The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.skelton.vigil
    MORENCI’S three Skelton brothers were remembered with both tears and laughter last week during a candlelight vigil at Wakefield Park. Several people came out of the crowd to give their recollection of the boys who have now been missing for five years.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.

2006.10.04 Jeff+Toilet=Idiot

Written by David Green.

By JEFF PICKELL

Want to know what embarrassing is?

I walked to the middle school last Wednesday to check for news, and before going to the main office, I detoured to the bathroom. I discovered that a student had left his planner on the sink and, behaving like a grown-up, took it to the lost and found across the hall.

It was only when I returned to the bathroom to answer nature’s call that I noticed a pair of sneakers, attached to a pair of legs, beneath the nearest bathroom stall. I had turned an un-lost planner in to the lost and found.

“Flack flickin’ flack a flack!” I thought.

For me personally, there’s only one task more intimidating than taking, as they say, el numero dos, in public places. That task is being in middle school.

If I were smart, I would’ve returned the planner to the sink as soundlessly as I took it away. Instead, I said to the poor student, who was in the most vulnerable of vulnerable places, “Dude, did you leave your planner on the sink?”

He replied, “Yeah, man. I did.”

“Aw, crap,” I said. “I just turned it in to the lost and found.”

He took the news remarkably well, insisting he would pick it up on his way to class, that it was no big deal. But to me it was a big deal. The student was obviously trying to evade detection with a deathly silence, which is probably why I didn’t notice him in the first place. Nobody likes being caught with his or her pants down, especially in middle school, where the slightest lapse in conformity equals social suicide.

(And yes, answering such a call of nature is considered a faux pas among middle schoolers, who trail only politicians in socially-sanctioned insanity).

I felt bad.

As an understanding person and a middle school veteran, I apologized profusely, using as many “dudes” and “mans” as I could to show I’m hip. He seemed like a good kid, and thinking back on it, I was probably more embarrassed than he was.

But not as embarrassed as I was a few Sundays ago, when I broke the toilet in the apartment above the Observer.

I was frustrated with something inconsequential (Super Mario DS) at the time and instead of venting with a string of phrases containing the ineffable F-word, I expressed myself with a resounding sit. The result was a cracked toilet that leaked water when I flushed it.

If I were pithy, I would’ve remarked “If only my thoughts and words were as forceful as my derriere.”

Instead, I panicked and did what brave men of sound heart and mind do in times of stress—I called my mom.

Unfortunately, mom and dad were out for a walk. My brother Jamie answered the phone. After informing him of my big time emergency, he dispatched himself to hunt them down. In the meanwhile I struggled to turn off the toilet’s water supply valve, but the dang thing, crafted during the Eisenhower administration, wouldn’t budge.

After a seemingly endless 10 minutes, FEMOM (the mom division of FEMA) called and took over for my brain. She first assuaged my angst by laughing at me, then told me to do the obvious—call my landlord, who is also my employer, and have him turn off the water to the  apartment.

In a strong and determined tone of voice, I replied, “Mom, I can’t do that! It’s too embarrassing! My life is ruined!”

“Jeffrey,” she said. “You have to. The leak could cause ceiling damage.”

David was as civil as can be expected of a man whose bonehead tenant disrupts his Sunday morning to report a toilet-related threat of ceiling collapse. He surmised that the leak didn’t necessitate turning the building’s water off, but I had to use the downstairs toilet for the next three days while we waited for a replacement to arrive.

Around day two, those empty Gatorade bottles I keep started coming in real handy in the middle of the night.

And the second number—the original reason I sat down—disappeared, probably due to my compulsive fear of making such an elimination in places that are not my home. For the next three days I was as close to feeling pregnant as I predict I’ll ever be.

At this point, I could probably make a joke about “breaking in” the new toilet after David help Chuck Ekins install it, but I’ve had my fill of bathroom humor in the last few weeks.

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