Toilet becoming hot tourist attraction

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

When I booked my two-week, two-state vacation, I should have been looking forward to seeing my family, my friends and a bunch of famous Florida theme parks. But my biggest excitement came from a restroom I’d only get an hour to visit.

While flying from Montana to Florida last week, I had a brief stop at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. If it sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because that’s where Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, was arrested for allegedly seeking a sexual encounter in a restroom stall. Craig pleaded guilty in an attempt to put the matter behind him, and has so far been unsuccessful in his attempt to get the plea withdrawn.

No matter who you ask, the event seems to set off tempers. Some of my Republican friends are mad because they believe Craig was just a victim of poor timing and an overzealous sting operation. Other Republican friends have fewer doubts about Craig’s guilt, and wish he would leave the Senate so it doesn’t hurt Republicans in future elections. (One friend has called Craig “the gift that keeps giving” to Democrats.)

Meanwhile, some of my Democratic friends are upset because Craig has been arrested for seeking homosexual sex, but has repeatedly voted against legislation that would benefit homosexual Americans. Others see a double standard at work, because many of the same Republicans calling for Craig’s head were noticeably silent when news came up about Rep. David Vitter, R-La., admitting to an affair with an escort (because each state’s governor chooses emergency replacements, Craig would have been replaced by a Republican, and Vitter would have been replaced by a Democrat).

However, the airport employees didn’t mention any of these things; they’re too busy laughing. That’s what the newsstand employee did, as the laugh cut me off at, “And where is the bathroom where the senator …” It was 11 a.m., and he’d already heard that question five times. I’m sure somebody at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will heroically thwart a terrorist attack someday, and that clerk will still get asked about the restroom.

Another airport employee laughed, and gave a fully detailed answer, with all of the stores surrounding it. I thanked her for her help, especially since, “I don’t imagine bathrooms involved in sex stings are covered during employee training.”

The only thing that wasn’t impressive was the stall itself. Same as any other stall I saw, except for a well-placed religious pamphlet. I snapped a quick photo, and grabbed a snack before I went to my departure gate.

Even though I admit I couldn’t wait to see the restroom, I hope the enthusiasm is dead for good. There are a lot of important issues we should be dealing with, like why telephone companies need immunity on wiretapping if they’ve done nothing wrong, or why Republicans and Democrats never bother discussing fiscal responsibility unless one party controls the White House and another controls Congress.

But then again, maybe I shouldn’t be the one to be giving lectures. It’s tough to deliver a moral message when you schedule a vacation around a Minneapolis toilet stall.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by e-mail: