November 2013: Beware your toilet

By November 1, 2013Barb Cohea, Senior Moments

3341.prd.s.001This story is a public service announcement so get a cup of joe and pay attention. Which is more dangerous? Your toilet or a shark? Wrong! It’s your toilet! Forty thousand Americans a year suffer the social stigma of having been attacked by their toilets. People attacked by sharks? Eighty-five. A shark attack brings lots of press. Folks spear, shoot, haul to the dock, and string up the presumed perpetrator. Then they take smiling photos of themselves hugging a dead shark.

Toilet attacks? Nobody locks and loads, sneaks into the bathroom, shoots the crap out of their toilet, hangs it up by its tank from a tree in the front yard and has the neighbor take pics while they smile and hug the toilet bowl.

People are proud they survived a shark attack. People are embarrassed to admit their toilet attacked them. Odds are one out of 10,000 that you, too, will be attacked . . . this year. The most dangerous toilet part is not the tank unless you have a really old one that hangs on the wall. Pulling the chain could crash it onto your head. Generally, danger lurks in the seat and the bowl.

Men of all ages are more often hurt than women. That’s because men of all ages carry their family jewels on the outside of their bodies, and I hope that doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

The young male is particularly vulnerable, because he is short. This is not a slam on short adults. Let’s face it, a kid is closer to the bowl’s rim. So imagine yourself a youngster finally able to wear big-boy underwear, and you have to relieve yourself. You pop into the potty, you’re doing your necessary and WHAMMO the seat you lifted up so carefully smashes down entrapping the biological organ (b.o.) betwixt the bowl rim and the seat itself. Even if your b.o. doesn’t get the trap-and-smash treatment, the high-speed falling toilet seat can bruise the daylights out of you. Men-people have ended up in the emergency room over stuff like this. Not to mention the psychological trauma of never being able to trust your toilet again. Considering we visit the toilet six to eight times every day, this could cause a lifetime privy phobia.

If this sounds awful, contemplate the non-gender specific injuries caused by sitting on the bowl rim due to “failure to ensure that the toilet seat was down.” Nine times out of 10 when I’ve fallen into the toilet it’s because SOMEBODY did not put the toilet seat down when he was done using it. Most of these accidents happen at night in diminished light when you expect the toilet seat to be in its proper position. This never happened to me, but others have incurred bruised buttocks and tailbones, along with dislocated hips due to the abrupt plunge from the height of the rim into the hard surface of the bowl.

Less frequent is the drowning risk probably because it is highly dependent on the size of one’s head and how far into the toilet you stick it.

Lest you ever underestimate your toilet, Nov. 19 is World Toilet Day, and we should all remember that one malfunctioning toilet in 1945 brought the German submarine U-1206 to the surface, where she was promptly sunk by British forces.


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