Thursday, December 11, 2008

Toilet Design and Scatology

Dr Crippen draws my attention to this very amusing post by Dr Grumble on the role of scatology (a fascination with pooh) and the design of toilets in German culture which led me here and here.

Apparently, a toilet bowl in a German residence is so designed that the pooh falls on to a flat horizontal surface so that it can be thoroughly inspected before the flush is pulled. It also has the advantage of no splashback when that "big-one" hits the water and showers your lower end with now contaminated water.

Now, as you can see from the photo below, we very carefully chose our toilet to match the period-style of our four-legged bath-tub. No practical push-button floor-level plastic tank and plastic seat for this pi├Ęce de resistance in bathroom design.

Only ...

this elegantly-designed toilet obliges me to inspect my pooh. The angle on the back downslope is such that my "big-one" doesn't directly hit water and thus avoids splashback. But the pooh, being somewhat viscous and sticky in nature, has a tendency to adhere to the ceramic back downslope. As per usual in the modern western world, one wipes one's orifice with a piece of paper that gets thrown into the bowl after the pooh.

And then one pulls the chain, pushes the button or whatever and it's all meant to get washed away ...

Only ...

It doesn't.

Here comes your saviour ... the toilet-brush!

Conveniently positioned next to the toilet, you cannot use it on first flush as it will become hopelessly mixed-up with the now sodden dirty toilet-paper with which you cleaned your orifice.

Wait for the cistern to fill up, flush again - make sure you're quick with the brush! And if your pooh is particularly adhesive, you may have to repeat the flush yet again.

At work we have, what I can only imagine, typical American lavatory installations where an explosive pooh will drop straight into the water causing serious splashback. However, one flush and it's all gone.

However, I have one complaint (apart from potential splashback) - the toilet paper is the thinnest of thinnest single-ply you can imagine! One has to tear off four sheets at one go and fold them. An anecdote from a colleague recounted how he knew someone who calculated the false economy of a thick chunky single-ply toilet roll versus a seemingly smaller multi-ply European toilet roll.

Anyway, back to our German toilet bowl design - they certainly seem to be a waste of water and demonstrate an unusual fascination with the state of one's pooh!

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