Scott Anthony- Your toilet is out to get you!
By Scott Anthony
Whether you realize it or not, your toilet is out to get you. That simple porcelain fixture in your bathroom is not just a quiet, humble servant. It has ulterior motives. While you sleep it is gurgling up it’s game plan. It holds no love for you, and you can hardly blame it. Cleaning one is rarely on the top of the list of chores, much like the oven. But the oven is another critter altogether. At least it gets a bit enjoyment in the dishes it creates. No, the lowly china apparatus is angry, and it knows how to hurt you where it counts.
As a sometime remodeling contractor, I have been privy to all sorts of toilets. Hardy lowboys, high-fashion designer water closets, antiquated loos, trusty thrones, creative comfort stations and hardly-working heads. They have one thing in common. At some point in their careers, they will all malfunction and I will often get the exasperated phone call. It is only by sheer will that I have managed to keep my head above water.
“Help!... the terlet is broke again!” That is the way it starts. I suit up in my grubbies, grab my tools; the plumber’s helper (rubber plunger), some Drano, a knee-pad and just in case, my old standby, the snake.
More often than not, I will find a common blockage. Overstuffed ablutions being number one,
but sometimes, for fun, there will be toys, clothing, hairbrushes or a bar of soap. The toilet loves this.
Deep inside the molded ceramic walls it chuckles at me like a naughty schoolboy.
Then, after initial attempts to free the blockage fail, I break out ‘The Snake.’
You can practically see the sweat form on the tank. Sadly, I can’t claim a zero loss record
in my tangles with house hoppers. It was only a month ago that I lost the battle to a mean latrine.
A friend called to say that his lavatory was acting up and could I come take a look.
I had a bad feeling the moment I got to ground zero. It was highboy handicapper, with a 1.6 gallon flush.
Some clever remodeler before me had plopped this potty down in place of what most likely was
a perfectly good john on the premise that ‘you’ll love the comfort and convenience of the high perch,
coupled with the savings on water each month.’ I could almost hear those words as I twisted the shutoff valve to stop the suffering stool from complaining.
I said to my friend, “You might not want to see this..” and gave him a stern, one eyebrow furrowed look. “ Ah...I’ll go for some coffee,” he stuttered as he backed out of the little room. I plunged in with the plunger, smooshing it down like always, splashing a bit but not gaining any momentum. “ So...don’t want to work with me, eh?” The can said nothing.
I went for the Drano and splooshed in a goodly dose. I sat on the tub and watched as the goo worked it’s magic. “ I’m in no hurry, you just take your time,” I said with my usual nonchalant game face. The chair would have none of it, and repeated plungings had no effect,
this was one tough chamber pot. Out came ‘The Snake’ and I worked it into the recalcitrant vestibule.
Five minutes of water closet wrangling got me nowhere. There was only option left.
I kicked it.
I heard a ‘thunk’ noise and then a curious groan. Then, shazaam!.. the waters ran free. I manufactured a few different, complicated scenarios in my mind to tell my friend how I’d managed to topple the porcelain prince, but in the end, I knew it had won. It was only messing with me. Modern man still has a lot to learn about how to handle the vagaries of these waste disposal units, I left with a flushed face.