Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Writing on the Wall

The building where I teach 2 of my classes this semester is pretty old. Not beautifully old, made of aging red brick, rich in history with ivy crawling up its sides like you’d see at some New England University. Instead, this building is 1970’s mod style old, complete with peeling stucco. And like many buildings that pass their prime in Las Vegas, it is scheduled for implosion (well, at least destruction of some sort) and rebuilding in the coming years.

One of the interesting features of the 2nd floor ladies room in this building is the writing that covers the walls of the bathroom stalls. I don’t think it has been cleaned for years because I have some hazy recollection of seeing it when I was an undergrad at least 6 years ago. Reading through some of the strange comments the other day, such as a debate over whether or not Jesus was in fact black, I got to wondering what possesses people to write on bathroom walls and how they choose the subject of their bathroom stall graffiti.

The bathroom that sticks out in my memory as being the most actively filled up with comments was at my favorite college hangout Tom and Jerry’s. Sadly, the place is now a Laundromat or something like that, but during my college days, every Tuesday night it was bursting at the seams with underage college students with fake IDs for dollar drink night (perhaps that’s why it was eventually shut down). It was the first bar I ever went to. The floor was always sticky with spilled drinks and packed with everyone I knew at the time. Being thoroughly liquored up with a continuous stream of $1 Captain and cokes or beers, it seems like a brilliant and pretty obvious idea to write on the bathroom walls. Especially when so many other people already had. Most of the writings at Tom & Jerry's were to the tune of Anthony hearts Melissa 4-ever or Natalia is a skanky b**ch and she better stay away from my man. I’m pretty sure I added own my comments at one point.

However, I’m a little more curious about the people who scribble on the walls in the middle of the day at school. Are the authors bored? Are they looking for a forum to express themselves? Who are these people that write on the bathroom walls anyway? Are they rebels? Just ordinary, everyday students? Are they (gasp!) professors? I can just imagine Ira Glass doing an interview with the people who write these comments for This American Life.

There is one bathroom I refer to as the F*** Jesus bathroom. The dialogue in there goes something like this:

Jesus was black.

No, he wasn’t. Jesus was white.

What color is the sand when you wet it?

I have it on good authority that Jesus is purple.

Jesus was Jewish. Cleopatra was Macedonian. Stop rewriting history.

F*** Jesus. (This comment is now scratched out.)

Mmm-kay. I find it funny that their choice of topic for defacing public property is religion.

This made me think of something written in a bathroom wall in the University I went to in Spain. I wrote it down one day after returning to class because I thought it was funny. It said:

Nunca corras detras de un tio ni un autobus.
Llegara otro en un ratito.

Never chase after a guy or a bus.
There’ll be another one along in a minute.

1 comment:

AccordingToAngela said...

that last quote that you found in the bathroom in Spain is classic!

if you find out what silly chicken is, let me know, will ya? ;)

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