Friday, October 24, 2014

Tale of the Toilet

I've mentioned in the past that I used to work in Competitive Intelligence. I kept it vague, for a couple of reasons. One of them is that I have a distinctive name, and should I ever return to the field,  this will serve as a record. Another is that the more vague I am, the more interesting it sounds. I worked in the field of Competitive Intelligence, yes. On its own, it sounds all high stakes baccarat and spy pens and femme fatales. It's considerably less interesting if I mention that it was the Construction market. More specifically, plumbing. Even more specifically...toilets.

"Good merchant Vama, wait! I would have words with thee." 
"Yea, Kabada. What wouldst thou?" 
"It is difficult to find the words I would have with thee. But they do concern a certain state of affairs which hath aroused considerable sentiment on the parts of thy various adjacent neighbors." 
"Oh? Speak on then." 
"Concerning the atmosphere ... " 
"The atmosphere?" 
"The winds and breezes, perhaps ... " 
"Winds? Breezes?" 
"And the things they bear." 
"Things? Such as ... ?" 
"Odors, good Vama."  
My boss at the job was certainly the smartest person I know personally, he holds several patents, and invented the toilet seen here. He has a background in math and accounting, but not in engineering. He taught himself the principles required to design a new type of toilet from the ground up. He's the person narrating this video.

"Odors? What odors?" 
"Odors of, well, odors of, of fecal matter." 
"Of ... ? Oh! Yes. True. True enough. There may be a few such. I had forgotten, having grown used to them." 
"Might I inquire as to their cause?" 
"They are caused by the product of defecation, Kabada." 
"Of this I am aware. I meant to make inquiry as to why they are present, rather than their source and nature." 
"They are present because of the buckets in my back room, which are filled with such, items." 
"Yes. I have been saving the products of my family in this manner. I have been doing this for the past eight days." 
"Against what use, worthy Vama?" 
"Hast thou not heard of a thing, a wondrous thing, a thing into which these items are discharged, into water, and then a lever pulled, and then, with a mighty rushing sound, these things are borne away, far beneath the ground?" 
"I have heard some talk of such ... " 
"Oh, 'tis true, 'tis true. There is such a thing. It has but recently been invented by one whom I should not name, and it involves great pipes and a seat without a bottom, or a top, really. It is the most wonderful discovery of the age, and I will have me one within a matter of moons!"

Despite my theoretical toilet expertise, I don't have a lot of hands on experience. I'm a bright-ish guy, but I'm not handy around the house. However, my mother was coming up for her first visit in years. We performed some extensive work on the bathroom, and we decided that the old toilet would have to be replaced. It looked like the toilet from Trainspotting.

"Thou? Such a thing?" 
"Yea. It shall be installed in the small room I have built onto the back of my home. I may even give a dinner that night and permit all my neighbors to take use of it." 
"This is indeed wondrous, and thou generous." 
"I feel so." 
"But, of the, smells ... ?" 
"They are caused by the buckets of items, which I am preserving against the installation of this thing." 
"I should rather have it on my karmic record that this thing was used for these items beginning with eight days ago, rather than several moons from now. It will show my rapid advancement in life."

One of the advantages to living in 2014 is that there are tutorials for everything. The instructions for installing the toilet were clear, and the videos helped clarify anything that wasn't. I might not be handy, but I can follow instructions.  The biggest problem was getting the floor bolts loose, and after that, it was simply a matter of plug and chug.

"Ah! I see now the wisdom of thy ways, Vama. I did not wish it to appear that we stood in the way of any man who seeks to better himself. Forgive me if I gave this impression." 
"Thou art forgiven." 
"Thy neighbors do love thee, smells and all. When thou art advanced to a higher state, please remember this." 
"Of course." 
"Such progress must be expensive." 
"Worthy Vama, we shall take delight in the atmosphere, with all its pungent portents."
I was really amazed by how simple the entire experience was. It feels pretty good to improve something around the house like that.

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