I’ve known the runner in that photo since approximately 1983. That’s when we both were racing consistently on the Chicago area runner’s circuit. On many a weekend in all sorts of seasons, we’d step to the line together and give each other a knowing nod.
Chris has run nearly 80,000 miles in his career, often winning age group categories at distances from the 5K all the way up to the marathon, where his travels often took him out Kansas way.
He’s also an astute observer of nature, and once in a while we’ll cross paths while running or cycling and we’ll stop to share some rare or interesting bird we’ve seen. But Chris also knows plants well, and he’s good at sharing which species are blooming with particular verve in spring and summer.
Recently I wrote a blog on the subject of dealing with gastrointestinal issues while out running. Most of the restrooms on our local trails are closed. So we’ve all been forced to squat and wipe with whatever material is available.
And obviously, if one feels the urge to “go” yet forgets to bring along toilet paper, it helps to know the local flora well enough to avoid wiping with something that can harm your hinterparts, or more.
Chris happens to be quite educated on the plant world. He caught up with me last Saturday during a run and explained that I’d missed a few good options among plants suitable for ass-wiping. Chris ass-ured me these are unisex alternatives.
As Chris noted on the photo above, “Common Burdock, which comes in two nearly identical varieties, is my first choice for body wiping. Slightly astringent and with a pleasant odor it is slightly rough to the touch. Burdock is especially good for wiping dirty and grimy hands.”
Here’s a photo of a single burdock leaf.
Chris also notes that Wild Grape has beneficial qualities for ass-wiping.
Chris notes: Wild Grape leaves, or River Grape as it is known in our area, are a good choice for wiping or wrapping human skin. The grapes themselves have a very large seed and are barely worth the effort to eat. Here’s a closer look at the leaves.
Wild lettuces are also an excellent source of ass wipeage material. Look at the height on that thing! You could toss a salad with that!
Chris explains: “Among the many varieties of wild lettuces in our area Tall White Lettuce is a majestic plant growing up to eight feet tall. Take that Iceberg, Romaine, and Swiss Chard! While the leaves of this plant are bitter to the taste it can be used safely for wiping bloody scrapes, wrapping your onions and wild leeks, or for pit stop clean ups. Plants to be avoided for pit stops include poison ivy, poke weed, and everything in the milkweed family.
To that last warning I can testify. Wiping with milkweed leaves a sticky residue on your buttocks. If left untended, that could permanently (not really) seal your butt cheeks together. Best avoid that problem. Here’s another wild lettuce picture to remind you of a much better alternative.
So there you have it. An Encyclopedia of Ass-Wiping Plants. Chris even provided the proper Latin names in his emails. If you want those for scientific reference and corroboration, you’ll have to write me a request. I was too lazy to copy and paste them all here.
Yes, Chris Johnson and I have covered some miles and years together. That’s why we’re both so great at sharing information like this for all of you. May you have merry trails ahead of you, but it you have to take a dump, may you find these plants readily available. You’re welcome.