Pissing in morse code

13 Jun

In 1960, going on eight, I was a pupil at Ecclesfield Juniors, one of those stone built products of the big push on school building in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the boys’ playground stood the boys’ toilet; also stone built, and open to the skies.

Besides making the bogs slightly less malodourous than they might otherwise have been, the roofless way they’d been constructed aided that much maligned event, the pissing contest. My, how we took for granted – youth is wasted on the young – our prepubescent jet streams! On a good day many of us could clear a wall, above the urinal gutter, a good eight feet high.

(A sentry would have been posted, should the dragonesque form of Mrs Weldon – dinner lady extraordinaire, plenipotentiary of untrammelled authority and dispenser on request of single sheets of Zal toilet paper, the shiny kind that doubled up as a kazoo reed when folded over a comb – sail grimly into view.)

There were also those much envied souls – are you still with us, Keith Ashton? Eric Mulligan? – who could clear it even on a bad day.

Halcyon days. And now? Now I’m hooked on Netflix’s witty Kominsky Method, with Michael Douglas playing septuagenarian best buddy to Alan Arkin’s irascible widower. In one episode Douglas is waiting for Arkin to finish in what polite Americans call the bathroom:

How long are you gonna be in there?

There’s no saying. I urinate in morse code. In dots and dashes.

I know what he means – coffee addiction doesn’t help any.

When Douglas finally gets to go, too rushed to close the door behind him, Arkin peers in.

Oh – I do it that way too.

Again I know what he means. When peeing is no longer a forty second act, to the strains of summer downpour on tin roof, the case for doing as the ladies do can be compelling.

As can that for steering clear of pissing contests.

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4 Replies to “Pissing in morse code

  1. Phil, is your ego so diminished that you deliberately left the ‘I’ out of ‘Zal’? Loved this little reference to junior school days which we happily pissed up the wall. Wonder why there were no demands for gender neutral schoolyard toilets back then?!
    PS Izal was excellent tracing paper, but not so good for wiping your arse. Newspaper squares were much more absorbent.

    • You’re right Keith. The egoless Zal, now I think on it, was the bottled disinfectant. Both bog roll and liquid germ-slayer were made at the Izal factory in Chapeltown – up there with Newton Chambers as the dreary West Riding town’s biggest employer.

      Happy days! No, I lie. For me they were a pisser, truth be told …

  2. Ah! Wee (pun intended) had a similar constructed toilet. The trick back then was to encourage new pupils to congregate behind the wall – and the inevitable introduction to the juniors would happen.

    Whilst I do not currently piss in Morse code, i suppose its only a matter of time. However, as an ex maritime RO, and radio amateur to boot, I could however read their pissing Morse code. But I could not read their … …. .. – 😉

    73 de G8VHB

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