The backstroke, presumably. Or maybe the crawl. But whatever style it's using, that fly is swimming for dear life, because it isn't in the soup.
It's in the urinal. (For someone with less restraint, this would be a perfect place for a truly tasteless comment about pee—er, pea soup. Luckily, I refuse to indulge in such low humor. It would be hitting below the belt.)
But back to the fly. Flies, rather. I haven't seen them myself, but I am informed by a reliable source that in the men's bathrooms at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, there are flies in the urinals. This is not a reflection of the hygiene there—we are talking about the Dutch, after all.
Nope, these are painted flies, realistic little critters manufactured into the porcelain, rather like their prehistoric ancestors frozen in amber, except not as collectible. They are there for a reason—target practice. According to my reliable source's reliable source, adding the flies has improved the accuracy of airport urinal users by 80%.
And just how did they come up with that statistic? Who collected the information? It seems to me that peering over a guy's shoulder to assess his accuracy wouldn't do much to improve his aim. Besides, stationing an unfortunate researcher in the men's bathroom with a notebook for long periods of time just might result in reports of suspicious loitering and possibly an arrest. "Research? Yeah, right, buddy. You can tell that to the judge!"
Maybe they just asked for an estimate from the people with the most to gain from the project. I'm sure the workers who clean the bathrooms would be delighted with an 80% improvement in hitting the designated target.
Some of you—parents of little boys, for instance—might be interested in trying this technique at home. If so, I'd recommend an alternate version. It doesn't involve installing a permanent fly in your toilet bowl that might be a bit startling to guests.
All it takes is some Cheerios. I've seen this recommended as a toilet-training aid for little boys; you just drop one in the bowl and encourage the trainee to sink it. (M & M's might work, too, but that would be wasteful. I wasn't even willing to sacrifice one just to find out if it would float.)
I didn't realize this technique had its own theme song until we got a DVD of the Vermont folk group The Woods Tea Company. One of their songs is "Sink the Cheerio," by Pete Sutherland. It's a lively tune that, appropriately enough, is somewhere between a sea chantey and a drinking song.
It is also just reminiscent enough of "Sink the Bismarck" to give the whole endeavor a sense of purpose. It serves as a reminder that, if you want to succeed, it's important to have a clear target. Especially if you're trying to hit it on the fly.
I giggled all through reading your latest column!!! Some one sent us a picture or one of those urinals in the Schophol airport. Yeah, I guess if some guy was standing near me, watching what was going on, or out, I would be on the phone, calling security or soomebody to get this kook away from me. Funny , Kathleen.. carry on..
No, no one sent ONE of those urinals. Typo….Shoulda previewed it…
At a rural function, one of my friends[a lady friend] and I were going to use the porta-potty. She went first and I stood guard outside the door. I heard her exclaim, “Gee, there’s a place to wash your hands in here, even a bar of soap!” I thought that was strange considering there was no hook-up for a source of water. When it was my turn to use the facilities, I had to laugh until I was weak….and when exiting the place, explained to my friend that the ‘sink’ was for the men’s use, and the bar of’soap’ was actually a toilet deodorant thingy. She was impressed with my knowledge……Ginny
While sinking a Cherrio sounds like a possible strong training tool, I recommend starting boys using the potty in the sitting position. The odds of getting some results when starting training is much higher…and contained!
Ginny, I loved your story. I hope your friend didn’t actually use the “soap”! And Val, I agree that sinking the Cheerio is a somewhat advanced technique–Toilet Training 102, maybe.
When I babysat for some neighbors, I recall that they had some “tinkle targets” that they would put into the toilet. Of sourse, they did train their boys to sit first so it was not as effective at the time.
I also hope that Ginny’s friend didn’t use the “soap”, ewwww!
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