The Perplexing Problem of the Public Urinal

The Perplexing Problem of the Public Urinal

(9 Jan: The Atlantis Hydroponics Frozen Balls Classic)

I was standing with my arms akimbo at a urinal in an unoccupied public bathroom imagining a colossal dam break followed by billions of gallons of water pouring forth onto a valley floor and forming a new ocean in only a matter of minutes. I was on the verge of unleashing a furious torrent when John Murphy walked in and strolled up to the urinal to my immediate right and dropped his drawers. There were five other porcelain pots he could have chosen, not to mention three unoccupied stalls, but the insensitive and ill-mannered intruder showed bad form and chose the urinal right next to me. Each of us acknowledged the other with a brief grunt without making eye contact. Eye contact in a public urinal when someone’s pants are down is another example of extremely bad form for the male gender. My insides turned to stone—stage fright is the medical term for my perplexing condition. Murphy’s presence at my side was the figurative finger plugging the hole in my dike, only in this case the meddler wasn’t a Dutch do-gooder, but rather an Irish lout.

An awkward silence followed as each of us stood staring at the wall and quietly pushing as hard as we could, trying as best we could to beat the other to the punch—this was an unspoken battle for male supremacy, mano a mano, with no place to hide. I prayed for inspiration, but my mind’s eye only saw only the parched earth and the dry desert sand stretching out before me in a barren wasteland. I cleared my throat and Murphy cleared his, the typical lingua franca of bathroom parlance, but after a long, dry spell, someone simply had to say something. Since I had not been present at the WBL ride earlier that day (it was freezing cold, so Carney and I sent the ignoramus (Crowe) in our stead), I asked, “How did the Atlantis Hydroponics Frozen Balls Classic go?” My heart was hammering like half dozen African war drums—I was trying to buy time.

Murphy spoke to the wall (see above) and said: “Brent Bookwalter and Joey Rosskopf were the last two Zealots left standing after a barroom brawl on two wheels that left the pack of pavement-pounders with bruised and bloody knuckles, in addition to extremely angry thigh muscles that were threatening to walk off the job. Although the total length of blacktop traversed on the demanding day of circle-stomping was only 55 miles, the bitter Arctic chill insufflated our flesh, froze the bones in our toes, and turned the marrow therein to a sliver of ice. Instead of burning calories for gas (speed and endurance), we were using them to burn oil (warmth). In the final backbreaking Attack Zone, Bookwalter and Rosskopf blew the already-shattered field to bits, but neither could escape the clutches of the other. After completing the surly 7-mile Pink Church Circuit Loop, as the two heavy-hitters approached the Pink Church on the 1-mile uphill slant to the finish line, Rosskopf came off Bookwalter’s wheel 200 meters from paydirt, quickly stood up, and exploded up the road in a violent surge of flashing steel, pumping knees, and flapping elbows. But the savvy Bookwalter also stood and unleashed a furious kick and ripped towards the line like a lunatic on fire. Bookwalter closed on Rosskopf and the two were neck-and-neck for the last 100 meters where thousands of fans lined the road leaning on the fence and beating on the signs. The two crossed the line at an amazing 53 miles per hour, neither able to tell which one had won. Both riders, showing the sangfroid of a true professional, threw both arms in the air hoping to influence the judges’ call. But the photo finish provided irrefutable proof that, in fact, it was a dead draw at the line, the first ever tie in the storied yet sordid history of the WBL.

Bookwalter and Rosskopf storm the line

“Salud,” I said, squeezing my eyes tight. “I’m glad I missed it.” I was trying to regain my composure and kick-start my imaginary cataract, but Murphy’s presence was impeding my flow. For men, a public urinal presents a complex conundrum brimming with psychological intrigue and replete with intricate plotting. The female gender is simply incapable of understanding the potential shame a simple fixture like a porcelain catch basin affixed to a wall portends for the male species of Homo sapien. It’s a quagmire unlike any other in the animal kingdom. The gift of consciousness does have its drawbacks—it makes a man acutely aware of his deficiencies. Despite my genuine efforts at transcendence, I remained blocked and my mind clouded with doubt. I simply could not piss.

Much to my horror, Murphy finely blasted the back wall of his urinal with a hard-hitting stream. The spray bounced off the back of the pot and splattered all over my new Italian loafers. Murphy leaned his head back and said, “Aghhhhhh----.” I looked down at my shoes and frowned, but remained as quiet as a church mouse. It was a humiliating defeat.

As Murphy’s emphatic stream was finally winding down, slender Tim Cornett ran in and grabbed the urinal next to Murphy. He quickly unhitched his pants and was holding his curio in his hand before I could spit. He began to piss like a racehorse at the first crack of daylight. Ah, such is the folly of youth, I thought. Murphy mercifully finished his business and left without washing his hands. I’d been granted a stay of execution—Cornett had no idea that I’d already incurred a delay-of-game infraction. I was still stoppered, so I went to the 4-corner spread offense in order to run a little clock. “How’d it go for you today,” I asked, pretending to be interested in someone else’s petty and meager existence.

“Great, I tied for the Non-Pro win with Yo Simpson, and I am moving in an upwards direction, as is Yo. I don’t plan to stop until I reach the top. All in all, it was a tough day in the saddle, and the cold took its toll, but I persevered. Surprisingly, about 70 Zealots signed-in on a day with a forecasted high of 34 degrees, temporarily restoring my (misplaced) faith in humanity. It was a paltry 30 degrees at takeoff, but the sun was shining, so we hardened our resolve, piled on an extra seventeen layers of fur and sealskin, kissed Carney’s ring finger, loaded both barrels of the shotgun, and shoved off into the bitter cold. We were smiling all the way.” Finally, Cornett finished his business, closed his yapper, dusted his hands on his pants, and walked out. Alone at last, alone at last, thank gawdawemighty, alone at last.

What women don’t understand is that exposing one’s manhood in a public forum is an act freighted with pitfalls, potholes and other potential disasters, and picking the right pot is a top priority. No man, unless he’s holding four aces, like’s to actually have his member measured—it might not measure-up.

All public bathrooms are entered with trepidation, and an unoccupied public bathroom is a godsend. One can express himself without fear of retribution or repsial. But an occupied bathroom calls for a man to be quick on his feet—he’s forced to access the situation in an instant and react. Just when I was working myself back into the mood and I could feel the oncoming rush of a deluge, Casey Magner walked in and stood at the far urinal. Now there’s a sophisticated man, I said to myself. Then Frank Travesio burst in and stormed to the porcelain pot between us. Buzzkill, I thought, and I was again deflated and dry. I cursed the Furies for my lot.

Neither of the two had any trouble offloading their burdens, and as they did, I overheard them speak. I don’t think they knew me. “Murphy was about 10 seconds behind Rosskopf and Bookwalter on the final run to the line,” Magner said. “I was about 10 seconds behind Murphy and digging like a steam shovel.”

“Ya, I was 10 seconds behind you,” Travesio said. “The pack exploded on the steep hill on the backside of the loop. Everyone who finished the final circuit rolled across in one’s and two’s with blown gaskets and smoking radiators. It was a brutal day. I think my balls are frozen—look.”

I stared straight ahead, rigid as a flagpole. I heard Casey say, “Ya, they do look blue.” “Ha, made you look,” Travesio yelled, and they both laughed and left, also without washing their hands. Thankfully, I could start the clock again. I narrowed my gaze and regained my focus. You can do this, I told myself.

A man doesn’t dare want another man to know that he fears the public urinal, so he’s forced to strategize. First, no matter how desperate the situation may appear, a man can never enter a stall simply to pee—it’s a dead giveaway that one is of inferior physiognomy. Such a tactic will lead to public scorn and possible banishment from the confraternity of man. And it’s easy for peering eyes to tell what a man is up to inside a stall by the direction his feet are facing. Rare is the occasion that all the urinals are occupied and a stall is open, but on those few occasions it does occur, a man will breathe a sigh of relief, and his confidence will balloon. Usually, a male must man-up and grab a spot on the wall between others, drop his drawers, stare straight ahead, and pray for a miracle.

Just as I was once again on the verge of mustering my courage, Brian Molloy walked in and rained on my parade. He saw me and veered to the stall, then stopped, and pivoted to the last urinal on the right. It was obvious he was also experiencing the same mental maelstrom as me. “Where were you today?” he asked, trying to be as nonchalant as possible.

Nice try, Sherlock, I said to myself, but you’re busted. “Saving the world with words,” I said. “How did it go?”

“At first, we froze our gonads off. But as we climbed out Nowhere Road, the sun soaked through our clothes, and the conditions grew tolerable. The wind was calm. Carney announced that the ride was shortened to 2 hours beforehand, but as we looped around on the old Wednesday Night course anticlockwise, it was apparent that someone was extending the route ever-so-stealthily. But the mood was high, the companionship superb, and the sheet-talk invigorating. We motored over hill and dale, averaging a healthy 20 miles-per-hour once we were free of obstructions, and the grupetto didn’t even arrive at the final Attack Zone until we already had 2 hours in the bank. But because it was so frigid, we burned a lot of gas. On the return trip, we sailed down the Jefferson River Road at supersonic speed. The whistle blew signaling the opening of the final Attack Zone when we turned right at Alligator Pond. The finish line was 1 mile up the declivitous incline, but the first time across the line was only a sprint for 25 bucks and 3 points. The group would keep riding, completing the arduous 7-mile Pink Church Circuit Loop, and sprint for the win the second they crossed the Pink Church finish line. When the whistle blew, I grabbed Crowe’s wheel, thinking that was the place to be. The next thing I knew we were both 2 miles off the back and falling fast, so we pulled over to watch the final sprint along with the back half of the pack. In the distance, we heard booming explosions followed by mushroom clouds shooting upwards into the sky.”

Just then Hunter Garrison walked in and stepped inside a stall. I heard the bolt lock with a clack. I could tell he sat down because his feet were facing the door. I listened intently to make sure he wasn’t using subterfuge—peeing sitting down is also a ground for permanent exile. I listened for the telltale plop, but heard nothing but Hunter’s groans.

Over the years I’ve honed my own marketing skills. The key is the lean. Most men pee into a urinal leaning forward. Only the boldest of men (those holding 4 aces—see above) pee leaning back on their heels. If a man can cant his body at just the right slope, he can actually penetrate the contours of the porcelain pot, thus shielding his sex from wandering eyes, and possibly salvaging his reputation. The proper lean, however, requires dexterity, physical prowess, suppleness, lithe limbs, and strong toes. A properly executed drunken lean, which involves a slight swaying of the torso (like the tallest skyscrapers in Tokyo), is a work of art. And the closer a fellow-pisser, the greater the lean in order to hide the lack of evidence. It’s not a task to be taken lightly. I’ve developed a masterful lean as a result of being blessed in areas other than my reproductive organ. For example, the Good Lord has given me half a brain and a less than stellar reputation.

I was pondering these perplexing problems presented by a public urinal and more when Brent Bookwalter walked in and grabbed a slot only two pots down. Stymied again, but at least I had a fresh clock. “Congrats,” I said. “How did it go down?” Toying with the young Turks is a favorite pastime.

“When the whistle blew, I immediately surged up the tilting grade. A knot of 20 of us wrenched free from the huffing group, but this foray off the front was only my first salvo. The rest of the pack was scattered up and down the slope like wreckage from a capsized ship. As we approached the line for the sprint the first time across, John Murphy jumped and won the cash. His turbo-charge further reduced the front group to a baker’s dozen. We turned right after the line and corkscrewed down the hill. At the bottom of the twister, Nick Housley punched up the sheer vertiginous wall in his big ring, halving the group again. Over the top, Murphy, Magner, Rosskopf, Travesio and myself were clear and motoring away. We took the right on Crooked Creek and I bolted into the wild blue yonder. Rosskopf followed. We gained a gap of 5 seconds turning right onto J River Road with 4 miles to go. For the next 3 miles, we buried ourselves on the downhill run to Alligator Pond. We dug deep and shared the load, each trading turns at the front—we knew they’d be chasing like bats blown from Hale. When we reached Alligator Pond and turned right with 1 mile to go, I glanced back and confirmed that they were charging like a runaway locomotive. We punched it up the hill to make sure we stayed away. 200 meters from the line Joey jumped, but my riposte was swift. He went left and I went right and we both dug deep and pedaled with all our might and fury and anger and I could feel him and see him on my side and I knew it would be close so I kept stomping and hammering but so did he and the line seemed to never arrive and I couldn’t pull clear but neither could he and finally I saw the yellow finish stripe sail under my wheel and I swear to the almighty zebras romping in the Serengeti plains, I couldn’t tell who had one. There was 200 bucks on the line, so I threw my arms up and held my breath. Bastard, I said to myself when Joey threw his arms up too. But the photo finish showed it was a tie. We split the 200 bucks as well as the points and the prize box. I took the self-help book dealing with long-term, loving relationships. I gave Joey the booze, the cigars, the porno, and the swanky t-shirts. I definitely outmaneuvered him there.”

Yes, but I outfoxed Bookwalter in the bathroom. You see, I had him talking about himself and he never noticed that I didn’t pee. Bookwalter, like all those who’d gone before, exited the building without washing his hands.

When Bookwalter left, Buechel, Steve Sevener, Reid Peacock, Jeff Shirey, Damien Dunn, Andrew Smola, and Chad Capobianco rushed in all at once. I reached down into my bag of tricks: I said, “Aghhhh,” flushed the toilet, and turned around and made a production of pulling up my pants. I wanted to make sure everyone knew that I’d finished the job.

The seven quickly surmised they were one urinal shy—there were only six pots glued to the wall. Andrew Smola showed he was the most quick-witted of the bunch when he said, “No worries, I’ll grab a stall.” As Smola walked past me we cut our eyes knowingly at one another. Now, we’d be out to do the other one in.

As soon as I walked outside I heard Smola yell, “Hey Crowe, you forgot to wash your hands.”

Epilogue: As WBL Twenty-Ten heads into the heart of the season, an epic battle for supremacy is brewing. The lead is tighter than it has been in years, and three different Zealots have already worn the Yellow Helmet Cover (Little Cappy, Bewley, Buechel). Though Buechel is in the lead now, he can’t afford to look over his shoulder, because a whole bevy of contenders are breathing down his neck.

Finish (The Atlantis Hydroponics Frozen Balls Classic):

  1. Tie: Brent Bookwalter and Joey Rosskopf: 9 pts each
  2. John Murphy: 6 pts.
  3. Casey Magner: 4 pts.
  4. Frank Trevesio: 2 pts.
  5. Everyone: 3 pts.


  1. Ally Stäches: 5 pts.
  2. Jamie Dinkink: 3 pts.
  3. Erin Winter: 1 pt.


  1. Tie: Rob Yo Simpson and Tim Cornett: 4 pts each
  2. Jason the Peacock Bewley: 1 pts


  • 28 pts: Buechel
  • 25 pts: Rob Yo Simpson
  • 23 pts: Erin Winter
  • 22 pts: Ally Stäches
  • 21 pts: Brent Bookwalter
  • 21 pts: John Murphy
  • 21 pts: Tim Cornett
  • 21 pts: Jason Bewley
  • 20 pts: Frank Travesio
  • 19 pts: Nathan O'Neil
  • 19 pts: Damin Dunn
  • 18 pts: Jamie Dinkin
  • 16 pts: Chad Capobianco
  • 15pts: Bill Bray
  • 15pts: Nick Arroyo
  • 15pts: Tank Crumley
  • 15 pts: Sam Rafal
  • 15pts: Brett Magner
  • 15 pts: Dustin Mealor
  • 15pts: Reid Peacock
  • 15pts: Leonard Slote
  • 15pts: Parker Smith
  • 15pts: Andrew Smola
  • 15pts: Hunter Garrison (*no sign-in warning)
  • 13 pts: Casey Magner
  • 13pts: Nick Housley
  • 12 pts: Matt Karzen
  • 12 pts: Matt Tunis
  • 12 pts: Joe Collins
  • 12 pts: Russ Foster
  • 12 pts: Don Giannini
  • 12 pts: Patrick O’brien
  • 12 pts: Kirk Smith
  • 12 pts: Catherine Paecock
  • 12 pts: Ryan Wolf
  • 12 pts: Crowe