In the past week or two, our bathroom coverage has exploded. We’ve written about a law firm and a law school experiencing toilet shortages, a law school that has a sense of humor when selling naming rights to its bathrooms, and a law firm that wants its employees to follow proper restroom etiquette.

Do we talk too much about bathrooms? Well, not necessarily. Think about it this way: how much time does a person spend over the course of a lifetime in the bathroom, engaged in excretory functions?

(By the way, that’s a great management consulting case-study interview question. Try to answer it if you can; put your reasoning and calculations in the comments.)

If you’re tired of the toilet humor, stop here. But if you want to see a funny sign from a courthouse bathroom, keep reading….

From a courthouse in the northeastern United States:

Given that this facility is “strictly a #1 bathroom,” I’m not sure it’s necessary to tell people to “clean behind yourselves.”

So what’s the background behind this sign? Our tipster explains:

I work in a busy courthouse. Suffice it to say that the building represents everything icky about state court. There is no nice bathroom — at least no employees-only, multi-unit bathroom, complete with a large handicapped stall in which to do your dirty business. Rather, there is the “Number 1″ bathroom, which is less than a foot away from someone’s desk, and the “Number 2″ bathroom, which is open to the public and out in the courthouse hallway.

I appreciate the plight of the person who has to sit next to the Number 1 bathroom. That person experiences something akin to the worst seat in a restaurant or the last row of the plane on a daily basis. But the Number 1 bathroom raises a host of thorny issues.

For example, what happens if one goes in there with Number 1 mens rea, and, in the heat of the moment or by neglect, Number 2 “happens”? Or what if one heads to the Number 2 bathroom for the sake of anonymity? Number 1 is obviously a lesser included offense of Number 2, but is there a rebuttable presumption?

On a recent occasion, I started to go into the Number 1 bathroom, but noticed that someone was washing his hands in there, door partially ajar, but with the light off. With an irritated sigh, I went toward the other bathroom.

I think I said something like, “Ugh! We need our own bathroom!” to the fellow employee I passed in the hall. “There’s a bathroom right there…and there’s no one in it!” she said, pointing to the Number 1 bathroom, unaware of the handwasher. “That’s okay,” I answered, rushing off to pee.

Then I wondered if my actions translated as follows: “That’s okay. I have to take a s**t.”

Is the long walk from the #1 bathroom to the #2 bathroom the workplace walk of shame?

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of bathrooms


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