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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Story Series: From the Handicapped Bathroom with Love

There is at least one thing that you can be certain about your life: you will need to use the bathroom every single day. Why live your life in the dumps (no pun intended)? It’s time to add a little bit of luxury to your porcelain cruises. I’m talking about incorporating the handicap bathroom into your daily routine.

There are many pros and cons to using the handicap bathroom as well as a few unwritten rules. There are many who think that handicap bathroom use for the unimpaired is illegal. To those who slate themselves into this category I will calm your nerves through the words of my good buddy Thomas Schmokel, a consultant who helps businesses comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Schmokel admits, “Although the blue-signed handicapped parking spaces are legally restricted, there are no laws about who is allowed to use a restroom or stall designated for the handicapped. If there are disabled people around, it’s impolite to use the handicapped restroom or stall ahead of them, but if not, you can use whichever one you want. If you like more room or need a place to hang your newspaper, it’s fine.” There you have it: legal and satisfying.
1. Handicap bathrooms are legally required to have enough space for a wheelchair to maneuver a 360° turn comfortably. As well, handicap bathrooms usually double as family bathrooms. The result: an enormous bathroom all to yourself. When I’ve had a tough day on campus but I don’t feel like going home I’ll mosey on over to the handicap bathroom on the 2nd floor of the HBLL and turn it into my home away from home.
2. Privacy – there’s no such thing as an HB (handicap bathroom) without a locking door. If you fall into the class of people who can only begin their bathroom procedure if the restroom is completely empty, these locks are like manna from heaven.
3. The HB is a bathroom for “special/unique individuals,” thus when used properly the HB will endow one with a sense of uniqueness and individuality.
4. HBs are far cleaner than their bathroom counterparts. Why? They are underutilized since many people are not familiar with the rules of HB usage.
5. There is a bar that runs adjacent to the toilet. In situations of extreme duress this bar can be used for added support. It’s also handy for hanging up a jacket or BYU custom knitted scarf.
1. There seems to be an ignominy in being seen leaving a handicap bathroom. Sadly, since HBs are usually located in highly accessible areas this means that your presence in that bathroom has been noted by pretty much the whole community.
2. While on the accessibility issue it should also be addressed that some HBs have sacrificed privacy for added space. There is an HB on the 2nd floor of the HBLL that sports a huge grate on the door (the good HB on the 2nd floor is found right when you come down the main atrium stairs). This grate demolishes any sort of sound barrier. I have a roommate who recently had a very embarrassing encounter with said bathroom. When he walked out everyone in the library was laughing at him.
3. HBs normally have the toilet as far away as possible from the door. For those out of shape, this presents a struggle given the large size of the room.
4. Being that HBs are used one-person-at-a-time  these babies pose a serious threat. Whatever mess, smell, or crude message you left on the wall can be traced immediately back to you.
5. The feeling of guilt when you walk out to see a line of ten people in wheelchairs waiting for you to finish. At that point you regret adding “watch Arrested Development on Hulu” to your list of things to do in the HB.

THE RULES: Rules to using HBs are derived from the pros and cons list.
1. The first rule to adhere to is to make sure you’ve given yourself at least a fifteen-minute window. The last thing you need is for a class or work to disrupt your amazing experience. There’s nothing worse than wishing you had more time. For some reason unknown one loses all sense of time the second that lock is clicked.
2. After locking the door you must take 3 steps in and stop. Admire your surroundings and make plans for how you will lay out all your stuff – you’re going to be there for a while and you want to make sure you’ve decorated properly.
3. If you decide to watch a show on your laptop or put on some tunes make sure the laptop is placed in a location where it won’t fall down. Once you sit down you’ve lost all agility to save it from a tumble.
4. If/When someone comes and tries the door only to find it locked you are not required to yell, “Somebody is in here!” The moron who keeps on shaking the handle will eventually realize it’s occupied. If someone does continue to try the door for a while you’re allowed to utter a silent prayer that the lock will hold.
5. When leaving the bathroom one must walk with purpose and confidence while making sure not to make eye contact with anyone who saw them leave. Before leaving, make sure no incriminating evidence has been left behind (con #4).

Deciding to incorporate HBs into your life and adhering to these rules is the beginning of an exciting new path. I can promise an immediate increase in your physical stature, mentality, spirituality, and overall well being.

-Thanks to Matt Butters for this 


  1. Could you PLEASE post something about the most beautiful bathrooms on campus!!! The one's in the Hinckley Alumni & Visitor Center by the Tanner building!

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