The Poop Doctor's "Enjoy Your Bliss"
Dear Poop Doctor,
I'm curious. Why do you call it poop? Why not shit or crap or dung or turd cake?
What About DooDoo
That's a great question, WAD. Poop is a vast enterprise. There could never be a definitive discussion about it, nor is there an ideal word that embodies it.
But I call it poop.
I don't know exactly why, probably because my parents did as, I am sure, their parents did. I had a pair of great-grandparents who didn't call it poop at all, but that's through no fault of their own. They were both born deaf and mute. When I was a boy, poop was known as poopy. But like little boys who had been known as Billy until they were old enough to be called Bill, once I was old enough, poopy became poop.
Poop just seems like the right word. Maybe I like the onomatopoeia of it all. It's got a nice sound, very non-threatening, just poop, plop, right into the toilet. Don't get me wrong. I've tried other words. B.M.'s a popular one, but when I was on my B.M. kick in middle school, a turd guru beat the living B.M. out of me. Sophisticates favor excrement, but that sounds a bit too proper for something that comes out of your butt. Ca-ca, for some reason, makes me think of a bird, and I keep picturing a pile of poop with feathers flying around, wreaking havoc on the neighborhood, and screeching, "Ca! Ca!" For some reason this disturbs a lot of people when I tell them it, especially girlfriends, grandmothers, and clergy. Other words I've used, like dung and doo-doo, both have had their moments, sure, and asscake was a joyous synonym until its involvement in my friend Herman's fatal birthday party disaster of '96. I miss you, Herman.
I like poop because it is both a noun and a verb. I think that's important. And sure, that makes crap and shit qualify, but—well actually, crap and shit can be used as pronouns and adjectives too, as in, "I can't believe you packed this much crap for a shitty little weekend trip to Rosarito." Or in a prepositional phrase, such as, "At that point, my grandma was shitfaced and four craps to the wind." Hell, you can even tick off an old grammarian with a dangling participle: "While crapping on the sidewalk, Bob's shit began to stink." You know, the shit itself is not doing the crapping. It's a common grammatical error.
The thing is, crap and shit mean so much more than just poop. Like hermaphrodites, they're extremely versatile. They can be used in an expression of surprise, like, "Holy crap! Look at that hermaphrodite!" Or, "Holy shit! Look at that hermaphrodite...running down the street, naked, chasing a dozen free-range chickens wearing—are those sombreros?"
And speaking of farm animals, crap and shit are great descriptive words too. Say I'm eating a bowl of my mother's carrot stew. I'd say, "Mom, this carrot stew tastes like horsecrap." Or if it's really bad, I'd say, "This tastes like horseshit."
Not that I've ever eaten horseshit or horsecrap for that matter. Horseshit doesn't look that appealing. It's heavily loaded in nutritional value only if good nutrition requires lots of bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
So people rarely eat horseshit, but we seem to know exactly what we're talking about when we say something tastes like it. I suppose we only needed one guy to eat it, and he spread the word around.
The fact of the matter is that if you examine our language a bit closer, you'll find we use combinations of various farm animals and the word shit in all sorts of similes: tastes like horseshit, smells like pigshit, looks like cowshit, sounds like bullshit. That's four of the five senses right there. And these words are used in such a negative manner. Besides being slaughtered and eaten, it's not as if these farm animals have a lot to look forward to. But they hear this stuff, and it really has a lousy impact on their self-esteem. They'd never do anything about it, of course. Most farm animals are a bunch of chickenshits, but it's sad to think about anyway.
Another common use of crap and shit is to describe ourselves.
"How are you doing, Otis?"
"Ah, man, I feel like crap."
Ah yes, feeling like crap. We've all felt like it before. Of course, only people who've changed diapers, swallowed a condom full of blow and fished it out, or wiped and missed the toilet paper ever really know what crap feels like. Well technically, as it's coming out, we feel it, maybe getting a sense of its texture and density, but it's not as if we play around with it like Play-Doh or something.
"How are you doing, Otis?"
"Ah, man, my life is shit."
Very interesting. In this case, an intangible concept, life, is compared to our faithful bodily waste. Isn't poop grand?
So my little brother, Davey, whose personality we blame on bad techno music, video games, and his leap-year birthday, seems to use the word shit more often than the sun shines. He prefers to use it, though, as a transitional phrase, such as, "She had hold of him by the freakin' agates for about forty-five minutes before he passed out, but shit that reminds me of the time Dad dropped the egg salad at my first communion, and Mom blew her top."
He's also been known to use shit in place of an "um" to bide time. When playing Trivial Pursuit, I'll ask him a question, "What three European countries begin with the letter A?"
And he'll say, "Ah, shit, shit, Albania, shit, shit, shit, shit, Austria, and, shit, shit, what is it, shit, shit, shit, I know it, shit shit, oh, is it Andorra?"
So shit and crap have a wonderful versatility, but it's because they're so versatile that they cannot match the word poop when describing actual poop. There's no mistaking poop for any of the things I mentioned before. Sure, you could get by with using poop in a transitional phrase, but people aren't going to take you seriously. Besides, you can have a whole lot of something and call it shit, but it can be anything in the world, whatever one deems shitworthy. But if you have a whole lot of poop, you know exactly what you're talking about. And crap. You can put up with a whole lot of crap in your life, but if you put up with a whole lot of poop, you're gonna sink, and it will cave in around you. Poop, I guess, is more visceral.
A wiser man than myself once said it best, "If poop sticks to me, I'm gonna stick with it." And that makes complete sense to me.
Dear Poop Doctor,
I am an eighteen-year-old female, and my boyfriend insists that girls don't poop. I can't convince him otherwise without actually pooping on him, and I don't want to open up that window. Can you tell him we poop?
Girls Poop And Love It
Chicks poop, man. Come on. Don't be a dick.
The Poop Doctor is a nationally syndicated advice column. Dr. Aloysius "Billy" Nunama is neither a licensed physician nor does he know anything about psychology or psychiatry. But his fifty-two years of pooping experience speaks for itself.
E-mail your pooping concerns to email@example.com.
* Please Note: The Poop Doctor is not responsible for injuries or emergencies resulting from misconstrued advice or copycat poopings.