With all this talk about outhouses, I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the subject of safety
. I suppose there aren't any insects
to worry about up in Alaska
, but in (for example) the hot, humid backwoods of Texas
, these things should be foremost on the mind of any responsible outhouse-user. As someone who grew up in Texas and spent a lot of time going on camping
trips with various scout
groups, I've learned a few things:
- Stinging insects are your worst enemy.
The very first thing you should do, before even opening the outhouse door, is check for wasps, hornets, bees, scorpions1 and fire ants. If you're in Texas and the outhouse is outdoors, I can almost guarantee you there will at least be fire ants. Fire ants hurt, and you do not want them biting your sensitive nether-areas. If you see fire ants around the outside of the outhouse, you're better off finding a nice place in the woods to squat.
Now, after checking for fire ants around the perimeter of the outhouse, put one ear up against a wall and listen for buzzing. You want to determine, before opening the door, whether or not you will be attacked by an angry swarm of wasps, hornets or bees. Yellow jackets particularly like outhouses, se be careful. If you don't hear buzzing, cautiously open the door and check the seat and surrounding area for fire ants and scorpions. Believe me -- if you think getting stung on your soft fleshy bits by fire ants is bad, getting stung by a scorpion will hurt a million times more.
- Sleeping snakes don't like being awakened.
Carefully survey the floor and the area around the seat for snakes. They'll often slither into an outhouse to escape the hot sun (or to hibernate).
- Spiders don't like being sat on.
Lift the seat and check for spiders. More often than not, if the outhouse hasn't been used in a while, there will be a spider clinging happily to a web built right across the opening under the seat (or the seat itself). Sitting or pooping on a spider will make them very angry, and some of them are very poisonous. Even if the spider you piss off (or piss on, ha ha!) isn't poisonous, spider bites on your ass are not pleasant.
With these three simple guidelines and a bit of luck, your outhouse experience should be pleasant and productive (or at least productive).
1 Yes, I know, scorpions are technically arachnids.