The Extremes Of Excretion
My experience with the extremes of pooping began when I was about five years old when the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus came to my hometown. From the stories my parents had read to me, I loved the circus before I even went. But the most indelible memory of this boyhood event didn't occur under the big top -- it took place outside the tent, well before any of the scheduled performances. It was there, at a safe distance, where I observed, hypnotized, an elephant relieving himself.
It was like cow plop multiplied a hundred-fold, cascading out as high as an elephant's eye -- er, um, ass. After all, elephants consume tons of roughage in the form of straw and other vegetable matter, and it shows up like nobody (else's) business at the other end.
But don't just take my word for it:
My fascination with elephants (and their extreme pooping) took off from there. By the time I'd reached high school, elephant jokes of every type had become all the rage with me. And then in college, I heard the ultimate elephant joke -- one that permanently cemented for me the link between poop and humor. It went something like this:
Man #1: (to his friend): So, what are you doing now?
Man #2: (appropriately) I work for the circus.
Man #1: Oh, really. Doing what?
Man #2: I'm, uh, in charge of cleaning up after the elephants.
Man #1: Oh, yeah? What do you have to do?
Man #2: I shovel mounds of elephant poop.
Man #1: Jeezums. Can't you find something better to do?
Man #2: What! And give up show business?
And yes, I firmly believe that PoopReport is definitely a form of cyber-show biz.
The other extreme of pooping I'd like to examine also has a connection to circuses: flea circuses, in fact. The first time I heard about flea circuses, I couldn't believe my ears. What the hell could you get a flea to do on a consistent basis that would be worth charging people to see? How could you even communicate with the little buggers? Now considered a lost art form, the flea circus relied more upon illusion and special magnifying lenses for customers to observe -- unlike training elephants, with natural incentives like massive volumes of food.
Nonetheless, flea circuses led me to contemplate the mind-boggling concept of flea poop. I thought of those novelty carvings of the Pledge of Allegiance or the Lord's Prayer upon the head of a match, or The Incredible Shrinking Man, one of my favorite sci-fi films, in which the main character becomes so infinitesimally small that he disappears into what would amount to another universe -- perhaps to be consumed by and become the poop of an amoeba (which would be even more extreme than flea poop). Of such notions is the concept of flea poop configured. But while many of you may have never witnessed that elusive flea circus or the thundering turds of elephants, most of you have likely encountered flea poop.
The fact is, owners of dogs infested with fleas must contend with it constantly. My brother and I had several dogs when we were growing up, and we were charged by our parents with the responsibility of feeding and bathing them. But no matter how hard we scrubbed, we never could rid that canine fur of all those nearly-microscopic flea turds, which some have referred to as "black dandruff." As one poster on the Paw Talk forums puts it, flea poop "looks very much like grains of pepper. The flea dirt is actually flea poop. If you wet the dog, the poop would dissolve and turn the water a rusty, reddish-brown color from your dog's blood, which had been ingested by the fleas."
From time to time, PoopReport is visited by people who flame us over the subject we discuss here, claiming it to be inappropriate, gross, sick, or whatever else they care to rant about. But there is a universe of poop out there to consider between the two extremes I've described, and it is our mission to deliberate upon all of it, even-handedly and with extreme attention to detail. No poop left behind!