Happy Toilet Day! When I saw an ad this morning by one of those toilet cleaning companies, I thought it was a joke. One of those happy bogs thing to market the product. Turns out there is, indeed, more to defecation than a super bowel event.
Now don’t go screwing up your noses. It’s got big sponsors and volunteers. Quite happening.
This event has a history going back to eight years. In 2001, the World Toilet Organization decided to address the issue of worldwide sanitation. It would be easy to smirk. But, think about it. We discuss global warming which is somewhere between the clouds and the sky. This is nearer home. It is inside the home, if you are lucky to have en suite facilities.
This year Unilever's Domestos has got together to “improve the lives of those affected by poor sanitation and increase access to hygienically clean toilets around the world”. This is where I have a problem. We have the local brand from this company and their ad frightens the hell out of me. It shows these huge monsters that are supposed to be bacteria walking all over the shit throne and screaming with joy about mucking up our little daily tryst with weight loss. I have felt chastised for I have been using another brand for years. Squishing the blue liquid into the pot made me feel safe and secure. Now, these animated bacteria have been telling me for the past so many days that I have been doing it all wrong.
It’s okay for the likes of us who have private loos and a fastidiousness that comes with learned behaviour about How to Respond to Excrement with Excitement. Had I been an academician of some ill-repute I might have pondered over it and produced a big fat geek wedding kind of production on paper. But I am not. So, I turn to the best bet – cynicism. And it is valid. How many people with poor sanitation and lack of hygiene know about this squishy-squish bottled cleaning liquid? How many have basic facilities?
In the heart of my city, I have walked through lanes where women have to use umbrellas to hide their faces as they squat near the drains. I have seen people line the railway tracks. I have seen children leave little pellets of malnourished shit. There are villages where people go to the fields to relieve themselves.
Therefore, we are dealing with a bunch of people that is wooing the WC-ers. It is ethically unfair. There are events for the community, the school, the world. There is also the Big Squat, “A Movement for the Toilet-less”, to drive home the point "where would you go?" and how people without toilets are forced to go in public places.
Is this empathy? How temporary it is when they tell you, “At exactly noon on November 19th, gather your family, friends, classmates, colleagues and everyone you know to squat in public for 1 minute in support of World Toilet Day.”
You might be given a bottle of the cleaning liquid and those 60 seconds would help your knees get a bit of a workout. It won’t help anyone, unless you want to bond with the group or you are planning to visit a really backward area and your lives depend on managing this feat.
If it is noon in your part of the world and you go along with this, here you go.
As for me, I dumped it.