WORLD TOILET DAY & THE 3-SEATER OUTDOOR TOILET

MY ATTEMPTS TO DRAW OUTDOOR - THREE-SEATER TOILET

IT TOOK SEVERAL TRIES BEFORE I GOT THE PICTURE RIGHT

November 19th was World Toilet Day. That gave me something to think about.

I imagined the announcement: “RuthiPostowStaffing will be closed Saturday, November 19, 2011 in honor of World Toilet Day.”

I went to the web and discovered World Toilet Day was set up for what seemed to be a good reason – to support better sanitation in third world countries. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Toilet_Organization.

A Googledippity led me to discover there is also a World Toilet Paper Day in August. We the people surely do seem to be caught up in the subject. Toilets for everybody!

 But I found myself wondering if people the world over feel about toilets as we do. Is the number one priority for people in the third world is toilets (does anyone ever write about the first two worlds?). I talked to a Marine who had been part of a detail that built modern latrines in Iraq. Did the people there appreciate or want them? I don’t know for sure. But toilet seats were torn off and thrown away and the walls were covered in filth within a couple of weeks. U.S. toilets don’t seem to be on the list of their favorite things.

What this says to me is something I’ve always believed — toilets are personal – contrary to the new toilet paper commercials that take their message way too close to my personal stuff for comfort.

Even in the United States not all toilets are alike. Some people have toilets made of gold, or so I’ve heard. Some toilets are in bathrooms that open onto walled gardens – I saw one in House Beautiful. Where I grew up in Prichard, Alabama, every house had a toilet. My Aunt Annie’s had pink flamingo wall paper. Rich people in Mobile had two or three toilets, but on Petain Street there was just one per family and we all shared that one.

A lot of my kinfolks who lived in the country had outdoor toilets. They were in little wooden

SINGLE-SEATER OUTHOUSE

SINGLE-SEATER OUTHOUSE

houses several yards from the house. There was one at May Creek church where we went to homecoming every year. It smelled like the fumes from a paper mill—if you’ve ever smelled a paper mill. Some outdoor toilets were as clean as could be. Others – not so clean. Mama would stop at a gas station before she’d let me use the one at Aunt Lizzie’s house. But she wouldn’t let me eat there either. I guessed Aunt Lizzie didn’t wash her hands before she cooked.

MY AUNT'S THREE-SEATER OUTSOUSE

MY AUNT'S THREE-SEATER OUTSOUSE

The best outdoor toilet ever was at Mama’s Aunt Charity farm! It was a three seater! A spotlessly clean and neat-as-a-pin little house that had wooden pegs to hold plenty of toilet paper, a rack for books or magazines — and an oak bench, sanded smooth as porcelain, into which three holes were cut. It was the cutting edge of outdoor toiletry. Three people could go at once and in pristine comfort. I didn’t want to go with two other people, but my aunt was as proud as punch (Google the expression) of that toilet. I think she would have shot any Marines who came there with the intention of bulldozing her toilet to build some prefab metal one on her land – and my Aunt Charity had a shotgun and knew how to use it!

But as elegant as Aunt Charity’s toilet was, the bathroom is one place I don’t want to share. My ideal toilet would be a one-seater. And it would be set in the middle of a complete library. “If it weren’t for toilets there would be no books.” (George Costanza on Seinfeld) and it would have a bathtub as big as a swimming pool.

But I’ve wandered off topic as I so often do. This is about World Toilet Day. The topic is close to all of us. The holiday could take hold. Someday we might celebrate the day with huge family reunions and turkey dinners. Maybe there will even be a parade.

Comments

  1. Eric says:

    Some things are better off dead.

  2. Eric says:

    The three seater is one of them…

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