My grandparents did not have all “modern” amenities until I was 17 years old. The outhouse was last of the pre-modern amenities to become obsolete. My grandfather had conceded to move beyond the well and hand pumps about a year earlier because “idiots” had connected to city water and had begun to use their wells as septic tanks. You can understand why he opted to join the ranks of paying for piped in water. Who wants to risk drinking polluted water? But he was none too happy about it.
Next came the demise of the outdoor toilet. It was not by my grandfather’s choice. Who would think of going to the toilet in the house!?! The outhouse had served people well for untold numbers of years. However, the city mandated it, and he was forced to comply. I was glad he did. I hated the outdoor toilet. The smell was bad. It was hot in the summer inhabited by flies, wasps, other bugs, and occasional snakes. It was freezing in the winter time. I have a pretty good idea where the phrase about subjecting one’s posterior to frostbite might have originated. The only upside to winter time was the absence of insects and other varmints. The outhouse, a visit out of necessity.
My younger brother was even more resistant to the idea of visiting the outhouse than was I. Visits to our grandparents were often a week in length. So, it is a long time to go to not go. My brother would get constipated because he delayed the inevitable. I remember our mother urging him to go. My grandmother chimed in, too. “Stevie, you just have to go out there, sit there, and think about it.” I do not think she was fully aware of why he was so reluctant. The toilet was a foreboding place. If simply thinking had been all the was necessary, he could have pre-prepared and been very ready to go when his rear hit the cutout.
Anyway, the sign in the men’s bathroom brought back that memory. Inspirational sign, indeed. Believing you can, and then putting forth effort, can prevent all types of constipation. What do you and I need to think about and believe?