Sunday, November 11, 2007

Confronting one's inner toilet

Senator Craig brought the subject into sharper perspective earlier this year by taking a "wide stance" in an airport restroom; and readers of this column will have been made aware of the centrality of the lavatory in this author's life. Yesterday the Tribune revealed that South Korea, of all unlikely places, is about to launch a "toilet revolution." I had to check the date to make sure it wasn't April 1st; but no it was November 10th as expected. And yet there is this fellow known as Mr Toilet with his million dollar home built in the shape of a high-tech lav. The World Toilet Association, soon to hold its inaugural meeting, wants us to start talking "freely" about toilet issues. Music to my ears. This meeting will also include a toilet expo "designed to excite the public about the cause." Note (Mr Poshard) the use of quotes there to indicate that I borrowed the phrase from the article. This would perhaps not surprise me as much if the movement (so to speak) had begun in Scandinavia (very fastidious race regarding hygiene), or Germany (one day I must a German about the purpose of the shelf), or even France. South Korea, socially backward, repressive as it has been, is not a country I would associate with enlightened thinking around the bowl. Organizers of the meeting want to encourage the creation of associations in other countries. I wonder how I can become involved in this. I think I could make major contributions to the dialogue.


shirazgirl said...

ok, this is so bizaar...I just installed 3 new toilets in my home. Could the potty be the 10th insight as promised in Celestine Prophecy?

Anonymous said...

You must visit Japan some day. There they have loos with timers to pre-warm the seat and even make a regular toilet double as a bidet. There is even a museum with toilets from around the world. More than you'd ever want to know.

Aylwin Forbes said...

Dear anonymous:

Thanks for the insights into the Japanese customs. The museum alone would be worth the cost of the ticket. Your comment on the toilet/bidet combo reminds me now that some colleagues were boasting proudly of acquiring such a device when we were on a retreat somewhere with facilities far less luxurious in that regard. I found it slightly incongruous that they would have spent so much on this high-tech lav (paperless I believe) given their professed concerns for the down-trodden and the homeless as well as their generally dishevelled appearances. What lies beneath is more important I suppose.

shirazgirl said...

I would venture to say the bidet isn't always for hygiene purposes. I suppose if Mr. Craig had access to a bidet in MSP, he wouldn't have felt the urge to solicit favors from the fellow in the next stall.

Anonymous said...

This reaction isn't really related with the contents of this article so feel free to delete it, but the fun about it is that I just wrote a postcard to a friend, with the text: "If life smells like shit, just flush your inner toilet." For native English people this might not be a hell of a joke, but my friend and I, we're from the Netherlands and she really had to laugh at it. Anyway, just having written this postcard and then reading the title of this article (in another way) is quite a co-incidence.

Aylwin Forbes said...

I'm delighted to welcome readers from the Netherlands, and I marvel at how you discovered my mental flushings if you will.

Well do I appreciate the humour of your message; it is worthy almost of being one of those (often nauseating) signature lines that e-mailers sport.

Although the Dutch have contributed widely in culture,art (Vermeer my favourite painter) and science out of all proportion to the size of the country, in the area of humour I have found generally a falling off, if not a complete absence. A very serious and devout former colleague was perhaps one of the dourest men I ever knew, which, in of itself, made him perhaps one of the must amusing at the same time. His pathological fear of Californians and waiters, both of which he associated with homosexuality (and therefore AIDS) was comical. As a result he rarely ate out and never ventured to California.

But I'm glad to see that he was perhaps an exception rather than the rule.