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Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Note to the Facilities Department of the Anonymous Fortune 500 Company - RE: Restrooms

To Whom It May Concern,

It appears as if this has been thus far a very restroom-centric month here at the **** building. With a set of the facilities being shut down for what I am certain will be a stunning and world-class renovation, it has been slim pickings for the 600+ teammates who are often seen scurrying from restroom to restroom in search of an open stall, in that hurried, short-stepped gait usually reserved for stereotypical Chinamen in B-movies from the 1930's and women wearing ankle-length, skin-tight dresses, like Jessica Rabbit in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit".

I would wager that if one were to have a poll, that Jessica Rabbit would be overwhelmingly voted "Most Sexy Animated Chick", over the likes of Daphne from "Scooby Doo" and Race Bannon's adventurer girlfriend "Jade" from the Jonny Quest Show.

But I digress.

I happened upon probably the only restroom in the building that didn't resemble the waiting room for a free clinic in Haight-Ashbury, circa 1967 and made my way to an open urinal. I was immediately hit in the face with the ammoniatic odor of the previous user's urine. Given my unreliable gag-reflex, this was nearly an immediate disaster. My hand reflexively reached for the flush-lever, but there was none. This was one of those futuristic urinals with the electric eye sensor that notes when there is a user, then flushes when the user moves out of the sensor's beam, or path, or swath. This one was apparentlynon-functional or simply lazy. And this is my question: Why do we need to have toilets that flush automatically, or paper-towel dispensers that dispense only when a hand is waved in front of a similar "eye"?

I believe that we are wasting technology that could be better-served elsewhere, like my car. I would much rather have a fancy electronic doo-dad that would allow me to jam cellphones within a two-mile radius of my speeding vehicle than have an electronic hand-towel valet. Plus, when these electronic bathroom devices take a dump (there is a topic-worthy metaphor, or simile - I always get those confused), we are usually in an uncomfortable or unsavory world of hurt. I have more than once stood in the bathroom waving my hands as if my fingertips were on fire, attempting to air-dry them after the towel dispensers went down. And the downside of a non-working flusher could be worthy of a Total-Bathroom Shutdown given the right combination of volume, temperature and diet.

My point is this: If everyone is supposed to wash their hands in a diligent fashion after using the restroom in any of its capacities, why would it matter if our hands touched a common flusher or a water faucet? We are washing our hands diligently afterwards, right? And if our hands are then scrubbed clean by the diligent washing, it should be safe if we all touch a common towel dispenser knob or crank, correct? After all, we're all CLEAN by then... And those who don't wash diligently never get as far as the towels anyhow, so they get what they deserve and we remain unsoiled by their filthy ways. If they acquire an infection spurred by fecal matter transference, we can just call it "thinning of the herd". So, if I may humbly suggest, could we please replace the electronic monkeyshines with the manual versions - I think it would save us money as a company in the long run, and you would hear nary a complaint.

And speaking of electronic bathroom devices, I noticed on a brief sojourn to one of our sister buildings that the toilets have a water-saving device that flushes according to the time spent sitting on the throne. I consider this another extremely inefficient use of technology. Here's why: What if some sandbagger hijacked a toilet to urinate and proceeded to sit for a half an hour, using the space to check his email or play Angry Birds on his cellphone? While he might save us money by preventing a half-dozen flushes that may have occurred to those sent jockeying off for other restrooms, he will still get the full-dump flush upon rising, which is a waste of water. Conversely, if an efficient teammate wandered in, sat down, opened the bombays and dumped the payload in 6.5 seconds (my current record), he would get the pee-flush and have to hit the emergency dump-flush button to clear the decks, thus wasting another thundering gush of water.

My suggestion here is to go to the old fashioned, manual toilets. Or, if you are bound and determined to have technology lead the way in our bathroom future, let's find a toilet that works on the principle of displacement. That would be a smart toilet indeed. It would fetter out the sandbagging urinators and give proper shrift to the efficient evacuators.

As always, we appreciate your hard work and forward thinking and personally, I cannot wait to see the unveiling of the new restrooms. I must admit that I am disappointed that I was not consulted on design, but it shall not affect my work performance, of that I ensure you.


Jerry Ford

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