Gathering feedback: This school is doing its duty

Knock, knock.

“Mind if I come in for a sec?”

“Whoa, hey, this stall is occupied!”

“Oh, that’s all right. I brought my own collapsible camp chair.”

“Err, ma’am, do you realize this is the men’s room and I’m kind of- in the middle of something? I mean, this is a little private.”

“Quite all right, sir. I’m a professional statistician. I’ve seen it all before. Oh, how rude of me, please allow me to introduce myself. The name is Agatha Klein. And you are?”

“Uh, my name’s Frank. Frank Lipscomb.”

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“I’m pleased to meet you Frank. On behalf of the entire university, let me thank you in advance for taking part in this interactive survey that will help us assure we are able to provide a proactive restroom environment, one which maximizes comfort and efficiency while still being a conducive enhancement to the individual learning process.”

“Wow. I guess it’s an honor. Can I pull my pants back up?”

“That won’t be necessary, Frank. Just relax. My goal is to capture your own personal restroom habits in their most authentic, unadulterated form, so we might better understand the toileting needs of the student body as a whole. Towards that end, I’m sure you won’t mind if I take a few snapshots?”

“Well, actually, I’d-“

“Try to look natural, Frank!”

Click, click.

“Very good, Frank. Now, if I may, I’d like to start by having you list the five key goals _” desired outcomes, if you will _” of your current restroom visit in the context of your overarching educational experience.”

Gosh. I guess I didn’t put a lot of thought into it. I mean, I just planned to, you know, do my business and leave.”

“That’s a bit vague, Frank. Perhaps it would help you if I provided you with a list of action verbs that will help you describe your lavatorial aspirations in a set of concrete, measurable goal statements. As you can see, we’ve recorded a list of action verbs in a perforated scroll-out format.”

“Those words are written on a roll of toilet paper.”

“Actually, we prefer the term ‘gyrationally organized self-sanitation accessories.’ As you can see, the list includes such terms such as ‘analyze,’ ‘relate,’ ‘describe,’ ‘accomplish,’ ‘ameliorate,’ ‘prioritize’ and ‘evacuate.'”

“Well, I’ll be. You guys must have put a lot of work into this.”

“Yes, we did, Frank, and we did it for a reason. All too often, this nation’s universities simply assume their students arrive at school fully prepared to take advantage of the unique challenges and opportunities provided by the toilets of higher learning. Tragically, this is seldom the case. Intensive, ethnographic studies have proven that the high school restroom is chiefly focused on simple rote memorization and regurgitation of generally accepted knowledge. Few universities provide any systematic mode of transition to the more academically advanced restroom milieu. You see, in college, going to the bathroom requires critical thinking, questioning assumptions and creative flair _” what the poet Aeschylus would refer to as the ‘fierce and unencumbered drive toward what is not yet made.’ Yes, all too often, the bathroom process of the American college student takes place behind closed stall doors with little opportunity for feedback or peer evaluation. By this antiquated paradigm of toileting practice, a visit to the restroom becomes a unidirectional flow of activity in which progress is unnecessarily impeded. But this university is dedicated to opening new channels of communication, to probing the needs of the student on the porcelain commode, in order to wipe away inefficient bureaucratic practices and flush out meaningless busywork. Yes, Frank Lipscomb, with your help, the student of tomorrow will no longer see a trip to the john as a solitary, isolated experience, but rather as an act of grand collaboration between student, staff, faculty and community.”

“Wow! I’d never realized that I could make such a difference to humankind just by going to the bathroom. Sniffle. It brings a tear to my eye.”

“I quite understand, Frank. Many people weep with joy at the prospect of such a bright future.”

“Say, do you mind if I use your handkerchief for a second to blow my nose?”

“What?!? And get your filthy boogers all over it? Ewww!”