Published Feb 02, 2009As Mike McCready knows, when you gotta go, you gotta go, a fact of life that has led the Pearl Jam guitarist to lobby for greater restroom access in Washington state.
Late last week, the Seattle musician asked state lawmakers to mandate emergency access to businesses' private restrooms for sufferers of Crohn's disease and related disorders. McCready suffers from Crohn's, a gastrointestinal disorder that causes sudden and extreme diarrhea, making the musician's need for finding a toilet more urgent than most.
"Imagine the worst diarrhea you've ever had, and then times it by ten, with a knife in it," the Olympian quotes McCready as saying after he testified before a legislative committee on Thursday (January 29). "You have maybe a half a second to find out where a bathroom is."
Under the proposal, businesses would be required to allow sufferers of inflammatory bowel diseases to use employee restrooms if they do not have a public facility. Some exceptions would apply but if the bill becomes law - like similar ones have in Michigan, Illinois and Texas - businesses would be fined $100 for denying access to restrooms.
"In general, as a society, we are loath to talk about the restroom and going to the restroom," said Marko Liias, a Democratic member of the Washington House of Representatives, who is sponsoring the bill. "For many people, the simple act of going to the restroom can be an excruciating experience."
Yet even if the proposal becomes law, McCready said he would never be entirely in the clear.
"I was in the middle of a solo and it hit, and I can't go anywhere because I'm playing in front of 20,000 people," McCready told the Associated Press after he testified. "So I just let go. I went back stage and cleaned up because the show must go on."
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