29 January 2009

Men Only

I see the signs. My mind wanders. My flow takes longer. I lose my aim. A little bee is embedded in the base of the porcelain bowl of the Sloan waterfree urinal to help.
Once I read about reducing airport maintenance costs, particularly in bathrooms. It probably was the Wall Street Journal because only the wall street urinal covers how money can be saved. A lot of time and expense is spent cleaning stall-walls and floors around urinals. The problem was no bee. This WSJ was an article on the foreskin of the economic science of "nudging."
Men miss the urinal. Urine is acidic. Uric acid is created when the body breaks down substances called purines. Unless the acid is cleaned up in the Mens room it degrades materials. That's why marble was often used for stall walls. In high traffic areas like a mall men's room maintenance costs are substantial. The missing solution was simple. Managers strategically placed a cartoon bee-character in the urinal, about a third of the way up from the drain, just below an average waist height. Men naturally aim. The result -- airport maintenance costs hit lower targets.
This reminds me of the time I ate linguine with white clam sauce at Umberto's Clam House in New York City. Umbertos was, maybe still is, a terrific restaurant in Greenwich Village near New York University. My clam linguine back in the day was terrific. Umbertos is also where Joey Gallo got whacked. Anyway in the men's urinal was a roulette wheel, a white arrow spinning in a red wheel with sectioned white and black numbers. Of course it was my stream spun the arrow. I didn't bet then. This was for the guys who need action while they wait. Nice touch for the customers.
By the way (gosh, it's so easy to get distracted here) the Latin word for "bee" is apis. Say it aloud. So does that make a men's room an apiary?
Anyway to go back to my beginning . . . I recently went into a men's room, did my business, I looked down to shake off the dribbles. Oh my gosh. There was a pee-pond on the floor. I'm not talkin' a random misdirection. I don't know if it was my pee-pond! Hey no exceptions . . . we all miss from time to time. I gotta say though I hope I don't make pee-ponds. Not yet. No bee or roulette wheel in the urinal either.

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