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of the innocence

Down the Hatchet

This is the end

of the innocence

By Akshay Patil

Well, welcome back beavers, hope you all enjoyed your summer break. Summer is a wonderful time to relax and make a quick escape away from all the problems that hound us during the year. It’s a time for carefree sleeping, eating, and bathroom use. I greatly enjoyed my summer break on campus, but I have to say that I certainly was not ready for the harsh reality of the term to set in.

I know it happens to most of us, but the end of my summer innocence was a horrible jolt back to reality -- I still remember it vividly like it was right-after-freshmen-arrived-on-campus.

The morning had started of like any other; I got out of bed and went to the bathroom to take care of hygienic needs. As I went to go use the toilet, carefree mind you, I was suddenly wrenched out of my summer security to cruel actuality-- there was pee on the toilet seat.

Now I don’t know about you, but we were doing JUST fine not peeing on the toilet seat all summer. Rare was the occasion that close inspection of the porcelain buttestal was needed, but those times were apparently over. Heartbroken, I fled from the scene and sought refuge in the adjacent stall -- only to find that the vandal had been methodical in his work. Both toilets in the bathroom were marred by the yellow calling card of a truly sick person.

Not that this is anything new. Problems with misplaced pee plagued my hall’s bathroom last year. We tried using strategically placed attempts at education (signs were posted above seats informing people that “We don’t care if you leave the seat up, just don’t pee on it”), but such measures were deemed ineffective as the epidemic continued. Some even took matters into their own hand (no, not like that, sicko) and mounted investigations as to determine the identity of the culprit.

Everyone (err, male that is) was a suspect. If pee was found, it was important to note whether it was dried or not. Lookouts (often disguised as people brushing their teeth) would monitor bathroom habits and do discrete checks. Thousands of taxpayer dollars were spent.

In the end two suspects were tagged, but as they were both leaving the dorm soon, no major action was taken.

I thought all would be well this year until that fateful morning when my hopes were shattered.

People, or I guess the “guys” would be more appropriate in this case, what gives you the urge to display your urine to the rest of your bathroom mates? Does it make you feel proud? Healthy? Certainly shouldn’t make you feel accurate. Was it really so much of a hassle to go through the simple action of lifting up the toilet seat so as to spare the rest of us from your unpleasantries?

Maybe I’m being a bit unfair. Maybe at home your family believed in peeing all over the toilet seat. Maybe someone taught you that manly men like their beers cold, their women hot, and their pee all over the place.

But you’re at MIT now, you can build airplanes with your bare hands -- it can’t be that hard for you to buckle down and master using a simple toilet.

Of course, I have to concede that some progress in the matter has been made. Some salty upperclassmen have told me horror stories about matters back in the day.

Apparently there was once a phenomenon infamously know as “s*** on the shore” that haunted a particular bathroom for a year. I am happy to report that, as of yet, nothing that vile has revealed itself in a bathroom I’ve used -- and I’m intent on keeping things that way.

I know that it’s hard to change our ways, but for the good of the campus, I’d really appreciate it if everyone just took the time to do his/her part in solving this epidemic. Just raise your right hand and declare “I, <insert name here>, promise to make sure that everything goes down the toilet.” Or look yourself in the mirror and say “Today, I WILL lift the toilet seat.”

The solution to our problem is in the home -- more specifically in the bathroom -- so do it for your neighbors, do it for MIT, and do it without getting it all over the place.