In the summer of 2017, residents of Colorado Springs were victimized by a female jogger defecating on their front yards. After numerous news reports and a local police investigation, the story took the country by storm, resulting in widespread debate about squatter’s rights. The woman, nicknamed the “Mad Pooper” by the local press, suffered a barrage of personal attacks, but despite being captured on camera, remains unidentified to this day.
First, let’s just clear the air of any inconsistencies like the ones that have been lingering throughout the media like an iceberg left in a poorly ventilated bathroom. Shit happens. And for the average runner, it tends to happen more often than not. We at the Road Runners Association of America have become dismayed by the smear campaign against one of our own members. Dubbed the “Mad Pooper” throughout many circles, the suspect in question wants nothing more than to finish her run without having an accident all over herself. We find this to be a reasonable objective that requires empathy from our fellow citizens.
Haven’t you ever been in the middle of a workout and experienced intestinal malfunction? It’s early Saturday morning, and you’re a cup of coffee in, enough to get the juices flowing. Your favorite Kelly Clarkson song hits its third chorus when you find your rhythm, fighting tendonitis and plantar fasciitis as your lungs fill with fresh air. A few minutes, and you’re in the zone, free and unaware of your surroundings, just focused on breathing, strides, and potholes.
Three miles in, you feel the rumble in your gut accompanied by a shooting pain. Usually just a cramp or unsavory protein bar. You’re an athlete, so you push on, show some grit. A little determination makes all the difference in maintaining your 5:45 mile pace. Besides, there’s no way you’re going to stop. You’re miles from home and it’s a long walk back. The rumbling continues, the pain intensifies. You suffer from deep sweats, a surge of hormones, and in times of panic, your anal sphincter clenches, restricting your glutes. Ever try to run without the use of the largest muscle group in the lower body? But you bite your lip, power through.
Then it hits you. Hard and fast like an eighteen-wheeler through a deer. The problem is, when you’re at code red, you go into survival mode. Any patch of green will do. And if that’s not possible, it’s streets, sidewalks, sewer grates. It doesn’t matter who is watching, and frankly, you don’t even care that a few drips have touched cloth. You’re only focused on dropping anchor. Clean-up is an afterthought. Leaves, pinecones, your own socks. We’ve even used shirts and tossed them on the side of a road.
Can you imagine a blow-out so bad that it pours down your legs? We can. Can’t get that smell out of your shoes. Have to buy a new pair.
We stand behind our fellow runner, whose shaming has caused people to mock her by renaming our favorite stories like “The Turdle and the Hare,” “Forrest Dump,” and “Dookie Howser, M.D.” We’re grateful to our friends in Hollywood, who have stepped up to show their support for Runner’s Diarrhea. There are talks of re-making previous titles such as “Deuce Bigelow” and “Children of the Corn” as well as changing Hayden Christensen’s teleportal sci-fi “Jumper” to “Slumper” to help raise awareness of this issue. There’s a new spinoff label called Defecation Jam Records. Weird Al’s already in the studio working on his Ed Sheeran parody titled “Azalea on the Hill.”
We’ve recently heard from thousands of members who have experienced similar types of discrimination. They are embarrassed, ashamed, and no longer able to withstand the negative portrayal associated with this common condition. Forcing us to stop squatting is not an option. Neither is taking Immodiums. Or wearing a diaper. The chafing would be epic.
Homeowners can hang their No Dumping or No Poo in Pool signs. They can plastic wrap their front lawns. Plant more sticker bushes. But they’d better get their garden hoses ready because if this treatment continues, our next step will be to unite. With a membership over a million strong, we will squat together after a Taco Bell bean burrito and a ten-miler until the sensitivity improves. It’s going to be the single largest shit-in ever.
All we ask for is a little compassion and understanding. Maybe some tp on a tree branch if it’s not too much trouble.
Yours in solidarity,
President, Road Runners Association of America
Greg Oldfield is a physical education teacher and coach from the Philadelphia area. His fiction has appeared in Maudlin House, Hobart, Barrelhouse, and Soft Cartel. His soccer writing can be found at The Florida Cup and his soccer rambles on twitter under @GregOldfield21.