The injunction Shit or get off the pot is a way of saying, "Don't be indecisive."* In life, you never expect to be faced with a literal shit-or-get-off-the-pot situation, but that's exactly what happened to me this afternoon.
I went into the restroom down the hall from where I work, locked myself in la cabine, and began to take a lusty shit. As is normal for me, the shit didn't come out all at once: for whatever reason, my ass is into dramatic pauses, so there was a lull. I filled the pot partway with my radioactive gunk, and during the pause, I hit the flush lever.
Within seconds, I knew something was wrong, and I cursed myself for not following SOP and flushing before even sitting down. (This building's toilets have a nasty habit of being perpetually clogged, but which toilet is clogged seems to alternate from day to day, suggesting that the toilets share some unspoken agreement as to whose turn it is to piss people off.) I could hear the water rising far higher than it should, and a moment after that, I felt the cold, undead caress of the shit-tainted toilet water on my ass and balls. Not even bothering to wipe, I immediately stood up and stared into the bowl to do a quick damage assessment: I knew I wouldn't be able to act until I had a read on the situation.
So here's what happened: the evil water rose almost to the bowl's rim, then everything sank down, draining completely in a slow, gentle flush. I could only guess that this was a partial blockage, and that the weight of the water in the bowl had been enough to push the blockage out of the way, thus facilitating drainage.
I cautiously sat back down. As I said before, this was the "dramatic pause" phase of my shit, so I still had more shit ready to launch. This, then, was my very own Shit or get off the pot moment: should I wipe and escape the cubicle, heading for another one to finish my shit? Should I tough it out in the hopes that my assumption about the un-blockage was correct? If I were wrong, the price would be horrific: the re-beshitted water would likely rise again, overflowing this time, releasing splattery chunks of my ass-children onto the restroom tile. And if Murphy's Law were in operation (when is it not?), the water level would remain there, creating a tableau that mocked my distress and exposed my leavings for all to see.
What to do? Shit or get off the pot?
I suspect that one of my ancestors was the Korean equivalent of a jusqu'au bout kamikaze pilot because, in the end, I chose to shit. Like a battleship commander, I fired two or three more salvos into the toilet, wiped myself, stood, examined the toilet tank's interior to see how much water was in there, then paused before enacting that fateful flush.
The toilet tank was full, as it turned out; it had refilled absolutely silently. The toilet bowl, on the other hand, had almost no water in it. Fist-sized midnight lumps of my foulness sat hunched at the bottom of the bowl like demonic toads, staring beadily up at me and croak-chorusing, "Hey. What's up?" while grinning malefic obsidian grins. I re-covered the tank and, whispering a prayer to the gods, I flushed, hoping to end this Stephen King nightmare.
And there were no problems at all. The water whooshed from the tank to the bowl. My shit and toilet paper were swept away, and all was right with the world. I had gambled and won. Before I left the stall, of course, I made sure to give my ass and balls a thorough wipe-down so as not to taint my clothing, but I knew I'd need to wash thoroughly once I got home.
And that's how I handled a moral dilemma. How has your day been?
*Wikipedia suggests an alternative meaning: "... a person should follow up their stated intentions with action." This is a close cousin to the decisiveness issue, I think, but the meaning is rather different. To me, the saying is akin to Yoda's, "Try not: do, or do not. There is no try." You either do it or you don't. When you shit, there's no half-assing. Wikipedia's interpretation seems to be saying "Words are not enough: you must act." Catholic thinker Bernard Lonergan stated that the four phases of cognition are experience, understand, judge, decide. According to this paradigm, decision is the cognitive phase that moves one from mere thought to concrete action, which is why I see Wikipedia's interpretation as a close cousin of my own.
Later on in the above-linked Wikipedia entry, we read: "The expression, in this way, is essentially instruction for someone to stop being indecisive or procrastinating, and act." See? Wikipedia and I aren't so far apart.