6 a.m. and dunk my head in the toilet, just to get myself in the zone. It’s going to be a hard day. There’s an Elite Models party tonight and the Elite girls are notorious wash-closet wenches. I need my best female attendant on the job, so I call up Eva, who curses me out for calling her early and hangs up on me. Next I scan the Weather Channel and all five morning papers for things to shoot the shit about while my customers wash their hands—I decide to ask them what they think about Derek Jeter’s slump, since it gives me an excuse to mention that he came into the restroom two nights ago. Ploppers will often return in hopes of seeing a squatting celeb, but I’m careful to defend their privacy—I won’t reveal that Jeter took the biggest dump this side of a Staten Island landfill. Next I text-message my chef to find out what he’ll be preparing that night—he tells me to get a life, meaning he’s probably hung over and will simply reheat the doggies-in-a-blanket from last night’s William Morris party. Less work for him but twice as much for me. My supplier still doesn’t have the specialty four-ply I requested, so I threaten to tear him a new one. He tells me to “get a real job.” I’m sorry, bud, this job is realer than a crap on a hot tin roof. Now it’s off to Chinatown where I sample knock-off cologne for four hours. No way am I getting caught with my pants down at the meez (the mise-en-scène is what we restroomers call the sink. Your basic meez includes cologne, mints, hand towels, etc., but every attendant has his own flourish: I know a Spanish attendant who I’ll call El Toro Loco who insists on having Smints imported in bulk from Barcelona. Looking at tonight’s guest list, I see Chris Noth might be at the party, so I drop into Target for some eyebrow clippers. Finally I arrive at my restroom. This is my favorite time—just before restroom rush hour, when all is quiet and the shit has not yet hit the fan (hmm, maybe we should get a fan in here).

From Chapter 6: Just a Tip:

I know, I know, you don’t think you should have to tip a restroom attendant. Why should you have to turn your hard-earned money over to some Mexican guy who’s babysitting your bowels? Trust me on this one, kids: tip your restroom attendant. The restroom attendant is always in cahoots with the waiters, and two drops of Visine on a shrimp fritter does very interesting things to the human digestive system. I have a photographic memory of every plopper that has ever stiffed me—I remember one guy who left a king-sized coil in the bowl and then walked without washing, ignoring my calls of “no hope without soap.” A few minutes later a server found him talking to Charlie Rose and Harvey Weinstein. Believe me, he shat a brick all over again when she held a silver tray out to him and offered something that definitely wasn’t kosher. Next time, leave some ones if you’ve got the runs! That’s right, don’t let it rip without leaving a tip! customers who bought this book also bought:

Wipe Up and Ship Out: The True Story of a Man Who Got Canned on the Can
by D. Bruce

Daniel Maurer can also be found at McSweeney’s, Stop Smiling, Modern Drunkard, The Modernist, The Black Table. Free Williamsburg, Broken Newz, and Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood. He has also written for Nerve, Shecky’s, Arriviste Press, Metro newspaper, and others.

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