This story is part of a series on how we make time—from productivity hacks and long walks to altering the function of our own circadian clocks. Pooping today is a plugged-in, plugged-up project. At least three-quarters of Americans, including 96 percent of members of Gen Z, shit with their smartphones. Straining away, they text, date, and Google “hemorrhoids” at three times the pre-iPhone rate. I have a friend who spends his longer movements calling his mother. Amazon sells hundreds of toilet paper holders with phone shelves. Among the top rated is an aluminum rack touting its “versatile convenience”: “the large, wide design not only holds your cell phone, it can be used as a rest for baby diapers, girl used pad … or other accessories.” I used to DM during every BM. Then, one afternoon a few years ago, I slipped into a poop portal. Backpacking through remote wilderness in searing heat, I felt the telltale pang. Coffee, eggs, chorizo, and water were all rushing—screamingly—to the exits. At the nearest rest stop, I dashed into a bathroom so single-mindedly I didn’t turn on the lights and collapsed onto the toilet. The immediate release, shrouded as it was in shadow, was cosm...