Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Day 4: Pobject's bathroom graffiti

It’s cliché to extol the democracy of the misspelled words and poorly-drawn penises that cover men’s room stall walls in every city in every state, so I’ll set democracy aside and extol instead the safety and security those scrawls can offer. Given all that’s unpredictable in life, bathroom graffiti can give a measure of calm and constancy. There’s something comforting in knowing that, until someone slaps on a new coat of paint, the same pithy pun or hateful screed will be there the next time you come, and the next, and the next.

There was a memorable graffito on the wall of the second-floor men’s room in Robinson Hall, at eye level, butting up against the divider between the left and center urinals. Several times a day for over five years “Bill Nye the Science Guy says hi. And then again, goodbye. Why do you cry? Why, oh why do you cry? Die, die, DIE! *sigh*” greeted me while I tended to the matters at hand. No matter how crazy or chaotic my day was, no matter how many times I read them, the words brought a chuckle. More than once I thought I’d try to add to them, but “How wry!” was the best I could come up with. I left it off.

One day I went downstairs to find the door propped open and a bright orange wooden sign plopped in front of the doorway. “WET PAINT” it declared in stenciled block letters. The room reeked of fresh paint. Every flat surface was impeccably clean. I shut the door and went to take my stand.

The words were gone, painted over. So, I would soon learn, were those decking the toilet stall walls, though since then several new graffiti have sprung up like stubborn dandelions from a new-mown lawn, a scatological palimpsest several layers deep.

There’s still an empty spot where Bill Nye met his demise, though. I’m not sure what can take its place.

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