|PACKING THE BOWL.|
|By A.J. Daulerio and Will Leitch||
The country has spent most of the week riveted by the weekend arrests of two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders busted for punching a woman who complained about their having sex in the bathroom. (You can read all about the women and the aftermath here.)
This sheds a light on our favorite kinds of stories: The ones that take place in the bathroom. The forgotten room in every house is the site of not just the reading of printed-out Internet columns, but some of our more memorable stories. Come with us for a trip down memory lane, looking back at the great news stories in bathroom history.
GEORGE MICHAEL'S BATHROOM BUDDY
Pop singer George Michael had been out of the public consciousness in the U.S. for a while until that fateful day in April of 1998 when he decided a public restroom was the best place for an afternoon take-your-pants-off-party. Michael was arrested in a Beverly Hills park restroom and charged with performing a "lewd act," which cost him a $500 fine and what was left of his dwindling self-esteem. When Michael spoke publicly about the event, he was adamant that the arresting officer actually initiated everything by entrapping him into whipping out his Andrew Ridgely in front of him. The judge didn't buy it and Michael was forced to pay an $800 fine, undergo psychological counseling, and was, surprisingly, banned from Will Rogers State Park.
Michael went on to speak about the incident on national television and in the process, to no one's surprise, admitted he was gay. The whole bathroom incident was later lampooned by Michael himself in his video "Outside", which didn't make the situation anymore comfortable to stomach and ultimately invited a slander suit from the arresting officer for $10 million.
THE PROM MOM
In one of the most horrific acts of human cruelty, cowardice, and nauseatingly bad judgment, Melissa Drexler, an 18-year-old New Jersey high school student gave birth in a bathroom stall during her prom, then killed her baby to go back out so she could keep on dancing. According to police reports, Drexler asphyxiated the baby, stuffed it in a plastic bag, and put the baby boy's body in a trash can. "Go tell the boys we'll be right out," Drexler yelled to a friend in the bathroom, according to one person's testimony. Drexler put her black gown back on and went back to the prom dance floor, leaving the bathroom splattered with blood and returned in time to romp around to "Enter Sandman."
An autopsy concluded the baby was strangled or suffocated in a plastic bag taken from tampon receptacle in the restroom. She may have even used the sharp edge to cut the umbilical cord. Melissa Drexler was charged with aggravated manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
While not technically an incident that took place in a bathroom, one of the most famous excretory mishaps is worthy of much note. In 2002, Green Bay Packers running back Najeh Davenport, for reasons unbeknownst to anyone, snuck into a woman's dorm room at the University of Miami and defecated in her closet. The woman said she had never met Davenport and was as dumbfounded as anyone. Davenport ultimately pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to community service.
To this day, Davenport denies the charges and claims innocence. "Where's the evidence? Where's the manure?'' Davenport said. "I know I didn't do itI just wanted to get it over with." The prosecutor in the case noted that "charges would have not been filed if there were no evidence," though he admitted that the excrement was not preserved because poo cannot not yield DNA samples and therefore would have been "useless." Davenport's exploits have been immortalized at (where else?) hampershitter.com.
THE DEATH OF THE KING
It is the ultimate metaphor for the transition of Elvis the young hip-swiveling, rockabilly blues icon to Elvis the bloated, cheesy-jumpsuit Vegas lounge lizard: The King overdosing on drugs and having a heart attack while sitting on the toilet and trying to pinch one off. Only problem, of course, is that the story might not be true; though Elvis was found in the bathroom, the coroner never determined whether he was actually excreting during the cardiac arrest. But the story feels true; the way Elvis had been living, it would have been a surprise had he died anywhere else.
Elvis is also in a grand tradition of bathroom deaths. Other famous people who died in the commode include Catherine the Great, film producer Don Simpson, writer Evelyn Waugh and actress Vivian Leigh, who collapsed from tuberculosis. A full list of bathroom deaths can be found at this list of people who died in the bathroom, because the Internet is the greatest thing in the world and you can find everything there.
Will Leitch is a managing editor of The Black Table and edits Deadspin.com. A.J. Daulerio is a managing editor of The Black Table and edits Oddjack.com. They have never been in the bathroom together. Okay, just once.