Finding Joy In Your Own Special Fecal Plume

Emily Kingsley
4 min readAug 22, 2023

And also whales.

Photo by Swanson Chan on Unsplash

Growing up on a farm makes you think about poop differently than most people.

I grew up on a farm, and one of my resulting talents is that I am great at sniffing out all different kinds of poop. Cow, chicken, horse, pig, dog — they are as different to me as cheeses are to a cheesemonger or wines are to a sommelier.

This weekend, while I was camping with my family, a bear came along in the night while we were sleeping. A canoe’s length away from my sleeping family, it destroyed our truck cab in its search for food. It was not a happy surprise to wake up to, BUT it did leave a banana cream pie-sized pile of poop next to our campfire ashes, so I now can add the aroma of bear poop to my repertoire.

My point here isn’t to brag about how well I can smell, though. Instead, I want to change how you think about poop so you can change how you think about life. I promise, this will lead to enlightenment and happiness, which will then prevent you from getting upset about annoying things like bad smells in the bathroom.

Speaking of bad smells in the bathroom, one of my mother’s greatest pieces of advice is this:

“If you make a bad smell in the bathroom, wash your hands with a lot of soap. Once they are covered in a big bubbly lather, sing a song in your head and wave your hands around like you are dancing.”

Sure, there’s science behind this, but I’ve never considered it. I’ve always felt that the Question Everything bumper stickers don’t apply to advice from my mom.

Circling back around though, let’s assume that your bad bathroom smell is from poop. Poop is momentarily gross, but let’s move beyond that.

We almost always think of poop as an ending point. It’s our cast of food remnants — that which we could not digest and would no longer like to carry around in our gut. We flush it and never think about it again.

But what if — what if — poop is a starting point, not an ending point.

Poop powers plants, worms, insects, and bacteria. Without poop, gardens can’t grow, fruit can’t ripen, and trees can’t make wood. Without poop, the world would become a barren desert. We rely on plants to feed us…

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Emily Kingsley

Always polishing the flip side of the coin. Live updates from the middle class. e.kingsleywhalen@gmail.com. She/her.