But What About the Crapper?
Colin came home from school yesterday excitedly spouting information he'd learned about George Washington. It brought back memories of all the influential people I learned about throughout my own school years. All the essays I had to write about presidents and Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony and Eli Whitney and Thomas Edison and the like.
Look, I know these people made critically important contributions to our society and the world. I don't dispute that today's slacking youngsters need to learn about - and take some cues from - these historic movers and shakers (and pull their pants up while they're at it). But thinking about it yesterday, I realized that there are contributions of EPIC proportions that we don't even acknowledge, especially not in school. Contributions which, darn it, deserve at least a nod.
Like the toilet.
I don't know about you, but I enjoy not having to soil myself. I kinda dig the fact that I'm not pooping in a hole somewhere and wiping with a leaf. I like that I don't have to squat in the dirt, hoping I don't pee on my jeans. I don't have to venture outside - in, for example, the seventeen inches of snow we just got a couple weeks ago - to do my bidness in the subzero freeze or the blistering summer heat. And it's nice that when I'm done, I can flush it all away to some magical land far from my house, instead of having to carry my little chamber pot outside and dump it into a public waterway.
I mean ... isn't that pretty awesome? Instead of all that, I can settle down onto my comfy padded toilet seat with a good book and read until my legs fall asleep.*
*In my dreams, of course. In reality, I haven't pooped outside the presence of my children in like five and a half years.
I'm gonna take this a step further by proposing that because of our modern toilet, other great ideas have come about. Since we don't have to worry about squatting or freezing or wiping with leaves, we can sit and think on the toilet. (Well, those of us who aren't distracted by "Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?" and random items sliding under the door.) Who knows what inspiration comes to great minds while they're "occupied?" I'm willing to bet that the lady who wrote the Twilight series thought about it at least part of the time while she was taking a dump, and look at it now: a veritable empire that has, I'm sure, made her a millionare many times over.
Anyway, my point is this: I get that we need to teach our children about the Abraham Lincolns and the Mahatma Gandhis of the world. I agree. But the historic and life-changing contributions made by people like Sir John Harington and Thomas Crapper (yes. "John" and "Crapper." Seriously), who helped shape the modern toilet as we know it, totally deserve a shoutout.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go pay homage.