For an undisclosed length of time, a high school in New Jersey had been finding fresh human feces on the track surrounding their football field in the mornings “on a daily basis,” but had no idea who was leaving the steaming pile until they set up surveillance cameras.
According to NJ.com, the “mystery pooper” at the Holmdel High School track was then caught in the act and identified as 42-year-old Thomas Tramaglini.
Tramaglini, who is the superintendent of the Kenilworth school district, lives about three miles from the Holmdel school and was arrested while running the track just before 6 a.m. Monday morning. He has been charged with defecating in public, lewdness and littering.
He has also been placed on paid leave for the time being from his position that earns an annual salary of $147,504. (That’s where all the education money goes apparently, not to students — but that’s a different matter entirely.)
According to a separate piece from NJ.com, the arrest of Tramaglini as the suspected “mystery pooper” raised more questions than it answered, which compelled a deep dive into the surprisingly real topic of “serial poopers.”
Those unanswered questions included who Tramaglini was, how long he had been defecating on the track, who had the misfortune to find and clean up the waste “on a daily basis,” how the surveillance operation was conducted, how Tramaglini was able to wipe afterwards — if he came equipped with toilet paper, that would show premeditation — what kind of discipline he could face, what sort of motive he may have had and if there were any sort of logical explanation for his disgusting actions.
As it turns out, public pooping is actually a real thing that largely breaks down into two separate categories — running poopers and serial poopers.
According to Competitor Running, many long-distance and marathon runners find themselves suddenly needing to evacuate their bowels while in the middle of a run, an urge that can become unbearable at a time when a bathroom or port-a-potty is nowhere to be seen.
“Contributing factors likely include the physical jostling of the organs, decreased blood flow to the intestines, changes in intestinal hormone secretion, and pre-race anxiety and stress,” explained Dr. Stephen De Boer, a registered dietician with the Mayo Clinic. “What is clear is that food moves more quickly through the bowels of athletes in training.”
Changes in diet or a shift in the running schedule can accommodate the need to go while running, and given the fact that the suspect was arrested while running on the track he apparently dumped on every morning, this is the most plausible explanation for the disgusting habit.
However, considering that there were no doubt port-a-potties or other facilities nearby where he could defecate, it is also possible that Tramaglini fell into the category of being a “serial pooper,” or a person who defecates in public on purpose with an intent for others to find it, according to Men’s Health.
There have been recent cases of such “serial poopers,” including a Colorado woman known as the “mad pooper” who would leave a fresh pile on sidewalks, in front yards and even in front of stores while out for her “morning runs,” so to speak. There was also a student at Southern Illinois University who was dubbed the “bowel movement bandit” as he, on eight separate occasions, would poop inside washing machines full of clean clothes in the dorm laundry room.
Unsurprisingly, it is suspected by some clinical psychologists that such individuals may have some kind of mental disorder that either makes them think public defecation is OK, though more likely the act is done out of anger or spite.
“It is the ultimate F.U. and vandalism crime,” stated clinical psychologist Sharon Chirban of Amplify Wellness & Performance in Boston. “It’s a statement. They’re expressing aggression through an egregious act.”
“As with other vandalizing behavior like tire slashing, graffiti, or salting lawns, the motivation is anger or envy,” she explained. “Maybe the lawn pooper is envious of those in that neighborhood. Maybe the laundry pooper is angry about the laziness of others to empty washers in a timely fashion.”
It remains to be seen exactly what sort of public pooping category the New Jersey school superintendent falls into, but one thing is perfectly clear: His actions are incredibly weird and unacceptable in a civilized society — albeit one in which standards of decency have declined — and he likely has no business being around or in charge of young students.
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