Friday, April 12, 2013

Flush-free toilets in golden age

I usually tingle anytime I read The Gettysburg Address, to me, the most stirring words ever written.

It’s different when I read what I think are the second most stirring words ever written.

When I read them, I usually tinkle.

“By using this touch-free completely hygienic waterfree system, you are helping the environment to conserve an average of 40,000 gallons of fresh water per urinal, per year.”

Yes, mine eyes have seen the glory of the future urinal!

That’s the little sign above the urinals in the Men’s Room at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott here in Latrobe. It’s the new Arnold Palmer hotel. I was there for drinks with friends Wednesday and, as I always do when I’m there, went to pee after every single sip just so I could bask in the porcelain innovation.

That I’m usually so overcome with emotion about the global implications I miss the target and wind up peeing all over the wall is beside the point.

Only the archaic 18th century internal combustion engine is more disappointing than the common commode, which commonly wastes 1.6 gallons of drinkable water -- the world’s most precious resource -- with every flush.

It infuriates me that many of our brightest minds today devote more brain power to divining ways to deliver better Angry Bird graphics than addressing some of the problems that can doom the planet.

And devastating water shortages are a big part of that.

I worry that one day we’ll run out of water.

What’s funny is I never worry we’ll run out of beer. This is absurd, I know, because most 12-ounce beers have enough water to support guppies -- very giddy guppies, certainly -- but that’s just the way I think.

Believing we’ll never run out of beer is a thought that always sustains me after a long day of cataloguing catastrophes out here on the perilous Blog Land front lines.

That’s why the number 40,000 gallons is to me such a big deal. 

That’s potentially a lot of beer and a preposterous savings for one year from just one little urinal in the lobby of a moderately traveled hotel in a tiny southwestern Pennsylvania town. And there are two of these marvels in the lavatory.

Just think how much savings there would be if they could convert the pissers at places like Heinz Field and PNC (pronounced Pee ‘n’ See) Park in Pittsburgh.

The mind boggles.

I wonder if the reason there’s been so little innovation in the common toilet is because people are uncomfortable talking about the indelicacies involved in this bodily function.

That’s just silly and a mindset that’s hindering any breakthroughs in this vital realm.

I’d think by now we’d be able to use toilets to digest of all our household wastes, not just the human unpleasantries.

Really, the modern toilet should be combination potty, recycling center, industrial shredder, and incinerator all in one. Whenever any object breeches a certain line, sensors automatically determine if it’s organic, plastic, metal or other before instantly dispatching the object to eco-oblivion.

This kind of efficiency will increase the importance of remembering to always keep the lid down if your dog likes to drink from the bowl.

Either way, I now have a more compelling answer next time some guy asks me in a a tavern or restaurant if I know where the rest room is.

I’ll tell him, indeed, I do. It’s in Latrobe at the Marriott across the street from the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport.

That’s where THE restroom is.

And there you have it, a splash of toilet expertise from the most unlikely of sources.

A guy who’s famous for rarely having a pot in which to piss.

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