My hometown has few claims to fame. It’s referenced in a Sufjan Stevens song. It’s the founding place of Domino’s Pizza. Its water tower was once named the “World’s Most Phallic Building” by Cabinet magazine.
And last year, Ypsilanti, Michigan, got a brief flare-up of Internet fame when Gawker reported on a scatological scofflaw who had been repeatedly pooping on local playground slides. A city-council member told MLive the acts were “weird and deliberate.” The manhunt launched a hashtag (#YpsiPooper), and an advertising company put up messages on a billboard it owned over the highway, urging residents to say something if they saw something: "Help us flush the pooper,” “Do your civic doody, report the pooper,” and “Help us catch the poopetrator.” The culprit—a resident of a nearby halfway house—was eventually identified and warned, which seemed to do the trick.
This is less of an isolated incident than it might seem. If the old journalistic rule that three occurrences makes a trend is true, then does five make a phenomenon? There have also been reports of mystery poopers in Akron, Ohio, Hafrsfjord, Norway (where someone has been relieving him or herself in the holes at a golf course for more than 10 years), and at the offices of the Environmental Protection Agency, where you’d think people would be a little more sensitive to pollutants.