The toilet — one heck of an invention

Watching intently as my tugboat turd swirled to its inevitable doom, my thoughts strangely shifted to inventions.

Saying goodbye to the solid waste that was once a bacon cheeseburger and fries left me fascinated with this contraption called a toilet.

Yes, it was a slow TV night.

If necessity is the mother of invention, I couldn’t help but think some rotund father with a huge appetite was the invention of the toilet.

Many of us have heard that the modern toilet was invented by a guy named Crapper — but that is a bunch of crap.

Thomas Crapper did, however, provide some valuable contributions to sending human waste down the drain.

Back in the 1800s, Crapper, who was trained as a plumber, invented the ballcock — yes, that’s really its name.

This device is that floating thingamajig that keeps the water from overflowing in the back of the toilet.

As is the case with most Internet research one dabbles in, there’s a variety of references on who invented the toilet, it’s historic origins and so on.

What a solid waste of time.

But as I left the confines of the bathroom for the more odor-appealing living room, I had to absorb what I was looking at. I was flush with amazement.

Television, cable TV, laptop computer, DVD player, cell phone, the Internet, DVR recorder, my neutered cat, the key-less device to unlock my truck… then I went into every room. Digital clocks, coffee makers, ice maker, the shower, a 5-blade shaving razor, the toothbrush, the lawn mower, weed wacker, iPod, the seedless watermelon, the light bulb, circular saw, washing machine and so much more.

And of course the crapper.

I returned to the bathroom. Time for round two. Remnants of the burger still needed to be expunged.

As I sat on the porcelain throne, I pondered. I sometimes wonder if the toilet was where pondering was invented.

With all those fabulous inventions that make our lives easier, more relaxing, more enjoyable and downright better, here I was plopped down on an invention that has changed little over the last century.

Sending poo down the loo has changed little.

Yes, strolling into today’s public rest rooms is quite amazing. Thanks to our sensor-friendly world, when a guy wants to go No. 1, the duty can be conducted without touching a single foreign object other than the floor in many bathrooms. That even includes a stop at the sink.

The industrial revolution, the technological revolution, sending men to the moon, mankind has seen so much change and so many inventions.

But I gotta give credit to whomever invented the flush toilet. And the urinal — well done sir, well done indeed.

I actually found references that a crude form of flush toilets existed in the BC era. Flushers were even reportedly used throughout the Roman Empire. Which is understandable if an army travels on its stomach.

I love the purity (probably not the most appropriate word) of this invention. Getting rid of waste was about stemming disease and making everyday life a little more pleasant. Tossing human waste out the window wasn’t the answer. So some industrious person found a way to flush the waste away.


Of course, there are still places in the world where the flush toilet isn’t part of the mainstream.

I traveled to China a few years ago and was introduced to the Squatter. The Wall was great, the Squatter — not so much.

It is what you think. You simple squat over a hole in the ground and let it rip.

It was a vile and disturbing experience. I prefer taking the aim out of this daily routine.

As simple as it sounds, some people’s aim isn’t that accurate. Like I said — vile and disturbing.

But as I sat on my toilet, pondering things, I smiled. This toilet contraption is pretty darn good.

I finished up, highly satisfied with my time on the throne and put the finishing touches on this imperative routine.

I yanked off a hefty section of toilet paper, then stared at it, marveled at it. Toilet paper. What a great invention.

A guy named Zeth Wheeler opened his own business — the Rolled Wrapping Paper Company — in 1874 …

I am amazed.