I have a tiny toilet collection, in case you didn’t know. Many people do know this, actually, but most don’t know why. So I will tell you.
It all started when I was in high school. I used to make the grand statement that the “only” thing I could draw was a toilet and would then proceed to demonstrate by drawing the following:
Eventually, this became my logo, of sorts, and I drew it whenever I had the opportunity. Perhaps it was a symbol of my angsty frustration with the world and feelings that things were crappy, but more than likely, I think, it was because I enjoyed the random ridiculousness of drawing toilets everywhere. Teenagers are weird like that.
And so, when I went away to college, my friends, Cory and Melissa, who had their own weird logos, presented me with a tiny metal toilet that doubled as a pencil sharpener. It was adorable, and I loved it. Later, they bought me a toilet-shaped cigarette lighter, of which I was also enamored. These items sat on my desk in college and provoked a lot of curiosity from my hallmates, who wondered why I had a “thing” for toilets.
“They’re cute,” I said.
This baffled my friend Bob, who couldn’t understand how a toilet could be cute. I told him that pretty much anything in miniature is cute. Mini muffins? Cute. Baby iguanas? Cute. Tiny tape measure? Cute. I thought that my toilets were especially cute because something functional and inherently unattractive was made decorative and adorable. I was making a statement…of some kind.
Bob told me I was crazy, but one day he fashioned me a tiny toilet out of Play-Doh. Now I had three tiny toilets. Enough to be called a collection.
And, as will happen when you collect something, people jumped on board, happy to have something specific to buy me. Although, as it turns out, tiny toilets are not so easy to come by. It’s taken over a decade to amass the seventeen tiny toilets I proudly own today. And out of these, I have only bought one for myself. The rest were either given to me or made for me. (The first gift my boyfriend, Paul, ever gave me was a tiny toilet he carved out of plaster.)
The funny thing about having a tiny toilet collection is that it makes people think you are interested in everything having to do with toilets and bathrooms and poop in general. Over the years, Bob has sent me links to articles about “Gothic” toilet paper, a building shaped like a toilet, and a toilet-themed restaurant. (Although, I have to say, I wasn’t sorry that he sent any of them. Just like anything in miniature is cute, anything toilet-themed is amusing.)
Recently, my friend Meghan sent me a link about a toilet in New Orleans, and just yesterday my friend Chris sent me a link to a charming website called Shitsenders. “Thought you’d like this,” he said.
The idea of Shitsenders is simple. You can mail a quart of animal poop (gorilla, cow, or elephant varities) to someone who’s done you wrong. It arrives anonymously, and there’s even a gallon option for people who have really pissed you off. (Paul is already making a list.)
The thing is, I would never actually send anyone a bucket of poop. (They’re quite pricey, and I’m not convinced it’s legal.) Besides the fact that for all my talk about poop and toilets, I don’t actually like either one. I find going to the bathroom to be an unpleasant time-waster, toilets are often yucky, and I poop is smelly and gross. I wouldn’t send it to my worst enemies, were I to have any.
The whole point of my tiny toilet collection, I think, is that I’m taking something inherently unpleasant and making it charming. I guess that’s what I’m always trying to do, with everything. When it comes down to it, I’m rather prissy.
Take the other day, for example, when Paul said jokingly that someone should “eat shit and die,”
“That’s terrible,” I said. “Don’t say that.”
“You don’t think it’s kind of funny?” he asked.
“No. It’s awful to say someone should eat shit,” I told him. “Yuck. I don’t think it’s funny at all.”
He looked at me, baffled with my logic, just like Bob. Why such prudishness from the girl with a tiny toilet collection and not one, but two blog posts about pooping animals? (1 and 2.) What can I say? I’m weird like that.
After sending me the toilet article, Meghan sent me another article about writing. “I thought of you when I read this today,” she wrote. “See, not everything that makes me think of you is toilet-related!”
I read the article – “My Little Bag of Writing Tricks” by Rachel Toor, which has a lot of great tips for writers about the revising and editing process. She discusses grammar as well as structure, and my favorite tip is the recommended reading your manuscript in a larger font – like the size of a children’s book. Mistakes that were skimmed over before are hard to miss when they’re (literally) so large. (In fact, I used to do this with my math proofs in college when I couldn’t find my mistakes.)
So I guess that when people think of me, they think, not only of toilets and shit, they also think of writing. So that’s good to know. And on pondering grammar, I suddenly had a thought.
“Hey Paul,” I asked as we were falling asleep. My face was in the pillow and my voice came out muffled. “Does the phrase ‘eat shit and die’ have any commas? Like, could it be ‘eat, comma, shit, comma, and die?”
“No,” he said. “I think it pretty much means to eat shit.”
“Oh. It’s nicer with the commas, though. I like Oxford commas anyway,” I said dreamily. Eat, shit, and die. In a way, it was profound. Wasn’t that life, in a nutshell? I was glad that simple commas had taken something I found unpleasant and transformed it into something a little more charming. Grammar is weird like that.
I don’t really have a point for today except that toilets are funny, commas are important, and I often enjoy the random ridiculousness of writing a blog.