If you shy away from potty-talk, be forewarned. Maybe you were blessed to always have a shiny porcelain seat nearby when you had to go, but I haven’t always been so lucky. I have too many awkward stories to share, so I’ll try to keep this to my top five.
5. Port-a-pee- I have to immediately pay my respect to the port-a-potty, the porta-john, the lean green-pee keeper, and those are the G-rated nicknames. From the 130 degree port-a-potty sauna in Baghdad to my baby-wipe porta-john baths during ROTC training exercises, the pee-keeper had many uses. Fond memories, me and that john.
4. Command-directed Urinalysis- Sounds harmless, right? On the contrary, it was never fun having someone stand right over the top of me watching as I tried to hover over a toilet seat, Army shorts around my ankles, attempting to pee into a tiny plastic cup. Whose idea was it to require the drug test include a raised seat for females, and then, to add to the humiliation, require carrying that cup-o-pee above my head down a hallway of onlookers to the turn-in point? Not fun.
3. Using the landscape- The Army allowed me to perfect peeing behind trees, small shrubs, and sand dunes. I always tried to be discreet, but at some point gave up being embarrassed about someone seeing my butt cheeks. When you gotta go, you gotta go. I recently found out there is an actual device, I think it’s called a “Female Funnel,” that allows women to pee standing up. Where was that 10 years ago??
2. The Iraqi Toilet- I used this toilet during my first deployment. Luckily, one of our soldiers hand made stalls for privacy, but he couldn’t find a solution for the flies. This five-gallon oil can was the worst toilet I’ve used to date and I will spare you the gritty details. Let’s just say, the remains were burnt every morning and that smell will stick with me forever.
1. The Creeping Pee Puddle. So there I was, on the side of the Kuwaiti highway trying to find a place to pee. I had been holding it for hours during our convoy… no, F.O.R.E.V.E.R., and it was the first safe stop in the middle of nowhere. Without vegetation to squat behind and getting a little desperate, the missile launcher in front of my vehicle looked like a possibility. So I, uhhh, grabbed some hand holds, lodged my feet on a cross bar and… sweet relief. Hard to describe balancing five feet off of the ground on the back of a PATRIOT missile launcher to pee, but I bet it’s a little like peeing off the end of a fire truck ladder. I thought I was pretty innovative until I noticed the creeping puddle that spread from under my feet heading directly for a group of my soldiers and, of course, my crusty platoon sergeant. I’m pretty sure they all knew what it was seeping under their boots, but to this day, not a single one of them has said a word.
So last bit of advice, peeing in weird places makes for funny stories, but please… watch out for inclines.