When you depress the handle on the toilet, you expect it to flush. You want whatever you have recently deposited into the toilet bowl to disappear from your life forever. This is your basic right as a freedom-loving American. Push the handle and the toilet flushes and all is well with the world, right?
So when it doesn’t happen, when the toilet just makes a gurgling noise and hiccups, and the bowl starts to back up and threatens to overflow on your new shoes, when you go scrambling for the plunger and find that it’s not there, but in some other bathroom, or, God forbid, did you lend it out to one of the kids and actually expect that they would bring it back? Now you’re in serious trouble. Whatever it was you thought you were going to do next gets thrown out the window. Whatever pleasant task you had in store, perhaps a walk in the park, or a chat on the phone, quickly gets forgotten and is replaced with a state of borderline panic. This offal, this residue, this waste which was meant for your eyes and nose only must be made to disappear. This vessel of disappearance must be brought back into working order or else all other household activities will be cancelled forever. There is nothing more important in the world that we live in than a toilet that flushes. Without that, civilization as we know it ceases to exist.
No, you live in a city and you can’t just go and squat behind a tree in the woods. Your only pipeline to sanitation is through that toilet and it’s backed up to the lip with no relief in sight. Of course, you could call in a plumber, but that could take hours, or even days, and wind up costing you a minimum of 75 bucks for the first five minutes as well as exposing you to his steely look of condescension because you couldn’t figure out how to solve this little problem yourself, you incompetent dweeb. Somehow it must be your fault. You don’t even know how to properly use and maintain a toilet. After all these years, you still wind up screwing the thing up and then having to beg for an emergency visit from someone with far higher skills — someone who could have been a doctor or a lawyer, if those professions paid as much as the one he finally chose.
No, somehow you will solve this crisis, and you will do so before anyone else in the building finds out that there even was a crisis. This toilet has flushed 10,000 times before and you will not be the one who winds up breaking it; you will not be the guy whose digestion is so abnormal that you’ve managed to clog the thing permanently; you will figure this out even if you have to spend all day locked in the bathroom.
A smooth-functioning toilet is the pinnacle of civilization. But where is the invention that will flush away all our other waste and detritus? If I could wave my magic plunger, I would create a device that could flush away a multitude of other problems that are stinking up my life. How about an appliance that could flush away the smell of a teenager’s room, one who hasn’t washed his laundry in six weeks?
I also want a device to flush away all the robocalls that come to my (DO NOT CALL-enabled) home phone number. Actually, it would be much more satisfying if I could flush away the people who are making those calls. If somehow in mid-call I could hear them screaming and gasping as they were inundated by a whirlpool of water washing them down the vortex and into the sewers where they would soon be joined by all the bankers offering to refinance my mortgage, and the political “pollsters” trying to brainwash me into electing another mouthpiece for their billionaire’s lobby. I want a device that could send all the email spammers and scammers down through the pipeline of the Internet into some highly electrically charged central switching station where they would be jolted with thousands of volts of power until they were vaporized into a fine organic powder that could be effectively used to fertilize my garden.
How about a device to flush away all the idiots driving around with one hand while communicating on their smart phones with the other? It would be so great if I could make them disappear moments before they nearly kill me as I attempt to use the neon-flashing crosswalk in front of my office that they seem to be completely oblivious to. You can also be sure that when you’re driving to work in the morning and the person in front of you is weaving from lane to lane like a drunken sailor, it is not alcohol from which they are inebriated, but the power of being able to scream at their employees on the phone before they’ve even arrived at their executive parking space. Flush them away.
Flush away the bad coffee they try to serve me at McDonalds, flush away the people who still throw garbage out the windows of their moving cars, like the world is some sort of giant trash can. Flush away the lady in front of you in the supermarket checkout line who keeps going back into the store for one more thing she forgot. But most of all, dear God, flush away this nearly overflowed toilet bowl before anyone else notices and let me get on with my life!