The media can turn anything into a full-blown panic these days. Give them a couple of somewhat related stories and a few days to "report the news" and people will be losing their shit in no time at all. Like when the news convinced everyone that sharks were on the verge of sprouting legs and attacking us in our homes when, in fact, shark attacks were actually way down. Or all of the reports of bath-salt-based zombie outbreaks that have flooded the news recently.
We're not shocked when that happens. Quite the opposite, really. We're more shocked that it doesn't happen more often because, realistically, you can make just about anything into an epidemic if you try hard enough.
Let's take killer urinals, for example ...
It was recently reported that in 2010, Kenneth DeJoie of Monument, Colorado, stepped into the restroom of an Arby's to pee when a "jet of steam" fired out of the urinal and burned his genitals. Or, as this article from NBC's Philadelphia affiliate puts it, "Arby's cooks more than just roast beef, according to one steaming mad customer." Not only does that sentence include an atrocious pun about scalded penises, but it implies that Arby's now serves steamed dick, which we're assuming wouldn't look that much different from the meat Arby's regularly uses.
Just like mom used to make.
DeJoie complained to an employee, which, we'd like to remind you, means he walked up to what was very likely a high school sophomore and explained that his genitals had just been scalded by a urinal. In no time, word had spread far and wide that an Arby's urinal had gone rogue.
So far, coverage of the event has been confined to just this one incident. After all, it seems like a pretty unique situation; the chances of it happening more than once are slim to none.
But that will only be the consensus opinion until some journalist looking to write a "hard-hitting expose" notices that back in 1990, a man was awarded $385,000 when the urinal at his workplace erupted and showered him in water. Sounds hilarious, except for the part where the water was 180 degrees and caused second-degree burns to, and we quote, the "face, neck, chest, right arm and hand, abdomen, right groin area and genitals."
If you're keeping score at home, that's the sex parts and like all of the help-you-get-sex parts (although his wallet was probably fine). And he got that cash for just a general spraying of water. This new case is more of a laser-guided smartbomb of steam to the genitals. That can mean only one thing ... the urinals are becoming more dangerous!
And, just like any good public scare story, these harbingers of crotch burns and overflowing waste water aren't keeping their shenanigans to the "bad neighborhoods," such as the bathroom at your local Arby's. No, they're branching out into the upper echelons of American life.
On June 4, 2012, a urinal in the House of Representatives restroom exploded, flooding the Associated Press' workspace with pissy water. Not a huge deal for a bunch of journalists who are already accustomed to wallowing in politician filth, but for the rest of us, a lake of piss in the office makes for a hostile work environment.
A hostile work environment that could be headed your way, we'd like to add. After all, this shit is happening everywhere!
Oh, and if this happens to you, don't count on the mainstream media to tell you how to keep this assured destruction from reaching your door. Luckily, you have us, though, and we've checked into it for you. After Googling "how to fix hot steam from urinal," we came up with this as far as solutions go ...
"unvented (or aav vented) fixtures, or urinal tied into sink trap arm upstream of vent and boiling water poured into the shared line from the sink"
So, looks like we solved that mystery. At least we've done our jobs as journalists.