The Toilet Man

When I walked into my office building today, I thought it was going to be like any other day. Go to my office. Drop off my bag. Take out my lunch from my bag and go to the pantry room to put it in the fridge. Fill up my water bottle. Get a cup of coffee. Go back to my office. And really begin the day.

Of course, that all changed when I got out of the elevator and heard my boss yelling out my name.

A few weeks ago, she emailed my department asking for volunteers for an internal training video that they were doing on hospital room infection/contamination. I replied late and said that if they were in a bind and were up for my William Shatner-style of acting, then I’d be down. Never heard back from her, so I figured I wasn’t selected – which is fine. It adds to my growing number of audition rejections that includes MTV’s Real World and a Kaiser Permanente commercial ad.

Well, apparently they were in a bind. They were shooting the video this morning and needed someone to play a male patient. My boss asked if I was free, so I checked my schedule and I was. Within an hour, I was taking the bus down to the main hospital campus and went to the hospital room where they were shooting the video. They gave me a hospital gown to put over my work clothes, taped an IV tube on my arm, and gave me my directions.

My role was a male patient who had gone to the bathroom. My directions were to flush the toilet, move my IV unit outside the bathroom door, wash my hands as I talked to my nurse, and then go back holding the IV unit. The point is that I had contaminated the IV machine with my unwashed hands and that the nurse contaminated herself by touching the same spot afterwards. Seemed simple enough, though I did ask what my motivation was. I also asked if they wanted me to go to the bathroom for real. There was no scripted dialogue either, so I was allowed to improvise and say whatever came natural to me. They were in trouble for doing it.

We ended up doing something like 8-9 different takes of the scene. As a side note, this should only be like a 1 minute scene. There was a lot of discussion about the angle they should shoot the scene. There was even a debate whether or not I should flush the toilet. After getting through 2 complete takes of the scene, it was a wrap and they moved on to the next scenes. I changed back to my work clothes and soon after, took the bus back to my office building. And it was just about when I got to my office and saw my office-mate, when it hit me.

I am now the Toilet Patient of the hospital. Or at least to those who see me in the video for whatever training purposes they are using it for. What a way to start out at a new place, eh?

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2 Responses

  1. Famous Sanitary Toilet Man… 🙂

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