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04.23.2003 - 7:33 p.m.


One thing that's really nice about our house is the mighty flushing power of our toilets. Mind you, I haven't put them to the test by attempting to flush a, I don't know, blanket, or something, but they definitely take care of the usual business that they are asked to do.

I'm feeling appreciative of this robust functionality because last weekend I was subjected to the sheer hell that is JB's parents' guest bathroom. There are many things wrong with this bathroom.

Thing the first: It has a blind over the window, but the blind is always drawn and you have to wrestle with it until you work up a sweat in order to shield yourself from exposing your shame to anyone who happens to mosey by on the sidewalk.

Thing the second: Once you draw that blind, it's dark as hell in there. A solitary bulb burns with all the brightness of a cave fungus, and you must navigate your way by emitting sonar beeps and determining the position of the toilet based on echolocation.

Thing the third: One. Ply. Toilet. Paper.

Thing the fourth: The toilet, while undoubtedly saving the environment by not wasting a single molecule of unnecessary water, has the most puny and ineffectual flush you have ever encountered. You depress the handle, and the toilet goes flooooshh…(long nerve-rending pause)… glurk glurkle.

I had a particularly obnoxious encounter with the evil toilet on Easter Sunday. Right before several members of JB's family were due to show up, I had myself a little potty break. Now, I won't get graphic here, but let's just say it was a perfectly normal bathroom visit that did not involve, say, the aftermath of a bad taco, or anything of that nature.

I did my business, and flushed. Now, I have learned from this toilet - you don't just flush and be off on your merry way. Oh no, you must stick around to be certain All Has Gone As Planned. So I waited, and sure enough, a second flush was required. I tapped my foot as the tank refilled, and tried again. No luck.

I went for flush #3, this time employing a strategic maneuver consisting of dropping a wad of toilet paper at juuuust the right moment in the hopes it will carry everything where it needs to go. And, it didn't work.

At this point I was really feeling glad his family hadn't shown up quite yet, because I could picture everyone standing around politely…perhaps raising their voices above the repeated flushings, pretending they didn't notice anything amiss.

Not only does hanging around a dimly lit bathroom waiting for a toilet to refill with nothing to read but old "American Hunter" magazines really suck, but the sheer evilness of it all was completely overwhelming. If you've ever had a toilet get backed up, you know what I mean. It's like - something that is typically benign and helpful suddenly turning against you, leaving you helpless in the wake of its power. You thought you were master of ME, the toilet chortles, well you were dead wrong, missy.

It was around flush #6 that everything went back to normal and I could escape, panting and practically tear-eyed with relief. I vowed never to go Number Two ever again while at the in-laws.

Which shouldn't be that hard, really. I mean, don't even get me started on the horribleness that is 1-ply toilet paper.

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