The Degradation of Society as Marked By The Invention of the Automatically Flushing Toilet

I’ve had enough. My husband read an article to me tonight about a local school system spending millions on a school renovation which includes replacing the light switches with ones that automatically turn out lights when no one is in the room. It’s official. We are doomed to fail as a society. We are now so lazy and irresponsible that we cannot be bothered to literally lift a finger to flip a damn switch.

Yesterday morning, I saw an commercial about a special cup for kids that is completely “non-spill”. And thank goodness. We have so much to teach our children in life, we couldn’t possibly take the time to teach them to clean up a mess.

Which brings me to my ultimate beef. Automatically flushing toilets.

A little girl in a preschool class I once taught was afraid of toilets. Specifically, she was afraid of flushing toilets, more specifically, the ones that flush automatically when you stand up. And why wouldn’t she be? You’re 3, you’ve just gained the confidence to “go”, and the scary noise and rush of water that you USED to be able to control is now happening unexpectedly, without any warning, before you’re ready for it. To a 3 year old, the toilet has become something capable of inflicting it’s own will, growling and spewing water everywhere. Scary stuff.

I, too, dislike automatically flushing toilets, but for very different reasons. OK, truthfully, the spewing water thing does freak me out, but the bigger issue is this: When did we, as a society, lose the self-respect necessary to flush our own crap?

Obviously, when a company invented the automatic flusher, a need was being met. People had stopped flushing, so a sensor was created to flush for us. Granted, I’m quite appreciative that I don’t have to walk into a stall and see someone’s leftovers, but for God’s sake, people. This is a basic self-help/adaptive skill that I successfully taught to developmentally delayed preschoolers. Flush. The. Toilet.

When it comes right down to it, this is far more than a personal care issue. This issue is the basis of our economic and social problems.

A basic rule in life used to be, you are responsible for your crap. But now we fiscally support those who won’t work.* We hand-hold the students who won’t show up to school. Instead of holding people responsible for their lazy, bad behavior, we are taking care of the results of their worthlessness. We have installed an automatic flusher for the waste that a lazy society leaves behind, when it would be so much cheaper (and more socially responsible) to drag them back by their ears and make them flush.

[*It isn’t as though I’m against social programs that help people through difficult times. I absolutely do. I’ve seen my share of those difficult times. I think we are called upon as human beings to help those who cannot help themselves, but “cannot” is the operative word, here. We have a moral obligation to assist the elderly and disabled. But for those who don’t work because it is easier (and often more cost effective) to stay home and draw a check, working the system has become a career path. Shame on them. And shame on the government for letting them. And shame on corporate America for not making it worthwhile to work.]

As a whole and as individuals, I think we have lost the sense of pride in ourselves. I, for one, would never leave the stall without flushing (my mother made sure of that.) I would be completely embarassed if someone saw that I had. But some people don’t care. Some people put their own personal shit out there for the world to see, on Jerry Springer, on reality TV shows, even on cell phones at The WalMart (holy cow…what you can learn in aisle 5.) I know way too much about people I don’t want to know at all.

Thanks to the automatically flushing toilet, we no longer have to think about what we need to do after we’ve left a mess. We don’t, and big businesses don’t when they pollute the environment or leave our American workers out of jobs when they move to Mexico, and politicians don’t, although their wives and children have to see their dirty little affairs on the evening news. A few minutes in the hot spotlight, then a good PR person makes sure it’s swept under the rug. We make a mess, someone else cleans it up, and a forgetful public moves on to the next headline. Whoosh, goes the toilet. It’s the new American way.

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6 thoughts on “The Degradation of Society as Marked By The Invention of the Automatically Flushing Toilet

  1. There’s a great commercial somewhere in which the husband scolds his wife for always using paper instead of the iPad. She gets back at him when he asks her for toilet paper…and she sends him his iPad with a picture of toilet paper on it. Technology is not the answer to everything. You still need to wipe your own butt and you should have to flush your own mess.

  2. Fantastic post! Funny, yet truly sad at the same time. I agree… people SHOULD be responsible for their messy leftovers. Good grief, who wouldn’t want to be??? But this society in which we live is so busy hand holding and saying “good job, buddy!” to underachievers and laze-abouts it is simply not going to happen. That is, truly, sad.

  3. Brilliant! I was worried about skills like sewing, k it ting, cooking meals from scratch and budgeting being lost, the ability to flush a toilet wasn’t even on my radar. Than heavens we don’t have those here in England…yet!

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