Lifehacks #101: Here’s why I think that you should use my toilet hygiene tip; even if you live alone
OK, so there’s a possibility that I may have OCD*, but I wipe the toilet seat before I sit down, and I’m recommending that you start doing it also. Here’s why my obsession should become your compulsion.
Not too long ago, I was in high-school, and it was the era when graduating seniors found it hilarious to “prank” the school on their final day. No actual property damage was permitted, but teenage imaginations ran wild in order to discover how to mess with people without creating much of a mess of the property**.
In Australia, school ends in summer, leading up to a hot Christmas. One year, the graduating ‘geniuses’ climbed on chairs and tables to put a layer of pepper on top of the blades of the classroom ceiling fans…
The ringleaders of this prank removed traces of their work with a damp rag over the desks and the ‘pepper-trators‘ of this crime were a long way away before the trouble started.
It was only around mid-morning, when the temperature started to climb, that someone turned on the ceiling fans and all hell broke loose. Pepper flew from the blades and the circulating air turned it into a dust-storm, with kids sneezing and wheezing; everyone trying to get outside faster than the asthmatics. It wasn’t much fun for the victims, but the spectators had a laugh.
Another high-school prank involved turning the large boys’ bathrooms/toilets into an aquarium. The premise was simple: a giant room with tiles on the floor and halfway up the walls was practically waterproof.
Someone plugged the giant drainhole that exists in the centre of most bathrooms, and step one was complete.
Step two was to ensure that water wouldn’t run out under the door. Sealing the door closed was not an option, because if nobody could walk in, there was no spectacle and the effect was lost.
Sometimes I wonder if the pranksters went on to become engineers…
A pile of sandbags placed a few feet inside the doorway would allow the door to be opened as normal, whilst making a fourth ‘dam wall’ and preventing the water from draining out.
Once the room was filled with a few feet of water, and the door could open and close like normal, you would literally have to “walk on water” to access the toilets.
All that remained was to add the fish.
Our pranksters did not use small beautiful goldfish from the petshop, oh no. That would have been too cute, or too expensive. Someone had accessed a nearby farm dam and caught several large European Carp. These things looked like a killer eel/shark hybrid, and even in two feet of clear water, it would have been a brave man who could step into the water to access the toilets.
I’m not saying that the carp swimming in our aquarium-ised “Boys Amenities” were six-feet long and weighed more than Frank the Fisherman, but carp can grow very bloody big, and they do not like to be trapped in brown tiles.
So, what happened to the toilet seats?
It was late 1980’s, early 1990’s decor, and probably done very cheaply. All I know for sure is that the school toilet seats were black plastic, not white as they are today. Insert evil genius #3, who decided to visit the girl’s toilets and smear the black plastic toilet seats with a thin layer of black boot polish…
The screams of 17-year-old girls may have been music to the ears of the prankster, but his thrill was short-lived. Boot polish not only stains the skin, but completely ruins underwear as well. The line had been crossed: property (panties) had been damaged, and the tradition of graduates pranking the school came to an end.
At my home, our toilet seats were white, but stories spread like wildfire, and I was not willing to take the chance that one of my fun-loving sisters would put white shoe polish or clear petroleum jelly on the toilet seat before I got to use it.
Yes, it was a compulsive ritual born from fear (aren’t they all?) yet it has served me well the last 20 years.
In two decades, nobody has ever deliberately pranked my toilet seat, but by wiping the toilet seat every single time before I sit down, I have saved myself from disaster many times.
- Sometimes, a clumsy oaf or small child may have used the toilet before me, and my initial cursory wipe removes any traces of spillage or childish waste, even if it’s smaller than the naked eye.
- Sometimes a “turbo-charged” toilet will flush so strongly that clean water can splash up onto the seat. Whilst this may not necessarily be unhygienic, it can be a little disconcerting to sit on a wet toilet seat, especially in winter.
- Occasionally, traces of cleaning products (acids, bleaches) etc. can remain on the seat after cleaning. Even when dry, these can burn your sensitive skin, and should be removed.
- On hundreds of occasions, both in my own home and in public toilets, I have gone to do the “pre-flight preparation” by wiping down the toilet seat before use, and found that there is no toilet paper with which to wipe the seat. WOOHOO!!
I am so happy to discover the lack of lavatory facilities before I do my business than afterwards. Now I have the knowledge and the power over the paper, I can find another toilet, find some new paper, or choose to wait until I get home. Is there any worse feeling than discovering a lack of paper after you’ve finished using the toilet?
For many people, finishing the job and discovering a “paperless office” may be a fear greater than death, taxes, public speaking, sharks and spider combined. If it happens to you once, you may find that you check the roll holder every day for the next two weeks, but your compulsion doesn’t last, and inevitably, the dreaded empty roll will strike you again at an unexpected time.
If you get into the practice of ALWAYS wiping down the seat before you settle in for a “lavvy landing”, then you can always make sure that you start with a sterile, clean, dry surface, and enough papery provisions for a budding novelist.
Follow this one tip every day, everywhere you happen to go, whether at home, work, travelling or staying with friends, and you will never, ever, be caught paperless with your pants down, ever again.
*OCD is a silly name: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (For starters: 1) who says it’s a “disorder” when you seek more order in your life? 2) It should be called “Neat-Freak Nervosa”, “Order Compulsive Syndrome”, or perhaps “Compulsive Order Syndrome”; at least that way, the abbreviation would be “COS”, and the letters would be in their proper alphabetical order… c) I am just putting this in here to mess with those who think they do not have OCD or COS. 4) If you didn’t pick up on the 1), 2), c), then you’re probably a really cool person, very tolerant, and largely unaffected by trivial issues in your life. Namaste to you 🙂
**NOTE: this article is for education and entertainment only. It is NOT an instruction manual. Do NOT try these pranks on others, as things could go horribly wrong by accident. There is good reason why shows like “Punked” and “Jackass” are loathed by many wise, responsible and still living people.
Do you have any weird rituals or compulsions, bathroom or otherwise? Please share your confessions or best tips below.