Tuesday, 31 July 2012


I look at this and I hear the soundtrack from Jaws. You hear it too, right? I'm not weird, right? I'm not!

Sometimes your life can be altered with a single sentence.
"I love you" is a big one.
"I forgive you" is another.
"I missed my period" is a real doozie. 

But sometimes, the life-changing sentence doesn't seem all that important at the time. 
Like the time John Tesh told me (and everyone else who was listening to his strangely addictive Intelligence for Your Life radio show) that when you flush a toilet, the fecal germs can be propelled 20 feet into the air. "Landing," he added in that unctuous, ominous voice, "on your countertop, your towels, and even your toothbrush."

Whoa! What? My TOOTHBRUSH? You mean there could be pooh on my toothbrush?
Well once you've thought that thought, you can't unthink it.
And sadly, I thought about it a lot. (Every time I flushed, for weeks afterwards...the math is mind-boggling.) Eventually I relaxed because I realized with these ridiculous low-flow toilets, you're lucky if you can muster up enough of a vortex to just empty the bowl, let alone "propel" fecal germs 20 feet.

Public toilets, now that's another story altogether. 
I realized that one day not long afterwards, when the roaring flush of a toilet at the mall reduced a toddler to terrified sobs. Now THOSE toilets, I thought, are 20-footers for sure.
Well that was the beginning of a new era of obsession.
Since that thought dawned on me, I find myself scrambling to get out of the stall and out of range before the flush hits full velocity. If the door sticks and I'm trapped in there for a few seconds, I am mortified. MY GOD! I screech inwardly. IS THERE POOH ON MY HAIR NOW?

I examine the countertops suspiciously, as if the naked eye will reveal that they are teeming with ecoli. I daren't put my purse or glasses or, God forbid, my lunch bag, down anywhere in that crap-splattered room. I turn the taps off with my wrist and open the door with paper towels. 
So in a matter of weeks I have progressed from a normal person who can flush and still stand there chatting calmly with a friend to a panic-stricken ninny who lurches for the door, shoving people aside so my speedy exit isn't impeded: "OUT OF MY WAY! OH, PLEASE, JUST LET ME OUT, THERE'S A SHITSTORM GOING ON IN HERE!"

I have you to thank for this, John Tesh. Intelligence for Your Life, indeed.
Do me a favour, Johnny, will ya? Next week, maybe you could talk about pomegranates and how good they are for you. Or that catchy song by Carly Rae Jepsen, or golden retriever puppies, or why you never see those weird black-velvet paintings anymore.
Anything that doesn't mention the words "flushing," "fecal,"  "germs" or "toothbrushes." 
I and my anxiety disorder thank you from the bottom of our toilet.