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Brown: Potty Nazi endorses free public potties

Cathy Klinker. Photo from Facebook.

The Potty Nazi is endorsing Ald. David Moore’s ordinance to require businesses to make their restrooms available to individuals in an emergency.

That carries a lot of weight with me, because the Potty Nazi is one of those people you never forget.

I met the Potty Nazi many years ago while covering the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

This was back when the parade was pretty much a drunken free-for-all, before they shut it down and then restarted it with a more family-friendly focus.


The Potty Nazi was a friend of a homeowner whose bungalow was just a block off the parade route, in a location where beer-soaked young people desperately in need of a restroom would relieve themselves on the garage and fence.

To quell the madness, this family had taken the unusual step that particular year of renting a port-a-potty and putting it in the front yard.

But then the drunks started trampling the lawn and fighting over whose turn was next.

Into this anarchy stepped the Potty Nazi, who made a everyone line up on the sidewalk and pay $1 to use the toilet, earning her nickname with her officious bearing as she shouted orders and mixed it up with her patrons.

I didn’t bestow the Potty Nazi nickname.

That came from a young woman in front of me in line, and I’m sure she intended it semi-affectionately as a nod to Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi” character. You remember: “No soup for you.”

If you crossed the Potty Nazi, it was no bathroom for you.

Somebody asked her how much it cost to rent the portable toilet, and when she said it was $50, the guy gave her some lip about having already made her money back.

“You don’t need to heckle me. I don’t need it,” growled the Potty Nazi. “If you don’t like it, go someplace else.”

I remember being happy to pay my dollar that day.

It was a bargain considering the lines of an hour or more for the too few free portable toilets along the parade route.

Eventually, though, all the commotion attracted the attention of police, who weren’t nearly as amused as I was by her exercise in free enterprise.

The officer told her that if she didn’t stop charging money he was going to have to “write it up.”

About that time I felt someone reach into my front pants pocket and looked up from my note-taking to see that a drunk had stuffed a dollar in there before reeling into the portable toilet.

I offered the dollar to the Potty Nazi, who by then I had learned was named Cathy Klinker of Blue Island, but she turned it down, having quit the pay toilet business.

Klinker was a very good sport that day and remained so after my column ran. I hear from her from time-to-time.

She volunteers with a pit bull rescue organization, It’s a Pittie Rescue.

Obviously, she’s a bit of pit bull herself with a tough exterior but a good heart if you dig a little deeper.

When I reached out for her Friday, she was in the middle of trying to reconnect a stray with its owner and was gratified when she was successful.

I asked her about Moore’s ordinance, which he proposed after he met a woman who had an embarrassing accident in a fast-food restaurant after being denied use of the toilet.

“Believe it or not, I think all businesses that are open to the public should mandatorily let the public use their facilities. With a purchase or not. That way people will not be peeing in alleys or on people’s fences,” she said.

I won’t even charge her a dollar to have the last word.