I suppose that I must have lived a terribly sheltered life, because it wasn't until I went to college that I first discovered this interesting subset of bathroom graffiti. I've been on many roadtrips, mostly with my parents, and as such I've seen the phone numbers scribbled by the urinal, the names written down, the lewd come ons and vulgar swear words. But in the Math/Psychology Building of UMBC, I found something a little more cultured. After doing my business, I quickly went to obtain my notebook in order to write these gems down.

This has grown a bit since I first wrote this up, so I guess it's time for a little organization, by theme.

On the nature of gas and defecation...

Here I sit,
Broken hearted
Come to shit,
But only farted

Some come here to sit and wonder
I come here to shit like thunder
              Brought to my attention by StrawberryFrog

On the subject of the toilet itself, and the aquarious nature of the seat thereon...
Be an adult, not a kid
Hit the toilet, not the lid

If you sprinkle when you tinkle
Be a sweetie and wipe the seatie
              Brought to my attention by StrawberryFrog

Saturate your actions with
Love and understanding
Embrace uniqueness
Make yourself proud
Beware of conforming without known reason
And for God's Sake
              Some really bad free verse here, but I think it can still qualify as poetry...

Two Haikus...
Sublime shit release
But I feel the toilet's tears
Soil my guilty ass
              -- Written on the first sheet of toilet paper

You see before you
A toilet-paper haiku.
Ah, but is it art?
              -- Written on the second sheet of toilet paper

Both of the above submitted by Kenshi

On where to aim...
In the days of old when the knights were bold
And toilets were not invented
They dropped their load upon the road
And went off quite contented

If your hose is too short
And your pump is too weak
Stand a bit closer
Or you'll pee on your feet

Anyone can piss over the floor
Be a Man! Piss on the ceiling!
              The previous was written in elaborate, VERY fancy English calligraphy

Be a Man! Shit onto the ceiling!
              vuo adds a variation on the previous little gem

A little bit of homoerotica...
A hand job's a man's job
A blow job is yo' job
              Brought to my attention by mountain dew
Commentary on poetry itself...
They paint these walls to cover my pen
But the bathroom poet strikes again!
(Paint them purple next time!)

He who writes on bathroom walls
Rolls his shit in little balls
He who reads those words of wit
Eats those little balls of shit
              drenehtsral brings this particular kink to light

Lovely. Just lovely. Whew. Now to step outside and grab some fresh air...

I would not be opposed to being msg'd with any additions you might like to make to this list, or perhaps some additions you might like to make to my school's bathroom. (Hey, if it's quality work, you can't REALLY call it graffiti, right? Then it's CULTURE!)

Language is a lie. A unicorn is a magical beast who can never be tamed. She is sitting across from you at the dinner table. What do you say?



"Everything before the but is bullshit."    ~Anonymous*
"....a useful hermeneutic rule when dealing with sentences of the type: "I'm not racist, but..." ~Google

Let's start here. Applied to this adage, there's nothing special about a wall. It's simply an opaque obstruction, the blank space that catches your glance in a bathroom. Yet "I'm just a wall"? The thing you are looking at is claiming to have a conversation with you. It declares its own agency in first person singular. It suppresses the inclination to dismiss it as bathroom graffiti because it self-reflexively already calls that superficial detail to attention. It's self proclaiming, like the backcover of a book. And you do have conversations with books, do you not? Are they not your friend? Do they not carry secrets in the margins, gossip collected by the scribblers who spoke to your book before you? Are they not possessed with wisdom, authority, and the knowledge of the universe?

And what does this authority dispute but that which is before the but: I'm trying to be a better person. We've heard this before, now haven't we? By pleaders? To ourselves? We know either that we can't believe this emotional bullshit-- this cry for self-improvement graffitied in the back corner of some public bathroom-- or, as language doesn't fail to suggest, its assertion is simply impossible. It can't be a better person-- it's just a wall! The nouns are entirely incongruent. The claim is thwarted from the start. In lieu, it is simple a declaration of itself, it's own existence, and the acceptance of its own identity: wall.

Yet is this sentence really any different than any other? Can't we reason that it is merely a wall on our own, by encouraged discussion or other non-textual suggestions? Of course it's only a wall, it's only bathroom graffiti. It's only a woman's shopping list, left in the cart. It's only browned and faded letters found in the attic. Only a text message. Only words on a screen before your face.We don't see the wall doing community service, quit drinking, and talk to its children more. It could keep trying to be a better person, or it may fail and give up quickly. There's no proof that anything has happened. The wall didn't actually get on a little tiny boat and catch an enormous whale. That's Moby Dick. It's just a book.

We know behind those words is just a human, a scribbler trying to be a better person. We take this for granted. It is not uncommon to become heartswarmed at the penned ink of a far-away love, or perhaps the gentle, choice wordplay texted from a friend, or the warmth of the world in a blog written by people who know a little bit of what it is like to be you. We speak through the words, and hear likewise. But still, we cannot always hear clearly, and we cannot see through walls. 


So what happens here is at first a bit befuddling, then profoundly accurate. The person, the author, is hiding behind the most blatant truth: I'm just a wall; when he could be hiding behind the more 'honest,' emotionally painful truths: I'm trying to be a better person, but that's bullshit. If we can't get past that it's just a wall, we'll never know we know why why they can't be a better person. For whatever reason, they'll never improve, or they won't try. The author is stagnant, like a wall, only subject to time and interpretation. 


*1812, "nameless person," from French anonyme, from Latin anonymus, from Greek anonymos "without a name". Meaning "fictitious name" is recorded from 1866.

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