Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Thoughts on submissive urination 

When I waltz in the door any given evening, our two young Springer Spaniels, Julie and Penny, jump all over me with joy and affection. They are reasonably well behaved and settle down quickly, but I have to be very careful how I address them. If I speak to them in my usual manly voice at its customary volume, they both immediately urinate and then roll on to their backs in a “Springer salute.” The urination is a “submissive pee,” and has nothing to do with how well housebroken they are. It is a reflex, and I can usually prevent it by addressing the dogs in a falsetto, which is undignified but keeps the floors clean.

Thinking about it, I’m fairly happy that humans don’t practice submissive urination. Sure, there are times when it would be really entertaining to intimidate some schlemiel into wetting his pants, but by and large we’re better off without this particular canine trait.

If humans urinated submissively, much of life would just be that much more complicated. Think about it.

On the job, only powerful people could wear light colored pants. Until your promotion to a “C level” job, wearing anything other than navy blue chinos would be tantamount to daring some evil senior executive into intimidating you into a submissive pee. The top guys would fold the urination into their war stories: “So the guy doesn’t make his numbers, and tops it off by wearing khakis to the sales management review! I really couldn’t deal that kind of cockiness even from a sales guy, so I blew my top. By the time I was done with him, those pants were history!”

Once you made it into a position of true power, though, the situation would reverse – you would wear stain revealing clothes just to flaunt your power: “What, me urinate submissively? To precisely whom and for what reason?”

Of course, there would always be some cocky young go-getter who thinks he can get away with anything because of his keen wit and good looks. He’ll wear the light-colored pants before he’s earned his stripes – then one day he’ll screw something up, and the responsible executive of rank will grump to him in a deep voice until the fellow has a stain the size of a dinner plate on the front of his pants. Messy, but at least the executive will know that he got the message across.

It certainly would be a topic for career advancement books (“Chapter 6 – Tips on How Not to Pee During Job Interviews”), and Fortune magazine would have to tweak its “best employers” ratings to take into account the degree to which sensitive submissive urinators are given a shot at upper management. Does the company in question have a "porcelin ceiling," or not?

What about the opportunities for litigation? I’m sure that the trial bar would figure out a pretext to demand damages for discrimination against chronic submissive urinators; indeed, would we need affirmative action programs to ensure that submissive urinators got a fair shot at top management jobs? These would all be important questions.

Imagine the human resources training that would follow from the first big verdict: “Take great care not to cause any of your direct reports, or their direct reports, to urinate submissively. Submissive urination is about power and its abuse, and is not to be confused with incontinence, which is a medical condition. If you see anybody speaking in a deep voice that might trigger a submissive urination, please report it to your supervisor, your local HR representative, or your plant's compliance officer.”

Politics would also be interesting. Think about the current nasty fight for the Democratic nomination for president. True, people who run for president probably do not intimidate easily, so you couldn’t really expect, say, Al Sharpton to bully Joe Lieberman into stainmaker mode. But think of the press reaction if Dale Ungerer had wet his pants when Dr. Dean shouted at him? It would have hurt Dean with the “I’m OK, You’re OK” Democrats, but he might have picked up some Stars and Bars Southerners in the trade.

Yes, of canine traits I’d take the friendliness, the hearing, the sense of smell, and perhaps even the indiscriminate palate, but I think we should leave submissive urination to the dogs.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?