Editor's note: With June 21 fast approaching, I'm reposting this article to help you prepare for this wonderful PoopReport tradition: the Summer Stoolstice.

The universe is like a giant Swiss clock. Gravity and other magical forces effortlessly keep the planets and the stars floating around space with the precision and regularity that only someone on all-oatmeal diet can possibly replicate. So exact is the rotation of the Earth around the sun that on every June 21, without fail, there occurs the celestial event known as the Summer Solstice. This is the day when the tilt of the Earth is at its least drastic relative to the sun, and thus occurs, in the Northern Hemisphere, the longest day of the year.

The Summer Solstice has happened every year since the Earth started rotating. June 21st, 2008, however, annual celebration of a very important tradition here at PoopReport: the Summer Stoolstice.

Achieving the elusive eighteen-incher is a difficult feat; but if there were one day a year to strive for it, this is it. The trick is two-fold: a regimented two-day diet of hard-to-pass sustenance, followed by a sudden massive influx of cleansing fiber. Starting on June 19, you want to fill up your stomach with a mess of difficult-to-digest bung (PHASE 1), and then bind it and shove it all loose with a tremendous burst of fiber (PHASE 2).

My intuition tells me that Phase 1 should consist of fatty meat, cooked as thoroughly as you can stand it. A little bit of research brought me to Digestive Control by Anne Mears, which gives us these tips:
"The specific food vs. digestion time: Carbohydrates (fruits, cereals) require the least amount of time to digest; proteins (legumes) is second, and last of all, requiring the most time to digest are the lipids (nuts, nut butters). A mixture of two or three (beans and rice) requires even more time to digest."

"Method of food preparation: Fried food or foods containing high amounts of oils or hardened fats, require more time to digest. A cereal cooked very well is easier to digest than one that is partially cooked."

"Too much water or juice taken with the meals will dilute the digestive juices, and slow digestion: 'Food should not be washed down. Taken with meals, water diminishes the flow of saliva; and the colder the water, the greater the injury to the stomach... The more liquid there is taken into the stomach with the meals, the more difficult it is for the food to digest; for the liquid must first be absorbed.'"
Ms. Mears, of course, suggests we should avoid slow digestion. But in Phase 1 of celebrating the Summer Stoolstice, slow digestion is exactly what you want -- you want to retain as much of your food in your stomach as you can. So follow the above guidelines all day the 19th and most of the 20th to ensure record-breaking bulk.

But building up your internal mass is the simple part. That's like packing a barrel full of gunpowder -- easy, but benign without a fuse. So on the evening of the 20th, you bring your preparations to fruition. On the 20th, the last meal you should eat (dinner, if you dine late, or a late-night snack) should be as much fiber as you can possibly handle.

Oatmeal, for instance. At least two bowls.

Oatmeal, bran muffins, fiber-filled cereal, raw green veggies, brown rice, beans, a triple helping of Metamucil for dessert... they don't make the most delectable dinner, I know. But for the Summer Stoolstice, this is the sacrifice that must be made. In order to achieve maximum chunk on the 21st, you need this injection of fiber to bind your churning mound and push it out. Making its way through your system, the fiber should scrape your internal nooks and crannies clean and free of any clinging pockets of stool, clumping your huddled masses together in what you hope to be a celestial event of your own.

Pooping for sport (or ritual, in this case) is not an easy task. No two colons react the same, which means what works for me may not work for you. However, if you follow these guidelines starting on June 19th, June 21st should be a long and memorable day for you indeed. Good luck!

anyone going to try it