Below the Bible Belt

Dearest Poopers, The POOP Project is officially out of hibernation with THREE events this month!

  1. This Saturdary, 3/10, 3-4pm: "Burying Your Feet: What Can the Bible Tell Us About Bathrooms?" as part of R&R at the JCC Manhattan. This text study will blaze beyond biblical euphemism to uncover how our ancestors pooped, and how they felt about it.
  2. Saturday, 3/25, 2-5pm: Stop by the POOP table at Sustainable Flatbush's annual neighborhood extravaganza, "Greening Flatbush: Gardening Where You Are." Stay for the communal dinner from 5-7pm, and get everything you need to make your own poop!
  3. Saturday, 3/31, 2 and 3pm: "From Food to Flush: An Interactive Digestion Experience" at the Children's Museum of Manhattan. Kids 5+ will become the food they eat in this magical ride down the digestive tract and make a flipbook to take home. At 4pm, Artie Bennett will read from his new book Poopendous!

The timing couldn't be better for this Saturday's peek below the Bible belt.

This evening marked the beginning of Purim, a carnival holiday featuring a topsy-turvy tale of hidden identity, revenge killings, heroes, fools and villains. By the end, the Jews of Shushan are spared ethnic cleansing and take revenge. Yay!...? In honor of the story, it is traditional to dress up in costumes and have a great time--such a great time that the traditional lines of society are blurred and you can't tell the difference between right and wrong, good and evil.

Now, I was going to write a deep meditation on texts that would set the tone for this Shabbat's very respectful study...

But then I got thinking: what if tomorrow, in the Purim spirit, we woke up and poop smelled like food, while food smelled like poop?

I put this question to a few revelers at the Storahtelling Purim celebration, which I attended tonight. Here are some of their responses:

"I would go back to sleep."

"It would be hard to eat, but I wouldn't eat my poop."

"I would probably throw up to see what that smelled like."

"I guess I'd eat shit? Only my own. I don't eat other people's chewed food, so I wouldn't eat their poop."

"It would be nauseating. I'd lose my appetite."

"It would smell nice to poop. I hope it'd smell like greasy potato diner breakfast and eggs."

"Wait, wait, wait. So...does the food look like poop? I mean do beans still look like beans, but they're actually poop? Would we have a cable network dedicated to cooking up slightly more bearable poop food?"

"What would I have to eat to get my poop smelling like brownies? That'd be ironic."

If we do happen to wake up in this Kafka-esque nightmare tomorrow, you can be sure that this is the first place you'll hear about it. In the meantime...

Peaceful pooping,

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

World Water Day and Weekend Getaway

First, a plug! The Puru will be on faculty at the 2011 Nehirim Men's Retreat for queer/gay/bi/trans Jewish men & their admirers this weekend, March  25-27 at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. I'll be hosting the talent show, performing a Storahtelling Maven Saturday morning, teaching a performance workshop and--most relevantly--a text study called The Shadow and The Shit: Learning to Love Your Kishkas. Registration is still available! Tell 'em The Puru sent you.

And now...


In 1993, the UN marked March 22 as World Water Day in order to "focus attention on the importance of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources." This year's theme, "Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge," was celebrated today with a main event in Cape Town and hundreds more around the world. A few that have caught my eye:

So go ahead. Pour yourself a cold one and raise a toast to a cleaner water future for all!

Drink responsibly, and peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner