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What would Miss Manners say?

4 Oct

October 4, 2012

I was faced with an etiquette dilemma yesterday. Etiquette is an interesting subject. There are rules for every situation. Which fork do I eat my salad with? How long do I wait before writing a thank you note? Should I tell my date she has food stuck in her teeth? Stuff like that. Not that I really care. These are the stupid rules that I don’t live by. Which fork do I eat my salad with? Whichever is in my hand. How long do I wait before I write a thank you note? I dunno, never wrote one. I said “thank you” at the time the event I was thanking them for occurred. Should I tell my date she has food stuck in her teeth? Not if I want her to put out.

But I do have to admit that once in a while I am faced with some social situation that I wish there was a handbook for. For example, I think there was a dead man in the men’s room yesterday.

At times like this I wish Mr. Know-It-All was still around because this is right up his alley.

Let me say a (mercifully very) few words about my bathroom philosophy. In a nutshell, I am all business. I don’t talk or socialize, I don’t conduct business, I go in and do what I am there to do and leave as soon as possible. OK, maybe I’ll send a text while I’m siting there but who hasn’t done that? There is nothing enticing to me about the men’s room. I will therefore avoid anything less than clinical in this description. 

I went into the men’s room at The Company I Am employed by and was immediately struck, almost physically struck, by the smell. It was a stench the likes of which can only be found in Satan’s can of air freshener. In normal situations I’d turn around and use the facilities on another floor, but in this case I really had no choice. Not if I wanted to retain my dignity. So I went in and rushed to the urinal and yada yada yada the stink only got worse the longer I stayed there. So I rushed over to the sink (no matter how diabolical the odor I still wash my hands and you better too!) and as I was washing I looked in the mirror and had a view of the closed stalls behind me.

I thought I was alone. There was not a single sound, other than those I made, the whole time I was in there yet the mirror showed me the feet of a man in the stall. Nothing remarkable about the shoes. They were the average shoes you’d see on a businessman, and I am not enough of a lavatory detective to identify a man from his shoes in the bottom of the bathroom stall, nor do I care to be.

But they didn’t move.

The stink was only getting worse yet whatever was causing it was doing so soundlessly. The man in the stall seemed to be totally motionless. And the stink in the men’s room could only be caused by the rotting dead.  Either that or it was the stench that killed the guy and I wasn’t sticking around to find out.

I hurried out and went back to my desk.

What should I have done?

A- Ask the guy in the stall if he is OK.
This makes no sense. If he is fine then it will do no good to embarrass the guy by pointing out that he stinks like road kill. If he is sick then I sure don’t want to catch the evil effluence that he has. And if he is dead then the question is moot.

B- Inform someone that there is a dead man in the men’s room.
If I am wrong then all I have done is embarrass myself, not to mention the guy in the stall when security arrives to investigate.  And if he is dead then my filling out forms and spending time telling various authorities about how I found the corpse on the toilet will not do him any good, let alone me.

C- Do nothing and pretend you were never there.

C. I did C.

I never did find out if the guy was dead, but when I went back at the end of the day the bathroom had been sanitized to within an inch of its life.

 

For another men’s room etiquette issue, click here.

You know another guy who doesn’t follow social conventions? Larry David. Here is one of my favorite bits.

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5 Responses to “What would Miss Manners say?”

  1. zathra October 4, 2012 at 12:58 am #

    Hmmmm. Dead guy in a men’s room ? Get the kids from ” Stand By Me. “. I’m sure Wil Wheaton hasn’t got a lot to do….. 😉

    Like

    • bmj2k October 4, 2012 at 6:03 am #

      Saw him in an episode of Big Bang Theory and was not impressed with his acting.

      Like

      • zathra October 4, 2012 at 6:22 am #

        I saw him in the last season of Eureka ( W / always had a gadget of the week / scientific experiment often going amok ), he basically played a defensive arse – hole, so it seemed. Eureka seemed kind of 1 – note.

        Oh, yeah, I meant Hwil Hweaton*, not Wil Wheaton ( *Family Guy Stewie reference ).

        Like

  2. Thomas Stazyk October 7, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    My guess is that he wasn’t really dead but played dead because he’d just made that godawful smell and didn’t want to draw further attention to himself.

    Like

    • bmj2k October 7, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

      Could be. Works for possums.

      Like

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