Honolulu Lite


Monday, April 16, 2001

New study gets to
bottom of bathroom use

A new study -- and there's always a new one lurking in the weeds -- has found that the average American spends an hour in the bathroom every day, or about two weeks a year. That means the average American 70-year-old has spent roughly three years in the head.

Which causes one to comment: Hey, why don't you get outta there and give someone else a chance!

I don't know why they do these kinds of studies. Like the one that shows that the average American sleeps one-third of their life, the implication being that sleeping is a bad thing. I think if people slept half their lives away, the world would be a better place and everyone wouldn't be so grumpy.

According to Reuters news service, the bathroom study was conducted by the National Association for Continence. How'd you like to go to that annual convention? Actually, you'd much rather go to that convention then the annual meeting of the National Association for Incontinence.

I didn't know that continence was such a big deal that there had to be a national organization. I would guess that 99.9 percent of people in this country are continent, meaning they can control their, uh, bodily functions. Why do you need an association? Get together and slap each other on the back and say, "Hey, buddy, you're doing a great job, holding it and everything. Way to go. I mean, way to not go."

Why not have a National Association of Air Breathers? You could do a study that showed that the average American spends 100 percent of his time alive breathing. And that when you stop breathing, there is 100 percent chance that you are dead. At which time you will be forced to join that other august group, the National Association of Dead People.

If groups must study bathroom habits, I guess it makes sense to have the National Association for Continence doing it. But what's the point? When you tell people how much of their life is spent doing one thing, you are implying that they could make better use of that time. I consider an hour a day in the bathroom not only necessary, but laudatory. What's the alternative? Cat boxes? Going for walks with your dog?

Obviously, not all of the time spent in the bathroom concerns bowel and bladder functions. According to the study, "About half of the respondents said they read or pondered serious issues in the bathroom, while a third admitted to simply daydreaming, singing in the shower or even talking on the phone." In other words, they treat the bathroom the same way they treat their car.

"One third of women said they talked to themselves in the bathroom," the study found.

That is a behavior most men cannot relate to. I don't know what I'd say to myself. "Well, here I am again. How'm I doing? Good, and me? Good, thanks for asking. How's life? Great! Wanna read a magazine? Nah, kinda rushed. Got to catch up my sleep. According to the National Association for Sleep, I'm a few months behind for my age group. I hear you, buddy. Well, catch me next time. Ditto."

Alo-Ha! Friday compiles odd bits of news from Hawaii
and the world to get your weekend off to an entertaining start.
Charles Memminger also writes Honolulu Lite Mondays,
Wednesdays and Sundays. Send ideas to him at the
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-210,
Honolulu 96813, phone 235-6490 or e-mail

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