It is the little things in life that are never fully appreciated. In modern days, there are so many things that people take for granted. If you were dropped in the middle of nowhere and had to survive on your own, what would you want to have with you? A cell phone? Electricity? The secret stash of your favorite food you kept hidden from the roommate that always steals your stuff?
I’d want a working flush toilet.
Yes, I cheated a little bit there. But seriously though, toilets are great. They are amazing. So is toilet paper.
Before the golden age of the Toilet Era, if you needed to relieve yourself, you would have to dig a hole in ground or go behind some bushes. Then outhouses and port-a-potties were invented to give people some privacy when they wanted it.
For many of us first-world denizens, the magical existence of the flush toilet (plus the sewage treatment system) is a luxury. About two-fifths of the world’s population— which is more than 2.5 billion people— do not have the same access to toilets or a decent sanitation system like many urban areas do. With a continuously growing population, more and more people are being crammed together in cities and communities. Without the all-important can, all that human waste becomes a perfect breeding ground for pathogens that can make people sick. It becomes even worse if you have don’t have access to the appropriate healthcare to treat those diseases.
So we should be grateful to graced by the presence of the toilet. Through the miracle of indoor plumbing, humanity is blessed with the gift of clean, fresh water at our convenience. It's comforting to know that whenever you are in desperate need of company after taking too many shots during a questionable night out, or you just want to get rid of some junk, the toilet will be there for you.
Now imagine if toilets disappeared from the world, or you were part of the population that didn’t have access to a toilet. It may not sound too bad at first. But I think that living in an urban area has made me desensitized to the significance of modern sanitation systems. Imagine if you were in a situation without a toilet. When you turn around after you’re finished doing your business, everything you just excreted stares right back at you. Sure, you can throw some dirt to cover up that hole in the ground, but what if the hole is too shallow, or you decided to go behind a tree? Now some unfortunate and unsuspecting fellow can step into your nasty pitfall in the ground and ew, gross. Now it’s all over your shoes.
Then there's the outhouses and port-a-potties, which are functional enough to get the job done. But unless you have it regularly cleaned, all the gunk just sits there. There might even be times where you have unwelcome encounters with curious little critters while you're in there. And there's the smell. The smell!
Flush toilets are a thing of beauty because of their ability to clean themselves.
And yes, I’ll admit that I am putting too much thought into this. Even while writing this article, I felt grossed out. This is probably more than enough toilet business than you’d ever want in a lifetime. World Toilet Day is months away from now; however, I think this should serve as a reminder to be thankful for all the amenities that we tend to take for granted.
The porcelain throne deserves praise and a pat on the tank. It is a majestic throne that protects humanity from disease and filth. Let us take a moment to bask in its splendor the next time we take a trip to the restroom.
Just don’t breathe in the mist when you flush.