“I hate you so much,” I said through clenched teeth, so seething with rage that anyone else’s feelings were of no consequence, which worked out okay, since I was speaking to an inanimate object. If you’re going to hurl invective at something, inanimate objects, to their credit, tend to handle it much better than animate ones.
The object of my hatred in this instance was a toilet seat, specifically the Bemis Easy Clean Round Toilet Total Life Destroyer. Granted, I should have read the entire product name before making a purchasing decision.
“Easy Clean? Easy is better than difficult. I think I’ll purchase this toilet seat and improve the quality of my life,” I’d said in the Home Depot aisle last week, when I was young and naïve.
Our old toilet seats were the originals from when our house was built twenty years ago, and while they weren’t quite George-Clinton-and-Parliament-Funkadelic funky, they did, to a certain degree, give up the funk. They just had that funk, and we didn’t want that funk.
I could have chosen from among plenty of different options at Home Depot. Over the past two decades, mankind has apparently made many advances in toilet seat technology. They had the slow-close kind, perfect for the considerate gentleman on-the-go, who would like to put the seat back down, but who doesn’t have the time to put it down gently. That seat felt dishonest, though, because it implied that I had any intention of ever putting the seat back down. You can’t build a relationship with your toilet seat on a foundation of lies.
So I went with the Easy Clean, figuring that the new feature of being able to pop the seat off the toilet completely would make our periodic oh-my-lord-people-are-coming-over, quick-scrub-the-toilet-before-they-have-a-chance-to-judge-us sessions that much easier.
I brought two of the seats home and installed one upstairs and one downstairs to achieve, as it turned out, maximum life-ruining coverage. You might think it sounds overblown to say that a bad toilet seat can ruin your life, but when you’re a parent, the bathroom is the one place where you can escape for a few minutes, a fortress of peacefulness in an otherwise chaotic world.
“Can you leave me alone for just a few more minutes?”
Try saying that in any other room in the house. It doesn’t work.
The problem with the seats became clear when both the seat and I were performing the normal commission of our duties. At a certain point in the proceedings, let us call it the tipping point, the seat and I both became unhinged, every time, even though I’d convinced myself that this time would be different. It would pop loose, turning the toilet into an impromptu mechanical bull.
“I hate you so much,” I said, after what turned out to be the last time.
The seat, for its part, maintained its jaunty outlook on the world, hanging halfway off the toilet, without a care in the world. Those seats might have been the worst purchase of my life, but they did take criticism very well.
“I haven’t had any problems with the new seats. Maybe you’re doing something wrong,” my wife Kara suggested.
That may be so, but at the grizzled old age of thirty-eight, I’m not capable of change.
Since they were already detached, it was easy to take those seats down to the driveway, where I spun like an Olympic discus thrower and hurled them into the trash can. (I didn’t have the original packaging, receipt, or lack of shame it would have taken to return them.)
Turns out, the slow-close ones aren’t so bad. You don’t even notice the difference if you just leave them up all the time.
You can come unhinged with Mike Todd at firstname.lastname@example.org.