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My seven-year-old daughter, Anna, takes forever in the bathroom. It’s her private time. I respect that. But with that respect comes a lack of knowledge about what’s going on. Why in the world does it take 30 minutes to take …...

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Toilet Queuing

Filed Under , , on December 20th, 2014

Sabotaging the Throne

By Seth Kabala

My seven-year-old daughter, Anna, takes forever in the bathroom. It’s her private time. I respect that. But with that respect comes a lack of knowledge about what’s going on. Why in the world does it take 30 minutes to take a shower? You’re friggin’ tiny! I’ve thought about (jokingly. Well, half-jokingly) installing a timer on the shower that would stop the flow of water after a pre-set time limit. But after a recent visit to a business client’s office, I may have a better solution.

Working on-site at a client’s office is always interesting. It’s slightly better than when I worked for the State of IA, and I once had to perform an audit while standing up working inside a barn, and, yes, livestock roamed around the grounds and inside the barn (ah, nature!), separated from me by a flimsy fence, which I’m sure they could have trampled (and me included) had they possessed the presence of mind. I didn’t see this, so I can’t swear to it, but I’ll bet if satellite footage were viewed of the property owner, he was running around with cattle prods doing all he could to bring the wrath of the herd down on the G-man. Ah, the life of your first job out of college.

So that was kind of inside-outside, upside-downside, watching your rear and stepping over cow pies all the time. I said it’s slightly better now that I have clients for whom we perform business consulting. That’s true, but a lot of our clients are manufacturers, and a lot of the work is (how do I say this without sounding like a total jerk) performed by those members of society who believe showering should be done only for weddings and funerals, and even then, it’s a case-by-case basis. (Outdoor wedding? At a farm? Screw it, Cletus.) With many uncouth, albeit hard-working, individuals staffing the production line, it’s common to have bathroom facilities that mirror something you might have seen on Dirty Jobs. In many of these places, I wouldn’t feel safe relieving myself with a hose connected to my hose while I resided inside a hazmat suit that was capable of resisting the Ebola virus.

The client I worked on-site for this week was one of those cut-from-Dirty-Jobs-because-*gagging*-the-CDC-is-looking-into-annexing-its-restrooms-for-research-purposes places. But when nature calls, you have to answer. I have yet to be arrested for indecent exposure, and I don’t intend to start now, so when my number (two, to be exact) came up, I braved all manner of infectious diseases and entered one of the stalls.

I’ll set the scene only by saying that hanging on the inside of the toilet stall was a laminated, color-coded chart titled “Are You Dehydrated? Take the Urine Color Test”. No period after “Test”. I guess when blood appears where it should not appear, punctuation is of little consequence. Still, my arm hair stood on end. Were they saying it was optional to take the urine color test? If one decided against taking the test and succumbed to dehydration and died, would one’s family have the right to sue for grammatical negligence? So much at stake here with a missing period.

Rolling the dice and opting out of the urine color test, I grabbed a piece of toilet paper, used it to latch the door, grabbed another piece of toilet paper, and attempted to use it to lower the toilet seat.

Then things got interesting.

I pushed down on the seat. It pushed back. I pushed again. It pushed back again. Hoping I wasn’t the victim of a hidden-camera hoax for creeps (have not Googled this. Don’t want to know), I inspected the fulcrum on the seat. Turns out, the seat not only pivoted on a hinge; it was spring-loaded and would only remain in the down position if force was applied, i.e., if your ass was on the throne. Ok, fine. Normally a non-issue. After all, have you ever tried to do your business while standing up? While hovering above the seat?

Public restroom? Fair question, but even I, an admitted germaphobe, haven’t attempted that. If the stall lacks paper seat barriers, I use toilet paper.

But toilet paper isn’t self-adhesive.

How do you get it to stay on the seat when the seat won’t stay down unless you apply pressure, and if you’re applying said pressure, how do you get your pants down? A conundrum I solved by separating three strips of toilet paper of appropriate length from the roll, one for each side of the seat as well as the back.

I held onto these, pantsed myself, used the very tip of the pinky finger on one hand to push the seat down while using the other hand to gingerly place the strips in their respective places, lest one fall in and render the whole thing an exercise in futility, hung my naked ass over the pressure-held seat, and lowered said naked ass in as slow a descent as my thigh muscles could handle, so as to avoid creating a breeze that would dislodge the strips. I had a few scares where the strips shifted position, requiring me to pause the descending mode, reposition, and try again (imagine this the next time you see someone going at it doing squats in the gym), but eventually I landed atop the throne. Sweet victory.

So what does this have to do with Anna? I hypothesize that a household toilet could be retrofitted to spring load the toilet seat. That way, if the reason Anna is spending too much time in the bathroom has to do with the toilet, she’ll grow frustrated and speed things up. I envision a spring-loaded shower curtain, spring-loaded shampoo and conditioner bottles, spring-loaded toilet-paper dispenser. The possibilities are endless.

Braving environmental conditions synonymous with those portrayed in The Walking Dead is only for the bold, or reckless, of spirit. If you’re one of the chosen few, you, too, might reclaim your bathroom from your kids.

The journey is worth it, my friends.



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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, musician, family man, and juggler of balls--big ones. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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