Splash Guard

Ladies, you may not know this, but in men’s room urinals there are often plastic mesh splash guards at the bottom of the bowl. Their purpose is allegedly to defeat – or at least to minimize – any kind of scattering or splashing activity, and thus keep your trousers crispy clean. At least that’s what I’ve always imagined their purpose to be – personally, I never had a problem with this even at urinals lacking a splash guard.

Anyway. Several years ago, the phrase “Say No To Drugs” suddenly started appearing on some of these splash guards. You’d be merrily peeing along, then would look down to check your aim, and find yourself reading this phrase. Except you wouldn’t just be reading it – you’d also be peeing on it.

We’re all bombarded with messages of all kinds all day long – marketing, propaganda, etc. etc. But we’re not exactly accustomed to peeing on these messages. It seems to me that something about peeing on the message automaticaly subverts its meaning. Like you’re canceling it out by peeing on it. Sure feels that way to me anyway.

So what I want to know is, whose idea was this and also what in hell were they thinking and also how many people had to sign off to get this bizarre idea all the way from whatever corporate boardroom or esteemed think tank came up with it all the way to manufacturing and distribution, and also didn’t it occur to anyone in this entire chain of operations that the message, no matter how well-intentioned (albeit arguably misguided), would essentially be canceled out in the viewer’s mind by the act of peeing all over it?

Life is weird.

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