I rarely have occasion to utilize a crowded public restroom, but in the seventh inning stretch of last Sunday's game between the Pirates and the Astros at Pittsburgh's PNC Park, I strolled down from the Carbolic Smoke Ball box behind home plate to visit with vendor T.C. Congdon, who was working near the visitor's dugout. (Whenever I am in town, I confer with Mr. Congdon on cases pending before the United States Supreme Court.) Before venturing back upstairs, I decided to stop at the restroom, an experience that is forever etched into my memory.
While I was standing at the urinal, two college-aged men assumed spots at the urinals immediately to my right. They were conversing in the inane style of that age group, peppering every sentence of their idiotic dialogue with the word "like." They prattled on about mammary glands and the female canal leading from the uterus, undoubtedly the only biological concepts of which they have any understanding. When they had finished emptying what once was illegally imbibed beer from their underaged bladders, one of the young men immediately fled out the door in the de rigueur fashion of that age group without washing his hands. My mind instinctively conjured up all manner of hideous scenario involving those bacteria-laden claws groping some unsuspecting young woman.
As repellent as that spectacle was, it was nothing compared to what was about to occur. The other young man, the one immediately next to me, proceeded to perform an act that can only be described as appalling.
Please understand that at all pertinent times, in accordance with proper urinal etiquette, my eyes were pointed straight ahead. But damn my peripheral vision! Despite my best efforts, I could not help but notice that when the young man had finished his task, he began to shake his instrument as is customary in such circumstances. I shall spare our female readers excessive description of this strange male ritual, but suffice it to say that the maximum allowable shakes is four. There is ample Supreme Court precedent to that effect.
But this particular young man did not stop at four. He did four, then seven, then -- I stopped counting. Worse, he was not content with merely shaking it. It became a sort of whip as he spastically snapped it forward with such rapidity that I seriously thought it would generate a sonic boom, the first body part to break the sound barrier.
Somewhere in the course of this horror show, he began to twirl the offending appendage in a manner usually reserved for the tassels of busty female strippers. I wish I could say that the spray did not splatter my glasses but that would be untrue.
There was, of course, no legitimate reason for this revolting display of penile calisthenics. I could not help but think that this urinal, constructed to serve a useful purpose, had been transmogrified into a near-occasion of sin.
Thankfully, I was able to depart the room without further witness to this nauseating exhibition. For all I know, the boy is still in there shaking away.
You see, it isn't enough that the members of this generation of nitwits have desecrated the English language, abandoned religion because it does not add to their immediate gratification (and because religion disapproves of conduct that does add to their immediate gratification), and transformed their wholesale lack of taste in music, literature, art and motion pictures into the very engines that drive capitalism. No, this young man's misconduct was an example of the singular failing that invariably signals the decline and eventual collapse of a great society: ignorance of proper urinal etiquette.
I am sorry to say we are doomed. And the Pirates lost to the Astros, 1-0.
The Hon. Harry Blackmun,
Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court
Excerpted from a speech delivered to the Pennsylvania Bar Institute.