Pee on Poo, Potty on the Shoe · 10 October 2008

Brook was my best friend in elementary school. We played football on the same team. We almost always had the same teacher each year. And we, along with my brother, Russell, walked or rode our bikes to school everyday together until my family moved to a different part of town.

Those walks to and from school were great adventures. We had only two busy streets to cross and there were lots of neighborhoods to walk through. Often times, we would walk through the park to save a little distance. Times must be different now. I do not know that I would like my 10-year old to walk about a mile to school but that is what we used to do.

Some of the adventures we had were just crossing the busy street where there was no cross walk or intersection. Sometimes it would be running by a house with a dog who always barked at us. And sometimes the adventure would be getting through the park without getting too wet (there was a ditch to be jumped in the spring), or too dirty (there were the merry-go-round and swings that needed to be ridden and bases that needed sliding into). And there were, of course, girls that needed to be avoided or run into depending on how old we happened to be at the time. One of my most vivid memories of walks to or from school is not of a great adventure but of a christening of a hallowed site in the park.

Brook, Russell, and I were walking home as usual. Brook and I were probably in the third or fourth grade which meant that Russell was in second or third. The park was just about halfway home distance-wise but sometimes we hit a time warp and it took forever to get home. One of our favorite things to do besides jumping from the swing was getting the merry-go-round to go as fast as we could. We would either have somebody lay down with his head in the middle looking up while the other two spun it as fast as we could or we would get it going super fast then try to stand up in the middle. We might have done one or both of those things that day, but whatever else happened, we definitely hit a time warp.

On the days that we did not hit a time warp, we could usually make it home without a pit stop. And in the fall and spring when the weather was constantly nice, the restrooms were open so it did not matter whether we hit a time warp or not. As we left the time warp and continued walking, it became clear that we were not going to make it home without one or more of us having an accident. Unless we found a place to relieve ourselves.

We tried all of the restroom doors, even the girl’s, before we realized that we would need to find a private tree or ditch someplace. However, it was not late enough in the spring for the restrooms to be open. Russell and I were used to relieving ourselves outside because our grandparents still had an outhouse. And Brook was used to it too because his family camped a lot. But none of us could not just do it out in the open in the middle of the park. We were too modest for that.

We decided that we would try for home while keeping our eyes open for a good spot. We quickened our pace. As we got toward the side of the park nearest our homes, we found the perfect spot.

The edge of the park was marked by a row of poplar trees (or some kind of trees that grow straight up). Behind it, about two feet or so, was a set of fences to people’s backyards. Between the trees and fences, there was a tiny runoff ditch. We found a place where the fence was not see-through. Just in time. None of us could have waited a minute longer.

As modest as we were toward others, peeing simultaneously in one spot did not matter to us. It was not an issue. After the relief finally hit, we even realized that we were peeing on the exact same spot and that spot happened to be a pile of dog poo. Also, being in third or fourth grade, one or more of us dribbled pee on his shoes. Not being one who would miss an opportunity to be deep or philosophical, Brook dedicated the spot with a haiku. He recited:

      Hey look.
      Pee on poo.
      Potty on the shoe.

After that first time and dedication, we used that spot many times on our trips home. And whether or not there was dog doo, the spot was always, “Pee on Poo, Potty on the Shoe.”

I suppose that even today, some thirty years later, I could go to the exact spot in the park. Perhaps one day, I will put a plaque there reminding people of a simpler time when long walks home were full of fun and adventure. And potty breaks.

© 2008 Michael T. Miyoshi

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From Long Walks Home or Pee on Poo, Potty on the Shoe, unpublished.



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