Somebody’s been peeing on the toilet seat at work.

It chills me to even write those words. Admittedly, I have issues with public bathrooms. They’re unpleasant places. Public bathrooms are places where you’re likely to run into people you know doing things you’d never want to see, hear or smell them do. Thanks to the wonders of urinal no-peek shields and stall doors, we’re generally protected from seeing things we’d rather not see. But as for hearing and smelling, well, it’s best not to dwell on that. All we can do is be grateful that those sounds and aromas remain, largely, in the bathroom.

But I think there’s an unspoken pact among all of us that, given the perils of public restrooms, we all try to keep them as sanitary as possible — especially ones where we work, which we all use repeatedly throughout the day. You’d think this would be one of those obvious universal truths. Pee on the seat at a rest stop or the Olive Garden and you’re just grossing out strangers. I don’t approve of that, but I understand the mentality. But the seat at the office is the same seat YOU’RE going to have to sit on at some point. Who could possibly fail to do the math on that one?

The fact remains: somebody at my office is seat-peeing. Regularly. This happens every time I go to the bathroom. Every. Single. Time. Somebody not only refuses to lift up the seat but has VERY BAD AIM.

Okay, so given my freakish obsessiveness about bathrooms and bathroom etiquette, I’ll say my discomfort with the plague of seat urine is partially my own private issue. I’ll say my neurosis accounts for… hmmm… three percent of the problem. The other 97% of this issue is that whoever’s peeing on the seat is a lazy, vile, unsanitary pig who should be shot, carved up, and fed to goats, whose feces can be burned to generate power for a neon sign that says “If you pee on the seat, you’ll soon be dead meat!” In the time it took me to write that last sentence, a person could’ve lifted up a toilet seat about 100 times.

This is the crux of my argument. It’s not hard to lift up a toilet seat. If you don’t want to touch it, pick it up with your foot. That’s what I do. (I know. I’m a freak. I also flush with my foot.) Of course, if whoever’s peeing on the seat is doing so because they’re afraid that lifting the seat would be UNSANITARY, their hypocrisy alone should make their seat-spraying a capital offense. And, oh, here’s another idea, USE THE FREAKING URINAL!

This has been going on for far too long. I’m now determined to find out who’s responsible. I don’t know what I’ll do with the information when I have it, but please understand: I need to know.

After my failed attempt to find out who clogged the toilet, you’d think maybe I’d be apprehensive about embarking on another seemingly quixotic bathroom quest. But given the recurring nature of this problem, I think a little detective work can help me crack this case.

It’s simple process of elimination. First of all, I think the women in my office can be safely removed from suspicion. That leaves the 26 men who work here. Donn is out sick today, and David and my boss are both out of town. (There’s one good thing you can say about my boss. He’s not a seat pee-er.)

I’m also going to assume that pee doesn’t stay on a toilet seat for very long. People need to use toilets. And I have to believe, if there’s any decency in this world, that everyone out there is wiping up splashed seats before sitting down. Regardless, one way or another, the seat pee is absorbed by the time the next person uses the facilities. So the fact that I saw Patrick entering the bathroom this morning as I was on my way out probably clears him from suspicion as well, unless he pees extremely often, in which case he should buy that medicine that makes the crossing guard sing “I don’t have to go right now” in the commercial.

Also eliminating myself, that leaves 21 suspects.

I’m keeping a suspect sheet in my desk, and I’m crossing off names one at a time.

It may take weeks, or even months. But there’s a bad, bad man out there, and one way or another, I’m going to flush him out.

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