A bathroom in a home contains a toilet, a sink, and a bathtub or shower stall. A half bath refers to a bathroom with just a toilet and sink. Kids grow up saying, “I have to go to the bathroom,” when they need to take care of business. During my early school days, I found there was an unannounced rule change. To complicate matters, my folks were originally from Tennessee, and they brought a bit of an accent with them when they moved north. It was quite natural for their children to acquire a hint of that accent, along with some of Dad’s good old-fashioned southern logic.
I survived my earliest days of elementary school by just following the lead of my classmates, taking care of bathroom business before the first bell rang, and before or after the lunch break. One day the call of nature was uncooperative, so I raised my hand and asked the teacher if I could go to the bathroom.
“The bathroom? Are you going to take a bath?”
“Uh, no ma’am, I have to go.”
“We don’t have “bathrooms” here at school, there are no bathtubs here. We call them “restrooms.””
After the Principal paddled my ass with a 3’ long 2’’x6’’ board, I surmised that I had made a major error in discretion by suggesting to the teacher that since kids did not go there to rest it should be called “The piss room.” Note to self, never again try Dad’s country style logic on a teacher.
My survival skills kicked in, and I rarely asked the teacher for permission to “go,” but when I did, it was to “the restroom.” I had noticed that most of the other kids were asking the teacher if they could go to “the washroom” instead of “the restroom,” so one day I thought I would try the same designation. Here is where a touch of that Tennessee accent reared its head like a stepped-on rattlesnake.
“Teacher, may I go to the WARSHroom?”
“May I go to the WARSHroom?”
The other kids in the class could see where the teacher was going with this, and they were falling out of their chairs laughing.
“I'm sorry, I don’t understand what you are asking for. What is a WARSHroom?”
Now I was confused and nervous, so I fell back to a previous mistake. “May I go to the bathroom? “
“We don’t take baths here at school. We have no bathrooms here.”
“Ma’am, I need to go.”
“You need to go where?”
“To the WARSHroom.”
“There is no “R” in “wash.” Say it for me, “WASH.””
I could not hear the “R” when I tried to say, “wash,” and could not comprehend the point my teacher was trying to make. My classmates were howling with laughter, no one was left in their seat.
“Allen, you have again disrupted the class so I am sending you back to the Principal’s office.”
Even though the stress and humiliation had me in tears, the devil in me was force majeure and had to make one last great act of defiance.
“Can I piss first?”
You know you have been to The Principal’s Office far too many times when he gives you a nickname. “Now what are you here for, Zack?” As always, I was scared to death and I knew I was going to get another beating, but I had to make sure I kept the universe in balance. Though the tears and fear I grinned at the Principal and gave him my answer.
“Because the teacher wouldn’t let me go to the piss room.”
James A. Zachary Jr.