Taking Aim on Squat Toilets
Report By: Paul Payneful
My first hurdle upon arriving in Thailand was to learn to keep my clothes dry in a squat toilet. Getting down was not my problem. Keeping my tourist clothes dry was. Actually, being able to place my bare fanny next to all that cool porcelain went a long way toward reminding me that I was in a very strange land indeed, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to keep my clothes dry.
I have found that there is always a shallow sheen of ugly water covering the floor in front of all the unoccupied public toilet stalls. It can be argued that this ugly water is waiting around so it can wet your clothes as soon as you neglect them for your more important business. That ugly water is waiting for that one instant when your attention is elsewhere and you allow your trousers to drop beneath the surface. For this oversight you will walk out of the stall looking like you have been beaten badly in a water fight.
After a few of these soakings I went looking for a solution. In a short time I had constructed a unique clothes hanger that I built with two horizontal racks and enough clamps to hold all the assorted garments we westerners wear. It was a fine apparatus and its’ wonder of design allowed me to look every bit as spiffy coming out of a squat toilet as when I went in. I made several of these hangers and have applied for a patent.
Now according to rumor, I must give up the adventure of using a squat toilet.
It has been reported in other sources and now gossiped about in this rant that the Public Health Ministry plans to promote western-style toilets in all public facilities and in most Thai homes because the government has decided that all these squat toilets are responsible for more than 6 million cases of osteoarthritis reported throughout Thailand in the past few years.
The government’s goal, according to gossip, is to have 90% of Thai homes brandishing new western style toilets in just a few years. The ministry believes the pain of osteoarthritis is directly connected to all that squatting and western toilets are the prescription for treatment. In their opinion, everyone should upgrade to a western style toilet with lid.
I am all for this upgrade to western style toilets and I applaud everyone’s efforts toward reaching their lofty goal, however, I wonder what I am to do with all my left over hangers.
Editor’s note: Many thanks to Paul Payneful, the only American known who can discuss issues of the toilet without bashful glances toward the Bathroom of American lore.
This story flew around the ladies side of the village like a wok crashing about inside a Micro-wave oven. All the village ladies got a hold of this story and gave it a hefty spin and of course some of the story’s juicy content flew out of control and plopped down on the bar next to our beer. We men spent less than ten minutes arriving at the unanimous opinion that despite one of our numbers being rather naive village life would not be impacted… much
As the story goes a village wife had surprised her husband when she walked into his secret mid day massage right at the boom, boom moment! No big thing, we men all thought, as we sat around drinking. But we did wonder about the “timing”! How did the wife learn where her husband was and how did she determine when to make her most dramatic surprise entrance? We were half curious about that.
We men sipped our beer and considered the details. Our first job if we wanted to be responsible was to put the story back into some kind of order. The story had arrived in a most disheveled and discombobulated form still dripping from those most precious village ladies emotions of jealousy, anger, rage and a bit of curiosity to say the least. Once organized in chronological order and with the emotion dropped from the telling it was a simple matter to understand.
The husband had walked to the massage parlor earlier that morning after telling his wife he was going shopping for bananas and some Bar-B-Q chicken. He had no bicycle, no car or motorbike; he had nothing to park in front of the massage parlor. As far as the husband knew he had left no tracks and had been gone only two hours when his wife showed at the spa, not as a student of massage but as an lady venting rage.
The story we had fielded included that surprise moment when the wife walked in to discover that her husband’s many assorted sore muscles were being conspicuously neglected by the most talented therapist while the therapist was entertaining herself with her husband’s least sore muscle. Based on the treble she was hearing from the therapist and the more familiar grunts and groans from her husband the village lady determined that their hoots and hollering was a most joyful moment for the two of them but a most unwanted validation to her most base fears. Besides there was no Bar-B-Q chicken or bananas laying about.
The story held no great surprises but one. How did the wife learn that her husband was doing something other than shopping for lunch one moment and how did she arrive at the spa the next moment just in the nick of time for the greatest affect?
It was not the story that interested us males at the bar but the mechanics. At our age are we faced with learning a new way of flying under the radar.
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Cataracts are only half bad
By Jerry Geriatric
I saw a cartoon when I was a kid. It was a four panel effort. In the first panel there was a kid too short to see himself in a mirror… in the second panel he had grown enough to see the top of his head, in the third panel he was just the right height and then in the fourth panel he was too tall…. I couldn’t wait to be like the guy in the fourth panel.
I gave up looking in mirrors a few years ago. I even started shaving in the shower so I wouldn’t have to look at my sagging skin and wondering if I should shave my bald head while I was at it.
Now things have gotten better. Thanks to cataracts I can shave by looking in a mirror… I can’t see me clearly from any distance but that isn’t the point. I have taken up a position at the sink that I gave up years ago and that is good for my psychic. My baggy skin doesn’t look half bad in the shadowy light that is cataracts. This is nice.
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