Poop Candle

My husband and I keep a candle and a book of matches on top of the toilet tank cover should anyone who uses the bathroom need to mask the odor of a momentous bowel movement. I call such an event a Poopapalooza. As in, “Whoa! It smells like somebody hosted a four-day Poopapalooza headlined by Rancid and the Butthole Surfers, and I just got an all-access backstage pass.”

To keep me from saying something like that upon entering the bathroom, you’ll want to light the poop candle after finishing your business in there.

Similarly, when my spouse or my dog passes gas while we’re, say, watching TV or lying in bed, I will say, “Did you just throw a Farting Fiesta?!” As though the offender didn’t just let one, but did so in a gleeful, indiscriminate, almost carnivalesque manner. 

Is it strange that the language I use for poops and poots is so festive? 

The vessel that holds the poop candle is a little jar decorated with a mosaic of tinted glass pieces so that when the candle is illuminated you get the always pretty effect of light shining through colorful glass. Basically, all it takes for our bathroom to rival the famous stained-glass windows at the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris is for somebody to take a really foul-smelling, gut-emptying dump.

My husband, who has a weakness for cheap souvenirs, bought the candle holder at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. Good luck getting out of that huge, overwhelming marketplace without purchasing a worthless trinket or two (or 12). We’re talking knickknacks to the rafters. 

I couldn’t tell you what it was about this particular item that caught his eye. Just as a church’s stained-glass windows appear glorious on a sunny Easter morning but muddy and gloomy during the Last Supper service on Maundy Thursday evening, the candle holder looks drab when the poop candle isn’t lit. 

But set match to wick on the votive inside and you’re liable to be dazzled while you stand there amid the stench in our darkened bathroom. 

Sometimes a piece of junk turns out to have an astonishing capacity for beauty. It’s like discovering that a subway masturbator has an exquisite singing voice. 

We also keep a canister of Febreze air freshener in the bathroom to supply an alternative to lighting the candle. The scent is labeled as “linen and sky,” but it smells more like baby powder and plastic shopping bag to me. Throw the aroma of poo in there and you get a mélange recalling dirty diapers. 

That’s not the best sensory experience, but it’s still better than the cloying, perfumey smell of the Glade-brand spray I used to buy. The only good thing that came out of that chapter is that a friend of mine adopted “spray the Glade” as a euphemism for using the facilities. Like, “Excuse me, I have to go spray the Glade.” 

Given my previously established affinity for cutesy terms for bathroom matters, you can probably guess how much that amused me (a great deal). 

Not every cutesy bathroom term delights me, however. I cannot stand, for instance, when grown folks say “pee-pee,” whether in reference to urine or, especially, the male organ.

“Pee” by itself is fine as a verb or a noun for number one. But it should never be repeated. I felt the same way about the Sex and the City movie, and I was right about that, too.

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