Wikipedia is both a wonderful social experiment and a great resource for humanity, or so the PR copy goes. It’s also a repository of weird, insane, and often stunningly absurd pieces of information that you only stumble upon once in a while, suddenly glancing at a stray link in an otherwise standard article and realizing “what the hell, this is on wikipedia?” before eagerly devouring the whole thing.
I had about 15 of these revelations just the other day, all centered around the subject of toilets and what we do in them.
What in God’s name, you rightfully ask, was I doing researching toilets? I don’t know. I don’t remember, I don’t know how I got over to toilets. It was one of those Wikipedia binges where a harmless article on Drug Laws led me into areas I simply wasn’t prepared for. Let me show you.
Ok, before we get into the toilets, here’s this. I got into the whole toilet mess through this link. God knows what my brain was doing. But anyway: this genius piece of manufacturing is a fake penis kit. It features the following fantastic items:
- dried urine (coincidentally, the first time I’d ever heard of this product’s existence)
- a syringe (it’s harmless, but anything involving a penis and a syringe automatically makes me cringe like hell)
- heater packs (these keep the urine at body temperature. Obviously.)
- an instruction manual (thank the lord)
Most famously used by Tom Sizemore in his failed attempt to cheat on a drug test, the Whizzinator is really only worth of our attention thanks to the following line in the Wikipedia entry: “The United States Congress held hearings on the Whizzinator on May 17, 2005.” The idea of a bunch of congressmen trying to come to grips with a product called the Whizzinator is funny enough, and the debate (couched in the failed terms of the ‘War on Drugs’) was surely the stuff of legend.
We all know about these. The Simpsons even made fun of these things a decade ago. And yet… I still never understood just how fully weird toilets in Japan were until checking out this article. Here, for you, the choicest facts:
The TOTO product Washlet Zoe is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s most sophisticated toilet with seven functions. Why in God’s name there are any world records for Toilet Sophistication is beyond the scope of my comprehension.
While the toilet looks like a Western-style toilet at first glance, there are a number of additional features, such as blow dryer, seat heating, massage options, water jet adjustments, automatic lid opening, flushing after use, wireless control panels, heating and air conditioning for the room, et cetera, included either as part of the toilet or in the seat. I thought that list would never end. You know, I’m actually kinda starting to want one of these…
A second commonly found feature is a blow drier, often adjustable between 40°C and 60°C to dry the private regions after cleaning with the integrated bidet. Why the hell don’t I have a toilet like this? I’m actually getting envious of a toilet that will dry my ass for me. Envious.
The latest models store the times when the toilet is used and have a power saving mode that warms the toilet seat only during times when the toilet is likely to be used based on historic usage patterns. Screw the envy, this is reaching absurd levels of technological implementation. I’m full of mixed emotions now. Could these toilets be any more helpful/absurd?
Some even play music to relax the user’s sphincter. Don’t… just… don’t. I didn’t… god… it was a rhetorical question. God.
What in god’s name could be strange about these, you ask? No, you’re right, I’m sure there’s nothing strange to be found here! Move along, next article! But wait…
The ‘hole in the floor’ (also known as a Drop Chute Toilet) system where waste is deposited on the track is still in use in many parts of the world. Wait a minute.. that’s why the conductor was so pissed off at me when he found me in the bathroom, flushing away while the train was stopped. Here in Italy the trains definitely fall under the “many parts of the world” banner, and the tracks are plenty dirty as a result. Lovely.
The city of Bristol isn’t known for much, but thankfully that’s all about to change once this Wikipedia article gets wider recognition. What is it? Oh, just a casual, fun way to classify the various forms of human feces. Go Bristol!
This is humourous on many levels, both for the comedic value of seeing a series of illustrated craps, but also for the text that goes along with it, which is uniformly great. Craps are described as “like nuts“, “like a sausage“, somewhat “fluffy“, like “a snake“, or “ENTIRELY LIQUID” [emphasis theirs]. Watch out for that last one. Putting them all together like this makes our digestive system sound like a bunch of Metal Gear Solid characters.
More cultural differences to enjoy! According to the article, many of these rules are out of date and largely geared towards bathroom habits going back hundreds of years, when many toilets were “confined areas in the desert,” as opposed to today’s modern toilets.
However I’m more interested in the level of detail, which far outdoes any other toilet-related advice I’ve ever seen. Seriously, where else are you going to find passages like this: “After wiping, he should wash his hand first and then he should cleanse himself with two fingers and three fingers if necessary together with ‘pouring’ water. When using the two fingers, one should keep the middle finger in front and the ring and index finger behind it. After beginning with the fingers in this position, he should bring the ring finger forward and rub with the middle finger and ring finger. Thereafter, he will wipe with the index finger, if necessary.”
Religious custom be damned: I’ve never once thought about what the hell my hand and fingers are doing back there, but now, thanks to the information that Wikipedia insists I read, I’m no longer going to be able to avoid it. Damn you, greatest encyclopedia the world has ever known. Damn you.