Thursday, April 28, 2011

One Man’s Annoying / Aggravating / Interesting Access Picture of the Week

Once upon a time when I was barely a teenager I excused myself from dinner with my family at our local country club when nature called after one too many cherry Cokes (made with Coke and Grenadine, garnished with cherries). When I turned the corner inside the bathroom to head toward the urinals I was immediately and unexpectedly besieged with this truly amazing sight to behold: lined up in front of one of the urinals was a man in his mid-seventies standing with his feet a shade wider than shoulder width apart, the palm of his left hand was planted firmly on the wall about shoulder level so he could brace himself, in his right hand was a lit cigarette which he set on the edge of the top of the urinal between puffs, his pants were butterflied all the way open, and he was urinating completely hands free.

The latter was a feat unto itself because in the handful of times I tried it myself after that day it quickly became a fire drill of preventing myself from peeing on the floor, myself, or my shoes. It also reminds me of a joke that my good friend’s dad used to tell, which was that he asked his doctor for prescription for Viagra but wasn’t interested in using it for sex, rather he just wanted to take a quarter dose so he wouldn’t pee on his shoes. I took a college class from him once and he said that to the whole group and I was the only one who chuckled. But I digress…

The guy had set up shop in the middle urinal of three so I had no choice but to sidle right up next to him. As he exhaled a cloud of smoke and put his cigarette back on the urinal he asked, “How are you doing son?” I said fine and tried to tend to my business as quickly as possible, eyes tightly forward despite being curious as to the hands free “physics” at work to my left. I finished, washed my hands, and got the hell out of there leaving him in the same position that I had left him. How he managed to keep his urination going for the length of that cigarette I didn’t care to know.

So other than waxing nostalgic about an awkward one off bathroom experience from my youth why am I sharing this anecdote? Because only that guy with that particular urination stance in that specific set of circumstances would appreciate the “accessibility” of the urinal in the picture below because the bars would give him something to hold on to while he burned one during his hands free piss. Otherwise, unless somebody wants to do modified bicep curls or chin ups while they take a leak, I don’t understand how putting those grab bars at chest and overhead level would benefit anyone with a disability. Or how putting those bars and that sign there makes it a disability specific urinal for that matter. Granted, it’s been almost fifteen years since I stood at a urinal to urinate, but for most guys taking a leak is a two hand job: one to hold the pants/underwear aside and the other to aim, if you will. So why anyone, disability or not, would use those grab bars to hold onto escapes me. And even if they did it seems to me that they would be far benefitial if placed lower or to the side. As can often be the case with accessibility, someone completely over- or under thought that one. It just looks ridiculous. Or an accessibility fail, as the pic points out.


Photo Source


  1. I think this is for people unsteady on their feet? Perhaps people who use a walking stick ect o.O

    Who knows, the insides of a guys bathroom is a mystery to me. I'm a girl

    Although I know of the one space rule we girls have something similar :p