PSYCHOLOGISTS SAY THAT EVERY person should have a chief goal in life. I already reached mine many years ago, when the last daughter left home, and I, at last, had my own bathroom! And toilet!
I know. It’s more “couth” to use the word commode, rather than toilet. But old habits are hard to break. As illustrated by the story told on the plain spoken Harry Truman when he was president.
“I believe the White House Lawn could use a little horse manure,” he said to wife Bess.
“Momma,” said daughter Margaret. “Can’t you get Daddy to realize he’s the president of the United States and needs to say ‘fertilizer’ instead of ‘horse manure?’”
“I’m going to leave well enough alone,” replied Bess. “It took me 30 years to get him to say manure.”
ANYWAY, HAVING MY VERY OWN bathroom became jeopardized when What’s Her Name and I got hitched. I discovered her “druthers” was that our second bathroom be used as a guest bathroom, and kept spotless, neat, pristine, smelling like spring flowers and husband-free. She and I (who are there daily) should share the other bathroom, while the “guest” bathroom stands idle 99.9 percent of the time.
Whereas I, not being as sweet and nice as she is, figure “to hell with the occasional visitor. These bathrooms are primarily for the comfort of the owners. That’s why they are often called ‘comfort stations.’”
UNDOUBTEDLY PART OF WHAT SHE FEARS is described by the riddle some smart aleck female came up with:
What do the “good old days” and a commode have in common?
A. Men miss both of them.
I will admit that she has acquiesced to allowing me full ownership rights, even though she feels she must provide a thorough cleaning to an already clean bathroom prior to the arrival of any expected company. While I figure even at worst, visitors are much better off than was I when visiting relatives on the farm as a mere lad and the guest bathroom was an outhouse. Their aroma wasn’t exactly comparable to that of spring flowers.
“BEHOLD THE POWER of the toilet!” says my optometrist friend from West Virginia, Dr. Monty Vickers, in an article he wrote for a national optometric journal. He maintained that for a successful practice, functioning toilets are probably the most important “instrument” in the office. More so than any of the expensive examination equipment. This is probably true of any business or home as well. From his experience, he lists a few necessary rules, including:
1. Every time you go to any store, buy toilet paper.
2. Have a minimum of three bathrooms for every three employees. You cannot have too many. (I discovered a good example of this when I attended an international symposium in Morocco. None of our American contingent drank the water. However, even though our numbers included many PhDs and learned scientists, all of them were too stupid to remember that the ice cubes we used in drinks were frozen local water. Thus as we prepared to fly home, the bug had got hold of most of us, and when we boarded the plane, we were in danger of spewing at both ends. The plane had 150 seats, and four rest rooms. Whereas what it needed was just the opposite.
3. Realize that, no matter how many bathrooms you have, at least one will be out of service at any given time. Perhaps this would be the best room for doing pretesting.
4. Know a plumber. Love a plumber. Marry him if you must. My plumber did 45 minutes of work, and then handed me a bill for $376. I told him I was a doctor and I didn’t make $376 for 45 minutes. He said, “When I was a doctor, neither did I.”
5. Have a bowl brush in every bathroom. Patients do not like to see you carrying a dripping brush up the hallway, just prior to inserting their contact lenses.
6. Buy the good stuff. Patients will forgive you for misdiagnosing glaucoma long before they’ll forgive you for stocking your bathrooms with cheap toilet paper.
7. If a little boy has to go, and wants to go by himself, spend your time wisely while he’s in there: Order a new floor and toilet, and plan to repaint.
I DID HEAR OF ONE GENTLEMAN who obviously didn’t need his own bathroom:
“God takes care of me,” he told his physician. “He knows I don’t see very good, so when I get up to pee at night, as soon as I open the bathroom door, He turns on the light for me. And when I finish and close the door, He turns off the light for me.”
“Tell that old fool to come home,” said the man’s wife when the doctor phoned her to inquire what was going on. “He’s been peeing in the refrigerator again.”
Jack Runninger of Rome is a retired optometrist and state and national award-winning humor columnist. His most recent book, “Funny Female Foibles,” is available now. Readers may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.