the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Bathroom Humor

Sophia went to her new therapist tonight.   I waiting for her at a Coffee Bean near the office.

After he session, she came and said, “I talked about YOU to the therapist.  He thinks you may have OCD.”

I have self-diagnosed myself many times, but OCD was never on the list.  I’m sure my father, who flossed twice a day, had OCD, but not me.  I consider myself more “generalized neurotic anxiety.”

“I do not have OCD,” I told Sophia.  “Your therapist is wrong.  I have no idea how he can make this statement without ever meeting me.  What is he basing this on  — What YOU tell him?”

“It makes sense to me.”

“No, it doesn’t.  I don’t wash my hands all the time.  That’s OCD.  In fact, I haven’t washed my hands at ALL today!  So, there!”

“That washing the hands thing is sixty year old Freudian analysis.  That is so out of date.  OCD is much more complex nowadays.”

“I’m not OCD.  He’s wrong.”

“Didn’t you tell me that your first girlfriend dumped you because she nicknamed you “Repetitive Motion” in the bedroom.”

“I was new to the sport.  I thought that’s how it was done.”

“And frankly, I always your “Five Second Rule” a very annoying method of oral sex.”

“It’s a scientific fact.  Just like quickly picking up the cookie off the floor.  If you take the tongue off the clitoris within five seconds, you avoid the germs.”

Is Sophia’s therapist correct?    Out of pure coincidence, I wrote the following post two days ago.   The theme was “bathrooms.”    I never published, thinking it dumb and not worthy of your attention.  Now, I’m wondering if it wasn’t a cry for help —
Part of the creative process is seeing connections between random events. Sometimes the artist is not even aware of how he is connecting the dots of his daily life.   It takes a wise friend or a therapist to expose the patterns.   Why don’t YOU try to be my therapist for the day and see if you can FIND THE PATTERN of my existence?   Who am I?   Why am I constantly focusing on this one mysterious subject?   What does this say about me?

It all started at the walk n New York for the March of Dimes.   I was walking next to two lovely bloggers — Isabel Kallman and Mihow — and discussing the question of the day — “What happens if one of us has to use the bathroom as we are walking?”  I admitted that I would rather pee in the subway than be stuck inside one of those claustrophobic Port-o-Potties.   Isabel, being a true New Yorker, was a connoisseur of finding the classiest bathrooms in the city, and told us how in high school, she used to sneak into the Plaza Hotel.

“I tend to avoid five-star hotel restrooms,” I replied, “because they have attendants, and then I feel obligated to give the guy a dollar for handing me a towel, and I feel the same away about peeing that I do about using Twitter — it shouldn’t cost me anything.”

Always an entrepreneur, I immediately came up with a proposal for a best-selling travel book, “The Best Rest-Rooms to Sneak Into When You Have to Pee in America.”  My hopes were dashed when Mihow said that someone already had written that book.

The next day, I went with my mother to Target, where we bought a new toilet seat.  I told her that I was an experienced toilet-seat switcher, having done this task for Sophia, but when I attempted to remove the seat, it wouldn’t budge.   One of the screws in the toilet seat was so rusty, I could not remove it.   I sat on the bathroom floor for an hour, struggling with the toilet seat, not one of my favorite activities.   Eventually, my mother had to call the super to help me change the toilet seat.  I felt like a failure in my mother’s eyes.   My mother gave the super a five dollar tip.    I sulked.

Are you noticing a theme developing?  Let’s recap.  At the March of Dimes march, I spoke to fellow bloggers about peeing in hotels.  The next day, I spent an hour in the bathroom trying to switch the toilet seat.  I also disappointed my mother, something a therapist would probably write down in his notebook.

On Friday, I had a flight to Los Angeles.  My mother woke me up five hours before the flight!  She gets nervous about flying and is obsessed with “getting there early.”  She was making me so anxious in the apartment, as she paced back and forth, that I took her advice, and went to the airport two and half hours before my flight.   At the airport, I drank two cups of overpriced coffee, and then decided to use the bathroom in the JFK terminal.   I knew I had a window seat on the flight, and I am always reluctant to ask the passengers to let me out in the middle of the flight if I had to go to the bathroom.  Besides, I hate those tiny restrooms on the plane!

The men’s bathroom at the Virgin America terminal at JFK was nice and clean, newly remodeled.  I went to the urinal, and unzipped, when — OH SHIT, there was a giant cockroach or spider or some winged insect right inside the urinal, ready to jump out and bite me!


I flushed the toilet to down the monster, but it didn’t budge.  I was relieved to learn that it was only an emblem engraved into the porcelain of the urinal.  I sneaked a look at the other urinals, and each one had the same weird insect emblem.  It was the logo of the urinal manufacturer!  What freakin’ weirdo company uses an insect as their company logo and puts it on the inside of public urinals for men to look as they pee, their dicks in their hand?

It was my first time on Virgin America to LA, as I usually go with American Airlines.  My father, who was a bit anal and hated change, only flew ONE airline.   Virgin was fairly pleasant.  The flight attendants were young and pretty, and the atmosphere was a lot “hipper” than staid American Airlines.  It seemed as if every passenger had a blackberry or iphone or their own personal DVD player.  At first, I thought this was cool, but this trendy, geeky, technology-obsessed crowd grew tiresome within the first half hour of the flight.  Everyone was lost in their own worlds.  The girl sitting next to me was writing a screenplay on her Mac.  Before take-off, she spoke LOUDLY on her phone to her lesbian lover in Los Angeles, who was apparently very upset about her taking a job in New York, and worried about her seeing some other woman working on a Woody Allen movie.  Within five minutes, I knew this entire woman’s life.  I actually missed having one of those old-fashioned annoying passengers, who sit next to you who TALKED TO YOU for the entire trip!

Virgin America had online internet for $12.95.  I splurged, intrigued by sending emails from thirty thousand feet.  .  Unfortunately, the passenger in front of me leaned his seat back, making it virtually impossible for me to open my laptop fully.  I had to rotate my laptop at a 45 degree angle just to be able to see the monitor. With not much to do, I spent a good amount of my trip writing nonsensical message on Twitter, mocking the woman sitting next to me.  On the back of the chair there was a animated map showing the plane’s route.  My other idea of fun was to messenger bloggers from around the country as I flew over their state.

@Gorillabuns — Hey, Shana, I am flying over Oklahoma.  Waving at you!

I must have seemed very lonely.  I was.

At some point, I started kvetching to my online friends about how uncomfortable it was to be crammed in like a a sardine.

“Soon, the airlines are going to start charging extra if you have a rib cage and arms.”

I then asked a question on Twitter that has puzzled me for years.

“I have always heard of joining the Mile High Club?  But how does anyone find any room to have sex in an airplane?!”

Others explained to me that this activity usually takes place in the restroom.

“Yuch!”  I replied.  “It’s so disgusting… and tiny in there!”

I would think the airplane cockpit would be the best spot.

Editor’s note:  Have you noticed another mention of bathrooms?

Sophia picked me up at LAX.  It was nice to see her.

“I just want to stop at Target on the way home,” she said.  “The toilet seat cracked downstairs and I want to get another one.”

I couldn’t believe me ears.  I had just been to Target a week earlier, buying a toilet seat in New York with my mother?  Why were there so many toilet seats in my life?

“The toilet seat with the dolphins?”  I asked Sophia.   Didn’t we just buy that?!”

“No, we didn’t.  We’ve had that for four or five years.”

“That’s not true.  We bought it last year.”

“You’re wrong.”

“No, I’m right.  And I’ll prove it to you.”

I took out my iPhone, went on the internet, and found the blog post from April 2008, where I discuss us buying this new toilet seat for the bathroom.”

I had won!

“You have OCD,” she said.


  1. V-Grrrl

    I hate to break it to you, Neil. You’re not OCD. Get a different diagnosis and your own therapist.

    P.S. Loved that you joined the Mile High Tweet Club. That was good for me and I hope it was good for you too. ; )

  2. Kerry

    I don’t think you have OCD.

    I do think you have alarmingly bad taste in toilet seats, though. Dolphins?

  3. Twenty Four At Heart

    I think it’s a fly in the urinal. You’re supposed to aim for it so you don’t splash yourself … I think. I’m not an expert on men’s urinals. But splashing yourself would be worse than an airport bathroom … although not as bad as a porta-potty. Nothing is worse than a porta-potty. I’m way over thinking bathrooms now – see what you’ve done? I think you should send Sophia to the OC for an afternoon. I’d love to meet her. I imagine the conversation would be fascinating! : )

  4. sizzle

    That’s one time the blog comes in handy. Proof in a disagreement!

    This five second clit rule is very disturbing though, Neil.

  5. sarah g

    how are things with sophia?

  6. churlita

    Does needing to prove you’re right mean you have OCD? Then I must have it bad.

  7. Finn

    Thank you for the picture of the urinal. Truly.

  8. Bill

    Am I the only person who’s grossed out about taking my camera out in a public bathroom? Yech. Not to mention the strange looks I always get from the other men when I…uh, what was I saying? Oh yeah, um, I agree, Twitter shouldn’t cost me anything.

  9. katie

    If you have OCD, what does Sophia have?

  10. Chris

    I don’t think the dolphin toilet seat debate was evidence of your OCD, I think it was evidence of the power struggle.

    I’ve diagnosed myself with “artificial anxiety disorder”. I’m comfortable with my neurosis, mostly. I think you should embrace your neurosis too.

  11. TMWW

    A manufacturer who puts a bug inside their urinal. Original – definitely something you will NEVER forget that’s for sure. Now that’s what I call branding LOL!

    No you do not have OCD, Neil. You are absolutely brilliant just the way you are.

  12. Peeved Michelle

    That’s not OCD, that’s just being right. Sophia is a sore loser.

  13. headbang8

    You only have the obsessive half.

    Though I can understand the therapist’s mistake. The five-second rule gives it away.

    I recently went to a therapist, and we got to talking about my superstitious nature. She remarked that a superstition is a ritual you perform to make yourself feel secure, which has little logical basis in cause-and-effect. Thus she found it very reasonable to call it a form of mild OCD. The fact that you only perform this ritual once, rather than over several times, shows a difference in degree, not in kind.

    So it’s not OCD, since none of your little rituals actually make you feel better, right?

  14. Jack

    I am stuck on the dolphin toilet seat. Why would anyone do that to Flipper. 😉

  15. katie

    Have you read Deadlyjelly’s post about picking her husband up at the airport?
    Let’s just say there was no mention of toilet seats or dolphins. Really, you should read it just to see what you are missing in your relationship with Sophia.

  16. AnnieH

    Is Sophia really getting her money’s worth if the therapist is diagnosing YOU?? I only ask cause of the cratering economy and all. Doesn’t seem very cost-efficient. And for God’s sakes man, would it kill you to wash your hands once in a while? I mean, come on, the swine are flying everywhere and handwashing is the only thing that can stop them. Go on, do your duty.

  17. Zoeyjane

    That’s not OCD, it’s the google revolution. I mean, what’s the point of blogging, if you can’t use your archives to point out to people how very very wrong they are?

  18. Marinka

    How am I supposed to know if you have OCD! I don’t know how the toilet flushes. (sorry, I had to rework my favorite line from a Woody Allen movie. I mean film).

  19. Isabel Kallman

    so honored that i am mentioned here!

    Love the fly on the urinal. Intrigued actually. Must no know if it is for aiming. See, i actually am OBSESSIVE.


  20. alejna

    I’ve heard of the urinal fly. It’s a product, even:

    Oh, wow, they even have a blog:

    I think it’s great that you were able to prove the purchase date of a toilet seat by looking at your blog. There’s proof of the value of blogging!

  21. movindowntheroad

    HA HA HA!! You are ocd. but you know what, writers are, i think. in general. cause they need all the details.

  22. leah

    as a person that never wins, hooray for your win! i bathroom anxiety too, when i was a little kid i couldn’t use public restrooms b/c i was sure someone would kill me in there.

    i was diagnosed with ocd many years ago, it’s gotten better but in times of emotional distress it comes back, but not as bad.

    i used to be late to work b/c i’d have to drive back home to make sure things were turned off. my friends loathed leaving my house with me, b/c i’m a checker and couldn’t leave the house unless i checked everything a bunch of times. it was a pattern i had to perform even though i knew it was insane.

    i see you more of a procrastinator, but what the hell do i know?

  23. Christine

    This post blew me away for some reason. I’m not sure why. Maybe because toilet issues seem to frequent my consciousness. Just posted on one yesterday.

  24. teahouseblossom

    So two things: I think the obsession with peeing is really just an obsession with your penis! So you’re just like any other man.

    And the other thing: Virgin is great. Next time you fly it, play that trivia game that pits you against the other passengers. It’s great! And each competitor is identified by their seat number, so if someone beats you, you can go to their seat and beat them up after the game.

  25. Annie

    I don’t know if you have OCD, all I know is you are one funny guy, Neil :-).
    Thanks for the morning laugh.

  26. Miss Grace

    Maybe not D, but you’re definitely OCSomething. T(endencies)? Maybe?

  27. Colleen - Mommy Always Wins

    Huh – maybe I have OCD, too. I just wrote a post (as yet unpublished) about the bathroom at Union Station in Chicago.

    Maybe we should do a “potties across America” carnival and see if we can get stories about bathrooms from all 50 states?

  28. lizriz


    That bug in the urinal is seriously bizarre.

  29. Amanda of Shamelessly Sassy

    How did the super finally coax the rusty screw out? I am currently experiencing a rusty screw problem. (Not that I think you are an expert on rusty screw removal or anything, but I just thought I would ask.)

  30. brettdl

    Do I note a new liveliness in your posts now that you’re back in L.A?

  31. Venus

    You crack me up. No matter what you are writing you crack me up.

  32. Margaret (Nanny Goats)

    I was going to ask you for a little clarification about the 5 second clit rule, but I don’t know you well enough.

    And what’s a little fixation on bathrooms? And why are you paying for a therapist who is diagnosing YOU through someone else????


    – Margaret

  33. Lynda

    I don’t think you are OCD. You may have a good memory though. However, I read the toilet seat post, and no where did it say that toilet seat was new. It just said that you claimed falsely that Sophia wouldn’t let you post about the toilet seat. It didn’t even say new in the title. I just says, “Here’s our Toilet Seat”.

  34. Staceylt

    I can’t get past the five second rule. Seriously? I’ve heard kids say that before about food, but the five second clitoris rule? Wow. Not good.

  35. get pregnant fast

    LOL, it is so funny.

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