Actually, I just flew out of Atlanta, and you very probably aren’t there. (I’m guessing you are in Albany, Ouray, or Graz, beloved reader.) I had a great time visiting old and new friends at the GT BrainLab and FIDO team. A special shout-out to Sky the border collie, one of the coolest dogs ever. Sky is the beginning of a new generation of assistance dogs for disabled people, more helpful and flexible than ever before.
American kids sometimes tell each other about a chemical placed in pools that changes color when you pee. Good trick to get them to behave, except that it’s very easy to disprove and then the kid gets the wild notion that adults sometimes lie. Atlanta has taken this to a new level. For the first time in my life, I saw a sign on warning of urine detection devices, or UDDs:
These signs were in and around the N3 MARTA elevator in Midtown Atlanta. Upon entering the elevator, two of my five senses immediately informed me that the UDD system was not discouraging elevator peeers at all. Hoo-wee! Either the sensors don’t work, or (more likely) do not lead to any arrests. How could they? There’s a camera in there. Great; you get a guy’s back and then he leaves. Unless he *really* had to go bad, the cops have maybe 20 seconds to respond before the doors open and the peeer (but not his golden gift) is long gone. So, just like the threat that the pool will turn red if you pee in it, this is meaningless. What we need is not just a UDD, but a system that takes action accordingly.
I propose the Public Indecency Sensor and System for Offenders (PISSOFF). PISSOFF does rank somewhere on my list of clever inventions that I have freely given to an unresponsive and ungrateful society through this blog, like the Urban Hop Maneuver, my extended German grammar, Sound of Music lyrics for hunters, and cat helicopter. Wait, the cat helicopter is private. Anyway.
I hereby offer these novel suggestions to the Atlanta City Council. Politicians should recognize that there probably will not be many voters who enthusiastically defend peeers, or encourage peeers to rally with their peeing peers. It’s a safe way to be tough on crime without offending anyone important. Even the ACLU wouldn’t take this case. Editorials that begin with “I peed in a public elevator, and was mistreated” wouldn’t elicit much sympathy. I doubt meetings for a new group called “Mothers Of Public peeERS” would ever run out of chairs. If they tried a civil disobedience campaign, getting peacefully arrested for violating an unjust law, most Atlantans would *not* think them on par with Martin Luther King. The Facebook group “Peeers in Elevators and Escalators” would not have escalating membership. So crack down on 'em!
If the UDD detects urine….
- Automatic door locks: Lock the doors until cops arrive.
- Automatic community service: Also drop wet towels from an overhead bin. The violator may not leave until thoroughly cleaning the elevator.
- Camsharing: The peeer’s face is immediately displayed on video screens all over town, including monitors all over the M3 midtown MARTA station. Buy billboard space too. Add text reading: “This man is now urinating in the M3 Midtown MARTA elevator!!” Expert’s tip: if you put the system in other elevators, then adapt the text so it’s easier to catch them.
- Shock grid: The UDD electrifies the bottom of the elevator. For my non-engineer readers, electricity will travel along a stream of salty water far better than shoes, socks, plastic elevator walls, etc. This means that any innocent people in the elevator would be safe, and probably terribly amused. For my non-male readers, you probably guessed that shocking the source of urine would really hurt. Yes. I’m wincing at the thought. Actually, at very low voltage, fence-tinkling leads to a pleasant tingling sensation. I think the statute of limitations is over so I can talk about this now, although I’m still banned from Fred’s Low-Voltage Electric Fence shop.
- Urine recycling: The UDD activates a small pump leading to an overhead cistern, which sprays the violator with the preceding violator’s urine. Cruel or unusual? Not much different from what he’s doing to hundreds of future elevator riders. Just a difference in height.
- Yellow badge of shame: The elevator also sprays the violator with a fluorescent yellow stinky sulfur compound that lingers for weeks. If the cops don’t bust him, his crack dealer will.
- Flies: release the urinal flies that have been collected from German airports. (See prior posts.) I have scientifically proven that these flies can cling to the insides of urinals despite great pressure, almost like they’re painted there. So they’d just stick on the violator forever. I’ll be in a German airport soon, so I’ll keep an eye (and something else) out for them sticky urinal flies.
I’m also intrigued by the sensor engineering. The UDD is probably not urine specific, just a cheap system to detect liquids. So you might get false positives from hemophiliacs, snails, wet surfers, janitors, or NFL head coaches dripping Gatorade after winning a Superbowl. Or people who vomit, spill drinks, spit, melt, have ebola, drop a full fishtank, enjoy walking in the rain, happen to be moving a leaky waterbed or broken air conditioner, are sweating profusely on a hot and humid Atlanta day, or are crying really really a lot. Or have pets who urinate. Hm. The last one kills it. I don’t think public urination is illegal for dogs, because they have great lawyers. Damn. It would have been a good idea otherwise. I’ll move on.