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December 15, 2016 41 mins

Despite our lengthy history of evacuating our bowels and bladders, it wasn’t until the relatively recent 1940s that we began to construct portable, self-contained toilets to accept our waste. Dive into the world of porta-potties in this episode.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
San Francisco, the s by s K Tree, Yes, San Francisco, Oakland,
the entire Bay area and dare I say, all of
Silicon Valley. Yeah, we love you. And we're coming back
to Sketch Fest this year in January. Yeah, we're gonna
be there on Sunday, January fift at one pm, a

(00:21):
very rare afternoon show. Uh, and we will be ready
to go. So you guys better be drunk from the
night before or getting drunk for that evening. Yeah, however
it crosses over, I think it'll be proof positive that
uh we endorse afternoon drinking, you know, yeah, you know,
a couple of drinks, maybe i'd be bloody Mary. What

(00:42):
were we talking about. Oh, yeah, we're promoting our show. Oh,
that's right, So we're doing that show on January. Uh.
You can go to the s F Sketch Fest website
to get tickets and it's awesome. It's a great, great
comedy festival. Lots of awesome shows that weekend and for
the following weeks. So I encourage you, like to buy

(01:02):
lots of tickets just by arts first. Yeah, and hurry, hurry,
because they're selling out fast, no joke. That's not a ploy.
It's not as a marketing ploy. No, they're really selling fast.
We get emails every time. Guys, you told me to hurry,
I didn't hurry. I'm shut out. And since this promos
petered out, it ends right now. Welcome to Stuff you

(01:23):
Should Know from house Stuff Works dot com. Hey, and
welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark. There's Charles W
Chuck Bryant, Jerry Master, Ace Roland. Uh, and this is

(01:43):
stuff you should Know. Yeah. Poopy addition, this one's gonna
get disgusting. Yeah, I mean, I don't think you need
trigger warnings when the title of the episode is got
porta potty in it. But um, we'll just throw it
out there. We're gonna be talking about poop and pea
and so if you're having lunch, maybe just put that

(02:07):
chili dog down gag easily, Yeah, you know, sure, Yeah, Okay,
we'll check. I don't think we can put it off
any longer, you know that kind of beat it out. Um.
I kind of like how this article actually starts though,
by Dave Ruse. He talks about the taste of Chicago.

(02:30):
Was this a rug jam? Yes? It is good. So
he talks about how if you go to the Taste
of Chicago. Right every every July they hold it at
the Grant Park alongside the Lake. When was our show there,
by the way, was that July? No, it was chillier
than that. I think it was October. Okay, they had
something had happened in Grant Park because I remember seeing

(02:53):
hundreds and hundreds of porta potties on the drive in.
Oh really, yeah, so something they just always have them there,
don't think so. Okay, Well, for the Taste of Chicago,
they definitely have Porter potties, in fact for two thousand
and fourteen, and we should say there's like a million
people that come through this thing over the course of
the weeks. It really is. Have you ever been to

(03:16):
Atlanta's Taste of Anything? Uh? No, I haven't either. I
don't think it's I don't think a million people show
up for it. It makes me want to go try
Chicago's um But so you've got a million people. UM
and Service Sanitation, Inc. Which is the company that landed
the Porter potty contract crunch the numbers. Looked at the

(03:37):
food that was gonna be there, uh said, you're gonna
have some beer? Yeah? Okay? They carried the one and
they came up with three hundred and eighty regular porta potties,
twenty eight wheelchair accessible porta potties, and eighty hand washing stations.
They have soap and fresh running water. Not bad, right,

(04:00):
So here's the thing, Like, that's great, they delivered all
those things. But had they just walked away and said,
see at the end of taste of Chicago, it would
have been a living nightmare for everyone involved. That would
be it would be more than the taste of Chicago,
be the sickening smell of Chicago. Yeah, that would have

(04:24):
been bad. Because well, we'll get into it. But porta
potty sometimes you can leave them, come back a week
later and just take them away if it's a temporary
work side or something. But sometimes when you're selling beer
and chili, you need to come at the end of
every day and clean those suckers out. Yes, and that's

(04:44):
what they did. They came at night when everyone was
sleeping from well, I guess if you went to bed
at nine pm, that's when I'm sleeping. But they would
come every night from nine and i pm to three am,
and they would work. And here's the thing, Like, porta potties.
It turns out I was overthinking them. I thought there
was maybe a little more going on. No, they are,

(05:08):
they are self, I don't. I really don't know what
I thought. It escaped me as as the reality of
porter potties sunk in my my delusions about my illusions
about them kind of um escaped me to trickle away.
And now I can't remember what they were, right, sure
I have, but I was like holding my breath and

(05:28):
like like just barely had my eyes open because I
didn't want any germs to get on my eyeballs. Um,
So I wasn't paying that much attention. It's an in
and out kind of thing. Um. It turns out that,
like when you serve as support potty, what you're doing
is you're showing up with a trunk or a truck
as a tank with a vacuum on at a pressurized tank, um,

(05:51):
and you are sucking the contents out of that porter potty,
and then you put it in the truck, you drive off,
you dump it off at the waste treatment plant of
your local city or town. It's like a gigantic wet back. Yes,
it is for poo poo and pep, Yes, and a

(06:11):
very dangerous one. I saw at least one story um
in a porta potty trade magazine that of somebody who
I've read a bunch of those, in what was a
magazine called It's called Portable Restroom Operator. It's a it's
a good mag man. They I actually found, um uh
this one issue online going all the way back to

(06:33):
two thousand nine that I was looking for. So they
they're legit. Yeah, but they could have been a little
more fun with the name and bro well, I think
they're they're saying like, hey man, the fun you want,
but we're saving your behind. Hey see. Though that sounds
like a slogan, I'm sure it is. Well. They do
point out a couple of the slogans because porta Potty

(06:53):
Companies or Porta John's, Jiffy John's, port Deloo if you're
in England, Toy Toy if you're in Malaysia. Yeah. Uh,
they're very famous for having pretty fun peny um slogans
like we're number one in the number two business. Not bad, No,
it's not bad. There's no one takes care of our

(07:15):
business like Mr John. Sure I saw that too. Yeah. Um.
There's also one called got to Go but it's spelled
really impressively. Um, it's g It's all of one word,
and it's lower case, so it's super mod g O
T you with an oom l out g O. I

(07:37):
love it. M. Do you like that one? Yeah? I
just I thought you were going in a different direction.
I thought it was going to be a little more
like G E A U X. No, that's like if
they were in Louisiana. Maybe, Yeah, that's what I thought. Sure, No,
this is this is an um out. That's what got me.
And that's why you love Motley Crue so much. Sure
it is alright, So um, should we talk a little

(08:02):
bit about the history? I think so? Al right, Well
we need to go back to World War Two in
this case, and um, because World War Two was going on,
there was there was there was a need for more
poopers essentially because they had like manufacturing plants popping up,

(08:24):
they had temporary manufacturing plants going up, They had places
where they didn't want to build full service permanent bathrooms
all over the place. All of a sudden, these people
needed to go potty. Um what I saw I saw
a few different origin stories, but the one I saw
the most frequently was that the um shipbuilding docks at

(08:46):
Long Beach during World War Two. They're building warships for
the US. The guys working the docks would have to
working building the ships would have to get on a
rowboat and go back to the dock to use the bathroom.
And this is no good. And they were like, this
is a terrible waste of time. Can we just get
something down the ship? So they started building temporary what

(09:08):
amounted to the first porta potties there on the ships
for them to use. Yeah, and these first ones, Um,
you can look up a picture of the Andy Gump.
Is that what it's called? I didn't see. I gotta
look that up. I think it's the Andy Gump, like
one of the just type in like nineteen forties porta
potty and there will be a picture and it's basically

(09:29):
this big, heavy metal square. Sometimes they were would, but
they were super heavy and they weren't easily transported. Um
they you know this is pre uh using like chemicals
which we'll get into to help break these the poop
poo down and stuff. So it was just a disgusting

(09:50):
affair having trouble. Right now, I see the Andy Gump?
You see it? Wow? It looks like, um, it looks
safe to be in you know what it looks like.
It looks like what they used on mash Yeah, like
the latrine. Yeah, same idea. Basically, Yeah, it's just a latrine.
You could take places. But I came across this really

(10:13):
cool little thing on a website about World War two
fighter pilots, and um, with World War Two came along
planes that could stay in. These bombers, I could stay
in the air for a lot longer, and they started
to think like, Hey, these these dudes are up there
for like, you know, ten to fourteen hours, we have

(10:34):
to come up with ways for them to go to
the bathroom, right, Yeah, I mean like you don't think
about that. Like when we put the frost bite episode.
I certainly didn't think that they were up there getting
frostbite because it was so you know cold. I also
didn't think that they were up there so long that
they couldn't use the bathroom. They had to hold it, right,
So yeah, And the earliest ones were, well, here's the

(10:57):
funnel and it's attached to two tube and it leads
out of the plane, so go ahead and p Yeah,
and that's basically just for like the pilot and co
pilot this relief tube. Um. After that, they're like, well,
what do we have to poop? Yeah, they said, can
you get your hands on a produced crate? And the

(11:18):
crew would say like, well, yeah, sure, we have produced
creative course, what are we commies and the people in
charge to say, we'll poop in that? Take that up
in the plane and just pooping that, buddy, and maybe
wash it out when you get down here and put
it back in for later use. Yeah, or maybe just
get a new crate. I guess if you're not thrifty.

(11:40):
Eventually they came up with something called the Elson E
E L S A N. It's a chemical toilet and
it was really kind of one of the first little
porta potties. But if you look up Elson and on
the images on Google, you will find that it's it
looks like nothing more than a metal oil in that

(12:01):
you sit on. It's basically what it was pretty much. Um,
and you're all they're exposed. I mean, there's no room
that this is in. You're just doing this in front
of you know, your all your buddies on the plane,
right like prison. Sure, and that I mean that that
Elson toilet was still, I mean, as primitive as it was.
It was an advancement, but it had certain problems, right

(12:22):
like if you were flying through turbulence, that elson would
spill its contents out into the plane. Yeah, there's a
few quotes here. I'd like to read a couple of
these from some of these fighter pilots. Um, here's one,
and this is from a British pilot. While we were

(12:43):
flying in rough air, this Devil's convenience often shared its
contents with the floor of the aircraft, the walls and ceiling,
and sometimes a bit remained in the container itself. It
doesn't take much imagination to picture what it was like
trying to combat fear and airsickness while struggling to remove
enough gear and cramp quarters, and at the same time
trying to use the bloody elson. If it wasn't an

(13:04):
invention of the devil, it certainly might have been one
foisted on us by the enemy. When seated in frigid cold,
amid the cacophony of roaring engines and whistling air, away
from what should have been one of life's peaceful moments,
the occupant had a chance to fully ponder the miserable
condition of his life. This lowsome creation, invariably overflowed on
long trips and in turbulence, was always prone to bathe

(13:25):
the nether regions of the user. It was one of
the true reminders to me that war as hell, you
don't think about this stuff. You hear about all the
glory of being like a bomber pilot. You don't think
about sitting on a can and having your your friends
poop and pe slash up on your fannie. Sorry to
those in the UK, doesn't even make sense in that context.

(13:48):
That means something different here in the US. But right, so,
uh yeah, that's the the first I guess chemical toilet,
which is a designation of a porta potty, right, like
a porta potty is a chemical toilet, but not all
chemical toilets are porta parties. But a chemical toilet is
any kind of toilet where you have um something in

(14:12):
there that's intended to break down waste. And actually I
don't know that an elson toilet, I guess it was
a chemical toilet. I see now, but that's gross because
in addition to getting the rest of the cruise poop
and pe slopped up against your rear end, Um, so too,
were you getting very very hazardous chemicals as well? Yeah,

(14:35):
so that's a good man. That guy may have had
his buttocks removed after the war. Uh. One of the
uses of the toilet they said that this is supposedly
very true, is that some members of the Royal Air
Force um actually jettisoned the Elson toilets with their bomb
payload onto German targets. So they would drop these toilets

(14:58):
will apoo on the Germans. Mm hmm. And uh that
was an American too, had a great quote about peeing
through the little hose. He said, as the urine ran
through the tube, it turned to ice and dropped like
topaz colored hail to the ground. I like to imagine
every time I urinated over Germany, my my acidulous projectile

(15:20):
would plank on some Nazi Burger's aryan nose poetry. Yeah,
there's some more good stories in here. You should, uh man.
I don't remember which website it was. Yeah, I'll have to.
I have to post that later on Facebook and I'll
tweet it. All right. So that's the the war effort

(15:42):
that eventually ultimately led to the creation of the porta potty, right,
and and again like there were already latrines, there had
already been out houses. And the difference between an out
house and a porta potty is that and out houses
basically some sort of rigid structure that's intended to be

(16:02):
permanent or semipermanent, permanent that's dug over a hole in
the ground. That's it. A porta potty is a self
contained unit that has a place where the waste goes
and is held inside that unit rather than like put
into the ground, which is extremely dangerous that we learned

(16:24):
a very long time ago. Pooping in holes in the
ground is not a good way to go as far
as public health is concerned. And that's one of the
legitimate um marks in the favor of porta potts is
gross as as most people who have ever used one
thinks they are. They're actually, um, quite beneficial to public health. Yeah,
and they're green too. Saves a lot of water. Yeah.

(16:46):
I saw, um a hundred and seventy billion leaders a year,
about a hundred and twenty five million gallons a day
in the US alone. Yeah. So, um, you want to
take a break for a second, Yeah, we'll break in.
We'll talk a little bit more about the evolution of
the porta John. Right after this should know y s

(17:23):
a Dr Josh Clark. Alright, Chuckers, So we're talking about
the evolution of the porta John. You've got the Andy Gump,
You've got the Elson toilet, and then finally and actually
the sixties, you have what is the what we think

(17:48):
of as a porta potty. Um a patent was developed
by a guy named George Harding Um and he called
it for a portable toilet cabana and that was made
from plastic and um. Although he had the patent for it,
the guy who actually gets credit for actually creating the
first real modern porta john reporta potty was a guy

(18:09):
named Um Harvey Heather and he created what's called the
Strong Box. It's a great name. Did you see Have
you seen the Strong Box? Oh? You did? That's what
I went and found the December two thousand nine UM
issue of Pro magazine. Um to find because I saw
a reference that they had published a picture of it,

(18:31):
and I couldn't find it anywhere else. Those things are ugly, Yeah,
it wasn't. It wasn't a great looking Uh, it's not
like the fantastic port to John. Say, have today. Yeah,
so gorgeous to look at right now. This thing was ugly. Yeah,
it had no alibi. Uh. Yeah. And these were made
of fiberglass, which, um, it was good. It was lightweight

(18:54):
but um, and it was sturdy. It was as sturdy
as metal or wood, and it was a lot easier
to clean. But the problem with the strong box and
the fiberglasses it was a big kind of one piece
mold um. It was dark inside, which was not good. Uh.
They weren't stackable as far as transporting them, and so

(19:15):
that just made it really expensive to get them where
they needed to go and back again. It did. And
the fact that like it was completely opaque um and
there was no light that could get in. That's that's
an issue. Plus I also get the impression that the
floors could get pretty slick and you could fall and
die of physitional asphyxiation and important. Yeah. And they were

(19:42):
also fiberglasses pretty fragile, so they would break a lot. Uh.
Fiberglass absorbs odors, which was not good. Uh. And so
shortly after the fiberglass came along, someone said, you know what,
how about poly ethylene um. This is what we will use,
and George Harding who you meant and co founded the
Polly John Corporation, and he started building the polyethylene portable

(20:05):
toilets that were much better because they lasted longer. They
would last like a decade, although I would not want
to use a nine year old port of John. Well,
so the that picture of the strong box that was
published in Pro magazine apparently had been out in service.
It was still in service and it had been built
like thirty years before. Well, yeah, you would know that

(20:27):
your company could not have cared less about you if
you show up to your job site and there's a
strong box there. Yeah, and that's what you're expected to
use with all of the with all of the possible
choices that your company, uh could choose from, and they
went with the strong box. They don't care about you
or your happiness. The polyethylene and the other good thing

(20:49):
about them where they were assembled into different parts and pieces.
So it made him a lot easier to transport, a
lot cheaper. Uh. And if apart broke, you might be
able to replace it. Oh yeah, that that's kind of good.
Makes sense. So hooray for poly ethylene toilets. But one
of the things that George Harding um created in this

(21:09):
patent that I noticed was a ventilation system. This is
a big improvement, right, because when you're just piling human
waste upon human waste into a hole, um that it's
going to create gases, noxious gases, because bacteria is going
to start decomposing that waste, and as a byproduct of
that decomposition, they're going to produce what we see what

(21:30):
we experience as rotting fecal material. Right, It's not just
that it's stinky, it's dangerous. It is dangerous and as
that gas tries to find a way to escape upward,
if the only hole available to it is the toilet
that you're pooping or peeing into, those gases are going
to come out of it and you're going to vomit

(21:51):
while you pooper p as well. So what George Harding
had I told you this one is going to be cruts.
But George Harding figured out was that if you could
just basically create a pipe venting off that gas upward
and out of the porter potty, people would be willing
to use porter potties a lot more. And that was

(22:11):
a huge improvement. Yeah, he also said, how about we
make this rooftop translucent white, so we can let in
some natural light. At least, why don't we improve the
flooring so that it's not as slippy and um, Maybe
even further down the line, we'll have porter potties that
have a little urnal that's separate, so you don't even

(22:32):
have to sit your butt down on that most horrid
of places. Right, Yeah, what about the rollaround toilet? Did
you see these? Yeah? Those? I mean that it makes sense.
So basically, if you are on like a job site,
right um, where there are like different multiple stories being

(22:55):
built and you're up on one of the higher stories,
it's the same thing as when you're working in the
shipyards building a ship. You don't want to have to
come all the way down to use the bathroom. So
they created porta potties that were a lot more mobile,
that could be um hoisted by cranes. Um. Just two
different different levels. Yeah, if you look up roll around toilet,

(23:16):
it basically looks like one of those um coolers that
has the two wheels and the handle and you can
pull the cooler around, except it's larger and um sitting
above the wheels is a is a urinal, Right, I
don't see how you go poopy in those, So maybe
maybe that's when you go downstairs. Uh yeah, I don't

(23:39):
know either because it's not enclosed or anything, and it's
just wide open, just like prison. And there's actually a great, um,
a great scene from I think the First Police Academy
starring our friend and Twitter followers Steve Guttenberg and um,
I think it's Mauser who uses a porta potty and

(24:00):
Steve Guttenberg goes over and gets some some crane operator
to lend him the crane. And now it's Mouser's um,
his right hand man. I don't remember that guy's name,
but they lift the porta potty up while he's inside
using it. It's hilarious, wacky wacky stuff and sues. Uh.
And then if you really are living the good life,

(24:22):
or you have a maybe a really nice upscale wedding
that's out in a remote area, you don't want to
bring in just even the nicest polly ethylene porta John
won't do. You will bring in what we call in
in the movie business, a honey wagon. Um it is
a restroom trailer. And these are actually nice. They are

(24:45):
have running water, they have stalls, they have porcelain, uh, toilets,
it's all partition. They have sinks and running water and mirrors,
hand towels. It's like a rolling trailer full of toilets. Yeah.
Like you can breathe through your nose in these things.
You could lay down on the floor if you want to. Yeah.
And apparently these first started in nineteen four h Polly

(25:09):
John in Columbus, Ohio. Go buck, guys. Yeah, And the
original trailer was eight stalls or as we said in
the movie business, an eight banger at three journals, and
it was thirty two ft long. And now there are
nineteen companies manufacturing luxury restroom trailers around the world today. Yeah.
I saw one um like that they market for like

(25:31):
outdoor weddings and stuff like that. They said, all you
need are like I think six outlets, maybe six and
twenty bowl outlets. Yeah, and like standard garden hose connection.
And you got yourself a luxury porter potty trailer. Yeah
for your next remote black tie event. Right, what's I mean?
Even people in black tie got a pee? Yeah, sure,

(25:54):
so you might as well take it easy on them
with a nice looks trailer. That's right. So, speaking of Chuck,
you want to you want to take a break. Yeah,
I'm gonna go to a real bathroom and hug it.
And I'm going to get a crane operator to pull
a prank on you. All right, we'll be right back.

(26:21):
That's why you should know, Clark. Okay, chuck, Yep. We
can't put it off any longer. We gotta go inside.

(26:42):
We're gonna go inside, deep dive into the bowels of
the porta pot Oh my gosh. Okay, okay, you're ready, Yeah,
catch your snorkel. Okay. So when you look into a
porter potty, you may notice that the stuff that's inside
the bowl or inside the holding tank is blue. Yeah,

(27:05):
and brown, but it's more blue than brown. And that's
no accident, that's right. Any porta potty is going to
use a deep blue dye. In the entire purpose, from
beginning to end of the blue dye is to visually
mask the presence of human feces. Yeah, they don't. They
don't want you looking down there and seeing. Uh if

(27:28):
it was just like clear, like it's already disgusting. You're
you're getting the full experience from the smell alone. You
don't need the visual and and you don't pooping these
things to you? Oh no, okay, no, I I think
I would just put my pants and walk around instead.

(27:48):
I don't. I don't think I would. I certainly don't
remember ever pooping in it. It's possible I blacked out
that memory, but I don't think I ever have it, right,
I the only time I pooped in these. I'm sure
there's been like some extreme emergency, But the only time
I can really recall is when Emily and I were

(28:09):
getting our master bath built at our house. Um, we
had our own we had another little bathroom kind of
you know, a little small guest bathroom, and we shared that,
and then we had a construction toilet on site because
they were doing construction. And so I would get up
in the mornings exse. I didn't want to. I want
to be a good husband, you know, and not ruin

(28:30):
Emily's day in morning, um by getting in there first.
So I would. I would get my newspaper and I
would walk outside in my slippers and and use the
port to john in my driveway every morning. But I mean,
I guess it was pretty clean. It was yours, right,
it was great. It was me and like you know,
two or three dudes. That's that is doable. Festival no

(28:51):
Taste of Chicago, Like, yes, there's there are like of course,
like surely if you're sharing a porta potty with a
couple of other people that you have to look at
I hear there, you're gonna take care of it. But
if it's random drunk strangers or people on drugs or
something like that, you, uh, it's gonna get messy awfully fast.
And and again it's more and more people use it,

(29:12):
that blue dye becomes more and more important. Right, there's
also gonna be a fragrance that they're gonna add to
hopefully mass the odor. And apparently, well I was reading
in some uh some trade magazines, and I haven't experienced
it myself, but I did get the impression that they
have come a long way as far as fragrance goes. Yeah,

(29:37):
like I saw, um, you can get bubblegum fragrance. This
doesn't sound good vanilla um that comes from just standard
use of the Taste of Chicago. Yeah, I mean, you know,
me with fragrance is period with it. It's even worse
to um everything bagel. No. But like I came across

(30:03):
the site and there's like a Jaguar brand porta potty
fragrance additive, and they have like any fragrance you can imagine,
wow uh. And then the finally final thing you're gonna
see down there, or that it's going to be down
there are biosides to kill the bacteria microbes and UM.

(30:24):
Used to be that they would use formaldehyde uh to
take care of that, but more and more wastewater treatment
plants UM started saying, hey, we can't properly dispose of
that stuff now carcinogen, and we don't feel good about it.
So they've been phasing that out over the years, going
a little greener and now UM they actually use enzymes

(30:46):
like beneficial enzymes and microbes that feed on this stuff. Right,
they feed they helped break down the poop, and they
also feed on the bacteria that causes the smells. Right,
So they're making the poop, and but they're also naturally
cutting down and smells, which I just find fascinating. UM.
They also, since it's capable of breaking down UM bacteria,

(31:09):
it's also capable of breaking down UM any organic material,
so that if you use the right kind of toilet paper,
they'll break down the toilet paper as well. Yeah, it's
just basically magic in a in a porter potty. Yeah.
And they the other benefit there is they don't need
to be emptied as often. Um, if it's doing the
job like it should. Yeah. Um, weather has an effect obviously.

(31:34):
If you're in Georgia in the hot summer, things are
gonna get even worse. I imagine Chicago and July is
probably no picnic either, and the taste of Chicago. No
one's gonna go to the taste of Chicago anywhere you're
like attended stop by this year. You don't know what's
going on. But when temperatures go up, bacteria go to
work even harder, and things are just gonna smell even worse.

(31:58):
So they might actually use more chemicals and the summer
um or more chemicals, especially if it's a summer festival.
And then conversely, I saw this, I guess it was
a blog post by a m porta potti worker, that
was published on Cracked, and um, they basically just went
over most of the stuff you can imagine, but just

(32:21):
crazy stuff that they found. Um. But one of the
things that they made reference to is that the worst
thing that they can encounter is um for a frozen waste,
because they said, once that happens, you have to break
it up by hand. Ah, So to protect to defend

(32:41):
their people from having to do this, they well, typically
in colder, colder areas during the winter, they'll they'll create
a briny mixture that will have a lower freezing temperature,
like the Minnesota ice Fishing festival. Right, But eventually you're
going to reach a point where it's cold enough that
it's it's freezing no matter how much salt you add
to it. Yeah, and I did see one of their

(33:02):
little tricks of the trade is they put a a
cake of this rock salt in the urinal, so you
go peepy on it, and as you peep on it,
it just adds a little more salt slowly throughout the day. Right.
The only issue with those is that you have to
keep the deer away because they love salt. Licks you

(33:23):
like that one. Yeah, I'm ashamed of basically every joke
I've made this whole episode. I don't feel good about
myself right now. All right, So uh, let's finish up
by talking about the really the worst part of this.
If you're one of like eight people still listening, Uh,
if you're still listening, then we'll finish up with the
worst part, which is servicing these things. And we talked

(33:46):
about it. It's like a wet back. You suck it out,
drive it to a waste water plant. But uh, you
have to add new water. You have to add new
blue junk, uh and some more or dry solution. And
I saw I saw like a ratio of one to
one about fresh water to solution. We don't want to

(34:07):
mess that up. Uh. And you think like, all right,
so that's pretty gross and everything. But um, especially at
like a music festival or something, there's stuff everywhere, Like
you've been in these there's there's urine everywhere, there's poop
and places where you think, like what in the world
was someone doing in there? And they have to be

(34:27):
cleaned out by somebody. It's an awful job. Yeah, there's
um stuff that people drop down there, Like if you
use the sock to wipe your bottom with and you
just deposit the sock into the porta potty, that's gonna
as you jump up the tank or the pump. Um.
So they have to get that kind of stuff out first.

(34:47):
What about your cell phone cell phone? Yeah, apparently they
find all sorts of stuff, especially things like phones, wallets
full of cash, jewelry, drugs, gun yeah, guns. I that
correct guy said that, Um he had a friend who
showed up at a porta potty where they just found
a body. Oh my god. Yeah, and the thing now

(35:10):
in the porta potty, not in the actual hole. That's
just cruel. Yeah, but um, yeah, they find all sorts
of stuff because almost everybody would say, well, that's gone.
I'll just have to get a new identity because I
dropped my whole wallet into porta potty. Actually, I saw
a stat where five percent of people that go into
porta potties don't come out at all. So right, the

(35:31):
dead body scenario makes sense. They end up in that
other dimension from phantasm. Uh. And then our article says,
the worst case scenario if you're a porta potty service
person is uh that the porta potty, Well, there's two
worst case, one worse and one way worse. One is

(35:53):
if it just gets knocked over, either by a car
hitting it, or the wind, or some jerk you think
it's funny, that's not cool, knocks it not cool at all,
knocks it over on purpose. But the ultimate ultimate worst
is if it tips over on its door. That's its
achilles heel, any porta potties achilles heel, because what happens,

(36:15):
all of the stuff that's in the holding tank gets
dumped out. When it's facing on its front on the door,
all of the stuff is liable to come out, and
it does, especially when they pick it back up. It
just slashes around everywhere, and the poor porta potty service
operator has to wash this thing out. And those are
the worst. Like it, Like somebody can put poop like

(36:37):
on the ceiling or on the walls or something that's
pretty bad. But when it falls on its front on
the door and everything slashes out, it gets everywhere, so
you have to like get inside to clean the whole thing.
And at the very least, it takes them a lot
more time and screws up their entire day's schedule. At
the worst, they're in there cleaning a filthy porta potties

(36:58):
nook and crannies from the inside. Yeah, I would just
say it fell off the truck, boss, right, Sorry, it's
in that phantasm to mention, Boss, didn't Jack asked do
one of these, like put one of them in there
and tip it over or something. Yeah, I'm sure I
think they did that when they were like four. Yeah,

(37:19):
I think they did, like I had a crane lift
it and turn it over something. I don't know. No,
you're thinking police academy and also police academy geeks. You
don't have to write in it was Police Academy three.
So I was about to say I didn't remember that.
You didn't see what na I think I petered out
after two even three might have been the best of

(37:40):
all of them, which is that what was the full
name of it? Uh? Citizens on Patrol? Okay, it's the
one where Bob Goldthwaite like goes over from his life
of crime to being a junior police academy guy. Yeah,
I love Bob Goldthwaite. But good, he's great. Can we stop, sure, man, Okay,

(38:02):
we have to say you got anything else? No? Okay, Chuck, Well,
actually I do know. If you see these porta potty
service people in your neighborhood, if there's construction going on,
you see them, bring in the truck, just flash a
nice smile, give him a tip of the cap. It's
a really gnarly job, and like they say, somebody's got

(38:23):
to do it. They're making a living like they've got
a job. They went out and got that job to
make money and provide for their family. And don't forget,
they're defending public health and they're saving a significant amount
of water. So there you go, nice chuck, all right,
good way to finish. If you want to know more
about porta potties, you can type those that hyphenated word

(38:45):
on the search bar at how stuff works dot com.
And since they said hyphen it's time for listening. Now
I'm gonna call this quick. John please uh direction or
John please exactly. Congratulations on an absolutely marvelous episode concerning
Monty Python guys. It's great to hear so much of
the history of the group. Well done. One bit of information.

(39:08):
I happen to see John Klees present a one man
show a few years ago in Carmel, California. He just
stood on stage and talked for about seventy five minutes.
Um boy, that's a good gig. He discussed his life
in general, Python in particular, and lots of things. Other
things he noticed noted that his name is pronounced to

(39:29):
rhyme with cheese rather than fleece. In fact, his surname
was originally Cheese, but his father changed it to CLEAs. Uh.
This was a good thing for the Sun being named
John because he did not want to go by Jack Cheese. Yeah,
I guess not, so it's John Clees. Never knew that

(39:49):
that's from David Hewett. Yeah. And um, I also want
to say, Chuck, somebody called us out for not mentioning
Carol Cleveland. She was, for all intents and purposes, he
seventh member of Monty Python. Yeah. We felt terrible because
she was in our notes and we mentioned her and
lavish praise on her and our runthrough that we did

(40:10):
in the studio and it was just one of those
live show things that get got biased. Yep. So sorry,
Carol Cleveland, We uh, hats off to you. We appreciate
your work and we're sorry we left you out. Agreed. Uh.
If you want to get in touch with me, your Chuck,
you can tweet to us. I'm at joshuam Clark and
there's also s Y s K podcast. Chuck's at Charles W.

(40:32):
Chuck Bryant on Facebook and at Stuff you Should Know
on Facebook. You can send the both of us and
Jerry an email to Stuff Podcasts at how Stuff works
dot Com and has always hang out with us at
our home on the web. Stuff you Should Know dot
com for more on this and thousands of other topics.

(40:53):
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