My friend George likes to push the envelope, any old envelope will do. He’s always got a one-liner ready to go and he can’t resist a good comeback. We clicked as soon as we met, probably because I’m a lot like him. I knew he was just trying to be provocative when he suggested I do a post about how long people spend going to the bathroom, but it worked. I’m going to give it a whirl.
Remember the movie, The Big Chill? It’s one of my all-time favorites. In case you never saw it or don’t remember it, a bunch of friends from college get together for the weekend after one of them dies. It had a phenomenal cast and even better music. (It’s a little known fact that the corpse at the beginning of the movie, whose head is never seen, was played by Kevin Costner.) Jeff Goldblum was in it, a very young Jeff Goldblum, and a very young Kevin Kline, and, face it, the movie came out in 1983, they were all very young; Glenn Close, William Hurt, Mary Kay Place, Tom Berenger. I loved them all. I wanted to belong to a group like that so badly. I still do. Sigh.
Jeff Goldblum played a character who wrote for People Magazine. He said his job was to write pieces that were short enough that the average person could read one in the time it took to take a crap. I tried to find the exact quote on the web, but after half an hour I’m giving up. I thought that line was hilarious so why doesn’t it appear in any of the lists of Big Chill quotes? I guess it wasn’t that funny. It was, however, the first thing I thought of when George challenged me to write about the time people spend on the pot.
The next thing I thought of was the children’s book, Everyone Poops. By the time it was published in 2001, we’d already established that fact with my daughter so I never felt the need to explore that book further than the title. Then, a couple of years ago, I read Augusten Burroughs’ Running with Scissors. That’s a memoir about a truly bizarre childhood. His mother couldn’t cope, so she sent him to live with her psychiatrist, who was crazier than she was. (Running with Scissors has been made into a movie as well, and while they did a decent job of bringing it to the screen, if you haven’t seen or read it, I’d recommend that you read it.) The patriarch of the family, his mother’s psychiatrist, is fascinated by his poop (his own poop). He scoops it out of the toilet, intact, and puts it out in the yard to dry so he can study it. Mind you, we’re never told how long it takes him to produce the poop so perhaps it’s not relevant, but it popped into my head and there it is.
This is the point where I usually manage to cough up something that will tie the threads of the blog post together; some reference that will make the reader go ahh, or ah ha, or maybe just ha ha. I’m having trouble doing that this time. Maybe it’s because I’m feeling a little rumbly in my tummy and it’s distracting me. I know what to do; I’ll take a break and go to the bathroom. Now then, where did I put the latest New Yorker?
Loved “Running w/ Scissors.” The poop analysis was hysterical. Gross but hysterical. Also loved the soundtrack to The Big Chill. This still remains the theme song for my life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM_p1Az05Jo&feature=related
I can’t find the quote either but it is definitely something about how everything he writes must not be longer than it takes the average person to take a crap….
Thanks for the validation!
You knew someone would dig this one up for you, didn’t you?
The Big Chill (1983)
00:28:06 How about you, Michael? Tell us about bigtime journalism.
00:28:12 Where l work we have only one editorial rule:
00:28:14 No writing longer than an average person can read during an average crap.
00:28:20 l’m tired of having my work read in the can.
00:28:22 People read Dostoyevsky in the can.
Kimberly! Thank you sooo much! It *was* a funny line, in a funny scene. I owe you one.
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I thought the threads were going to be tied together by a comment that you were ending this blog because you were done on the toilet…
That would have been great. I wish I’d thought of that.
I am looking for the same quote and TMI I am literally never mind