Since the invention of the modern valve and siphon flush toilet by Thomas Crapper (1837-1910), the water closet has been the butt of undeserved humor and derision. American soldiers returning from England after WWI first linked Tom’s good name with the bad contents of said toilet. It’s unclear as to when rejoicing over this boon to sanitation turned into paranoia and conspiracy theories, connected with the toilet part that we connect with. Some give credit to Crapper’s mother-in-law.
“Look Ethyl. You’ll never have to use a chamber pot again!” Tom crooned. “The flush toilet gets rid of 95% more of what you want to get rid of.”
“Did you already sit on this, Tom? Because there is no way I am going to share your cooties!”
“It’s perfectly sanitary.”
“You couldn’t have invented paper toilet seat covers while you were at it? I could be sitting here, minding my own business while staff, boils, warts, or syphilis are dancing around beneath me.”
“I don’t have syphilis, Ethyl!”
“And would it kill you to put the toilet seat down when you’re finished?”
Since then, those who swear that they face the imminent danger of “death by public restroom” have developed several coping mechanisms for avoiding other people’s bacteria. If there are no paper toilet seat covers, they will use toilet paper to line the cover. There are danglers, who hover over the toilet, splashing their own goodies on the seat as a gift for the next person. Danglers would crawl over their spouse to escape a burning building.
There are even some who carry their own cleaning products wherever they go. The Lysol spray crowd is one of the many reasons that women must wait for hours in line for public restrooms. We’re all waiting for Janet Hillstrom’s toilet seat to dry.
Personally, I’m an adrenaline junkie. I dive right in, heedless of possible flesh eating bacteria left by Jane Ledbetter. By the way, Jane, you should probably go to the doctor and get that checked out.