Imagine you’re out tailgating before the big game. And you say to yourself, “Self, you’ve had a long day of eating tasty meats and neglecting most of your responsibilities. I say it’s high time you treated yourself to a beer, hm?” And so you crack one open. And it tastes pretty good. So you crack open another, then five more. Things start getting a little blurry. You think about that scene in The Lion King where Mufasa died. And you have yourself a little cry. Then — oh no — you need a bathroom.
Never fear! All you have to do is head to the Porta Potties. Now, if you’ve never had the joy of using a Porta Potty, allow me to elaborate. A Porta Potty is what happens when you mix the phone booth from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure with Vietnam, but replace all the time traveling adventures with the waste of 30,000 over-indulged tailgaters. What’s even worse is that, the closer you are to game time, the easier the beer flows, and the longer the line gets.
If you ever want to see humankind at its most vile and primal, watch a group of drunk people who need to pee waiting to get into the Porta Potty (which, again, is like fighting for your spot in line to smell Andy Reid armpits). Men hate women. Women hate men. Singles hate couples and couples desperately try to watch out for each other, only to have angry crowds test their patience and resolve. It’s worse than the Titanic, because there is no compassion or mercy for women and children. No, in the line for the Porta Potties, women are perceived as taking too long. And the children, especially the ones that need assistance?
Well. May God have mercy on their souls and their tiny, juice-filled bladders.
Heavens. This is the creepiest thing I’ve ever written.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
So ANYway, pretend you’re making your way towards one of these Porta Potties. The line is atrociously long and, ugh, people, right? So you desperately look around for an alternative. The woods! Oh, wait, the COPS are right there! He’s looking at you. He’s shaking his nightstick in a “Dikembe says no” kind of way. And you ponder it for a moment — would you risk the $500 fine, or jail time? Just for sweet, relief?
You consider it. For a moment. Just a moment. But no! Then you’d be hauled off to the drunk tank! And you’re here for the GAME dammit! And also, last time you were there, they had remarkably little beer for a place with a name like “The Drunk Tank.”
A cold sweat breaks over your brow. You’re breathing heavier. Now shallower. Are you dying? There’s no way to be sure. But the short answer is, yes, you’re probably dying. Ah well, soldier. It was a good run. When your bladder explodes, they’ll remember you. Cripes. EVERYONE will remember you.
You close your eyes and wait. A single tear escapes. You never even saw Rocky IV. You take a deep breath, and then…
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
“Can I help you, friend?”
You turn your back. And there, you see a gigantic man with a friendly face. Like a big, shaved Hagrid. And behind him?
No, it can’t be… can it?
A pickup truck with a private Porta Potty on it.
You let out some kind of sound. Was that a gasp? A cry? A laugh? You don’t know. It was just… raw emotion. That’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.
This man, he pats you on the back and says:
“Go ahead, friend.”
You’re in that Port-O-John so fast that you’re pretty sure you pulled something. And then relief, sweet relief.
You walk out of the Porta Potty pallid and a little lightheaded. The giant hands you some hand sanitizer, and then — after a thorough scrubbing — he shakes your hand.
“Tim Baumgartner,” he says.
“Why?” you ask, like you’re staring in the face of some kind of Bathroom Wizard. “Why would you do this?”
And that’s when Tim Baumgartner says this:
“Because, people will come friend. They’ll come to my Porta Potty for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up at this truck not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive here as innocent as children full of Juicy Juice, longing for the relief. Of course, we won’t mind if you use our facilities. It’s only $5 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the truck; sit in shirtsleeves in a cramped, stinky little box. They’ll find they a reserved seat — well, actually, the only seat. People will come, friend. The one constant through all the years, has been the need to take a leak at a tailgate. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But drunken tailgate peeing has marked the time. This parking lot, this game: it’s a part of our past. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come, friend. People will most definitely come.”
You blink. And Tim says:
“That’ll be $5, friend.”
(Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
The legend of Tim Baumgartner and his friends’ magic Porta Potty stems back to 2009 in Miller Park, where the Milwaukee Brewers play. Now, as you know, we’re fond of talking up the Packers’ tailgating prowess. But according to Baumgartner, a born-and-raised Wisconsinite, Lambeau Field is this state’s second banana. I’ll let him take this one:
“While everyone credits Lambeau Field as the cheesehead tailgating Mecca, I can assure you it’s not. The lots are small and segregated. You park in people’s lawns to go to attend Packers games. However, Miller Park is surrounded by nothing but massive concrete parking lots. It’s nowhere near anything. It’s as though they’re encouraging you to bring your own beer/food and celebrate before the game near your car in the parking lots.”
I could go on about what a Brewers tailgate is like, but I’ll just leave you with this picture here, and let you deduce what you’re missing out on. (Yep. That’s a Bloody Mary with sandwiches of some kind on top).
(Photo by Tom Lynn/Getty Images)
So why bring a private Porta Potty? Well. Baumgartner and his merry men have it down to a science. See, the Brewers open their parking lot three hours before game time. Except they don’t. They open it when so many people show up to the ballpark that traffic starts backing up into major roads and thoroughfares. In other words, show up at 7 AM, get in by 9 AM — a solid three hours ahead of schedule for a mid-afternoon game.
It was here that Baumgartner’s Toilet was noticed. While waiting for the gates to open — in other words “Tailgating tailgating,” as he says (he’s a true American hero), he and his team were spotted by a local news crew. And that’s where this happened.
From there, things took off. Not only did he and his merry men have access to a private restroom whenever they wanted, but the total cost of rental and installation was about $100. With a normal tailgating attendance of about 10 people, that’s $10. Not bad for a little privacy.
But! It gets better. As our little vignette illustrated above, there’s no shortage of needy tailgaters who would pay anything to cut ahead of the line. With $5 here, $10 there, and next thing you know? In Baumgartner’s own words, “It’s an investment.” Heck, in 2012, they made $200 on opening day. Do you hear that, Wall Street? They got 100% returns in six hours!
So what does the future hold for Baumgartner? Well. Plenty of drinking. But the toilet scheme, it seems, has been busted. As of this year, “The Man” has banned them from bringing a private Porta Potty to Miller Park.
Ah well. Not every dream can live forever, no matter how beautiful. As for us at Tailgate Fan? We will always remember the brave and innovative heroics of Tim Baumgartner and friends. Let this be a lesson, tailgaters! There is still a ton of invention and innovation that could go into our chosen art form! So for your next game, I encourage you to remember: sometimes it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission. In the meantime, we salute you, Tim Baumgartner and company — proud enthusiasts of the Personal Parking Lot Pisser!