Friday, September 10, 2010

The Indigenous Metaphor

I like the sound of this post's title. I have no idea what it means. Sometimes I come up with a title, and the post... simply... writes... itself. This is not one of those times.

So instead, let's take a moment and talk about automatic-flush toilets... Shall we?

Recently while training in a blood bank in Indy, I felt a fullness in my abdomen and knew that I needed to excuse myself. I went to the restroom, sat down, and about ten seconds later I felt much better. Tending next to the paperwork, I leaned to my left, being right-handed, and the toilet flushed. I gathered more TP, leaned to my left again, and toilet flushed. I then spent several minutes experimenting, leaning this way and that, and each time the toilet flushed.

This was no longer about personal hygiene. It was just... personal.

I am a responsible person. If I use the restroom, I can be trusted to flush the toity. If I use it standing, I always clean the rim with toilet paper if anything has dripped there. I'm a polite man. I'm a conscientious man. I don't need some smart alec toilet thinking for me... Assuming I'm irresponsible... Laughing at me behind my back... Probably making remarks...

Automatic flush toilets are a metaphor for our culture's struggle in dealing with the loss of personal responsibility. Such devices are surely indigenous only to this country.

Yes, I know. But it was a great title... And this was the best I could do.

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7 comments:

Grammy said...

It IS a wonderful title! And very true. I had a hotel room once with a toilet that not only flushed automatically, but the seat was prewarmed and it had a rinse and blow dry feature...I kid you not. Talk about personal. I guess it was a toilet-bidet combo. I would submit it takes the metaphor a step further. My toilet experience is a metaphor for the growing attitude that we don't expect to take responsibility for our messes, and that unnecessary amenities are are becoming part of our entitlement package.

Bekah said...

This post cracked me up! And I hear...from those who have small children...that the automatic flushers scare whatever was not previously gone from the children...out of them.

First time I ever used one I think I screamed. Now I love them. It's hard to do the high kick flush-with-your-foot in a tiny stall.

Christina said...

What Bekah said about kids and those toilets is spot-on. I will likely never forget the look on poor Miss Em's face the first time she used an automatic flusher. I think we were at a rest stop on the way to somewhere and I never even thought about it.

I thought Em would never sit on a toilet again.

I'm not a fan either. While I don't like the germ factor of having to flush for myself, I also don't like the thing flushing at random times.

Grammy said...

I have another toilet complaint. Malott can always count on me for toilet talk. What's up with what I call "Al Gore" toilets? It's those stupid low volume flush things that never work. By law, all toilets now have to be low volume. It irritates the daylights out of me to have to flush a "green" toilet three times to get a little wad of paper (and that's all) go down. The metaphor is that government mandated planet saving initiatives are like low volume flush toilets...they don't work...in fact they often make a problem worse...but we continue to sing their praises anyway because they mean well.

Delta said...

love the post, Malott!

And Granny - i'm with you on the low volume ones. reminds me of a "king of the hill" episode i once saw!

All_I_Can_Stands said...

I always put a small piece of toilet over the electric eye and then take it off when I am done. No premature flushes that way.

My pet peeve is when the guys spray all over the toilet like a fire hose. Pretty disgusting and inconsiderate.

Grammy said...

Another toilet gripe...how about those low volume turbo-flushers that create a nice aerosol leaving droplets of public toilet water all over the place as they fail to take anything down? As a microbiologist, I have to say the are my personal favorites!