Toilets And The Crap We Put Up With

Happy Shootin’ DudeDon’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?)

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  1. Joe said,

    August 13, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    LOL – Dude, I’m crying in my cubicle, much to the shagrin of my coworkers. Shagrin, because now I have to explain what I’m reading.

    All I can say is, maybe you should try some vegetables once in a while.

  2. Brian said,

    August 13, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    Hey Joe,

    Excellent, you’ve made my day! I love knowing that somewhere out there, I’m the source of a small mirth-filled disturbance in the normal working day.

    Fiber. Yeah, I probably should look into that. LOL!

  3. Denise said,

    August 13, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    LMAO! Fantastic post Brian. I whole heartedly agree, but mostly because I’m the one cleaning and plunging the darn thing..and 99% of the time it’s not because of my own ‘end results’. Still, I think you have a valid point with finding other ways to create the toilet other than what we have today. Get to inventing. You’re fortune will be made. ^_^

  4. Brian said,

    August 13, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it Denise!

    I don’t know if I’d be able to put one together, but I could probably handle the marketing for it: “Brian’s 5-Speed Super Pooper! Now with laser-toting guppies!” Wow, I should patent that…

    Anyway, the ideas are the easy part. Setting up a sweatshop in developing nation and bribing the local politicians to not pay attention to it is the hard part. I wonder if I can pick up a For Dummies Guide to that at the bookstore.

  5. Joe said,

    August 13, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    Oh, by the way, I was going to do a full post about this at some point, but it seems to fit here too:

    It’s a self-composting, low-low water use toilet. Combining the best parts of a splinter-less climate-controlled inside thone and the outhouse models!

  6. boo said,

    August 14, 2007 at 12:13 am

    like most failures, this one can be blames on the government. they regulate how much water can be used on each flush… thus the constant lack of lubricate to swirl away the smelly refuse.

  7. Denise said,

    August 14, 2007 at 11:37 am

    Wow..watching that video, I suddenly felt like I was back in high school science watching those boring movies with the cheesy music. They always put me to sleep. I do find the toilets lurking in the woods quite funny though. If you’d excuse me now, I need to take a nap.

  8. Brian said,

    August 14, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    Seriously, it’s exactly like those isn’t it! I can’t believe they have 23 minutes worth of video to discuss the toilet! I guess with all those panning through the trees shots, it makes sense.

    Thanks for the link Joe. I’ll let you know when I have one installed. (Don’t wait by the phone… er… blog)

    Yeah boo,
    The regulations are getting out of hand. (Well, they’ve been out of hand for a while.) I understand the reason behind it, but think that the correct approach is any that doesn’t add more pages to the law books.

  9. abarclay12 said,

    August 14, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    Hi-larious. I love guppies with laser beams attached to their heads in toilets. That is a must. I bet super rich people have it.

  10. Brian said,

    August 15, 2007 at 11:26 am

    Thanks abarclay12,

    Once I’ve made my ludicrous load of loot, I’ll have The Guppy 5000 installed. And I’ll get a dog, just so I can install one in his air conditioned dog house. Ah yeah. That’s when I will have officially made it.

  11. babychaos said,

    August 15, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    Brilliant! Two things… one, your find countrymen have already invented a brilliant lavatory which works with very little water, it sterilises it all and makes it into a powder which you er… empty out. Seeing as it’s sterile an all you can stick your food ghosts straight on the garden.

    Ok down to business with number 2… literally… Have you ever SEEN vegetarian pooh? Think about it, these people eat a lot of beans and pulses, they don’t do less, trust me on this one because I lived with a vegetarian whose entire hobby while I was at uni appeared to be blocking up our lavatory with his truly ENORMOUS turds… And vegetarian dog pooh, have you ever seen that? If you thought a Great Dane could unload you ain’t seen nothing until you’ve seen a Vegetarian Great Dane… as we walked down the street carefully avoiding it’s daily outpourings on the way to work my flat mate and I always wished we could see the owner and her dog “at work” again so we could shout. “STOP FEEDING IT PEARL BARLEY! YOU’LL SINK THE TOWN!”

    Sorry I’ll stop now 😉

    Loved your post.



  12. Brian said,

    August 15, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    Thanks babychaos!

    I had no idea vegetarians were such prolific poopers! I had assumed all those natural ingredients meant they left a small pile of granola in their health conscious wakes. Man, I would have figured they’d be more, uh, matter efficient than that!

    Another thing I didn’t know was that there was such a thing as a vegetarian canine! It kinda makes me want to get a dog. I’d call him “Barley the Backyard Bomber”, feed him a sack of grain and let him loose in the neighborhood. Now that’s entertainment!


  13. Nicole said,

    August 17, 2007 at 8:50 pm


  14. Brian said,

    August 18, 2007 at 1:10 pm


  15. Matt said,

    August 22, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    I come from part of the world where they’re just starting to use toilets and not a hole in the ground in the middle of the field. When I went back to visit family, i never thought I’d appreciate the full functionality of the western toilet. My folks recently installed a toilet that uses less water and uses some sort of air compressor so it’s ultra powerful. To me this was just a powerful toilet, but I know to my parents this must have meant they finally made it in America!

  16. Brian said,

    August 23, 2007 at 11:16 am

    That toilet sounds like it’s just the trick, Matt! When you visit them again, tell them not only have they made it to America, they’ve got better toilet facilities! Movin’ on up! 🙂

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