Warning: This post could lend itself to be amusing or a tad unsettling to a queasy stomach. It could also drastically change your opinion of me forever. You’ve been forewarned!
In the eighth grade, one of our writing assignments was to pick an invention we thought had had the most impact on our world. We had to present to the class not only information about the invention we chose: who made it, when it was made, etc…, but why we chose it. Finally, we had to make a replica of it. I usually try to think outside the box on those kinds of projects. The telephone wasn’t gonna cut it for me. My teacher helped me brainstorm through some ideas, and I thought we’d hit the jackpot! It was creative, unexpected, humorous, and most assuredly, significantly impactful.
The toilet. The loo. The latrine. The water closet.
Since last Saturday, Brennan and I have been fighting a horrible stomach bug. In fact for sympathy’s sake, let me just say that in a 24 hour period, I made about 12 face-to-rim excursions to the porcelain icon (thank goodness my Momma has been here to help us!). Therefore, I think I’m all the more entitled to have chosen this as the most significant invention to impact our world. Or at least, the Western world. I know very well from experience that there are cultures that don’t share my appreciation for the loo; in fact, they think it’s rather disgusting. While a change in living conditions won’t deter me in the least from traveling abroad, let me declare that aside from the food, the toilet is at the top of the list of things to which I look forward to getting back home! I’ve had my fair share of squatty potty experiences and some haven’t been the most pleasant. In fact, they could be considered down right embarrassing. But since it’s Friday, and you might like a good chuckle (or a good gag), I thought I’d kindly oblige you:
Belarus (15 years of age): Upon climbing onto the platform with an inset porcelain squatty potty, I proceeded to do my business which would have earned me two M&Ms if I had been two years old, and good golly, needed to work on my aim because I missed! The horror of looking down and finding such unpleasentries which I needed to dispose of by other means.
Zimbabwe (18 years of age): Matt thinks I’m crazy for sharing this one. And I might just lose readers. Let me simply say that we were in a place where if we had to use the squatty potty outside, we had to have a buddy to take and be mindful of thieves that were known to be in the area. I’d already disgruntled one of my teammates by waking her up to walk outside and fend off a guard dog so I could go to the bathroom a previous night. So in my sleeping bag, being the patterned people-pleaser that I am and not wanting to have to wake anyone up out of their slumber to assist me; scared to go outside by myself; and half asleep in desperation and not in my right mind!!!!, I…
Wisconsin (21 years of age): Camping with my ministry team from Wheaton, I dropped my drawers to bend over the hole of doom in an outhouse and heard a thump. My heart started pounding. I knew what happened and couldn’t bear the thought of it. Having driven our group to the campsite, my keys were in my pocket and somehow, as I pulled down my pants, they fell out and landed in the pit of grotesqueness! After shining a flashlight down there, we discovered they hadn’t sunk, which was positive on one hand and positively atrocious on the other. Our amazing fellas managed to fish my keys out with a long stick. They are nothing short of saints. And my keys were nothing short of desecrated.
I have become well accustomed to making sure I have Kleenex or TP with me while traveling. So in case I ever have a repeat of finding myself in a back alley of a country like Bangladesh that expects you to use your left hand and a small bucket of water to clean yourself, I’m prepared.
Fortunately, I’ve matured a lot in the last decade. Although you might disagree with me since I’ve been so public about these obscenities. At least I’m doing my part to make taking a pregnancy test look a little less disgusting.
I’m sure I’m not alone, here! At least some of you overseas travelers are bound to have some stories as to why you appreciate the toilet. Do share!
Given my stories, it must have been foreshadowing that day I chose the toilet as the most significant invention. Having a child that will be potty training before I know it, I’m sure my value in that porcelain bowl will skyrocket and the tales of potty talk will abound.
However, I can’t say this is an area I hope that he’ll follow in my footsteps.
Because despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I am potty trained.