The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

June 3, 2012

Toilet humor isn't funny, but toilet news ...

The News Courier

— Finally, after decades of research, we have the answer to what was thought to be a rhetorical question: Do bears, er, go in the woods?

The answer came after an incident on May 23, leaving the world stunned: Not if there’s an alternative.

A bear in the woods near Winnipeg, Ontario, chose an outhouse over the great outdoors but – surprise! – there was a human inside.

Apparently in urgent need of the facilities, the black bear grabbed 65-year-old Gord Shurvell by the back of his pants, which were at the time around his ankles, and dragged him from the wooden outhouse toward the woods.

Well, unless there was an outline of a human figure on the outhouse door, you can hardly blame the bear. How was he to know?

And, too, Shurvell may be partially to blame since he decided to leave the outhouse door open as he sat there, watching the beautiful scenery, which just happened to be concealing a bear with mayhem on its mind.

A friend who was with Shurvell at the fishing camp heard him scream and rushed to his aid, shooting at the bear. Shurvell escaped with a puncture wound in the back of his head, along with cuts and bruises on his body, but the news accounts don’t say where.

One reporter, apparently an investigative journalist more highly paid than I am, was able to determine that, no, Shurvell had nothing “scared out of him.” A Pulitzer is on its way.

Surprisingly, a story about a man being yanked from an outhouse by a bear was not the only toilet-related story in the news the past few weeks.

Y’all know me, right? I am much too dignified for bathroom humor. But if it’s bathroom news … well, I have a doodie, er, duty to my readers.

In international toilet news, the city of Beijing has instituted a new rule aimed at keeping public toilets clean that manages to make us curious about this massive city while at the same time determined to stay on the other side of the world from it.

The Beijing Times reported that city officials created a “two-fly” rule and it has nothing to do with baseball. That’s an American pastime.

The Chinese fly rule is meant to ensure no more than two flies are in a public restroom at any given time, which I assume means the fly family has to ask the mom to wait outside while the rest of them do their business, which is also how bathroom privileges work with human moms.

A couple of questions come to mind.

A. Does this mean the city will now be employing fly counters to monitor each restroom? and

B. What happens to the third fly?

The statute makes no provisions but surely the fly should receive the traditional punishment of being tied to a thread so that is flies in circles until it is dizzy.

While I’m sure residents appreciate the government’s efforts, it seems the best solution would be to use restrooms at home and let the flies have the public toilets if they want them so badly — after, of course, someone draws little fly outlines on the doors to avoid confusion.

The idea of a clean toilet is lost on the woman who is the subject of our last story. Chyanna Richards of Splendora, Texas, recently joined the ranks of the faithful who see the image of Jesus in inanimate objects. But rather than on a grilled cheese sandwich or a potato chip, this image manifested itself on the bathroom wall — in mold.

Richards said her family is drawing strength from the image of Jesus in the mold-and-mildew growth that has been on the shower wall for a couple of months.

“Maybe it means something. Maybe look into yourself and see if you need to change something in your life,” she said in a news account at

You know I wouldn’t call anyone stupid, right? But you have to wonder about Chyanna if she can’t see what she needs to change, like maybe her bathroom cleaning habits.

The phrase says, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”

Never have I heard, “Godliness is next to the toilet.”

I’m just sayin.’