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Double toilet trouble

Even if you are the kind of man (and I mean men only here) who uses public toilets (they are not bathrooms, nobody bathes; they are not rest rooms, nobody rests) strictly for their intended business and gets the heck out of there, then Larry Crai...

Even if you are the kind of man (and I mean men only here) who uses public toilets (they are not bathrooms, nobody bathes; they are not rest rooms, nobody rests) strictly for their intended business and gets the heck out of there, then Larry Craig has made things tougher for you.

Sen. Craig, R-Minneapolis-St. Paul InternationalAirport, ran afoul of the vice squad in the men's room of the Twin Cities airport acouple of weeks ago, and, after pleading guilty to "disorderly conduct," resigned his Senate seat (maybe) under a cloud of suspicion that he might be something other than what he said he was,sexual orientation-wise, and acted on it in a public convenience. You could say he came out of the water closet.

Attending the Minnesota State Fair on Labor Day, like everyone else overindulging in food and beverage, I found myself in several publictoilets. There are no-more-public public toilets than those at the State Fair. They try to spruce them up with fresh paint from time to time, but the men's rooms at the fair hark back to the era of early plumbing and mass evacuation (of wastes), involving standing (remember, we're talking men here) side-by-side-by-side at troughs with no barriers between users. For more seriousbusiness, ominous-looking stalls are provided.

There are toilet rules tofollow at the fair, developed by me over many years.

Rule No. 1: Never use a stall unless its need is so pressing, you couldn't possibly trek on without collapsing and getting dirt all over your cotton candy. (Rule No. 1-A is never carry cotton candy into the toilet, or, better yet, avoidcotton candy entirely.)

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Rule No. 2 is: Never speak to or meet eyes with any other male.

Rule No. 3: Take care of business and retreat asquickly as you can. And here's a new rule: Keep your feet to yourself. Men's rooms are no place for Restless Leg Syndrome.

What does Senator Craig have to do with all this? Even if you follow the rules, you worry that others think you might be there for reasons other than those stated on the door. So you effect an aloof, almost hostile demeanor similar to that of CEOs who are paid 423 times the average salary of the people who work for them, and who, contrary to the image they project, also use toilets.

Conversely, you alsosuspect that males there might be "Craiging" around the place, although you can't be sure because you never actually look at them.

I was approached in a men's room once. It was in a dingy bar not far from Times Square in New York City, which I had entered out of desperation solely to use the facilities. As I headed for the "can," I became aware of a hulking, malevolent-looking man following a few steps behind me.

Oh-oh, I'm thinking, this could be bad. A mugging? Who knew? But I strode on, opening the door to find the men's room empty, except for me and the guy following me. Inside, I turned on my heel, and he approached, pulling up his sleeve.

"Wanna buy a watch, man?" he asked, displaying half a dozen on his arm.

How do you spell relief?R-O-L-E-X.

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E-mail Jim Heffernan at vheffernan@earthlink.net . To read previous columns go to duluthnewstribune.com.

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