Friday, June 29, 2018

Toilet-Seat Justice

Several weeks ago, I sat down in our bathroom to conduct some intestinal business. Upon settling in, I felt a rather sharp pain in my dominant buttock and quickly dismounted the toilet. What I found was that the wooden toilet seat had been cracked completely in half. The fissure was almost consistent enough to have been the result of a power tool.

I immediately set about solving this mystery and I knew just where to begin. I went to my five-year-old son and casually asked if he recalled witnessing any structural trauma related to the toilet seat. He got a strange look on his face and categorically denied all responsibility. This, in and of itself, was not unusual; what did surprise me is that he did not immediately suggest his sister as a suspect. He once blamed her for making him fall out of his chair when she was in a different room, so it was odd that he did not wish to speculate upon her culpability.

Undeterred, I found my three-year-old daughter playing in her room and breezily wondered aloud if she knew anything about the broken toilet seat. Assuming the same look of forced nonchalance displayed by my son, she denied any knowledge but also declined to incriminate her brother.

While I found my children hurling around baseless accusations to be annoying, I found their silent collaboration terrifying. Over the next few days, I went back and forth trying to get one of them to cave with no success. I suggested plausible scenarios, “Maybe you guys were trying to get something from the cabinet and it fell….” and even stopped to offering bribes, “there might be some Sour Patch Kids in it for whoever can help daddy solve the mystery….”

After a week I had nothing. Out of sheer stubbornness, I left the seat in place as a reminder that daddy would have his justice. I assumed that it would keep pinching them just as it did me and eventually someone would turn state’s evidence. This was a terrible miscalculation on my part since their tiny little bodies did not separate the halves of the seat enough to cause discomfort. They barely noticed.

Dejected and unwilling to subject myself to further discomfort, I went to Lowes one evening to procure a replacement toilet seat. I was unprepared for how many different colors there were. When I indicated that it was more of a “tan” color I was given options like “biscuit” “bone” sandbar” and “dune”. Kohler even has a color called “Thunder Grey” which might be apropos in some situations we have had in our restroom.

Even narrowing it down to quiet-close hinge models - which are worth the extra price if you have ever been jolted from slumber by a preschooler dropping the entire lid apparatus at 3AM – I was left with too many options. I agonized in the isle for a half-hour trying to take into account environmental variables like the color temperature of the store’s fluorescent lighting system before deciding to go with “biscuit.”

By the time I had paid for my purchase, it was pouring rain and I had forgotten where my car was. After several minutes of running through the parking lot while brandishing a toilet seat, I located my car and stuffed my drenched frame into the front seat.

Soaked and already regretting my decision to choose “biscuit”, I walked into the front bathroom and began the process of swapping out the toilet seat. Midway through this endeavor my daughter wanders in, glances at the broken toilet seat now resting on the floor and – without a hint of irony – asks what happened to the old toilet seat.

If I am fortunate enough to get to Heaven and find myself at the throne of the Almighty, the toilet seat mystery has now surpassed the JFK assassination as my most pressing supplication.

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