The other day we were taking care of Penny, our new great granddaughter, and as nature would have it she needed a diaper change. I knew she needed a change because, just after Pat handed her to me, a strange, muffled, low sound emanated from her diaper. Her face took on a concentrating look accompanied by a dark pink glow. Right after that she gave me a wide smile as if to say: "Aren't I sweet?" The diaper change revealed a green, pasty material that stuck to the diaper, and not much smell. She is still exclusively on milk and smell will come later after solids are added to her diet.
Modern engineering has made diaper changing almost a civilized activity. There are tabs on the diaper that make it fold into a nice tidy bundle. Some people do not wrap presents that well. In ancient times (yes I lived in those times) we cleaned, washed and reused diapers. When feces stuck to a diaper it still had to be removed from that diaper. A successful cleaning was one that yielded an empty diaper with one, quick unfurling and the entire feces would be deposited into the toilet. If it stuck at all in the diaper it was then necessary to dunk the diaper into the toilet and "rinse" the diaper until the feces was sufficiently cleaned off of it. I will tell you this, my fingernail biting was cured during this portion of my life.
When I was about ten, a friend told me about his experience in a lake. He said that he was swimming with his cousin, about waist deep in the water, and they both decided to take a dump in the lake. He related to me in an astonished manner that his floated and his buddy's sank. It is strange how we come about the study of nature. Especially to impressionable, young boys.
Using a toilet all my life (until I was about eleven) a further nature study opened to me when I first used an outhouse. Outhouses are notoriously bisexual and there are different hole sizes to accommodate different size bums. Looking down into the hole revealed an astonishing variety of colors, diameters, lengths and textures all in a pyramid pile. There are probably some people today that only know the color brown, but, one look into the outhouse hole and the variety of available colors to humans is greatly expanded. Smell is always present.
In my young working years there were many topics that my coworkers and I covered as we worked. One day the topic was: "What is a perfect turd?" It was eventually determined that twice around the bowl was a perfect turd. It was at this stage in my life that I began to turn around to see. Up to then, it was just do your business and leave. Now that a yardstick was available it was necessary to see how close I came to being perfect. We young guys are such competitors.
Towards middle age some red blood may be noticed as a small hemorrhoid is cut in normal forcing. For many people this is a great mystery sometimes engrossed in fear. Our modern science takes this is stride and will set you back to normality with no trouble. Without this corrective surgery, in ancient times, it must have been a nightmare to live through. No wonder people died younger, they did not want to see that blood all the time.
A word on the physiology of the bowel movement. The descending colon and the cesium have a larger diameter than the aperture of the anus. What this means is that the feces must squeeze through that smaller opening. The actual sequence is: the feces descends toward the anus, it is squeezed smaller going through, and once through, it expands larger than the anus through which it has passed. It is important that the feces be soft so that it can be squeezed, hence stool softeners taken by older people.
A word about toilet paper and it's use. Some of my grandchildren used to pull toilet paper off the roll, ball it up and wipe. Their Mother would tell them to only use two sheets to wipe. When they told her they get poop on their hands doing it that way, her answer was: 'If you get poop on your hands, wash your hands that is why there is soap and water in the bathroom." I am aware that for some people it is difficult to wipe clean because of consistency, texture or whatever. For them, I recommend Citrucel which is taken in a glass of water every day. Citrucel will bulk up the feces, make it pliable so that it will pass through the anus easily. This ease of passage means that wiping clean is easier and more complete.
One more piece of information about the physiology of the anus. The muscle around the anus is circular and is called a sphincter. To the casual observer there is only one sphincter but in reality there are two. One sphincter is for solids and the other is for gas. The gas sphincter is on top of the solid sphincter and it opens when gas is to be expelled. Nearly all humans have experienced watery stools and it is here that the fun begins. Sometimes there is a feeling that a little gas must be expelled, a slight release of the gas sphincter is attempted and because of the watery nature there is a brownish or greenish fluid released. Embarrassment, confounding and discomfort attend this event. Wetness is abhorred by all and an attempt is made to get clean at once. I have more than once deposited my soiled underwear in the trash of a public restroom. Bon appetit!