I was flushed with excitement when I made the team. I almost flipped my lid. Not one to fly off the handle, I was resolute and went about the business of doing my job. This consisted mainly of navigating a dinghy about a very small body of water. I’d sing as I tackled the task. “I sail the ocean blue and my saucy shit’s a beauty. I’m a sober man and true, and attentive to my doody. Ahoy! Ahoy!”
For I had set my sights high. I was the man lucky enough to know his own destiny. One day, if I worked hard enough, my teammates and I, as members of the Pack Ten conference, would play in The Toilet Bowl. Perhaps not the bowl sponsored by Tostitos but at least the one that had Ex-Lax, Preparation H and Beano.
And we made it, too, quite literally by the seat of our pants.
[/end of dream sequence]
Blob “Constas” Pation here, and today we take a look at the storied career of Tom B. Taker, a man so dedicated to his
crap craft that he has worked the last 11 years within spitting distance of toilets. It’s a story ripped from the anals of history. We caught up with the man as he set out to maintain this blistering pace and go for the world record of twelve years in a row.
I’ve seen it all in my career but the last 11 years really take the urinal cake. For 16 years I worked at a large company in a five-story building. Each floor had it’s own bathroom. The bathrooms contained six toilet stalls in a row. These opposed a row of six urinals. Employees would frequently visit floors other than their own for some perceived improvement in the potty break experience. The ground floor was considered low class.
Then I spent some time working for an information company. They occupied a building of approx. the same size except it was 10 stories high. Strangely enough, the bathrooms were much, much smaller. Only two stalls each. The square building was designed with the elevators near the exact center. The bathrooms were located nearby. The offices and working areas were located around the perimeter. Most cubicles were in the outer ring and had windows. These were considered the most desirable places to work. They were also the farthest from the restroom.
The inner ring consisted mainly of windowless meeting rooms and cubicles for lower class employees who were informally known as losers. There were closer to the restrooms. You’ll never guess which ring I called home. I didn’t know it at the time but I was already well on my way.
Even though the company consisted of a distinct class structure, it was still a pretty good life, at least as far as the restroom was concerned. I had hit my class ceiling. The physical separation of work area from the restroom meant that odors didn’t cross from one realm to the other. (You’ll see the significance of this momentarily.) A fringe bonus was that if you went to the restroom every single person at the company did not know exactly what you were doing, how long it took, and how much noise was involved.
A buffer in proximity equated to a certain amount of privacy in the privy.
A coworker or boss would stop by your cubicle, see you were gone, and simply shrug. “Where the hell is Tom?” Well, he could be anywhere. Yes, he could be in the restroom. But he could also be in the cafeteria a meeting, someone else’s cubicle, or a multitude of other places in this giant building. Thus, there was no certainty of knowledge about his bodily functions. That was a huge perk.
Then everything changed. I moved from one of the biggest cities to one of the smallest. I didn’t know it but I had just embarked on what I would later come to know as The Decade of Despair. The date was literally (and I’m not making this up): September 11, 2001.
I still vividly remember that day. My wife woke me up and I watched CNN for hours. It’s one of those moments frozen in time in my memory. It was also my first day of my new job. I remember wondering, “In light of these attacks, do I still go to work?”
The answer was “yes” and the Decade of Despair was officially underway.
Since that day my career has consisted of three jobs. All are identical in the following respects:
- Very small office space
- One restroom
- Pussbag owner(s)
- Five or less employees
- Inappropriate use of industrial facility for office/store (AKA cheap rent)
A small space and only one toilet? What could possible go wrong? Well, I’m going to tell you. That’s the point of this expedition.
Notes: In all three jobs I happened to be the one son of a bitch closest to the toilet. Period. Bar none. You’ll also note the structural design elements. Nothing separates me from the toilet except for a few studs and a couple layers of sheet rock.
It’s been 11 years 17 days and counting. Cheer me on as I go for the record. Twelve years in a row of working within six feet of the toilet!
The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat. The cloud of smell that engulfs me every single time somebody does their business at the business. And the sounds? The soundtrack of my life.