A Man, A Plan, A Bump on the Head

I don’t like using public restrooms.

Because I don’t like touching the door handle on the way out.

So after I wash my hands, I save the towel, and use it to open the door.

But the restroom I was in last week didn’t have towels.  It had one of those blow dry things.

So in that case, I always have a Plan B.

Plan B is to extend my sweatshirt sleeve so that it covers my hand, and open the door.  The skin of my hand touches nothing.

But I wasn’t wearing a sweatshirt.  I had on a t-shirt.

That’s when I had a quick impulse.

I should push the door open with the top of my head.

So I leaned forward to push the door open with my head.

And felt a door smash into it.

It was a solid hit, so solid it triggered my brain to remember that bathroom doors almost never open out.

A thought it would have been nice to have in advance.

At least my hands are clean.

47 thoughts on “A Man, A Plan, A Bump on the Head

  1. Yep, public bathrooms are totally germ-infested. So are telephones, computers, and just about everything you come into contact with in life. Especially at Safeway. It’s a conspiracy. They’re waiting for you. (Do we start calling you Howard Hughes now?)

  2. Have you ever gotten drunk (or sick, maybe you don’t drink HA!) and found yourself on a bathroom floor? Prior to puking, did you go get the sanitizer and wipe the area in which you were to kneel? No? I’ll bet you just took a chance, right? Well, same thing here. You might have to just this once believe the old saying, “God watches over children, idiots and drunks.” And in this case, add ‘cartoonists’. Hope your head heals soon. Thanks for your good work, both in the papers and out there.

  3. Now I’m not the creator of Pearls Before Swine, but common sense would say just get some toilet paper and use it to open the door no?

  4. Robert–This would have been a boring post if the story ended with him using the TP to open the door.

  5. this is really a gripping tale.
    How did you finally escape? I absolutely must know.
    (dripping with sarcasm)

  6. I usually use my feet! Which, if the door is heavy enough, forces me to turn the handle with one foot, jump and open the door with the other foot, and push off the door. Which usually leads to me falling on my face.

  7. Hee hee. I’m the same way with the towels. My sister used to open bathroom doors with her feet. I just try to use my pinky to grab the handle on the bottom edge where most people wouldn’t be touching it.

    Can’t use TP, people. If you grab it while your hands are still damp – which they will be with the air dryers unless you stand there for twenty minutes – then you get a nice coating of TP leaf stuck all over your hands. (you know, like gold leafing only not so pretty.)

  8. pssssttt…. carry a bottle of GermX in your pocket. then you can touch the door and then use the germx afterwards. or put germx on the handle. then the next person avoids the hazards of germ infestation as well!

  9. Ah…so, have you turned green, grown a long snout, and are you going around looking for your “zeebah neighbah’?

  10. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Better make sure I don’t use a public restroom, otherwise I might laugh even harder!


  11. I used my foot sometimes to open it’s all good until you get caught 🙂 I remember being at dinner where a guy left the stall and left the bathroom without washing his hands I thought really? I see him at dinner with his date she made eye contact with me and I signed hand washing motion motion and a shook my head trying to let her know he didn’t wash his hands. I wish there was a way to flag people who don’t wash their hands as soon as they leave the bathroom. Also I bought all 4 stuffed pearls characters they were being sold at the exchange on the Navy Base in Bahrain go Pearls

  12. Why would grabbing TP be better? After all, that last person to touch that roll was using it to wipe his bum.

    My advice? Wait for someone to walk into the bathroom, and therefor open the door for you.

  13. Even a croc knows to push the door with your foot. (That is, after checking that the door does push *out*.)

  14. Germ-o-phobes have got it all wrong. Instead of trying to sanitize your world and avoid germs to avoid getting sick, you should be actively challenging your immune system in order to make it stronger and more able to fight off the germs that are out there. The more successful you are at avoiding germs, the lazier your immune system will become until it gets to the point where all it does is sit on the couch all day eating Cheetos and watching Oprah. Then when you really do need your immunse system it will be too fat and lazy to do anything but laugh at you as you die from a sniffle.

    Challenge your immune system! Make it do push-ups and run laps every day. It is your friend. Stop trying to sanitize your world, it can’t be done.

  15. Have to concur with Jim- you wussies need to suck it up and relish your germ encounters. If it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger.

  16. That was hilarious! Usually, I kick the door open with my foot but if it is a bathroom with a handle, I generally shut up and open it. I have never tried the head thing, though, and I know now not to (thank you Pastis for trying that first!!). You could have gripped the bottom of your t-shirt, maybe…

    Thank you for brightening my day!

  17. I do the same thing. I hate germs and yes I know they’re everywhere but bathrooms are disgusting and the freshest most direct way to get poo on your hands.

  18. I do the same thing, but in the event of a t-shirt situation, I put my hand under my t-shirt near my stomach and grab the handle that way. The t-shirt acts as a fine buffer, and there are no head injuries.

  19. See, this is why I try doors with my butt first. At least that hurts less if the door doesn’t move. 😉 Or, if the handle is right, I use my elbow/arm..or..foot.

  20. Try using the inside of your T-shirt body to grab the handle. Then you open the door just wide enough to get your foot or arm through it.

  21. You guys can’t relate to this but how many times have we ladies walked the hall of stalls and seen purses set on the floor. How many go on to set their purses on the bathroom counter, wash their hands only to pick up their purse again and later put it in shopping cart basket, on the kitchen counter etc. Eccch.

  22. You should visit the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. You can open all the doors with your shoe and all the toilets, sinks, and papertowel dispensers are motion activated. (And, unlike some, they are fairly accurate.)

  23. I thought it would be standard by now to make ALL bathroom doors open out. That way we can have a germ-free exit from the bathroom and never have to use our hands to open the door.

  24. I’m Zarion Kreena, from Miscellaneous Soup, ad I liked the “Pants on Ziggy” series, and the “Licensable Bippy” series. You’re a great cartoonist.


  25. I thought I was the only guy who did that. In fact, I also used to flush the toilet with my right foot. Then I started thinking of others, and how they might feel about the dirty, pee-encrusted floor on the toilet handle. Then I continued doing it anyway.

  26. I bought one of the calendars last week! Pearls Before Swine has replaced Get Fuzzy as the best comic strip around (and Pastis is in the Bay Area – maybe I can stalk him…(just kidding, before you call the cops))…

  27. You haven’t seen dirty restroom until you’ve seen a gig at a certain venue in FL that I won’t say the name of. People were kissing on the sinks, near taking off their clothes and about to do the deed right there, a mix of beer and pee sprinkled on the floor….now THAT’S where you need paper towel to open the doors. LOL!

    I do hope however, you did not achieve a migraine from your head being a battering ram, sir!

  28. There is a sports bar in Lake Geneva, WI that offers the Sani-Handle option in the ladies’ room. My niece and I used the facilities and then stood at the door trying to decipher the iconograph instructions for proper use of this fangled device.

    I stuck my arm in the crook and wrenched the door open as depicted. My niece escaped into the restaurant, leaving me snagged on the wrong side of the door. Much wiggling ensued as I worked my right arm out, placed my left arm in the crook, inched myself into escape position and worked up the required force to fling open the heavy door (without actually touching the door, of course), yanked my arm free and jumped out of the restroom. Unlike Romanian gymnasts, I didn’t stick the landing. And the tower of sticky highchairs I landed on were probably sanitized, right?

  29. Ever consider using TP?
    Is is avail in most public toidies except in Thailand.
    Also, ‘restroom’?
    When was the last time you saw anyone with a pulse resting in there? it’s time that Someone come up with a better word for that room.

  30. Why is it acceptable to use the word ‘poo’ but not shit, crap or diarhea – the stuff you are most likely to encounter in public toilets?

  31. Is there a law in the us that prevents builders from installing doors that PUSH out when exiting the public sanitary rooms?

  32. I’m just glad to know that I am not the only human that uses contortions of the like that Circe de Soleil has never seen, to open the bathroom door without putting my hands on it..I mean why wash your hands and then grab a door handle that probably has enough bacteria on it to be considered a weapon of mass destruction?

  33. I agree with Kat. I always go for the “opening the door with your elbow”. Once you get used to it, it becomes second nature.

    Also seconding the whole “toilet seat is way scarier than the door ever will be”. At least men have the advantage of being able to pee standing up.

    About the only public bathrooms I am not scared to death of are those at O’Hare airport (I’ve flown out of it at least once a year for nearly a decade), because of their whole “single use shrinkwrap over the toilet seat” thing. Why it hasn’t caught on with the rest of the country I have no idea… probably money. Oh, and the fact that other than the nicely sanitized toilet seats, everything else at O’Hare is highly annoying, thus negating the bathroom experience.

    Other bathroom tips:

    – avoid gas station bathrooms like the plague in Texas. They are never, ever cleaned. Ever. Actually, gas station bathrooms are never a good proposition.
    – Movie theater bathrooms are only more slightly sanitary (what with the high influx of children using them).
    – McDonald’s is about the only place I’d ever use a restroom at while on the road, complicated by the fact that I don’t otherwise eat at McDonald’s (as their food often makes me sick).

  34. or, plan C, stick your hand underneath the bottom of your t-shirt, and use the shirt to open the door. Similar idea as using the sleeve on a long-sleeve shirt, but instead using the bottom fringe of the shirt.

  35. I was travelling from Atlanta to Nashville. At the first rest stop past Chattanooga…the outer door opens outward.

    Now how sad is this, that I was leaving the restroom, I thought about the bump on Pastis’ head?

    About those blow dryers: How the hell are you supposed to blow your nose?

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