Lots of us have read the picture book Everyone Poops, but you probably didn't know that actually reading the book itself can make you have to go. You know that urge you sometimes get when you enter a bookstore? The urge to poop? Apparently, it's very common, and the Mariko Aoki phenomenon claims that entering a bookstore will make you have to poop. Seriously.
The phenomenon, according to Wikipedia, was touted by a woman named (yes) Mariko Aoki in Japan who in 1985 wrote an essay about this strange bookstore effect in the magazine Hon no Zasshi. The theory can be narrowed down to three possible causes.
- The smell of paper and ink has a laxative effect (thought there's little evidence for that)
- The books evoke the feeling of reading in the bathroom at home
- The posture we have when we browse books is helpful for bowel movements
Who knew that childhood reading could have even more valuable effects? Trade in that prune juice for a little Goodnight Moon.
Apparently, the second cause might be the most likely. In a study by BathroomSurvey.com (yes, this is a real thing), responding to the question "Do you read in the bathroom?" it seems most of us do:
- 29 percent of people said "whenever possible/when there is reading material around"
- 42 percent said "sometimes"
- 29 percent said "never"
Either way, this will be a funny thing to imagine the next time you're watching people browsing books.
And if you still have no idea what I'm talking about, a very brief gander into Twitter proves this is indeed a phenomenon.
I feel really great to have been a part of helping John solve his life's biggest mystery.