Jeff Pearlman

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The Panera Urinal Fiasco

Warning: Don’t wear shorts. Ever.

I’m sitting in a Panera, writing. A few moments ago, as I walked toward the bathroom, I saw a man emerge. He was wearing glasses and a golf shirt, and his pants—beige khakis—were covered with 30 or so little drops.

Pee.

This may well go down as my strangest post, but Panera’s urinals—all of Panera’s urinals—suck. I’ve probably worked in, oh, a dozen Paneras, and I’ve learned the hard way that, when wearing shorts, one must pee in the toilet. Why? Because Panera urinals splatter. All of them.

I suppose, were I a guy who wore pants, I could sorta deal with it. I mean, pee is pee, and it’s unpleasant no matter the medium. But as someone who spends 80 percent of his life in shorts, the Panera urinal situation proves a true debacle.

Here’s how it’s gone, far too many times:

1. After drinking my 28th refill, I walk into the bathroom.

2. I stand at the urinal and begin to pee.

3. The pee splatters against my legs.

4. I say, “Ew, fucking gross!”

5. Someone looks at me funny.

6. I grab a wet paper towel and wipe my legs.

7. Now they’re wet with water and pee.

Nasty. And even more nasty when I ponder the deeper implications. This isn’t merely my pee splattering against my leg. It’s a mix of Jim’s pee, John’s pee, Malik’s pee, Ed’s pee, Steve’s pee, Juaquin’s pee. Bert’s pee. Anyone who has peed within, oh, the past hour probably left a little bit of liquid remainder somewhere within the confines of the urinal.

Now it’s on my leg.

Fortunately, with great power comes great responsibility. I’ve changed my ways; changed my urinational pattern. I’m a happier man for it, too. A drier man.

But it’s still gross.

  • Joel Smuth

    Great point.

  • http://margodill.com/blog/ Margo Dill

    I write at Panera all the time, too. Whew–it’s a good thing I am a woman and don’t have to worry about this problem, too. :) Happy writing! I got here because I am researching your book about Walter Payton for a column I’m doing for the News Gazette (Champaign/Urbana). Happy New Year!

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life