The worst invention in the history of this planet is the modern toilet.
Joy – wtf. How is a TOILET the worst invention in history? Not the nuclear bomb? Not the many versions of biological weapons? Not the Twinkie?
The toilet is the worst invention of all time because it was the toilet that taught people how to ignore their own shit.
(Warning: I use the word ‘shit’ 35 more times in this blog. Just FYI)
Before there were ‘water closets’, people had to squat over a chamber pot, or go outside to the outhouse, or straddle a latrine. The smell was awful, I’m sure. And you had to pick up that chamber pot and dispose of it outside – unless you were already outside with one of the other methods. Suffice it to say, before the advent of the flushable toilet, there was no getting away from what you had pushed forth into the world. Everyone knew what you had just done, and people dealt with it. You couldn’t flush it away and pretend it didn’t happen.
YOU HAD TO OWN YOUR SHIT.
But once the flushable toilet was created, people were able to squat over the bowl and then just pull a handle and voila! – no more shit. Nothing to have to dispose of outside, nothing leaving a constant lasting stench in the corner of the room. No evidence of your actions, except maybe a lingering whiff, so no one but you knew what you did. Like the saying goes: if a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, did it happen? By that logic: if you take a shit and no one sees or smells it, did the shit ever happen? The flushable toilet was the first worldwide example of humans avoiding the consequences of their actions. Once this happened, people started to do this in other areas of life. If nobody saw it, it didn’t happen. And if somebody caught a ‘whiff’ that something was off, you could pretend that they were just imagining it, and deny, deny, deny:
“Did you just take a shit?”
“Do you smell shit?”
“No. It smells like roses… and something else – “
“Well if you don’t smell shit then there is no shit, so stop asking stupid questions.”
You could argue that Air Freshener was the first known method of gaslighting someone.
Being able to flush your shit away, never to be seen again, had other unforeseen consequences. The ability to not see or smell your own shit made people start to think that their shit didn’t stink. This is the foundation of hypocrisy: condemning someone else for something that you have also done. Hypocrisy leads to a lack of empathy. In the human experiment with eye color, conducted by the national treasure and renowned researcher Jane Elliott, you see blue-eyed children – who have been told they are ‘better’ – turn hostile and start bullying the children with brown eyes. They were little assholes, because they thought their shit didn’t stink. They thought they were better than their brown-eyed fellow students. Some of the brown-eyed kids cried and were traumatized. But when the experiment turned a full 180 and now the blue-eyed kids were on the lower social standing, they immediately began to cry and despair. Why? Because they were afraid that the brown-eyed kids would treat them the same way they had gotten treated earlier. The blue-eyed kids feared being ‘downstream’, because they knew how badly they had acted when they were ‘upstream’. Now here is the most interesting part of the experiment: the brown-eyed kids were not NEARLY as cruel to the blue-eyed kids, once they were put on top in the experiment. Why didn’t they take the chance to get revenge? BECAUSE THEY KNEW WHAT IT FELT LIKE TO BE ON THE RECEIVING END. And they couldn’t bring themselves to do that to someone else. They’d been there, and they could empathize.
The world needs more empathy.
A lack of empathy is what leads to contempt of others and their situation. You haven’t smelled your own shit in so long, that you now have nothing but disgust for people who still use outhouses. We dehumanize anyone who doesn’t have the same advantages in life that we have. We call them ‘animals’ or ‘savages’, when really, they’re just humans going through some shit. We pass homeless people on the street and maybe we feel sorry for them but at the same time we are mightily offended by their smell. Don’t try to act like you aren’t. They smell like shit, but they shit the same as you – you just forgot what it was like to have to deal with it. You think you are better than someone else because you have access to water or air freshener? GTFOH.
Would you even start some of the shit you have started in life, if you had to deal with all of the results? Would you really super-size your meal or stuff an entire Chipotle burrito in your mouth if you knew you had to deal with it again at the exit? Think of all the times you picked a fight and walked away, or told a ‘white lie’ to a friend, or let someone believe a lie because it benefitted you. Did you ever consider what would go on downstream? Would those choices be worth it? What if you had to be down there to catch all the shit you had been slinging over the years?
In the words of R&B legend and national treasure James Brown: “Don’t start none, won’t be none.”
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am talking about the world having a general lack of personal accountability. We, as a species, have learned how to cast blame instead of take blame. We fart and blame it on the dog. Or we do a half-assed job at work and then file a lawsuit when we get fired. Or we skip class and then snapchat about how unfair it is that the final exam is in another building. We punch a child in the face and then cry about how the child hurt our hand. We make excuses. We murder innocent citizens and then blame them for getting in the way of the bullets. We ruin lives and end careers by lying or covering up a crime. We rape women, men, and children and then excuse it because “it’s in the past”. We already flushed that away. And then we have the nerve to get offended if we are ever reminded of our past transgressions – “why’re you bringing up old shit?”
Sooner or later, the chickens will come home to roost, the dog will have its day, you will reap what you sow, and the shit will hit the fan. IT ALWAYS DOES. Toilets do back up. It may not be today or tomorrow. It might be generations from now. Just know that it will happen. And then, what will you do? Everyone knows that once the toilet is broken, everything else in the house stops. The amount of energy, pain, inconvenience, anger, frustration, and disinfectant that it takes to remedy a backed-up toilet makes you think in the moment: “I don’t ever want to be in this situation again.”
But what if everyone disposed of their own shit? Handled it from colon to grave? What if we dealt with our shit and actually tried to make the most of it? What if we ate only what we needed to live and then composted our refuse to keep the soil viable for the future? Turned it into biofuel? Used it as fertilizer like in the movie The Martian? Have we thought about how we are shitting on the planet? Shitting on the future? Shitting on each other? I don’t want to go back to latrines and out houses. I’m not saying we should get rid of toilets. THAT WAS AN EXTENDED METAPHOR. What I AM saying is that we all need to be more aware of what we push forth into the world, and think about the consequences of our actions. The Golden Rule says, ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. I want to take that further. Eat like you have to clean the bathroom.
Shit like you’re the one that lives downstream.
So what have we learned today? Avoiding your own shit makes you a horrible person. Learn to deal with your own shit, and stop shitting on other people. The world is a sphere, so sooner or later, you WILL be downstream. And when that happens, you will wish everyone else dealt with their own shit. So be the change you want to see.
In 2018: Don’t start none, won’t be none.
Rant 58 done, and I’m out.