The Poop of the Pious

In the last post, we hypothesized how Oprah’s poop could save the world by toppling the tower of celebrity and reminding us that—prince or pauper—we’re all cut from the same fleshy cloth. This time, we share a few examples of how what drops from our bottoms can raise us to the top.

In the classic Australian film, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, three urban drag queens hit the road in a big, pink bus (the eponymous Priscilla) to traverse the Outback and find true love. In one scene, Adam/Felicia (played by Guy Pearce) relays to Bernadette (Terence Stamp) how he came upon the contents of a certain locket, described as, “my most treasured possession in the whole wide world.”

ADAM: Well, a few years ago, I went on a pilgrimage backstage after an ABBA concert hoping to grab an audience with Her Royal Highness Agnetha. Well, when I saw her dashing into the ladies loo, naturally I followed her in. And after she'd finished her business I ducked into the cubicle only to find she'd left me a little gift, sitting in the toilet bowl.

BERNADETTE: What are you telling me? This is an ABBA turd?

Exactly. What could be better? If Agnetha truly is a Goddess, then she’s a Goddess through and through, down to the last drop.

There’s nothing new to the idea that an object’s value can change just from coming into contact with somebody important. Many religious pilgrimages revolved around this idea. The faithful still travel across the world to touch something that was once touched by someone else, thus making themselves holier by touching it, too. (For more information, check out this great article on religious relics.) As celebrities have come to rival religious figures, they also now possess this power. This explains why J.D. Salinger’s toilet might actually be worth a million dollars—your butt can absorb his talent right through the seat.

But why settle for Salinger's toilet seat when you could have, say, a piece of the very butt cheek that made it holy? Why, merely brushing up against it could cure writer’s block forever! After the 7th century, the practice of collecting bodily relics grew to be extremely popular, as Saints were put on the chopping block and exported piece by piece to churches across Europe. Even before they’ve passed on, however, the pious provide for us in their poo.

The next three examples all come from John G. Bourke’s thick compendium, Scatologic Rites of All Nations.

There’s power held deep within Jesus of Nazareth's nappies (pieces of which can still be viewed at the Dubrovnik Cathedral in Croatia): “When the Lady Saint Mary had washed the swaddling clothes of the Lord Christ and hanged them out to dry upon a post…a certain boy…possessed with the devil, took down one of them and put it upon his head. And presently the devils began to come out of his mouth and fly away in the shape of crows and serpents. And from this time the boy was healed by the power of the Lord Christ.”

He’s all man, and all medicine: “…the author wishes to say that in his personal notes and memoranda can be found references to one of the medicine-men of the Sioux who assured his admirers that everything about him was ‘medicine’, even his excremement, whichcould be transmuted into copper cartridges.”

The Dalai Lama can stave off trauma: “Rosinus Lentilius, in the Ephemeridum Physico-Medicorum, Leipsig, 1694, speaks of he Grand Lama of Thibet as held in such high veneration by the devotees of his faith that his excrements, carefully collected, dried, powdered, and sold at high prices by the priests, were used as a sternutatory powder, to induce sneezing, and as a condiment for their food, and as a remedy for all the graver forms of disease.”

Does this mean we should be petitioning our local religious figures for sacred stool samples? Probably not. According to Cacas: The Encyclopedia of Poo

A hundred years ago, rumors that the feces of the Dalai Lama—the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists—had beneficial properties prompted the UK’s Surgeon General to analyze them in the interests of science. They contained nothing remarkable, he concluded. Just as well: According to a spokesperson at the UK-based Tibet Foundation, “These days you can’t even buy the Dalai Lama’s used clothes, never mind his excrement.”

But perhaps one day you'll be lucky enough to follow His Holiness into the House of Ease, and grab yourself a relic to rival ABBA.  Until then, here’s to your health! And as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner