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The Shit Turtle: A Family Heirloom

02/23/2014 by C.

Climb on board!

Climb on board!





As a Christmas gift one year, my great-grandfather made a wooden turtle for each of us. He was a shoe cobbler (if you have no idea what that is, Google it) and he was very handy with tools. The turtle’s body was in one piece and the legs and head were screwed on. The wooden back was covered in carpet and was just the right size for a child to sit on. We quickly discovered the turtle was also strong enough for us to stand on and then jump off of it, which made it even more fun to play with.

My great-grandfather had long since passed away when one of my aunt’s children had used the turtle to stand on while brushing her teeth and had forgotten it. For whatever reason, my aunt decided to use it to prop up her feet while going to the bathroom. She found that the turtle made going #2 much easier and thus the “shit turtle” was born.

As I got older and was living on my own, the turtle was simply used as a footstool. Then one day in my late twenties, I became constipated for the first time in my life. I tried every remedy other than taking laxatives that was out there. It didn’t work. Then I remembered back to my aunt and her experience with the shit turtle. It was worth a try.

The turtle worked, my friends. It was at that point I started using the turtle more frequently. I even came up with a special place for the turtle to sit. It was now an honored member of my family.

I moved several times and during one of my moves, the turtle was dropped and a leg was broken off. I tried to use wood glue and re-attach his leg. It just would not stay on. It was with deep regret, I threw my turtle in the trash (at that time I did not know the full story of the shit turtle).

Oh, how I missed my turtle. I sunk so low, that at one point I even tried to steal my sister’s. No one wanted to be without their shit turtle. For whatever reason, the thought of using a normal foot stool never crossed my mind. It just wouldn’t be the same.

I have shared this story over the years with a few of my friends and one year as a Christmas gift, I received a small white foot stool, which was given to me as a replacement for the shit turtle. I just laughed and used it as a table for my sleep apnea machine. There was no replacing the turtle.

But one day I got desperate. I don’t like being uncomfortable in that way at all. I had just finished eating raw pumpkin (something I saw on Pinterest) and it wasn’t working. I threw all my sleep apnea equipment on the floor and gave it a try. It was a bit too high compared to the turtle, but it worked.

My mom recently brought over this catalog with items for aging consumers. She thought she was being funny, because I am only 42, but I’m falling apart. I flipped a few pages into it and some of the items actually did look appealing to me. Then I got to page 43 and what do I see???




That’s right. The “Re-Lax Toilet Footrest, it converts your modern toilet into the most natural position for healthy elimination—the squat”. I love the inset of the cartoon figure assuming the position as a demonstration.  The best part is they are selling for $39 plus shipping. I should have been manufacturing shit turtles in my garage for years. I would have been rich by now!

I can’t help but to think of Pa working away, making these turtles by hand with love. He passed away when I was only 3-years-old, so I didn’t really know him, but I am sure he would not be shocked to know that our family has taken his sweet gift and shit on it. Literally.

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