Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Good, Not Good

About a week or two ago, I was hiking along while chatting with a high school friend named Jacob Garcia. He was asking me various questions about the hike, what I was doing at that moment, what I'd be doing in the near future. There seemed to be no end to the questioning.
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Suddenly, I felt a distinct bodily urge and told Garcia that I had to go into the woods. Under normal city circumstances, this is when most people cut out. Not Garcia. "This is what I'm talking about," he said, "This is what people want to know about." I was unaware that there was any complexity to the process of "doing the business" outdoors, but I figured that if Garcia didn't know, there might be other Aggies out there who could benefit from a quick education about finding toilet paper substitutes out in the wilds of the Texas highway system.
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We at the University of Texas are well schooled in outdoor waste disposal, as the need occasionally arises on A&M campuses across the state. While I do not recall the specifics, nor do I wish to confuse the issue for any potential Aggie readers, I present to you "Good, Not Good," a quick-and-easy guide that should be comparable in academic level to that of any graduate school material you might encounter in the A&M university system.
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(Leave No Trace principles encourage backcountry hikers to dig a hole at least 6" in depth for your waste. You can do this with a stick, stone, or store-bought shovel. Deposit your waste, along with any subsequent wiping material, and cover it all up.
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When going potty on A&M campuses, most UT students reference the alternative Leave A Big Fat Hairy Trace principles. In this case, Leave No Trace rules may not be applicable.)
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A quick note: any material may be used to wipe off excess excrement. In an emergency, please feel free to use anything. However, if you are given the choice, some are better than others, as shown below.
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Without further ado, I give you "Good, Not Good." Enjoy.
. . .
GOOD.
Large and pliable, this leaf will serve your basic needs.
. . .
. . .
NOT GOOD.
More is not necessarily merrier.
In order to make a good square, you will have to use your thumb.
At the crucial moment, however, you will want to retract said thumb.
After that, it's between you and God.
. . .
. . .
GOOD.
Different shape, same wonderful wiping potential.
. . .
. . .
NOT GOOD.
Pine needles may have sap on them.
Unless you want to trade one sticky substance for another,
I suggest you find something else.
. . .
. . .
GOOD.
Don't be fooled by the color.
If it's still on tree, it still wipes for me.
. . .
. . .
NOT GOOD.
A bird's nest ushers stuff into this world,
so why can't it take it away?
Chances are high that after using this you'll walk away
with little bits of Mother Nature a tad too close to home.
. . .
. . .
GOOD.
Skinny leaves like this can still be folded into a workable square.
. . .
. . .
NOT GOOD.
Recycling is a wonderful thing,
but this discarded scrap of aluminum can
is best left by the side of the road.
. . .
. . .
GOOD.
A dark red leaf is still a good wiper.
. . .
. . .
NOT GOOD.
A piece of tire might leave skid marks on you.
. . .
. . .
GOOD.
Not my first choice, pine cones
are often a top pick on many NOLS courses.
. . .
. . .
NOT GOOD.
Neither a fork nor a spoon,
this used spork probably wouldn't be a good idea
even if it were perfectly clean.
. . .
. . .
And this concludes "Good, Not Good." I hope you learned something.
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Until next time, wipers...

6 comments:

PHOOMP said...

I'm sorry. I was following right along with ya until you got to the pine cone. I still believe that one may have been mislabeled.

: )

Brandon Champion said...

SPORK!

Matt, we MUST meet someday.

Komal said...

Hahahaha.

Annie said...

I didn't see the left-handed method that's used in Guinea (and all over the world) on your list. So the question remains: left hand, good? or bad?

A Girl said...

Hmmm, Matt, I believe you have the Aggies and the t-sips all confused in your posting here.

But none the less, I am truly enjoying your adventures. When you get to the Laredo, San Ignacio, Zapata part of your trip I will give you shelter!

Becky

Smatt said...

A few notes:

1) The NOLS people don't pack toilet paper when doing some of their courses, so they use what's out there. I've used pine cones, and I'm not a big fan.

2) The method that Annie refers to is the infamous "water method." Instead of toilet paper, people use water. How? you might be wondering. Well, they literally wipe using their hands. All I can say is this: it's a lot cleaner than you'd imagine.

3) I'm looking forward to being in the south of the state! A Girl, stay in touch and feel free to contact me at smattathias@gmail.com.