1/09/2008

When I am King: Flush with Pride

When I am King...

I was on a plane recently and nearly fell out. Or to be more precise, I nearly got sucked out. I should never have flushed.

The toilets on airplanes must be connected directly to the jet engines. You press lightly on the happy, cartoony “Flush!” button, and the next thing you know, the cabin is filled with an explosive Whoosh! sound and you're scrabbling for purchase on the tampon bin to avoid getting pulled down the john.

I can't imagine why they have that much suction on the toilet unless they are simply opening up a trap on the underside of the plane and letting it all go.

What kind of things are other people doing in the toilets that require such force? And how many passengers have we lost to the flusher? I can imagine a lonely fisherman off the coast of Scotland as a plane flies unseen far overhead. A warm sprinkling of drops alights upon the man's face and he mutters, “Och! A wee rain.” The brief shower stops and he wrinkles his nose as he gets a whiff. Then a man in a business suit lands on him.

It reminds me of a trip, years ago, on a train in Italy, traveling down the desolate eastern coast. I had to use the toilet (a bad habit of mine on trips, apparently). When I flushed, I saw the bottom of the toilet simply drop down and the contents spill onto the railroad ties rushing by underneath. It gave new meaning to the phrase "potty training."

This approach certainly seems efficient for airplanes – there's no complicated flushing scheme, no storage issues, and no unpleasant jobs for people emptying, carting, and disposing of the contents of the portable septic tank. The toilet just drops its load, bit by organic bit. Sure, you're covering the entire earth in a thin layer of refuse, but that's what roofs, umbrellas, and hats are for.

When I am King, more disposal systems will work this way.
  • Home toilets will work with the efficiency of those on my airplane and train trips; they will simply let it all hang out and release their contents onto the ground below, or into pipes that go to your neighbor's foundation.
  • Garbage cans will have no bottom. When the can is full, you simply pick it up and move it to some place that does not yet have a standing pile, perhaps on your neighbor's yard.

Barf bags on the plane, however, would continue to be sealed containers. Having them empty out onto the floor would just be too gross.

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