My elementary school had urinals in the boy’s bathroom that extended up from the floor about 3.5 feet. If for some reason you have never seen a urinal like this, it’s usually set against the wall, and the bottom is actually set into the ground, so that the bottom of the urinal is about 3-4 inches lower than the ground.

Why am I interested in this, you ask?

A few nights ago I was patronizing the facilities at a certain neighborhood bar when I realized that those three urinals in the boy’s bathroom next to Miss Mann’s classroom are the first tinklers that I strongly remember.

You always remember your first time.

But my reverie of trips to the john past suddenly turned sour when I remembered my very first encounter with these giant porcelain gods.

I was a small child. An extremely small child. For the first year and a half after having me, my parents were rather concerned that I was a dwarf. Then my head started growing, so they calmed down. And my body started catching up with my head a few years later. But I was still quite short. The first year I played basketball, the coach actual had to lift me up so I could shoot the ball, because my arms were not strong enough to get the ball high enough to go in the basket.

So place yourself in my shoes now and imagine how you would feel on your first day of kindergarten, already knowing that if you have an issue in the bathroom, you cannot scream out “MOM!” and the whole thing will improve. I’m gearing myself up to go and be a big boy, remembering that I don’t have to drop my pants all the way to my ankles to succeed in my mission. Deep breath. I push open the door.

And there he was. Goliath the Urinal, menacing in his porcelain resplendence.

He towered above me, whispering to me with such forcefulness that I nearly turned ran out the door, “Come on kid, give me your best shot. Let’s see what you got.” Never mind the fact that I wasn’t even sure I could reach the flush lever on top of Goliath to signal the end of a successful trip to the bathroom; how the hell was I supposed to concentrate and pee into something I could easily stand inside? This thing could have been a porcelain sarcophagus for all I knew. I was a little freaked. And by this time, I really had to go.

And that’s when fate intervened in the form of second grade menace Clayton Jeffries. In time I grew to fear him for his dodgeball prowess, but on this day, he was on par with the angels. I might have had a little accident that day but for him.

So with new confidence, I stepped up and slew Goliath. And a year later, when I could finally reach the flush lever, my domination over him became complete, and he served me well for five more years.

But to this day, I still prefer wall mounted urinals.