Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Throne

It is said that an Englishman’s home is his castle.

If that’s true, I put it to you, dear reader, that there is a throne within that castle that every single Englishman loves to spend time perched upon.

And it is not just Englishmen.

This place is every man's sanctuary, a place where he can escape within his fortress, a place where he can lock the door and forget about all of his troubles, as he meditates and ponders the particulars of his life.

He is truly at home on his throne.

Yes, that’s right – it is the toilet.

And yes – this is yet another reason for me to stoop to the depths of depravity and waffle on about toilet habits.

If you are easily offended, please stop reading.

For the rest of you …

A friend recently said something that made me think about the role of the porcelain throne in a man’s life.

He has a young son who has just started potty training and his wife said to him:

“We need to go and buy potty training essentials.”

She was thinking about a trip to Mothercare, where she would undoubtedly purchase trainer pants and a potty chair.

My friend said:

“OK – you go to Mothercare, I’ll go the newsagents and buy Auto Trader”.

You see, there’s nothing better than reading a newspaper, car magazine or sports magazine while contemplating life as you are perched on the throne.

Women all around the world ask their men:

“Why do you spend so long on the toilet? And why do you use so much toilet paper?”

I can answer the first question: we spend so much time on the toilet because for some men it is the only place they can get a little peace and quiet in their house. Reading the newspaper on the throne can be extremely therapeutic.

This is an ideal toilet:

I am going to let you into a little secret. When I go to the toilet, I love to read a good comedy book, particularly the ones that have short chapters or segments, just enough reading material to let nature take its course.

This practice can backfire.

On one occasion, we had friends round and I needed to answer that call of nature. As I settled on my throne I read a particularly amusing story and found myself guffawing like a demented animal. It is an urban myth but it was so funny that I found myself howling with laughter.

In many ways it was fortunate that I was positioned where I was. Here’s what I read:

Dear Sirs,

I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block 3 of the accident report form. I put "poor planning" as the cause of my accident. You asked for a fuller explanation and I trust the following details will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-story building.

When I completed my work, I found that I had some bricks left over which, when weighed later, were found to be slightly in excess of 500 pounds.

Rather than carry the bricks down by hand I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley, which was attached to the side of the building on the sixth floor.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went down and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow descent of the bricks. You will note in Block 11 of the accident report form that I weigh 155 pounds.

Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel, which was now proceeding downward at an equally impressive speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collar bone, as listed in section 3 of the accident report form. Slowed only slightly by the encounter with the barrel, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley, which accounts for the four broken fingers and various lacerations of my right hand.

Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of beginning to experience pain. At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, that barrel weighed approximately 50 lbs. I refer you again to my weight. As you can imagine, I began a rapid descent, down the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth and several lacerations of my legs and lower body. Here my luck began to improve. The encounter with the barrel slowed my descent enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks and fortunately only three vertebrae were cracked. I am sorry to report, however, as I lay there on the pile of bricks, in pain, unable to move, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope and I lay there watching the empty barrel begin its journey back down onto me. This explains the two broken legs. I hope this answers your inquiry.

Thanks in advance for expediting my claim,


Abe Ricklayer

When I left the bathroom, the inevitable questions were hurled in my general direction:

“What on Earth were you DOING in there?”

“Did you catch sight of yourself in the mirror?”

“Were you choking on toilet paper?”

If you still have any doubts about how important a toilet is, listen to Al Bundy from the brilliant American comedy Married With Children.

And if you had any doubt about how dear the toilet is to a man, just check out Al Bundy’s reaction when he discovers that Peggy Bundy has redecorated his oasis – his sanctuary:

I’ll leave you with this thought:

It is good to have reading material next to the toilet. If the book is rubbish, you can always find a use for the paper – as I have, having started Piers Morgan’s autobiography.


Anonymous said...

That was a funny bit. Over the years we have had various editions of "The Bathroom Book" - which is compiled of such short literary pieces as the one you offered. "The Guinness Book of Records" is another good bathroom book and the comics section of the daily paper can get you through a short stay.

My family have always been devoted readers and I remember fondly when an elderly Aunt was visiting and needed to use the facilities - she was waddling around the house (waddling because her knees were tightly locked together) yelling "Where do you keep your magazines. Give me something to read!"

So bathroom reading is not confined to men. And if you really want to add to your comfort level get a comfort height toilet - you'll be able to get through War & Peace without having your legs go to sleep...

H2B said...

The bricklayer can write very well.
I would have laughed my head off if I did not hear the story before.

Never understand fluffy toilet seat cover.

What do you think of people bringing their mobile phones and iPads into the toilet.

I am always suspicious when I can hear an echo on the phone and get annoyed when my suspicion was confirmed by flushing sound.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Grace,

I didn't think that the bathroom book was a male only pursuit - but then I try not to ask questions that result in physical harm.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Grace,

I know of one person who actually dropped his mobile phone down the toilet.

Personally I refuse to use my phone when a more important task is at hand - so it stays firmly in my pocket.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Sorry H2B - that comment was meant for you ... not that I mind Grace reading it.


Pandora Behr said...

I'm not a loo reader - I'm a girl, we don't really do that for some reason. However I do enjoy flicking through an omnibus of useless facts that a friend has by her loo. Though I don't like to think about the hygeine aspects of that book...

MedicatedMoo said...

I remember reading that joke as an email that was passed around in the 1990s :)

Reading material in the toilet bothers me on a hygienic level - all that eColi floating around, settling on the pages.... Better to just sit there and daydream.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Hygiene - yes - that makes you think, doesn't it?




Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

I think I'll have to sterilize my reading material ...




Big D said...

I have a bookcase in my bathroom, stocked with things which can be flipped through easily.
Thinking about it, there's no reason I couldn't have a little CD player in there too...

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Big D,

A CD player - now there's a thought. It could actually serve more than one purpose.




River said...

I don't sit on my throne any longer than a couple of minutes. Barely long enough to settle comfortably.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I don't always ...