“Room for Everybody”
Mickey Smedley seems to have a knack for making big scores out of controversial issues. One such “opportunity” arose a couple of years ago when some yahoo in state government allowed for some well-healed Yankee pig farmers and mega agricultural giant, Cargill, to build a 4,500 hog raising operation in Judea, AR. The problem was that this location was deemed by many concerned citizens to be much too close to the nearby Buffalo River, one of Arkansas’s most valuable recreational waterways. There was a real fear that the farm’s hog waste would end up polluting this precious resource.
Smedley resolved this major olfactory and piscine catastrophe by setting up franchises that would haul off the millions of gallons of hog poop begot at the pig farm and then convert this fragrant soup into methane that would be used to generate electricity (which was then profitably re-sold to Petit Jean Electric Coop). Smedley pocketed a pile of money from twenty or so folks who each forked over $20,000 for their Smedley Hog Waste Conversion Kits. It is not clear how these investors made out, but the word today, is that these “Kit” sites look a lot like the abandoned chicken houses that dot much of northwest Arkansas.
Tasteless as it is, Smedley envisions another huge opportunity to score, and once again this critical issue is “waste.” Only this time, the word “human” rather than “hog” is associated with the opportunity. We are talking public bathrooms here, the places that people need to use on occasion when they are out and about in malls, arenas, theaters, restaurants, parks – all the places where a person finds himself with an urgency and that they are too far away to get to the privacy of their own bathroom at home.
Needful “rest” provisions for people have been around for years without causing any serious problems. The standard accommodations have always been routinely obvious: separate toilets for Men and separate toilets for Women. The South, of course, made this a little more complicated when they insisted there be separate facilities for White Women, White Men, Colored Women, and Colored Men. Fortunately, this racist practice faded away and the public was back to the standard of the Big Two, Men and Women.
Beginning about five or six years ago, however, the timeless standard of the Big Two was deemed as no longer adequate to accommodate what the public needed for their nature’s calling. Today, the law of our land requires separate public restrooms for new categories such as, Gender Preference, Bi, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Transitional, Undecided, and Agnostic. There may be more categories added in the future as reproduction science makes some more breakthroughs. Congress and the Courts have upheld the validity of all these categories and now by force of law, all public entities are required to provide appropriate bathrooms so that no one be made uncomfortable by using a facility that doesn’t fit their self-determined sexual identity.
This mandate has enormous cost consequences for enterprises, public or private, who serve the general public. It is estimated that every establishment that offers respite to nature’s call will need at least eight – maybe ten – separate restrooms. The cost of adding these non-income producing areas cannot be mitigated by pay toilets which were ruled out as unconstitutional. Another looming problem is that the new laws also mandate that the waiting time to use a facility of one’s choice be “time appropriate.” This means that the lines often seen outside a sports stadium’s “Ladies Restroom”often extending to the parking lots will be a thing of the past. It is estimated that this required adaptation will cost each stadium one billion dollars.
All this turmoil, however, is seen by Smedley as pure opportunity. Smedley declared, “There’s some big money in waste! The Smedley Hog Waste Conversion Kit is only a drop in the bucket – pardon the pun – compared to my Next Big Thing!”
Next Week: Smedley lets investors in on it!