21 September 2009

Got a toilet story?

The terrific Joyce Wadler had a short piece in last Wednesday's The New York Times about a literary contest of a sort. American Standard is giving away a toilet to the best toilet story submitted between now and October 9th, 2009 on American Standard's Facebook fan page.

Wadler kills me and she cages this story in the terms of a great literary contest and refers to Facebook as that modern Algonquin Round Table. The former English majors who read her work find this hilarious and I can vouch for that personally. Not content to invoke Dorothy Parker, Wadler goes on to pay homage to Herman Melville in her example of a literary toilet story.

And so on one damp, drizzly November of the soul, I set sail upon a noble whaling craft, the Pequod, although the bathrooms, truth be told, were strictly 16th century.
“Ahab,” I said, “have ye never heard of the control-flush mechanism that enables a user to select complete or partial flush of a toilet tank and is thus more environmentally responsible?”
“Out of my way, Ishmael,” he said. “I’m looking for a fish.”
Haughty humor aside, American Standard is looking for humorous (and true) stories about the humble commode. This is a legitimate contest and American Standard will award five new toilets to the top five entries. All you have to do is go to Facebook, become a fan of American Standard and then write on their wall. The Times piece must have been read by quite a few people because that fan page is already filling up with stories. Some of them are laugh out loud funny, so poke around and read a few.

Some of the best and most disturbing toilet stories I've ever heard have come from plumbers, especially those in bigger cities. Amid the routine plumbing repairs and installations, I can only imagine the calamity a plumber in Los Angeles might go through on a daily basis. Most plumbers live under a professional omerta but when you can get one going, hilarity ensues. Go ahead, buy a plumber a beer some time and you'll begin to understand why the services of a good plumber cost so much. I'm going to forward this to every plumber I know. I haven't heard a good black water story in ages.


  1. Haven't checked out the contest yet, but chances are it is for AMERICANS ONLY! All these contests are enough to make a Canadian want to move to the States. :) -Brenda-

  2. How do I break this to you Brenda, but you ARE an American. Just the Canadian kind. Quick: what continent do Canada, the US, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaraugua, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama share? In the spirit of neighborliness, I say we're all Americans. Now as for the contest being open to non-US Americans, I will ask them.

  3. Paul, this may be frightening to you but that is exactly what I have always felt. Those of us who live in North and South America are all AMERICANS! Now only to persuade the rest of the world.
    Oh, the word "neighboUrliness" is spelled with a "U". When are you US Americans going to learn how to spell? Winks ..... Brenda

  4. I'm glad we're on the same page Brenda.


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