Portable toilets for dummies

Well, it’s that time of year again: festival season in Winnipeg.

Because there are only around four or five months in our fair city where we can actually venture outside of our homes without freezing off our appendages, we have to squeeze an entire year’s worth of festivals into every summer.

Some of our festivals are well attended and world renowned, such as the culturally diverse Folklorama.

Others are much smaller and less known, such as the “Dress Your Cats Up Like Porn Stars Festival,” which is held every year in my apartment, and which is attended annually by my two cats and myself when my girlfriend is out of town.

As different as all these festivals are from one another, there is one thing that nearly all of them have in common: portable toilets.

In all of my years of festival going, I’ve become somewhat of an expert on portable toilets. Today, I’d like to share the benefits of my experience with all of you.

Each portable toilet fits in to one of four different categories of cleanliness and user friendliness, based on the length of the festival and the frequency of the big poo sucking trucks that come to clean out the “basements” of the toilets.

Level 1: Level 1 portable toilets are relatively clean. They are well stocked with toilet paper (also known more colloquially as shit tickets) and generally do not smell strongly of anything.

Level 2: Level 2 portable toilets are slightly dirtier and smellier than their Level 1 counterparts. They still have one or two rolls of shit tickets, but these are generally damp or partly soaked in poorly aimed, yet “friendly fire” urine.

Level 2 toilets smell worse than Level 1s. However, they rarely cause fainting or permanent brain damage.

Level 3: Now we’re getting into the real festival experience. Level 3 portable toilets generally have no toilet paper at all. In the odd case that a Level 3 portable toilet does have toilet paper, it is invariably soaked in blood and/or urine.

The most distinguishing feature of a Level 3 toilet is that the feces in the basin, or poo receptacle, has somehow accumulated to the point where it has actually risen about the level of the toilet seat itself, like a Rocky Brown Mountain, rising from the unknown depths below.

This is significant because it means that the last dozen or so people to contribute to Mount Brown would actually have to hover a foot or so above the accumulation while they did their duty, as it were.

Level 4: Lastly, my personal favourites: Level 4 toilets. These are identical to their Level 3 counterparts in every way, save for one: instead of a massive, protruding mound of poo, the Level 4 toilet contains a comedian/columnist with a waterproof camera taking pictures of people’s bums.

I hope this list has been both helpful and informative. If you are one of the thousands of festival-going Winnipeggers, then I’ll see you in a Level 4 this summer!

J.Williamez is currently sewing costumes for the Dress Your Cats Up Like Porn Stars Festival.

Published in Volume 65, Number 27 of The Uniter (June 29, 2011)

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