The other day a topic of conversation with friends touched on a sensitive subject ? death, and the great equalizer it is. Whilst I acknowledged it with a pause, I added "there is also another great equalizer where even the mighty, royal and powerful turn flaccid". They all looked puzzled but reality slapped them with my simple rationale – when you have to go, you have to go, no matter where you are – it is the "Toilet". My answer amidst very serious current topics which were being discussed wars, the US elections, terrorism, and the main subject death certainly startled everyone – there was pin drop silence for a moment before a wry smile could be sported on everyone?s face. As for me, I was trying to bring out the lighter side of life through a shunned subject ? a detour from the usual depressing news happening around the world.
Toilet! The word itself would have some of my Torontonian buddies raising their eyebrows whenever used. I must admit having been exposed to cultures and styles internationally, I have been very watchful with this word in different countries calling it the restroom, washroom, bathroom, boys room, mens/ladies room, loo. My understanding is that it is also called the john, latrine, head, w.c and centuries ago it was known as a chamberpot or thunderpot . The Euphemisms are also plenty "Slumber room" "I am off to wash my hands" "Off to powder my nose" "I have to pick a daisy/spend a penny" etc. To date, I have never figured all the hue and cry about certain diffidence on the subject when the end result is just a mandatory response to nature?s call.
Some people reading this piece might be already going "Ooh, how distasteful" and rightly so, because as human beings proper etiquette does not permit deliberating on the subject . I am no spokesperson for the toilet, but I have taken the liberty to put my pen to the subject, as I believe the room does give you time to ponder on things conveniently forgotten in the rigmarole of daily life. If a recent survey on places of idea origination by a blue chip corporation in London is to be believed, 6 percent of the best ideas are formed in the toilet (restroom certainly does sound better ) and rest in different other places. A friend of mine in Canada has a virtual library in the toilet endorsing a graffiti I had read in a Buffalo (US) restroom some years ago "the seat of learning". Not that I am a big fan of reading a book there, to me it is just not right. Some of us have been witness at some point in time to the ?Dabba haat mai’ concept ? ( a fact that you may raise our eyebrows at but compelled to accept when you are on a holiday in the interiors of India)
Some months ago, a British friend of mine narrated a humorous incident pertaining to the restroom. The story goes "A well known English foreign secretary wanted to address his non English speaking audience with the words ?Ladies and Gentlemen? in the local dialect and being the creative type wanted to spring a surprise to his audience with his insight of the local language. A few minutes before the speech, he requested his assistant to track down the words on the restroom doors. It was indeed a scene etched in his mind forever, seeing the faces of the people in the audience when he began "Lavatories and Urinals".
For the curious, here are some interesting facts on the restroom
– the Romans all sat down together in large groups unlike modern times where the room is separate and confidential.
– the animation film "Finding Nemo" had many children across the world setting their pet fish free out of captivity down the toilet after watching ?Nemo? escape.
-There are stories that President Johnson received people in this room.(don?t ask me how he did it).
-The first toilet freshener was a pomegranate stuffed with cloves
-The worlds oldest piece of toilet roll 1,200 years old was found under a garage in the Middle East in 1993.
– Many lawyers point out to the seat not being raised down or up as one of the reasons of divorce (which is absurd, but very true). And many more.
As for me personally, I have continuously surprised myself with my knowledge on the subject which incidentally had prompted my friends to taunt me to get a Phd on the subject. Maybe I?d leave that to my four old son Ethan who with his curious bent of mind will hopefully one day solve the problem of flushing down his plastic golf ball into the toilet ? not before drawing up a big plumbing bill for his father "Cash virtually down the drain – one would say…Right"
About the Author:
Author: Irwin Rego- Bahrain