Have you ever heard of a horse whisperer? This is a person who can
"talk" to horses and make it understand. He also understands the
horse because they share a natural affinity with one another.
husband has this wonderful affinity with our toilets and... well,
any electronic equipment. The affinity for electronic equipment is
almost understandable because I am certain that they are only one
tiny zap away from humanity. This is evidenced by the fact that my
all-powerful, ever-knowing computer hates me and shuts down at the
exact moment I need it the most.
No, we are talking about toilets here: the porcelain behemoth
conspicuously taking up space in our bathroom. It sputters and gulps
and sometimes spits up. You can't reason with it when it spits up.
All you can do is react. Unfortunately, you can't react fast enough
to prevent it from spewing its contents all over the bathroom floor.
That is when I call the toilet whisperer. As soon as he walks
into the bathroom, the water starts receding back into the hole from
whence it came.
You would think that the toilet whisperer would be a calm soul
with a Zen-like mien, but my husband always looks at me as if I was
mean to the toilet and caused it to explode. Then he turns the air
blue with words even the toilet should not be exposed to.
On the other hand, have you ever had a toilet that is extra
generous with your water? It runs continuously, cleaning the bowl
with fresh water and, in the process, running up the water bill.
Well, my husband can lay hands on it and it will stop doing that...
at least until the next time I flush it. My toilet loves him.
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We have one particular toilet that I think is gravely ill. It is
not subtle with its complaints either. Mostly it complains when
someone flushes. Its whining sounds exactly like the last three
measures of an aria sung by a Canada goose. To the untrained ear, it
may sound like a cross between a moose mating call and a
tractor-trailer honk, only longer and more obnoxious.
My toilet whisperer obviously knows it's dying, but he is
apparently unwilling to even treat the symptoms.
"Can't you give it something for the pain?" I beg.
He is surprisingly content to let it live out its last days in
obvious torture and acute anguish (which reminds me: I need to start
working on my living will).
The soul-wrenching cry of my dying toilet especially bothers me
when we have company. Our guests typically walk out of our bathroom
traumatized. I feel somewhat responsible for my toilet's behavior
and my guests' mental health.
Mostly, though, it bothers me when it happens even when nobody is
in the bathroom. Have you ever seen what a person looks like after
having been startled at 3 in the morning by the unexpected blast of
an air horn?
...It's not pretty when sanity slips.
[By LAURA SNYDER]
Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist,
author and speaker. You can reach her at
or visit www.lauraonlife.com
for more info.