Posted by fxckfeelings on July 13, 2009Share This Post
This post might not be for the faint of heart, but then again, life rarely is. After all, shit is inescapable, not just as metaphor but as reality, thus, it’s worth exploring those issues that deal not just with emotional crap, but with crap, period. Here at fxckfeelings.com, we take your shit seriously. Literally.
OK, I’m having an issue with a guy at work, and it’s pretty gross, but it’s also driving me crazy and nobody will take me seriously. I can’t say exactly where I work, but it’s the kind of bureaucratic place where nobody ever gets fired. Like you’d have to murder someone in the office, and even then, vacation without pay. This guy recently got kicked down to my office, which is pretty small and windowless (it’s a filing sort of thing), and I’m not sure what landed him here—he’s nice enough, although he’s a little creepy around girls—but all I do know is that he farts. All the time. And I know, it’s funny, ha ha, but it’s not funny when you have to spend all day with him and he occasionally bends over to file something and lets one rip in your fucking face. Normally, I’d just bust his balls about it, but he has zero sense of humor, and I think he’d just stare at his feet and say nothing and avoid me in the future. Which would be great, except our desks are right next to one another. My boss thinks it’s a joke and told me to deal with it. But it’s not a joke, it’s fucking gross, and working with him makes my sick, literally. So my goal is to get someone to take me seriously and help me deal with this guy.
Congratulations! You’ve come to the right doctor because, while I rarely care about your feelings, I always take farts seriously. After all, is it possible to feel happy without happy bowels? Of course not.
I’ve often theorized, (if not in scientific meetings, at least at family get-togethers), that farts were the first form of pheromonic communication, before people learned to lie by making sounds with their vocal cords. After all, while assholes often lie, farts do not.
Then the brain routes their message directly to the amygdala, (I’m sure that’s what brain imagists will discover, when they do the necessary experiments), which is, on the higher level, very similar to what happens when you touch a hot skillet and jump back before you realize what’s happened.
Here, of course, the danger isn’t that you’ll leap from your desk, but that you’ll haul off and slug him or, just as likely, point directly at him and break out laughing. So we have here an ultimate challenge that requires you to rein in the deepest reflexive responses of your brain and body, while your rational mind tries to solve this problem constructively. This should be an Olympic event.
With your feelings tightly “sphinctered,” your goal is to find a non-threatening way to invite him to discuss better management of his gaseous emissions. Tell him you’ve noticed that he has problems with gas and wonder whether it’s causing him distress. If he responds, you can offer suggestions (“activated charcoal worked for my dog”) while suggesting that he step out of the room before relieving himself; otherwise the smell might get (other) people angry.
Offer him this free bit of wisdom: “Bad smells cause bad feelings.” Pinch yourself hard, so that you retain your seriously earnest demeanor and assure him that he never need fear your laughter. And at least get to the bathroom before you release some feelings of your own.
Perhaps a statement might help you retain your sense of purpose and a straight face. “Intestinal gas is a basic form of human communication that probably predates words and, like everyone, I’ve got automatic ways of responding. But if I want to influence this guy’s gas management, I have to distance myself from any possible threat of humiliating him and be prepared to offer practical suggestions, no matter how much I sound like the weird commercials on TV.”
I graduated from college last year and just moved into a house with 5 friends from school. At first, everything was cool—kitchen was clean enough, trash made it’s way out the door, people left each other’s ramen alone, whatever—but now things are kind of falling apart, and, I swear, it’s because one roommate, and nobody will admit it’s them, refuses to flush the toilet. Just won’t do it. And hey, if it’s yellow, let it mellow, I’ve heard that before, but yellow this isn’t, and it’s not just disgusting, it’s rude. I left a note about the toilet that basically said “please flush,” but that didn’t help (actually just seemed to piss everyone off), and now the dishes are getting done less and food is disappearing because everyone’s annoyed and just passively sniping at each other. I don’t want to move (or can’t, really, with the lease) and I don’t want to lose my friends, but I do want the shitter sitter (his nickname) to jiggle the fucking handle already. No, this isn’t a joke.
Believe me, nobody is laughing at your dilemma; overcoming fecalphobia is a crucial part of anyone’s medical school education, right up there with basic anatomy and prolonged insomnia. I like to think of myself as a pioneer in the field of psychoscatology, as the use of shit as a method of communication covers the entire field of human psychology. Trust me, it’s science.
You see, according to the psychoscatological theory, words are unnecessary. Shit is the ur-form for semiotics, the sign of all signs that communicates almost everything you want to say. Flowers ain’t got nothing on it, a diamond ring is meaningless. Say it with shit, for shit is forever.
Of course, you can’t change your roommate’s behavior, and you’ve already learned what happens when you try: more shit. He probably doesn’t even know why he does it or really realize what he’s doing, because planting your shit prominently is an old reflex for asserting control over your territory. At least this is true for pets, but if you’re feeding your roommate and cleaning his mess…well, let’s just hope he doesn’t shed.
If you fight the floater with all your might (and passive-aggressive note-writing skills), you’re the chief cop, and become the target of everyone’s resentment, so being the arbiter of house law and order is a shitty, if not dangerous, goal. After all, the biggest problem, and this applies to most roommate issues, is that whoever is most bothered by the shit gets most covered by it.
Now that you’re ready to accept that your roommate situation has turned to shit, it’s time to invite your roommates to a sit down (on the couch) and ask them whether they feel cooperation on chores has become a problem. If they aren’t bothered by the current state of chaos, then you’ve just gotta flush your anger down and let it go. You’re in the shit, and this is not a battle you can win alone.
If they are bothered, ask them what they think are the most important chores to share and then draw up a schedule. Whatever your real feelings, stifle, because if you show any zeal beyond being just the facilitator, you’re the narc/parent and they’ll all hate you. Then you’re in the shit once more.
Finally, assume that, despite your best efforts, your shitter sitter will not likely be a quitter. Do put pen to paper for more note writing. Put your money in the bank so you can afford to live alone.
Compose a statement to help you keep your real shit out of the negotiations. “I have a right to be disappointed in the carelessness of my roommates, particularly the shit-meister, but there’s little I can do about it except choose better next time and wonder if there’s a warning sign that I missed because I liked these guys too much and didn’t take a close look at their hygiene habits. I’ll try to make things a little better if I can. For now, it’s the old choice of eating less shit now or more shit later.”
More advice from Dr. Lastname