First step to becoming a man requires a plunger and a box of Fruit Loops

If you’re reading this, Congratulations! You are part of a selective group of individuals who, like yourself, have met a basic standard for visitors to this blog, which is that you must be irrefutably awake. Around here, Sundays are for Flashbacks. This has nothing to do with tequila, getting older or this morning’s proximity to Saturday night — and everything to do with the combination of all three. In addition, it also has to do with a Flashback Sunday tradition that began almost a year ago… assuming I’m not having a flashback right now. Either way, join me as we dig back into the archives to 2002, back when I thought “blogging” was slang for something inappropriate between loggers…

image There are certain things all males must learn before they can become a man. This knowledge is passed from father to son, and includes fundamental life skills such as shaving, car repair, burping the entire alphabet, and making fart sounds with your arm pits.

However, there is a crucial first step along the road to manhood that every male must eventually make alone. In a cruel twist of fate, this usually occurs around age three, when fluid intake is high, and hand-eye coordination is equal to that of a wild chimp.

Our son began taking this important step soon after we discovered we did not actually have a leaky toilet. Unfortunately for my wife, she was on the receiving end of this discovery after walking into the bathroom and startling our “man-in-the-making.” And I’m pretty sure I don’t need to explain what he was making. Suffice it to say, I was immediately informed of the situation. Not in so many words, but in a sudden scream that, in my opinion, really didn’t help things.

What did help is that I kept this opinion to myself.

My wife told me that, as the father, this was MY area, and that I was responsible for teaching him the proper technique. Like any man, I had already made this assumption even though, like any man, I found it ironic given my past performance. Amazingly, this vicious cycle continues despite millions of years of evolution proving that, while man can write his name on the ground in cursive from three feet away, he can’t hit a target which is, by comparison, roughly the size of the sun.

Because I knew my wife would ultimately hold me responsible for any of my son’s shortcomings, I was motivated to move things in a positive direction as quickly as possible. This, of course, meant spending quality time together in the bathroom — which would be easy since my son was now in there every 15 minutes.
However, it was during one of these visits that I noticed something that not only explained his poor aim, but suggested he might find work at an early age pulling taffy.

“You have to relax, son,” I said, looming over him. Realizing that I might be making him nervous, I stepped back just in time to watch him lay down what firefighters refer to as the “initial attack,” which would’ve been the appropriate response had the toilet suddenly burst into flames.

That’s when I remembered reading about someone who used Fruit Loops in the commode as a way to provide their little firefighter with something to aim at. This made perfect sense to me. In fact, I decided to improve on the idea by NOT using Fruit Loops. I was afraid my son might get discouraged because they’re so small.

As it turned out, he was more discouraged by the fact that, within eight seconds, the Shredded Wheat I used swelled to eight times its normal size and clogged the toilet. I mean it; in the blink of an eye it looked like we’d been visited by a very angry Euell Gibbons.

After a trip to the store for some Fruit Loops, we decided to try again. As we stood there waiting, staring down at the colorful little targets floating in a sea of Tidy-Bowl blue, I decided right then and there that I would probably never eat Fruit Loops again.

And Shredded Wheat was out of the question.

In fact, I’ll be lucky if I can still walk down the cereal aisle at the grocery store.

On the other hand, the trick does seem to be working. We’ve had almost no accidents and my wife is very pleased with my progress.

My son, however, might take a little longer.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist for News Media Corporation. You can write to him at, or at Siuslaw News, P.O. box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439)


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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

30 thoughts on “First step to becoming a man requires a plunger and a box of Fruit Loops”

  1. ….there is such a thing as “sitting him down to pee”….

    ….or not….

    …..then again, mine has just realized he can bend over and “moon”…..this has taken fruit loops to a whole mother level….

    1. One of the advantages of being man is standing up to pee. I can’t deny my son that perk. Although some day his wife will have something to say about that.

      And I am familiar with then moon shot. Never pretty, no matter what has been eaten.

  2. Lol…reading this just made me relive the joy of when I first moved away from home. I was so happy to no longer unknowingly step in the aftermath of my brothers missing that big ol’ sun! I never understand how they could miss it!

    1. In most cases, the lack of aim doesn’t improve in men. This can be witnessed at any sports stadium men’s room. Continue that joyous feeling of not having to watch where you step; I’m sure you’ve earned it 😉

  3. Very. very funny. Some never learn. What gets me is that policemen, where I live, practice on the range periodically, yet when it comes to lining up to the center of the bowl, they hit anything but.

  4. I have to say, I have never heard about the fruit loops bit, lol. But what do you do to teach them to put the seat down?? I don’t know how many times in my early childhood I fell in the toilet… I fell right in, I was an anchor. I was little, and my bladder was even smaller and my brother didn’t bother to EVER put the seat down. I was to busy trying to make to the bathroom to realize that the seat was up, and down I went. Maybe my mom should have tried fruit loops as a reward for putting the seat down… although, that little bastard got a kick out of every time I was found crying inside the toilet.

    1. I insist my boys pout the seat down, and especially to LIFT the seat before he uses it. My youngest had trouble remembering to put it down, and my wife ended up sitting on a wet seat a couple of times in the middle of the night. So one night, after he’d been asleep for a while, I sprinkled the seat with warm tap water, then rousted him out of bed half asleep. I had him sit down, which woke him up as soon as his cheeks hit the seat. “What IS that?!” he hollered. I told him it was pee. He freaked, then I asked him how it felt. I eventually told him what it really was. But he never forgets to put the seat down anymore 😉

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