I’m not easily grossed out, but I figure that it’s probably best if human waste is not discussed on public blogs, at least those that are not dedicated to some sort of medical topic. And for sure photographs of human feces should hardly be necessary to illustrate any post on any topic, including exotic maladies. Yet here I am, violating the boundaries of good taste. (I have miniaturized and tried to be as unoffensive as possible.)
A chain link fence is being replaced on our campus, including a section with a gate that leads to my field site. Lines of red spray paint on the ground traced the intended route of the fence, while utilities were glaringly marked with both fluorescent green spray paint and a row of perky blue flags. Nevertheless, yesterday one worker pulled up a flag, carefully set it aside, and proceeded to drill a post hole with great precision right into a gas line. Our entire side of campus had to be evacuated.
Today I noticed the three guys who had so stunningly misconstrued the cautionary cues had been replaced by three new fellows. One, in fact, emerged from the woods ahead of me as I was returning from the field to our lab with the morning’s first batch of birds to be banded. It seemed to me to be only a marginal improvement to go from nitwits
who had drilled into a gas line to guys too lazy to walk 30 yards to the nearest building to take a leak. At least this dude’s casual bathroom habits wouldn’t cause an inconvenience like the broken gas line, I thought to myself. Oh, how wrong I was.
We were greeted on our next trip out to the field by a huge pile of crap right next to one of our bird banding nets. No coyote leaves a heap like this, or a napkin from Subway (motto: “Eat Fresh”) next to it. I resorted to sticking a (the?) discarded gas line flag into it because we were too busy to do anything but try to avoid it. As you can see if you click on this photo, it is square in the path to the net. This strapping young man apparently needed to grasp the net pole, ignoring that it was not a natural forest object and in the center of an obvious trail, in order to achieve good form so he could pass yesterday’s lunch. I’m sorry to say that by the time things slowed down with the birds, the fence installers had departed. I had no opportunity to pick up the load in a shovel and place it on or near their truck, while sweetly inquiring, “I believe this is yours?”
Instead, I was left to dutifully document the doody. Not for the blog per se, but to accompany a couple of important letters. First, one to the owner of the fence company — let’s call it “Acme Fence and Stool” — advising him that perhaps his firm should add being toilet trained to a list of qualifications for employment. And another to our vice chancellor, congratulating him on finding a contractor that was not only low-bid, but clearly made up of “special needs” employees, scoring points for the University.
I realize that fence installers may not be the sharpest tools in the shed, but is this really the level to which our labor force has stooped (or squatted)? This incident was just so egregiously pathetic I was left not enraged, or disgusted, or even particularly surprised. It just completely bums me out that there are so many mindless, oblivious cretins walking around. Readers, do not assail me with similar stories! I don’t want to know how many MORE idiots there are out there like this carefree defecator. If you can find a silver lining in this crappy situtation, however, please leave a comment.