Eventually all of us must go at one time or another.
“Kybo” is a common name throughout world Scouting. A moniker that may hark back to filling Kybo brand coffee cans with powdered lime sprinkled in the facility to alleviate odor and promote decomposition. Have you heard toilet paper called “Kybo Tape” or “Kybo Wrap”?
Australian’s may call it a “dunny” or by the delightfully musical appellation “thunderbox”.
The Kiwis of New Zealand speak of the “long-drop”.
Girl Scouts in the U.S. call it the biffy. (Could this be from the “BFI” (Browning-Ferris Industries) portable toilets? Or the acronym for “Bathroom in the Forest For You?”)
In the back-country campsites of national parks of Canada one finds ‘the box’, an aptly named facility with no walls or ceiling. Initially the exposed feeling is off putting, but the remote, often scenic, location of the box and the open air of the experience endear most to the arrangement.
Ostentatious facilities of brick gave rise to a familiar simile “Built like a…” (you know the rest).
At our Scout camp we use the particularly military term ‘latrine’; a centuries old term the French derived from the Latin word “latrina”, contraction of “lavatrina”, from “lavare” to wash.
Sailors proudly call it the ‘head’ while land-based armed service speak of ‘going to the can’ recalling that a can (a cut-off steel drum) was often used to contain the object of the exercise.
Europe’s highest (at a height of 13,976 feet ) serves 30,000 skiers and hikers annually. Located on France’s Mont Blanc , periodically emptied by helicopter, the facility alleviated a spring thaw problem that caused some to call Mount Blanc ‘Mont Noir’.
A retrete fuera de casa in Colca Canyon Peru is purported to hold the title “the world’s highest.”
Vaudevillian Chic Sale penned a monologue featuring carpenter Lem Putt who made a career of building these humble structures. “The Specialist” was published in book form and became something of a sensation in it’s time
Tsi-Ku also known as Tsi-Ku-Niang is Chinese goddess of the latrine and the Etruscan goddess Colacina became beneficent Roman goddess of efficient drainage systems.
James Whitcomb Riley (or James T. Rankin) penned the poem ‘The Passing of the Backhouse‘ I have the following stanza committed to memory for entertainment on winter camping trips:
But when the crust is on the snow and sullen skies were gray
Inside the building was no place where one could wish to stay.
We did our duties promptly, there one purpose swayed the mind;
We tarried not, nor lingered long, on what we left behind.
What lore or experiences have you to share?
Comments for this post will be assiduously moderated.