Thursday, November 19, 2009

They're Cheering in Flushing NY

Having not blogged in a while, it seems appropriate that I would take this opportunity to post on such a magnimous and special day. Yes, it's our lovely daughter's birthday, but that's not to what I refer. It's also the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, but that's not the impetus for this post either.

Who among us hasn't at some time or other, with mild expletives under our breath, had to use the simple little invention called 'the plunger' to unclog a clogged toilet. I know I have. And yet, where would we be without the object of indoor plumbing? So, in case there's a few out there who didn't know it, or appreciate it, Nov. 19th is World Toilet Day.

My daughter pointed out this dubious honor of sharing her special day with her toilet, so I did a little reading up on it. The day, of course, has more merit than just giving your commode a little hug... it's to draw awareness to the 2.5 billion people who live without proper sanitation. And that is a noble reason. And so that got me blogging today.

A little bit toilet training never hurt anyone, so ponder this...
  • Archeological remains from 3000 BC Scotland reveal stone huts, with drains protruding from the walls, likely their water closets. The early roots of potty training no doubt began here.
  • Ancient Rome, famous for it's gigantic communal bathhouses, also had gigantic communal outhouses, with long bench seats. However, they only used these on 'special' occasions and usually just threw their, um... waste products... into the streets.
  • The medieval 'garderobe' was a little room in one's castle with a system of trenches that took their sewage out to the mote, as an added deterrent to trespassers.
  • Soon after, a flusher was devised with a pull handle and valve system to send water through the ceramic bowl.
  • The ingenious 'S Pipe' was introduced in the 18th century, to keep 'foul odors' at bay (yay!)
  • And, last but not least, in the late 1800's, toilet showrooms came into the marketplace, first accredited to plumber, Thomas Crapper. No kidding. He didn't invent the flushing wonder, but made it available to more people by marketing it in his storefront.
OK, that's enough in honor of modern plumbing. It was Freud, I think, that said fear of deep water stems from childhood terror of toilet training. I think it really comes from a clogged toilet!