The Logical Toilet

First published in Prune Juice #24, Spring 2018. page 103. Originally written in August of 2010, and revised in December of 2012. See also “Toilet Seat Up or Down?”

It has occurred to me that if women complain about men always leaving toilet seats up, isn’t it nearly as illogical for women to leave them down? As a result, years ago I decided for myself that the thing to do, to be on my best behavior, would be always to lower both the seat and lid. After all, if the lid is up, the toilet bowl is unsightly. So, lid and seat down is not only a neutral stance, but clearly more aesthetically pleasing. And that’s what I’ve been teaching my children, albeit with mixed results. To me, it’s one of those little things one learns to do properly, like loading toilet paper so it rolls out from the top. Indeed, the patterns are printed on the outsides because manufacturers know rolling off the top is the correct way—and hotel housekeepers always fold their blessed little points on toilet paper ends with the toilet paper rolling off the top. In his book In Praise of Shadows, Jun’ichir
ō Tanizaki notes, of the Japanese toilet, that “Here, I suspect, is where haiku poets over the ages have come by a great many of their ideas.”

        half a moon
        through the outhouse window—
        light just enough to read