© 2018 Mirror Image Presentations, Alan John Mayer
L’Histoire de la Toilette — Bringing A Nasty Shituation Under Control
Our next speaker, as a child, lived along the Mediterranean rim. During a visit to the ruins of Leptus Magnum, the magnificent Roman colony on the northern coast of Lybia, — he planted his caboose over one of eighteen holes chiseled into the marble outdoor community lavatory, cut in the Seventh Century — Before Christ. Ever since, he has been fascinated by history.
At nine, he ran ahead of his parents down the ancient streets of Pompeii. Noticing the massive stepping blocks running down the middle of the streets, he asked his father “What are they for?”
His father, sixty-eight years his senior, explained to his son the relationship between sewage and water flow, and introduced him to CLO-A-SI-NA, goddess of the Sewers. What does the Old Man, who lived to one-hundred and three, have to do with sewage and water flow? At bedtime, he recounted myths to his of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses like Cloasina. (Interesting,in German the word for toilet is “Klo”. That could be short for Klosette (closet) or to honor Cloasina.)
From the Competent Communication Manual, Speech #5, Your Body Speaks, Mesdames et Messieurs, (There is a flush) L’histoire de la Toilette, a little toilet humor from Alan John Mayer
(He enters air drying his hands, shakes Toastmistress’ hand, who hands him a paper towel) Thank you Madam Toastmaster, Toastmates, and guests. Did you know, we spend an average of three years of our life on, nope, not the phone, but the toilet. The word ‘TOILET’ comes from French, ‘TOILETTE’, to prepare oneself. Most of you are probably familiar with the old French folk song — “Ah Toilette, gentile ah Toilette, Ah Toilette, je me preparé”.
I guess you don’t know that song. Primitive latrines date back 5,000 years. The word ‘LATRINE’ also comes from the French, ‘LATRINEH’, to wash. Sing along: La-tri-ne, Latrine, Soleil lune et vine, da da da da da, da da da da da, I guess you don’t know that song either. That’s okay I forgot the words too.
Sophisticated lavatories appeared as early as 1800 — Before Christ. Lavatory is a derivative of Latin, ‘LAVATORE — LAVARE’, to wash. You know this classic, come on, sing along LA-VARE, — Oh oh, — Can-ta-reee — Oh oh oh oh. You are catching on.
Wealthy homes in the ancient world had magnificently tiled bathrooms with flushing toilets, but for a peasant to let loose, he had to plant his caboose on a stool with a hole in it and pinch his loaf into a pail of kitty litter. If you were wealthy you rang — ‘TING-A-LING’ and the shituation was taken off your hands. (He hands the imaginary pail to Willie) Thank you. It was much like the relationship I have with my cat — ‘TING-A-LING’.
I spent my 9th summer traveling Italy with my parents. I scampered ahead, down the ancient streets of Pompeii, and noticed the massive stepping blocks running the length of the streets.
(Assistant passes chamber pot, filled with Raisinettes and Tootsie Rolls.)
“He, he” he crouched to my level “I imagine the blocks facilitate stepping over the sewage — ‘Can I hear another flush?’ — rather than through it, he he he”. Learning with Dad was always an adventure. (He waves into imaginary toilet) “Bye bye, Little Fella”.
Pagan Romans, Mummy worshiped Cloasina. Mummy and Daddy drove me to Rome so I could pray to Cloa for a loo all my own. I was 17 and on the street before my prayer was answered. Medieval people pinched a roll through a hole in a plank over a pit. From castle shafts, tootsie rolls, Rasinettes plopped into the moat, to be whisked away, by the tide. Monks, not to trap the crap, but to keep it under wrap, monks built outhouses over rivers.
Location Location Location. You want to be upstream.
Chamber pots, hand-painted family heirlooms, were a mainstay of every household. Careful please with that one, it belonged to my great-great-grandfather. They were often carelessly emptied into the street by those too lazy to carry their deposit to the nearest cesspool. Men in black cloaks moved about town, carrying a stool and a bucket, prepared to catch anyone’s unexpected call. One could relieve oneself on the street for a mere Fart-thing, winged in the privacy of the black cloaked man. Ladies too, regardless of name or sex.
In 1661, King Louie of France began the expansion of the hunting lodge that would become the palais du Versailles. The design included 700 rooms, 67 staircases, and pipes pumping water to 50 fountains, but the idea of flushing waste occurred to no one until centuries later. There were 274 Toilet Chairs at the palace, to accommodate the several thousand who lived and worked there, alongside their indoor dogs, and cats. Probably rodent too. Many pinched a brick in the stairwell. If it was a sunny day, a roll in the rose garden would do fine.
The Court finally banned public brick pinching — altogether. “The Court finally banned public brick pinching altogether”. Good. You are catching on. Voltaire, France’s conscience, called the palace “Le plus pu trou de merde en toute Versailles (he steps aside) the worst smelling shit hole in all Versailles”. It didn’t smell that bad in 1972, but time travel to London, 1852 – the first public lavatory with modern flushing toilets opened.
It took forty years for the ‘OCCUPIED’ lock to appear. Cost? A penny. Victorians excused themselves to a polite euphemism “I am off to spend a penny”. Thomas Crapper did not invent the flush box. He improved it, he had a shop on King’s Row, and was comissioned by the king. He is perhaps most remembered for the noun, verb and adjective he left –- behind. American servicemen in Europe, reading the name on the porcelains, gave birth to a less polite euphemism “I am off to visit the Crapper”. Indoor flushed relief remained a luxury, until 1884, when
God — Can I hear a choir of Angels sing?
Alexander Cumming’s S shaped pipe gave birth to — three seconds of Celestial music, — the pedestal toilet; leaving people in the shitty, and shome in the country, shitting pretty, thus transforming the world. Let ush not forget Squatty Potty ‘Changing the way the world poops, one stool at a time’. We in the west tend to take our porcelain gods for granted. Every morning we greet the world with our blessing into the crapper. Then without a thought, we flush our cares away. Next time you respond to a call of Nature, send a prayer of thanks to Cloasina.
(He walks in circles, hands behind his back) Shivilizashion hash been around shome shiks, sheven shoushand yearsh, yet in many partsh of the world the shituation is schtill not under jurishdictshion. Shome forty pershent of the worldsh populashion schtill livesh wishout neshessary shanitashun. What ish the sholushion?
God – can I hear another choir of angels please, — followed by a flush? The World Toilet Organization, born in 2001 with the mission to end public number One and Number Two deposits worldwide by 2030.
Bye-bye little fella.
Next time you find a minute to pass a stool, do a little research on the can. (He pulls out cellphone) “Hey Siri, show me the top #1 and #2 articles on The World Toilet Organization. And remember, ladies and gentlemen, the job is not done until the paperwork is finished. Madam Toastmaster (He tosses the used towel into the trash can) I wash my hands of the matter.
I am off to spend a penny.
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God bless us all.