Fifteen minutes ago, I encountered an unflushed turd in the bowl of a workplace toilet. A harmless event that nonetheless evoked kneejerk revulsion and tested my character. Would I step up and bravely flush, or would I flee?
Let's weigh the options.
Strategy 1: Flush, Then Use Toilet
This is what mature adults do. Someone has to flush it, and as the first person on the scene ("first responder") you assume temporary flushing responsibility. The toilet is not tainted; this is why toilets exist, to contain and subsequently dispose of poop. Calm down. Quit squealing "ew." It's the way the system works.
Strategy 2: Use Toilet, Then Flush
Same logic as above, but grosser. Sure, the poo isn't going to leap out and touch you, but do you really want to hang your naked nethers over someone else's butt gunk? No. You do not. Not unless you're some kind of stranger poop fetish freak. (Or maybe an environmentalist.)
Strategy 3: Cautionary Toilet Plunge
But what if the stray poop is there because the toilet is clogged? And you panic-flush, and it floods the bowl, and poop spills everywhere, and everyone thinks it's your fault because you're the one standing there with your hot little hand on the silver flusher, while a tidal wave of shit swirls at your feet? If you're the cautious sort, you may approach the situation with a plunger in hand.
Strategy 4: Run
But if you are like me, you are neither cautious nor responsible nor a mature adult. In the presence of a human turd of unknown origin, you regress to a barely-verbal fugue state, primitive lizard-brain taking over. Must. Escape. Poop. Choking back giggle/screams, you avail yourself to the nearest cautious, responsible, mature adult.
"THERE IS AN UNFLUSHED POOP IN ONE OF THE BATHROOMS," you type at Brian Moylan.
"oh shit which one i'll do it," he replies.
Brian walks to the bathroom. He flushes. You wonder, briefly, whether anyone saw your tag-team effort, and now thinks you are poop fetish freaks together. When Brian returns he nods slightly to signal that the deed has been done.
Sand through the hour glass, pee through the toilet bowl, these are the bathroom dilemmas of our lives.