Slippery when wet

Dear toilet seat squatters,

Hi. How are you? That’s nice. How am I doing? Well, not so great. You see, you have sprayed urine all over the toilet seat and didn’t have the wherewithal to wipe it down before you exited the stall. Thanks for asking.


Now that we’re on the subject…why it is that you squat?

Did your grandmother sell you a lie that you would catch membrionic cataclistical bacterium* by somehow allowing your bare butt to touch the toilet seat of an office building?

You must be wondering how I know so much about your grandmother. Well, it’s because I too have a grandmother, and she tried to convince of the dangers of toilet seat sharing. Whenever we were out and about town and nature called, I had to hear her Don’t Sit, speech from the moment I asked to pee to the point when I was done washing my hands. As annoying as this was, it wasn’t as stressful and difficult as actually being stripped down and lifted onto an adult toilet to then be coached into streaming my body’s warm Mountain Dew into the bowl and not down my leg, where it inevitably went anyway.


I eventually gave up going to the bathroom to avoid this whole ordeal. I would hold it as tight as Chase holds my deposits. This plan worked, except for that one time she took me to see a Cantinflas movie and I over-zealously drank an entire Sprite. Yet, I opted to pee through my pants and into the seat**, rather than ask for her to take me to the bathroom. My grandmother was not pleased. And neither was I until I was old enough to go into a stall on my own…then it was ass-to-seat all-the-time.

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 1.15.34 PM
Her legs were made for squatting, not yours.

Years later, while reminiscing about this whole bathroom squatting ordeal with my gramms, she explained that peeing like this was something that came easy to her because she spent her youth peeing into a hole in the ground.

So there you have it toilet seat squatters, if you haven’t spent the greater part of your life training at the Outhouse Olympics, you will never master the proper hover. More importantly, you’re not preventing catching any sort of disease by peeing all over the seat. Many disease-causing organisms can survive for only a short time on the surface of the seat and the only way to get them into your blood stream is to rub your snatch all around the bowl. And even if you tried that, you would probably slide right off because the fucking seat is sprinkled with pee.

So, in conclusion, sit down or lift the God-damned seat. That’s right. The seat actually comes up, giving you an extra two inches all around the bowl to help you make it in. Consider it like bowling with those bumpers that cover the gutters, it won’t guarantee a strike, but it will block your ball from spilling over the side.

Thanks for your attention to this matter. And, also, get off fucking phone. I mean, honestly.


Mari, the sitter.

*This disease is as real as the kind you will catch from sitting on the toilet.

**I apologize to that poor person who sat down in that movie theater seat after I “used” it. As a matter of fact, I apologize to anyone that has ever sank into a cushioned seat to discover, a few seconds later, that they sat in old pee.


Come sail away

No. You’re not crazy. It was just a little more than a year ago that you read my three-part series bidding bon voyage to the cruise industry. The thing is ships have a funny way of making it back to port, and I have a knack for finding a way to board them.

So, I’ve left the old Alma mater to return to the sea, but not without racking up some pretty awesome memories. Here are just a few:

Traveled to Nicaragua with this guy and earned the title of producer for his brilliant documentary films. He even let me shoot a little.
Attended my first college football game. I spent three quarters of it in the parking lot and the last quarter at Denny’s.
Received a Master of Arts in Linguistical Fancy. Not only is linguistical not a word, but also my name is spelled wrong. For these, and many other reasons, this diploma is framed on my wall.
Marco Polo
Made it completely acceptable to play a blind-folded game of Marco Polo around the office. Perhaps there was also a secret, after-hours game of Hide’n Seek. Maybe.
Office Glee
Convinced the office to dress up like characters from “Glee.” Although they all claimed to have never watched the show, they individually nailed their parts.

There was the week I spent at band camp, and the April Fool’s video that was pulled off of the interwebs. And, how can I forget the major knee injury I earned while sliding across the student union while dressed as a turkey. There’s so much more, but I won’t bother sharing them. Those memories are the ones I’ll keep in my permanent suitcase, as I’m once again waving to my friends from the bow of a ship.

Out of office

If we’ve ever worked together, you know three things about me:

1. I drink coffee. Lots and lots.

2. I keep random, but interesting, sometimes slightly offensive, tchotchkes in my office (i.e. the donkey that dispenses cigarettes from its butt).

3. I write the best out-of-office messages ever to come across your computer screen.

I really don’t remember when I started doing these things. They just became natural habits in my unnatural habitats. Well, technically the coffee started when I was young. But, the tchotchke thing started as soon as I got my first permanent desk. From there it evolved from trinkets on my desk to hanging a disco ball over it. Although with the new job and several office locations, the decorations are currently in flux. And, the out-of-office message was born out of a joke and perfected in my last job – as I was always out of the office.

I wish I had actual samples to share, but they included lines like, “Don’t be sad because I’m out of the office. I’m not.” and if I was on vacation, I’d quote Madonna’s Holiday. They were subtle and funny and my colleagues really enjoyed them. At least that’s what they told me.

As this week marks my first vacation since starting my current job, I decided to write a toned-down version of my out-of-office message, you know, to test the humor waters in academia. This is exactly what I wrote:

Thank you for your message. I’m currently out of the office on holiday. I will return recharged (and with an amazing tan) on July 2. If your matter requires immediate attention, please email XXXXX XXXXX at XXX@SSS.RRR. Otherwise, I look forward to returning your email upon my return.

Kind Regards,

Mari de Armas

Super subtle, right? I even put the funny line in parenthesis so they wouldn’t mistake it for fact and send me position papers on how the brain reacts to skin damage or the political disposition of the sun.

The plan was to have this message automatically reply to an incoming email from within the organization. Only I flubbed the rule and sent the above message as a reply – to every single email in my inbox.

I suggest you go back two spaces and re-read the last sentence. Go ahead. I’ll be right here when you’re done.

That’s right. Everyone I had ever exchanged emails with got my stupid out-of-office message because it attached itself to every single correspondence we’d ever had. Some people received 30 emails. Others more than 300. In the latter category was my boss.

I suggest you go back two spaces and re-read the last clause.

The time between setting the rule to making it stop took about 23 minutes. During this time I was on the phone with a friend and colleague, who expertly walked me through this situation like a poison control operator.

“Mari, what did you do?”

“I don’t know, I don’t know, I put the thing, and oh my God, I think I’m going to throw up my lower intestine.”

“Okay. Get a bucket, then sit down by your computer and delete whatever you did.”

I laughed. I cried. And this morning, I apologized.

Most importantly, I swore never, ever write another out-of-office message again. Not even a serious one.