That Internet Feeling: They Stole My Joke!

People will know about urine whether I tweet about it or not.

This is an occasional series on internet feelings we want to look at more closely.

I have already pissed three times today.

It’s not even noon. At this rate I’m looking at another three pisses before bed, easy.

I’m not bragging, it’s just that sometimes the reality of having a body is really daunting, and one of the most accessible (and funny) metrics to use to try and come to terms with that is pee.

Let me try to explain. Medical websites* seem to agree that peeing 5 times a day is healthy, so let’s say you’re a healthy adult evacuating your bladder 5 times every 24 hours for a year: that’s 1,825 pisses.

And let’s say you live an average life — 71 years according to the UN. Multiply that by your annual rate, and guess what? You’re staring down the barrel of a 129,575-piss career when everything is said and done.

You may not realize it, but your future’s already pretty booked up with just this one project. Not to mention the time you’ll need to factor in for finding bathrooms, waiting in line, and washing your hands. When you add on all of life’s other simultaneous required programming (like pooping or eating or boning), it’s a certified Christian miracle that any person in history has done anything beyond addressing their orifices.

For whatever reason, pee is one of my brain’s favorite frameworks to use for trying to reconcile my autonomy as an Adult Womxn with the reality of my own mortality. I have a lot of control over myself! Except for all of the ways that I have no control whatsoever! The fact that both of those exclamations are true at the same time and probably will be for all of my days pleases me to no end.

Sometimes the supreme tension of having a physical form doesn’t phase me. I pee, I wipe, I check my notis on my phone (I am very popular). Other times, the enormity of the project gets overwhelming—especially when you stack it day by day, week by week, year by year over the span of a lifetime. Sure, you can dream and have a career and do a gallery wall in the den, but one thing is for certain no matter who you become or where you are: there will be piss.**

As with most things that are stupid, I’ve tweeted about the futility of pissing an above-average amount. My earliest one dates back to 2010, where I lamented from my dorm room about both having to — and not wanting to get up to — pee. There have been dozens since then: suggestions for an elegant catheter, loud sighs about perpetrators of “if it’s yellow let it mellow.” What’s significant for our purposes is that I am the only person in my feeds who seems to be this worked up.

In the tiny ecosystem of my Twitter, Facebook, Insta, and Snap feeds, ongoing pee frustration and analysis is something I specifically am bringing to the table. Don’t get me wrong, it’s by no means important work, but it’s a bandwagon I’m not seeing other people hop onto, so it defaults into a position of feeling like it’s mine. Like when you evangelize an underrated movie or a hot new celebrity, I am contributing to the thoughtscape.

So today, when I was catching up on the Girly Bullshit Facebook page, I felt a little betrayed. I liked the account a couple weeks ago after encountering posts like, “It doesn’t get GIRLIER than cookin on that GRILL,” and “Skeletons are GIRLY and they have been since THE DAWN OF TIME so get with the program sweetie!” What a fun premise! Masc is dainty! Butch is femme!

But a gross feeling hit me when I got to this:

It was a little like hearing a friend repeat something you’ve said before and get a laugh—My idea! My voice!—but with some complicating factors: I was on a computer, and this was not my friend. When you tell a joke at a dinner table, no one’s expecting you to add “shoutout to Darryl for the inspo,” but online, that’s not the case. We’re all out here hyper vigilant and holding each other accountable 25/8. RT me, dog. So encountering someone in space and time who found pee funny the same way that I found it funny felt like a violation of that honor system.

The pang of ego stuff over this sick meme dissolved as quickly as it appeared, though, and for good reason—this is obviously not my joke. Think of the turns of phrase people use on a daily basis that evoke this exact concept: pissing your life away, peeing into the wind. People have been knowing and will continue to be knowing about urine whether I tweet about it or not. So why the kneejerk frustration? Why, when someone else made a (fun, good) observation about how we spend our time, did it feel like they showed up to the party in my signature lewk?

I think I didn’t just feel ownership over piss, I felt authorship. Somewhere in the bog of my psyche, after talking about something a handful of times on my own Twitter account and accruing an unremarkable amount of favs and replies along the way, I’d equated the validation and acknowledgement of those thoughts with proof of my being A Person Who Is Special and Funny, and that’s a false emotional premise. Favs aren’t patents, your idea doesn’t have to be new to get one.

It’s a little like going to Summer camp and realizing for the first time that “how we do it at my school” is both an incredibly specific and incredibly boring conversation to have. We are all unique and we are all identical. At your school, maybe everyone wears Sambas and vapes, but they’re still fingering each other in that one remote stairwell during passing time like all of the other red-blooded American teens.

Internet feelings are tight. I like to catch em and look at em and watch em propagate within me like I’m my own personal ant farm—and, just like thinking about pee in great detail, subscribing to Girly Bullshit a gave me a peek into what is gross and true and cool about my own self.

I have been to somebody else’s school, and guess what, fam? They’re talking about piss over there too.


*That I found in the first 3 results for “normal amount of times to pee a day.”

**I think what bugs me most is that peeing’s inefficient. There’s no way to streamline or condense any part of the process. We need water all the time, which means we’re going to be excreting water… all the time. Forever. And there’s no way to monetize it, either. There’s no one out there I’ve seen solving the fuel crisis with a piss engine.

We work at our jobs to earn money to buy toilet paper to wipe the pee we have no choice but to produce. There’s an entire world economy profiting off of the fact that I cannot for the life of me opt out of pissing. Damn.