Don’t ask me why. For some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about toilets. I might have something to do with the leaky, finicky Kohler crapper in our master bathroom. (The linked model looks like ours, but probably isn’t the same one.) The one that sounds like a balloon slowly loosing air. Or a snake in a permanent state of hiss. Of course, this means it has a broken part.
Broken parts are understandable and an acceptable part of doing business with daily-use machinery. Things break, we fix them and move on. But what isn’t acceptable is a defective product right out of the box. Ladies and gentleman, I’m convinced that 99% of us are shelling out $300 plus dollars on defective products. That’s right, I’m saying that porcelain throne in the tucked away in the corner of your home isn’t worth the cheeks that press up against it or the matter left behind in it.
“What on earth are you talking about, Brian?” you ask. Well, let’s look at it this way. What is a toilet’s primary function? Is it to look nice? No. When was the last time you invited somebody into your bathroom to have a look at your crap cruiser? A water bowl for the dog? No. (Well, maybe, I guess it depends on the number of cars you have on blocks in the front yard.) A place to read the paper? No. No the sole purpose of is of a toilet is to make crap disappear.
“And isn’t that what it does?” Yes and no. Slim, spritely vegetarians may live their entire life and never comprehend the true failure of the western world’s toilets the way hefty steak-and-potatoes people do. What I’m saying is that the our toilets are marvelous when it comes to whisking away bird droppings, but absolute failures when it comes to processing the end result of a hearty meal.
“But it’s better than using an outhouse!” That may be so, but better than bad does not equal good. But wait, is it actually better? Sure it’s indoors and climate controlled, and you’re not likely to get a splinter, but when was the last time an outhouse backed up? Unless the countryside is flooding, you’re not going to have a problem until it’s time to dig another hole. And no matter how bad that breakfast burrito was, you’re not going to smell up half the house when you’re ridding yourself of it.
So here’s what needs to be done. For ages Asia has had some fantastic all-in-one johns; virtual spas for the backside. I understand the cultural reluctance to embrace something like that, to be honest, they kind of creep me out too. So that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about improving the existing toilet of the western world so it reliably does its job. No toilet should ever again clog up. Ever. If it does, it’s broken and in need of repair or replacement. Think of the garbage disposal. It has a very similar function, does it plug up every other time you use it? And when it does gunk up and stop working, it’s a good sign that it’s in need of repair. That’s what I’m talking about.
I know there’s a push for less water consumption in toilets, and I don’t think this is a limiting factor. Manufacturers need to look at other options. Motors. Pumps. Grinders. Pressure, suction and vacuums. Guppies with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads. The answer is out there, and it’s time we had a decent toilet! For what we pay, we deserve to be able to push the lever, let it go (without holding it down!) and see the ghost of dinner past swept on it’s way. Every single time. Our bathroom floors and cabinets should be free of the filthy toilet-crutch, the plunger. I should be able to dump an entire bag of potting soil in the bowl hit the lever and see a sparkling bowl 30 seconds later. Damn it, it’s time we had an actual toilet!
(I bet you’re wishing I was still talking about cigars right about now, huh?)