For a swaggering country that so prides itself on handling its crap, America is doing a really poor job of handling its actual crap. And the cracks in our treatment of our cracks have begun to show in quite a dramatic fashion during the pandemic. Cracks such as ...

The U.S. Government Has Turned Its Back On Public Toilets

 

When it comes to the most desired spots to relieve yourself in public, the global ranking is as follows: 

1. Every public toilet in the civilized world

2. Particularly tall bramble bushes. 

3. International airports. 

4. Your own underpants. 

5. The U.S. of A

Sadly, from black people to women with a slightly too-pronounced Adam’s apple, America has a long tradition of barring its most vulnerable citizens access to public restrooms. But in 2020 we’ve finally reached true equality now that no one can go into a public restroom anymore. For decades, local governments have been dutifully neglecting the state of their public restroom to the point of utter disrepair. Then, instead of dealing with the issue, they simply handed off the unenviable task of toilet toll keeping to bars, libraries, and that one McDonald’s that hasn’t changed the lock combo to the bathroom in ages.

Jason Michael, Flickr

If you don’t want us to figure that it’s 6-9-6-9, McDonald’s, then stop hiring teenagers.

The pee-dancingly urgent flaws in this system became very obvious during the pandemic. With businesses and public buildings shuttered and outdoor restrooms looking more like crack dens than crack relievers, Americans no longer have anywhere to go when they need to go on the go. This neglect is making society’s transients, both the professional and amateur kind, quite desperate. Homeless folks in cities are forced to wear diapers as they’re no longer afforded even the dignity of having a shit and a soap-dispenser shave in the only bathroom without a non-optional gloryhole. Delivery drivers have learned to no longer trust their bathroom finder apps and just carry around enough pee tubes and empty bottles that their cabs look like it’s Bring Your Beerbongs To Work Day. And so many women got tired of squatting in between cars that the sales of female pee funnels have skyrocketed.

Sandwich, Flickr

Mostly because they don’t realize they pee so fiercely it’d give a penis recoil. 

Not that the situation is any better for those upright male citizens who want to quickly drain their lizard behind a dumpster. While the government was stripping the public toilet system of its funding they were also stripping Americans of their constitutional right to pee freely. Pulling down your zipper within a 500-mile radius of a school and you risk not only being thrown into jail but being branded as a registered sex offender. (For the well-being of the children, of course.) The same tiny-bladdered tots who, if they forgot to go before leaving the house, will have a furious cop fining them up to $2,500 or arresting their guardian for “child neglect” before they can even unlatch the second button on their Winnie the Pooh overalls. 

And if you think this draconian lizard-draining dystopia doesn’t apply to you, think again. Even during the lockdown, only 13% of Americans managed to avoid having to hover over a public restroom toilet. Despite this, and in part due to decades of neglect and decay, Americans simply can’t be bothered to stand up for their right to relieve themselves outside of the home and continue to look down on public restrooms as dens of drugs, dereliction and unbridled gay cruising. But it doesn’t have to be this way! With proper funding and innovation public restrooms can be number two utopias. Just look at France’s open-air pissoirs and self-cleaning sanisettes. Or Japan’s high-tech glass arthouses that show off their cleanliness while also blurring out people self-consciously doing their business. Just imagine a public toilet on every American corner, an Apple Store-like transparent cube with a swaying CGI flag and the constant screams of a bald eagle giving you total privacy and peace of mind. That’s the kind of government relief all political factions could get behind.

That is, if we could support such sewage works. Which we can’t, because ...

Wet Wipes Are Clogging Up Sewers And Cleaning Out Budgets

 

Between wiping everything down like a panicked ax murderer and blowing out our buttholes eating homemade sourdough instead of Wonderbread, America’s use of flushable wipes has gone through the roof. Or more accurately, down the toilet, where our obsession with keeping everything clean is quickly destroying the place we keep our filth. 

Thanks to the hygienic high stakes of the pandemic, moist towelette manufacturers have seen financial increases of up to 30% in just a year. But simultaneously, many state governments have had to increase their sanitary budgets as desperate sewage workers engage in a losing fight against fatbergs, the undulating sewage clots made up of countless flushed wet wipes, cooking fats, and a terrifying amount of mouth masks. The problem has gotten way past dumping some low-level adventurers into the sewers to deal with these gelatinous cubes. Over the past year, South Carolina alone has had to increase its anti-fatberg budget by $110,000. The titanic problem now requires entire teams of engineers and sewage divers (and you thought your job involved a lot of wading through shit), to prevent its sewer systems from becoming more clogged up than Humpty Dumpty’s arteries. 

Matt Brown, Flickr

Because he’s an egg. Eggs are high in cholesterol-- y’know let’s just drop it. 

“But,” I can hear the delicately-bottomed implore, “I specifically buy the wipes that say that they’re flushable.” But what do you think flushable means? A gallon of cooking oil is “flushable.” A baby alligator is “flushable.” The hard plastic packaging of the wipes that read “flushable” is “flushable.” Unbeknownst to most consumers, the term is technically pointless, as the moist towelette industry keeps its flushability standards so low they can wipe the bottom of the barrel with them. And even those few wipes that aren’t a scam no longer have time to properly biodegrade before becoming absorbed in the yawning maw of the nearest fatberg and aiding in the frequency of sewage shooting out of pipes like crap Krakatoas. 

And this sphincter-tightening crisis may not be shrinking anytime soon. Sewage experts fear that when office workers, starved of shame after a year of attending Zoom meetings in a shirt and three-day-old underwear, return to the office they will no longer tolerate the lick of the cat’s tongue that is office-level toilet paper and might bring their precious wipes with them to work. In response to this ongoing plumbing pandemic state governments are starting to push not only for wipe-control bills but lawsuits against moist towelette companies for misleading and causing harm to the public. In response, Big Wipe has formed the Responsible Flushing Alliance, a lobby to clog up the system by diverting the blame to consumers and urging the government to remind citizens to limit toilet use to the “Three P’s”: Pee, Poop and Projectile vomit. 

Actually, that last one should be toilet paper, but you won’t be able to afford that soon anyway because ...

The More Toilet Paper We Buy, The More Expensive It Will Become

 

In the fourteenth century, toilet paper was invented. This has been widely regarded as a bad move. Yet despite scholars of every century warning against its use, preferring even to go back to the ancient ways of using sponges, moss and seashells (that’s right) our lazy asses kept growing more and more dependent on dabbing our sphincters with wasteful napkins like a bunch of bourgeois butthole Burgundians. And if we weren’t paying a high price for our over-reliance on toilet paper before the pandemic, we sure will be after. 

People who work from home may still be pooping on company time but their dimes now pay for their own toilet paper. This has made the commercial TP industry richer than its wildest dreams. In 2020 Kimberly-Clark, the number two of number twos, made an extra $750 million from people hoarding their toilet paper like a dragon with diarrhea. Yet despite this banner year, both Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark have announced they will be dramatically raising the prices of toilet paper before the end of 2021, a price spike that will undoubtedly be shoved up the rosy cheeks of the consumer.

Macau Photo Agency, Unsplash

You’d think that an industry that relies so heavily on bulk sales would have a different viewpoint on supply and demand.

Wiping their hands clean of this decision, Big Toilet Roll claims that it has no choice but to shaft the consumers as the pandemic has created a serious supply shortage. Between the wood pulp industry struggling to pinch off enough of the Amazon to meet the higher demand and supply lines being as stretched thin as the last piece of toilet paper on the roll (that the Ever Given spent weeks clogging up the Suez Canal didn’t help), product production costs are on the rise. “We expect a more challenging environment especially compared to last year,” bemoaned Kimberly-Clark CEO Michael Hsu. This would cause an unacceptable return to normal after the lucrative poop profiteering of the pandemic. Never mind that this would mean millions of Covid-unemployed will start having to choose between getting to feed their babies and wiping their own asses. 

Erik Mclean, Unsplash

Just kidding. They’re raising the prices of baby food and diapers as well so they’ll be able to afford neither. 

If this downward spiral (which goes in different directions depending on whether you’re above or below the equator) continues soon it’ll make more financial sense to start wiping our mudflaps with dollar bills. But salvation is in sight and we might finally be ready to stop wiping them altogether and start wiping the slate clean instead, as ...

Bidets Are Finally Making A Splash In America

 

Between the exhaustion of the sewer systems, extinction of accessible restrooms, and exorbitant markups of toilet products, America seems to be heading toward an inescapable asspocalypse. But salvation may be around the corner as these dire times are finally forcing Americans to grow up and learn how to wash their asses

As mentioned before, while the rest of the world has long accepted the gift of Poseidon’s kiss on our starfish, America kept refusing to embrace the bidet as the crack-cleaning device of the future. Not only did mid-century Americans irrationally regard the bidet as a decadent waste of space (if God wanted you to have two toilets He would’ve given you two assholes) but the mere act of hosing your rump down as implying that you’re unsanitary and even immoral -- a prejudice picked up by American G.I.’s encountering the shameful bowls in French brothels. 

That they were fine with sticking their privates in the Parisian prostitutes but not in their washing basins is a whole other Puritan mess to untangle. 

But pandemics make for strange bedfellows and the frequent toilet product scarcities have turned many Americans bi(det)-curious. High-tech toilet manufacturers such as Japan’s Toto have seen the North American sales of their sanitary pachinko machines almost double in 2020. At the same time, bidet startups like Tushy are quickly colonizing the colon cleansing market with their low-budget bidet attachments, showing Americans it only takes attaching a hose to your toilet bowl to experience a cleansing so decadently immaculate it’s as if you’re squatting over the horn of a Trevi Fountain cherub. 

And dumping TP for bidets isn’t just a blessing for your ass, it’s one for the whole-ass country. If every household made the squirt switch, each year it could save American families hundreds of dollars, American governments thousands in fatberg funds, American forests millions of trees and American asses countless papercuts. By unclenching our Puritanical puckers and being baptized in the French fashion, America may just be able to achieve the American Dream by turning it into a wet one.

For more weird tangents and recipes for toilet wine, do follow Cedric on Twitter.

Top Image: Jasmin Sessler, Unsplash

 

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