After graduating with my M.Sc. I got the opportunity to work at the Atlantis hotel behind he scenes as a scuba diver. From 4pm to midnight we we clean the dolphin pools. Without the dolphins in them of course. And we would clean the sea lion pools.
If you ever have to vacuum sea line poop, it goes something like this. You have a trash pump connected to a four inch diameter hose and go around the pool floor finding the poop and vacuuming it up. Sometimes the poop is about the thickness of the hose. So… You have to beat it with the hose. When it breaks up, that cloud of poop starts to envelope you, so you try to vacuum it out of the water column as quickly as possible.
The job requires only a scuba certification, but having Associates, Bachelors and Masters degrees makes the experience more potent. I have to admit, while working there, I had serious internal conflicts about what I was doing and why. I needed a job and I was told I was overqualified everywhere else, except for this ironically.
But the beauty of it is I can see now. Everywhere I go, I can look and I can ask myself, “where is the poop?” Sometimes metaphorically.
Next time you go to any sort of animal exhibit and you do not have to wade through poop to your waist, ask yourself, where is the poop? Every zoo, aquarium, pet store, dog park, day care, college campus. Someone, somewhere is in charge of that poop. And they are doing a damned good job of it, because until now, you were not thinking of it. Because when we see it we lose our minds.
Now, remember you leave your poop in someone’s hands every day. Some mess you created thoughtlessly or as a by product of your actions. Who is picking up after you? Remember the popcorn container or candy wrapper you left in the movie theater…poop. The divot in the grass your car ripped out of the manicured lawn…poop. The library book you did not place on the designated return area…poop. The class you taught poorly because of bad time management and an over promise, under deliver syllabus…poop. Your homework for tomorrow… Ask yourself, where’s the poop.
Ancilleno Davis, PhD. Candidate
Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology- Miami University, Oxford Ohio