Idioms Explained In Lecture: “Shitting Where We Eat”


Transcript, Common Sayings Explained in Lecture To A Group Who Lacks Intuitive Grasping of Allegorical Concepts Series: “Shitting Where We Eat”

I suppose as a precursor it will be useful to say that this particular idiom is applicable literally, unlike last week’s topic of throwing stones in glass houses which was derailed by the most literal-minded of you, particularly those in the engineering and physical sciences, due to issues of structural integrity and visualization. Of course, being a group who lacks intuitive grasping of allegorical concepts I do not think makes you socially blind to the fact that shitting where you eat is considered wrong. The real question is why is it wrong? If a metaphor works truly, it makes even more sense the more you think about it, as you make connections that apply to both the literal meaning and the figurative meaning.

I believe we’ve all indulged in a half-finished brownie or casual bag of Skittles while on the toilet – let those without sin throw the first stone – but that doesn’t – och! No! Stop, literal-minded thinkers of the engineering and physical sciences! Do not throw stones at this time! What I meant to say is that the private, minor snack-while-squat, although considered distasteful, does not reach the level of abhorrence of defecating in the kitchen, or of the ultimate extreme, as you would see in a disoriented hobo, of the same room as kitchen and toilet.

What? Hobos are not like that? I would say “bum”? Hobos ride the rails? The correct terminology of the chronically homeless is not important right now. What? No, it’s not important. No. It’s not.

My point is that there is a deep and societal meaning here. The obvious concerns about health and germs are the reasons for disgust at literally eating where we shit, but in the figurative meaning, the “germs” are social contaminants or dirty realities we wish others not to see. There is a subtle layer of difference, though, between the “shitting where we eat” and the “skeletons in the closet,” somewhere closer to the “airing out dirty laundry.”

Shitting and eating are both natural, biological needs. Yet one is an occasion for eager anticipation and planning and pleasure – hm? Which, for your notes? Eating. Eating is an occasion for eager anticipation and planning and pleasure and fellowship. Eating is an excuse and expectation for socialization. It’s something we do in public at almost every occasion. Allegorically, then, it represents the things we do that are in full view of others, which we are not ashamed to do. Such as we put on the Facebook.

And the “shitting,” then is things we would want to keep private. What’s that? A previously-ascribed criterion for the variable has not yet been applied? Are computer programmers in here? Ah, welcome then, welcome. You are correct. The criterion I mentioned earlier was that both things are “natural” needs. So in that case, an “eating” would be, say, the normal social needs in society such as going to work, having a group of friends, getting married and having children if desired, etc. These are human social needs on the grand scale it is perfectly acceptable and enjoyable to show and fulfill among others.

Ah, so what would the “shitting” be? Well. Hm. In that case, in the lens of human needs on the grand scale, I suppose, it would be the needs of the private self that shouldn’t be seen: the tasks and companionship, but of kind that should not be seen by anyone. Like sex, although that would be assumed in the “eating” if it’s sex with a loved one or friend. So, I guess, it would be sex with the prostitutes. Or sex of a debauched nature that is rightfully abhorrent even to the self, the kind that is a crime to the human self. Maybe some furrydom or vore. What else? Drugs, I suppose. Marijuana and alcohol is often acceptable in groups, so it would be the such as freebase cocaine and heroin, that kind of thing.

These are the natural needs of a person, the saying seems to imply, who must project an outwardly social and happy life of family and work while their inner private self demands, just as necessary, an uncontrollable sexual release considered dark, and numbing substances of a high-grade caliber. The relationship of “eating” and “shitting” implies displaying a face that allows you to live your disheartened life long enough to feel you are not monster until time arrives to carry out your true, unstoppable release elsewhere. All mankind is thus cast as a two-headed beast of defecation-like lust with a macabre mask.

In retrospect, this idiom is a bit psychopathic, and really dark. It’s possible you were better off.


60 thoughts on “Idioms Explained In Lecture: “Shitting Where We Eat”

  1. At the risk of being really literal – isn/t this saying simply good advice not to defecate near a watering hole at the risk of contaminating the water? Many (most?) animals instinctively know this. Applying it figuratively, then sex with a prostitute may have fewer dire consequences than sleeping with a friend or relative’s partner.

  2. Great writing. I too am guilty of finishing that last corner of cinnamon toast that you just can’t put down on the toilet. Check out my post , “Playing Don and Judy…..I Did a Little Doody!”

  3. Pingback: Idioms Explained In Lecture: “Shitting Where We Eat” | Fifteen Minutes at Porto Santo Spirito

  4. The old phrase: “Don’t shit where you eat,” means–do not do stuff at work that will get you to lose your job.. –like don’t “shit”: yell at your boss, steal from work, date your boss’ wife, your co-workers–because WORK is “where you eat”–where you get your paycheck so you CAN eat, and so you CAN pay your rent… it probably came from the common idea that animals don’t shit in their eating area. It can apply to other situations too like don’t cause trouble anywhere because you will lose the perks that place provides…

  5. This reminds me of the old Native story where one clan of Apaches were forcefully confined into their homes in penalty for stinginess with their food. Consequently, they had no choice but to shit where they ate. The stench put them off their food and the hygiene problems nearly killed them. They were forced to gain proper perspective about their gluttony, and finally had to swallow their pride and share their corn. You can read the story, it is recorded by Keith Basso in “Shades of Shit.”

  6. “Shitting where we eat” is a concept thing we use when training a dog to be house trained. Dogs WON’T shit and piss where they eat and/or sleep unless they have no choice. So does your term describe what we are doing to ourselves here on earth?

    • I’ll ask Professor Nertzwerth if he intended a grand meaning about the future of Earth in his lecture. I can’t today: Sundays are when he “takes his constitutional” and I don’t want to ask what that means.

  7. Pingback: Idioms Explained In Lecture: “Shitting Where We Eat” | Lies, Liars, Beatniks and Hippies

  8. This was a funny post! So gross, though! It’s funny how literally some people take things, especially when they are just meant to be metaphors for something else.

      • Your welcome. I always like to help out. You can return the favor by viewing my blog, and commenting on my posts or one of my pictures. I help you, and you help me. We all need extra traffic, right?

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  9. let me take a little crap in public, because that’s really what I do when I let loose my thoughts unto the world: Thinking, to my mind (pun intended) is even more private than doing my business at the lavatory. Sure, there are thoughts that smell of roses and thyme and turkey dinner and roast beef, but at some point they are recycled into poo. Respectably, my brain is like one big compost heap, but once in a while, I will be able to present a pumpkin, potatoes and beans, maybe even sunflowers, which ought to be the words coming from my mouth and being typed into a keyboard, with Barney Stinson’s proverbial steak sauce. Talking, Typing, therefore represents eating (unless it’s toilet talk, pun intended again), and thinking is shitting, uncensored, unfiltered, raw, unelegant.

  10. People who play so fast and loose with tropes should explain tothe rest of us what metalepsis is and if it turns out to be made of glass they should perhaps throw a few stones to break it down for us.

  11. “…hm? Which, for your notes? Eating.” I am laughing again like an insane person. Had to stop typing for a moment. And…again! This post was especially funny to me because of the embarrassment of self-recognition . Am an Aspie myself–that audience of my thick-headed peers was too much. You are a clever, creative person, aren’t you?

Holla back, girl

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