Monday, September 11, 2006


Warning! This post is kind of foul. Read at your own risk.

A friend recently told us the following story. A while back, she was waiting in line at the grocery store. She looked on as a man tried to rush through the front door of the store with a shopping cart full of unpurchased liquor. He was quickly tackled and restrained, but he then proceeded to drop his pants and defecate right there in front of everyone. The stunned captors quickly reverted to verbal negotiations.

This story is alarming but not unique. It reminds me of other similar incidents I've heard of. After the storm, there were numerous reports of malicious defecation in various looted businesses and other locations (including into the deep-fryer of a well-known downtown restaurant). And I once read an article about the transport of new cars on trains. Originally, the standard practice was to leave the keys in the ignition, but hobos made a practice of sleeping in the cars, turning them on to run the heat or air-conditioning. When the car companies responded by stashing the keys in a tamper-proof container, the hobos responded by crapping in the cars. I believe the hobos won.

So it's a legitimate phenomenon. And any legitimate phenomenon needs a legitimate name. I would like to propose the following:
Deliberate and malicious defecation.*
Spite-shite - so incredibly awful. And so incredibly effective. Nothing says I hate you like a spite-shite.

* And there are other questions. How is this biologically feasible? How do the spite-shiters defecate at will? Do they postpone going to the bathroom on the chance that they may later become engaged in a conflict that will require a spite-shite? Are these people gifted with extraordinary fecal powers? Is there some primal biological mechanism at work? So much is unknown. Clearly more research is required.


  1. And I once read an article about the transport of new cars on trains.

    "Coal Train", from John MacPhee's Uncommon Carriers and excerpted in the New Yorker. Wonderful writer - his essay on the efforts of the Corpse of Engineers to restrict the flow of the Mississippi should be required reading for anyone southeast of Baton Rouge and the Old River Control Structure.

  2. Yes, exactly: "Coal Train." I couldn't quite recall it, but that's the one. Fantastic article. Absolutely fascinating.

  3. When I lived in France (this was a few years ago now) I once had a commission to photograph a particular street theatre company called Les Pietons. Part of one of their 'shows' involved spontaneously crapping in public. They were famous for it. It was supposed to be funny. I somehow managed to avoid actually witnessing it for myself though... phew!

  4. Anonymous11:11 AM

    Hobos # 2
    GM 0

    Hobos win easily here. Gotta love 'em. Like yourself, I've always liked hobos and the word "hobo" itself. This story proves that hobos have indispensible talents, including retaliation. If you're out on the road or rail, you have to have lots of know how. Great new coinage.