Capitals Urinal Art: A History
I got a casual e-mail from die-hard Caps fan "N---" last night, alerting me that I might want to check out the Verizon Center restrooms tomorrow night. You know, just in case.
Turns out, this was the 35-year-old mastermind behind the years-old campaign to provide male Caps fans with restroom entertainment and, shall we say, directional practice? Surely you remember the Sidney Crosby-inspired "I'm Thirsty" campaign of yesteryear, which I actually wrote about back before I knew how to take my own photos? Yup, that was N---.
Anyhow, N--- left the area, and the arena's urinals have been barren for many months. But Saturday night he returned with a Rangers logo, pictured here. And tomorrow, expect little pictures of Daniel Briere, accompanied by the fairly brilliant caption, "Peeiere." In the interest of history, N--- and I completed a little e-mail Q and A, on the history of what he calls his "Pee-Pics." That's why newspapers exist, right?
When did you start making Pee-Pics?
Lemme start by saying they didn't start out as Pee-Pics. The first time I decided to create something for everyone at the then-MCI Center, it was the Penguins logo of the skating, flightless bird. I adorned their chests with numbers, a couple sheets got Lemieux, some Kasparaitis, and the most were dedicated to Jagr. My memory is a little foggy on the date, but I believe I started doing this in the 2000-2001 season.
What inspired you?
I'm obsessed with bodily functions, so it was natural for me to "express" my creativity in a way that would make everyone chuckle as they do the thing the guys do so well. And let's face it, we have bad aim, so this helps the staff at Verizon by keeping everything where it belongs. It was this obsession, coupled with a disdain for the Penguins, that gave birth to what are now called Pee-Pics. Why Pittsburgh? Well, let's face it, they kicked our [behinds] throughout the '90s with disastrous collapses with 3-1 leads in best of sevens, and they had Jagr. Need I say more?
How do you actually make them, and how many do you make at a time?
It's pretty low-budget, really. I use my mad Photoshop skills to get a bunch of them on one sheet, print them out, laminate them (usually involves 2-inch wide strips of packing tape), and then cut them into nice, neat pictorial urinal decorations. Depending on the design, the number of Pee-Pics I can get on a page varies from 16 to 20. That means I end up printing out and cutting roughly 130 individual pics. This gives me enough ammo to cover every urinal on the 100 & 400 levels. My mom pitched in this year so we cranked them out in record time.
Who helps you distribute them, or is it a solo effort?
Ninety percent of the time, I go it alone. Many of my family and friends share my love for the Caps, and see the humor in this, but they don't all like the idea of getting that close to other people's pee. And, of course, there is always a slight risk of a sucker punch from an embarrassed opposing fan. After all, size matters.
How do you go around dropping things in urinals without looking like a freak?
Well, ask anyone who knows me, and they'd say "Yeah, I can see him doing that." Not sure I'd be voted class clown, and certainly wasn't in high school, but since then my personality has definitely shifted to a more freakish and deviant side. I take it even further than just dropping them in unmanned urinals. I don't hesitate to walk up behind a man in full-stream and toss one of these in from the side with a flick of the wrist. Sure, it freaks most guys out to have another dude so close to his junk but when they see the gift I have left them they usually chuckle and aim a little more precisely.
How do you decide which teams/players deserve Pee-Pics?
Unfortunately for Pens fans, they have had to bear the brunt of this since 2000. They are just a good "target" for this, as they always seem to have someone one the team that we don't really like all that much. There was Jagr (obvious), Kasparaitis (obvious). More recently, it was Sidney. Hard to hate Sid, but it frustrates all Caps fans that he has garnered most of the attention while OV sits back and wins all the trophies. Which is quite alright by me. Expect to see Briere making a visit to a urinal near your seat soon. 'Cuz he's Briere. Sometimes you don't even have to think "what guy will it be this time?" The choice is obvious.
Why the Flyers this week?
I think we all know the answer to this. Well, at least one of them. Philly beat us in Game Seven last year, terminating a dream season for Caps fans. One that saw our team win trophy after trophy for player and coaching achievements. The second is we were embarrassed in Philly two weeks ago, and they'll be here, in our house. So why not welcome all the Pennsyltucky transplants with open arms! Lastly, I am living [out of the area] now, and make it back for only a few games a year, so I have to take advantage of my time in D.C.
How do you know what the feedback is? Do you stand around and wait for someone to approach the urinal?
As noted above, the feedback can be instantaneous if someone is taking care of business when I drop them in, but the feedback can be heard in many places around the arena. I myself naturally have to partake in the showering of praise between periods, so as I wait in line I get to hear exiting fans talk, chuckle, or scowl as they pass me. It's even more fun to see a fan from the other team standing at a urinal and giving them some encouragement, like "It's not nice to p--- on your team," or "Stop p------ on yourself," or "Shower your team with joy."
I really know that I have made a statement when I hear banter outside of the bathroom. I have heard people talking in the concourses, and at their seats, and that is a good sign that I have inspired a legion sympathetic to my cause. I am working on a prototype for the stalls. Oh wait, that's it: Staals! There's four of them in the league, right!
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