Tag Archives: Toilet

You Can Use My Bathroom When You Pry My Cold, Dead Fingers from the Toilet Paper!

I love to keep my tempests in teapots—it keeps the rhetoric hot, even if there’s no real substance. For example, the brouhaha regarding who gets to use which bathroom. Last report that I heard on NPR was that in the state of North Carolina, where the sexes are separate, but equal, the number of complaints regarding use of the inappropriate bathroom was zero. Nada. Zilch.

I suppose that between NPR and myself, our comments will encourage someone somewhere to complain. So be it.

Those who served in Iraq or Afghanistan either had various choices for conducting urination and defecation. Some had the pleasure (?) of field latrines, others the ubiquitous porta-potties, or, around places like Al Faw Palace near Baghdad, the existing bathrooms were declared co-ed. The stalls were first-come, first-served (oddly, there was no competition for the urinals). That’s what was there, so that’s what the Americans used. (Of course there were the Arab toilets, a hole in the ground with footprints marked on the surrounding concrete, and a short garden hose. I’ve used them–works for them, not for me.)

The reason that it doesn’t matter was best described by that Great American Canadian, Bill Murray in Stripes, when he said, “We’re all mutts! See—his nose is cold!” And it’s true, we are mutts, and that’s what makes Americans, well, Americans.

Don’t believe me? The following is a true story:

A senior Marine officer was at one of the detention sites shortly after the fall of Iraq in order to make sure that the prisoners were being properly treated (for every Abu Graib there were dozens of facilities that were run in accordance with international law and reasonable civility). An Iraqi general kept frantically motioning that he wanted to talk, and although the Marine officer was not really interested in getting into a debate with the Iraqi general, he realized it was his duty, and courtesy demanded that he acknowledge the general. The Iraqi spoke English with a heavy accent, so it took a while before the Marine understood what he was being asked.

“Why do you conquer us with this confederate army?” the Iraqi general wanted to know. He pointed to the enlisted Marines who were with the officer. “This man,” the Iraqi continued, “is obviously from Asia. That one from Africa, and the other probably from somewhere in Central or South America! Why did you recruit these foreigners to invade us?”

The officer looked around; until that moment, he had never given a thought to their different ethnic backgrounds; he had always seen these people as fellow Marines.

We are not a nation bound by common ancestors; we are a nation bound by an idea. Every one of those Marines had sworn an oath to that idea—the United States Constitution.

We Americans are all different from one another. My recommendations to survive this great challenge are, when using a bathroom:

  • Don’t trash the restroom (which for teenagers will be a HUGE challenge)
  • Be polite to whoever else is in, entering, or leaving the restroom

Oh, and this may shock you, but everybody without four legs or wings, who visits my home, regardless of ANYTHING, all share the same bathrooms.

Bathroom Humor

No, not that kind – just thoughts about the modern bathroom.


It’s interesting that public restrooms, the term that is often used to describe grossness, have gone high tech while the home bathroom is essentially unchanged.

First, the mix of toilet types in public restrooms. Some flush themselves. Some don’t need flushing. Some are still the do-it-yourself. And I’m not counting the ones that are out of order.

A mom with a young daughter told me about the trauma of her toddler using the restroom. Because she was so small, the sensor would “see” her then not “see” her and repeatedly flush – a sensation the young lady found most disconcerting. Probably put her potty training progress back at least 6 months.

Some bathrooms have automatic sinks. Others have automatic soap dispensers and most have automatic towel dispensers, but there seems to be no logic behind the selection. You almost think the plumbers are having fun at our expense.

If you really want to make me happy, how about an automatic door opener so I’d be spared the need to touch the door handle just used by the people who don’t wash their hands.

While I dislike traditional blow driers, I must admit I do like the new ones with 150 mile per hour blowers – of WARM air. They actually work (without the need to use my pants as a towel) and it’s fun just to watch the skin on my hands ripple in the Jetstream. But then I am easily amused.

Maybe that’s why home bathrooms haven’t changed. After being confused as to which fixture is automatic and which one is manual, it’s kind of reassuring to go home and not have to figure out how to use the bathroom.