Thursday, October 6, 2011

Quick Takes - Etiquette

Fancy meeting you here. Eh? Get it? You guys get it ...

Bathroom etiquette is always a touchy subject. But as an acclaimed bathroom scientist, I prefer we break down the barriers of social convention and get right into the thick of things. There's too much to discuss to worry about whether or not it's "acceptable" to talk about it. So here we go! There is an optimal stall position, in circumstances with an even number of stalls and a handicapped kicker at the end, that I fear most people aren't aware of. I shall set the scene:

Say you have four stalls, and the final stall is handicapped, that leaves only three available stalls for use, excluding full-house emergencies (or if you're actually handicapped, then please, by all means). That final stall, no matter how roomy it may be, is strictly off-limits to the able-bodied. Don't give me one of those, "But there are no handicapped people who work here!" or "I'll be quick!" excuses. You can use one of the three smaller ones. Grow up.

Now, if you are the lone ranger in an empty bathroom, choosing stall 2 is just the worst thing you can do. You've essentially handic... uh, held back your fellow bathroom users from having a comfortable, enjoyable time. If you choose stall 2, you are forcing a second entrant to saddle up on either side of your stall, instead of giving them the one stall buffer they deserve! You must, I repeat, must choose stall 1 or stall 3. There can be no arguments. It's just human decency.

If someone is in the handicapped stall, stalls 1 and 3 are still the only available options, because the additional room afforded to the user of stall four still gives the necessary buffer. Stall 2 people? You're selfish, you're greedy, and you make things awkward and difficult for everyone else. It's fine if you're comfortable in that situation, but the rest of us aren't. I don't want to know what type of shoes a stranger is wearing; I don't want the intimacy that that stall position strangely affords. I want my goddamn buffer. And we owe it to each other, as people, as brothers and sisters of the species, to provide a more dignified experience.

In a 6- or 8-stall environment (how luxurious!), you have many more options. But choosing an even-numbered stall should still be considered blasphemous if you are the first entrant. Start everyone off on the right foot, and we'll all avoid any painful situations. Choose stall 1, or 3, or even 5 if you're that daring in a 6-stall+handicapped kicker. You can choose a 2 or a 4 as well, but you're now limiting the maximum number of comfortable occupants. Don't be that guy. And don't be that girl, either. Be a bathroom hero.
  • As a passionate linguist, I can't help but morph "decertification" into "defecation" when reading about sports agents mulling the decertification of the NBA Players Union to strong-arm owners into making a deal. This lockout is going so well!
  • The Arizona Cardinals invested a lot in trading for Kevin Kolb. Both in trading chips and committed salary (six years, $65 million). When the move happened, a lot of Seahawks fans cried out in terror that a division rival had traded for a guy "we should've traded for!" I was not one of those people. I'm a stats guy, a numbers man, a sabermetrician of sorts, and the production I saw from Kolb in limited reps wasn't anything to trade the farm for. Kolb's hearsay reputation and a handful of decent games landed him a franchise-altering trade and an elite-level contract. The Seahawks, in signing Tarvaris Jackson, have gotten better productivity and efficiency thus far for a much less-dramatic commitment (two years, $8 million). The Seahawks realized that Kolb wasn't worth the price tag Philadelphia had placed on him, and made a smart, financially-responsible decision that's working out better in nearly every way for the Hawks. The irony of this situation is that Arizona fans are now calling in to local radio stations bitching about the trade, and Kolb is having to answer questions from the media about his lackluster performances. Yes, it's still too early to make any conclusions, and most callers to sports radio shows are gigantic trolls who haven't the faintest idea that their smelly troll stench is wafting through the airwaves (mmm, trolllll), but I love when my teams make smart decisions.
  • The NHL starts again tonight! I couldn't be more excited, and to show you my excitement, I will tell you the things I'm most excited about this season ... have I mentioned I'm excited? 1) The Blackhawks: Can they get back to Stanley Cup form? Will their young players take another leap forward? Will they get consistency from the goalie position? Will Patrick Kane play a full game whilst drunk? 2) Alexei Ovechkin flying around the ice like a wrecking ball. There are very few things in sports as spectacular to me. 3) Another season of waiting for the Sedin twins in Vancouver to merge back into a single organism. 4) Jaromir Jagr is playing in the NHL again?! 5) The gathering momentum of a joint NHL/NBA arena being built in Seattle. It's a whimsical idea, and a far-fetched dream, but every NHL season I start to think about an NHL hockey team in Seattle and weep tears of joy. 6) Hockey back in Winnipeg. I hate all the misplaced hockey teams, occupying such lovely winter havens as Tampa Bay, Phoenix, and Nashville. Hockey should be played in cold climate cities, and with the Jets returning to Winnipeg, all feels right with the world. If only they'd been more creative with those awful corporate-friendly jerseys. Blech. 7) And last, but not least, DON MOTHEREFFING CHERRY on Hockey Night in Canada. You go ahead and spend your Saturday night at the "bar" meeting "women," I'll be watching Don and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.
  • I hate preconceived celebrations in sports. If you do something well, act like you've done it before, or be genuinely excited and celebrate like crazy with your teammates/coaches/fans. Chad Ochocinco was the scourge of American sports with his choreographed touchdown celebrations, but he's got nothing on Brazilian footballer Marcello Matrone, who plies his trade at Finnish third-division side HIK (not exactly world beaters, there). See, in Brazil, players are expected to "express themselves" on the pitch (and apparently just off it too). Matrone scored a tap-in goal, ran to the sideline, donned a blonde wig and a microphone stand hidden behind an advertisement and lip-synched to Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child of Mine." It takes a painfully long time to set up and it's amazingly awkward, but I couldn't stop scanning the background of the video, waiting for someone on the opposing team to rip the microphone stand out of his hands and impale him with it like a Viking. The Finnish people really let me down.

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