In My Opinion

Rivenbark: When it comes to toilet technology, Americans are a little behind

April 12, 2014 

I’ll admit that, when it comes to toilet technology, I’m usually, heh-heh, a little behind.

Only recently, at the insistence of my favorite plumber, did I purchase a toilet lid that closes its own self with just a little tap from me to get it started. Wonderful!

The less interaction I have with my toilet, the better. Which is why I’m not quite sure about the “Washlet,” concept designed by the Japanese. No surprise there. The Japanese feel about toilets the way Americans feel about bacon. Reverence is the right word.

The Washlet is designed to help us end our dependency on toilet paper altogether. Not sure what we’ll toss into trees during fits of adolescent rebellion but I’m sure we’ll think of something.

The Associated Press reports that this new toilet will make “toilet paper – and the need to put one’s hands anywhere near the unspeakable – seem (as outdated as) chamber pots and outhouses.”

As a spokesman for Toto USA, said, “We wash most things with water and wouldn’t dream of wiping a dish with a piece of paper and calling it clean. Why should personal hygiene be any different?”

I looked into this further, because I believe we have established that I enjoy cutting-edge toilet-lid technology and I discovered that Toto is offering a toilet seat with a retractable wand and a drier.

Which instantly made me think of the scene in “Coming to America,” with Eddie Murphy as an African prince visiting New York City, who is so spoiled that when he goes to the bathroom, a minion routinely calls for “Wipers!” to be on standby.

I’m not exactly sure how the “retractable wand” works, but I would fervently hope that it never malfunctioned. Wouldn’t want to give yourself an unscheduled colonoscopy.

The important thing to know is that toilet technology from Japan is now mainstream in the U.S. Even Home Depot stocks a toilet, the Brondell Swash 1000, which sounds more like a stockcar race to me, featuring a built-in spray washer for your, er, bottom and a warm air dryer as well as oodles of sanitation and deodorization features.

In just a few more months, Toto will introduce its top-of-the-line Neorest, which is tricked out like one of Beiber’s lambos and costs $10,000. I can’t even.

Turns out, the whole world has been kind of looking down on Americans for our outdated toilet technology. Let’s face it: We are very much in love with our toilet paper. If it gets even a little low, hysteria ensues. And we love that bear on TV with the paper bits stuck to his fur.

One of the reasons we Americans lag behind in toilet technology is that there is a “general squeamishness” about the high-tech toilets’ requirement that a grounded electrical outlet be nearby.

In other words, we don’t want to be working the crossword one second and perish in a toilet explosion the next.

That would flush the whole day, am I right?

rivenbark.com

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