Yes, poop is gross. But that's not the only reason for its shameful social stigma.

Why are we all so prim and anxious about the sounds, smells, and substances that emanate from our keisters?

The obvious answer is that, well, poop and farts are gross. It is waste, after all, and full of (potentially harmful) bacteria. That's why other people's farts always smell worse than our own: to warn us of the impending intrusion of intestinal insalubrity.

But there must be another reason for our rear ends' rude and ribald reputation, right? Well, as it turns out, there's a lot of cruddy history behind our shame.


GIF from "Spider-Man."

Ancient civilizations believed our derrieres' disgusting discharge was indicative of defects and disorder within us.

Back around the 16th or 17th centuries BC, Egyptian medical texts — such as the Ebers Papyrus and the Edwin Smith Papyrus — helped popularize what's now known as autointoxication. Not to be confused with auto-brewery syndrome, the idea was that any undigested foodstuff that stayed in our system would end up rotting and poisoning us from the inside out and this was the primary cause of everything from schizophrenia to cancer.

That's right: The Egyptians believed that constipation caused cancer and that it was entirely your fault when it happened. Look, they were a little busy building those big fancy pyramids, so you can forgive them for a few anatomical oversights.

GIF from "The Simpsons."

The ancient Greeks took this one step further with the introduction of the Four Humors.

Humorism was a theory of medicine that tried to explain our health and personalities through an internal balance of four metabolic liquid elements. The choleric temperament — yellow bile — worked through the digestive tract and was said to be responsible for coloring our poop.

It was also associated with aggressive, impulsive, and obstinate behavior. These were good qualities for leaders to have — in moderation. But too much yellow bile and, well, you were probably full of sh*t.


GIF from "Hercules."

Then Christianity took the gluteus maximus and turned it into "Gloria in excrement Deo."

While there is some talk about fruit as food in the beginning of Genesis, the only thing that Adam and Eve ever actually eat in the Bible is that damn apple that got them into trouble in the first place. God cursed them with all kinds of pain and shame when He cast them out — and, well, it stands to reason that clippin' the biscuit would be among the awkward and uncomfortable bodily functions they were forced to endure. Just as they were ashamed of their own nakedness, they were probably ashamed of their stinky pebbles too.

GIF from Epic Rap Battles of History/YouTube.

This idea of poop-as-original-sin is also echoed in Deuteronomy 23: 12-14:

"12. Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. 13. As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement. 14. For the Lord your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.

Basically, stool is a filthy human function, and you need to clean up your crap so that God doesn't step in it.


GIF from "Fist of Jesus."

But things changed in the late 1800s when the flush toilet started catching on.

As David Praeger explains in his book "Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product," hygiene became a hallmark of the elite, and the upwardly mobile Victorians saw their porcelain privilege as another way to set themselves above the lower classes.

Those with proper manners did not acknowledge the existence of their ... ya know. The social stigma asserted that only poor people pooped. (This probably compounded with Victorian concepts of purity and sexuality too, leading to that persistent and weirdly gendered notion that women don't poop.)

GIF from "Bridesmaids."

Our potty practices don't always agree with the pressure that the modern world places on our productivity either.

Good gut health can make our brains work better. But droppin' a deuce when you're supposed to be on duty doesn't always go so well. Even if your employer provides you with sick days and health care, they might take notice when nature calls and you're not at your desk when you should be.

"I try to time when I'm going to the bathroom at work based on when I expect that no one will be looking for me, so I can disappear for 15-20 minutes at a time," said Andy, a 30-year-old man with Irritable Bowel Syndrome who works in Washington, D.C., in an interview. Andy wasn't diagnosed until his mid-20s, when he was living on his own for the first time and realized that his heinie habits weren't like other people's, and it really wasn't funny anymore like it used to be in high school.

"But it's awkward when your boss sends you an email 'Where are you? I need this right now,' and you're in the bathroom. How do you say 'Hold on a minute, I'm pooping my brains out, but I'll get to it as soon as I can?' Suddenly you look like you're slacking off because people can't find you when they need you."

Unfortunately, these misinformed connections between virtue and our posterior pop'ems still linger like stink in our communal cultural bathroom. And that's a big problem.

To this day, our society still equates poopability with happiness and moral standing. So while yes, it's embarrassing and disgusting, this skewed sense of shame is preventing us from seeking the medical help we need to make our bodies function to the best of their abilities — poop and all.

For example, only about 22% of Americans seek health care for constipation, but it's one of the five most common gastrointestinal disorders. Meanwhile, we're spending $800 million a year on laxatives — and even more on emergency room visits for overstuffed bowels. The situation is so bad we barely know how to qualify what counts as a "normal" frequency of bowel movements because no one is willing to acknowledge they happen at all!

GIF from Spaceshroom/Deviant Art.

Don't get me wrong: Poop is gross. It's hilarious, but it's definitely gross — and it's something that everybody does.

So let's put a plug in the shame that comes from our butts and acknowledge the smelly struggles of everyone's poop chute.

Our physical well-being, not to mention our pride, may depend on it.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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