King of the Crapper

January 29, 2010

Another recent anniversary we should commemorate is that of Thomas Crapper, who died on the 27th of January, 100 years ago (sorry for the belated obituary, Tom). Contrary to popular opinion, it appears that Thomas Crapper did not invent the toilet, but he did do much to improve its function, including the ballcock and “Crapper’s Valveless Water Waste Preventer (Patent #4,990) One movable part only.” Excellent job, Thomas.

Apparently, toilet improvement is a continuing effort, as there is even a World Toilet Organization (the WTO, what else?) dedicated to improving “toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide.” A noble cause, to be sure. Seriously. I’m not being sarcastic, really.

Now, if we could just make toilets safer. Lenny Bruce and Elvis Presley both died on the toilet (okay, the King may have been a few feet away, but he must have known something was coming when he was still in a seated position). Children can drown in toilets, as can the family cat or small dog. And while I’m unable to find a statistic as to how many go while going every year, one would think it’s a whole bunch of us, considering the mechanics involved: you’re sitting there for a long period of time, working on Sudoku or reading your favorite novel while patiently waiting for the news to come, and then when your legs fall asleep you decide you’d better get it over with or your wife will start yelling at you so you push like hell and then WHAM you end up bursting a vessel in your parietal lobe. Scary!

And never mind the rumor that there are Australian redback spiders that purportedly hide under the lid in wait, and ferocious sewer rats who might swim up to bite you in that most tender of places.

So just be careful, okay? And thanks to you, Thomas Crapper, for making the bathroom a better place.

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