A chiaroscuro ad in a recent issue of Architectural Digest can hardly be overlooked. There, glowing softly in its black-and-white sleekness, is a new kind of toilet which looks more like an overhead projector warming up for a presentation on hygiene than a commode. Running down the left side of the page in lower-case letters appear thirteen attributes of this modern wonder which I will run down (and over and under).
An “integrated toilet and bidet” would appeal only to those who like to splash and dash.
“Opens, flushes, closes automatically” may be a bit faster than the manual method, but what about the indecisive gent who changes his mind halfway off?
What is a “self-cleaning wand”? Is it a magic wand that can be waved around the room with the incantation “Clean yourself, sez me”?
The “precision air dryer” is also perplexing. Is this some variation of the hot air dryer in restrooms this is supposed to dry hands but still causes those departing the scene to pat themselves down like airport security personnel? Is this air dryer designed to make toilet paper obsolete? Will it lead to a new version of the old Guy Mitchell song “Feet Up, Dry Me on the Po-Po?”
One supposes the “deodorizing filter” is to obviate the aroma after the act of elimination is completed. The indelicate query that naturally comes to mind: “Is it filtering the air or something else?”
The “heated seat” is an unneeded option because there is no recorded instance of anyone incurring a frostbitten gluteus maximus from a toilet seat. Besides, how long after sitting down on a conventional seat are not buns toasty warm?
“Warming feet” is another puzzler. Does that mean tootsies as well as tushies get warmed by this miracle worker?
Is “ambient lighting” needed? True, many sitters combine reading and excreting, but unless the fixture is located in durance vile sufficient illumination is delivered overhead.
The need for “integral speakers” during the brief time better spent in concentrated meditation on the job at hand is doubtful. Just sitting through “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Riders on the Storm” could leave one saddle sore when the intent should be to fly like the Eagles and be “Already Gone.”
Are the “personalized settings” for personalized sittings? Can one choose between “light,” “medium,” and “heavy”? How about “Uncertain,” “Definitely,” and “Hold this seat for me later”?
“Male sensor” creates an image of the toilet lid leaping to the up position every time any being imbued with a gram of testosterone walks in the room. Would the presence of a transgendered person lock the lid in a 45° position of uncertainty?
“Water conserving” is admirable. With all of the features that require electricity to function, how much energy is being conserved?
The “touch screen remote” may be useful to view all the features this 21st-century marvel can perform, but close, not remote, is not where one wants to be in time of need. Picture the possible danger for yon sitter posed like Rodin’s “The Thinker” who pushes the wrong button and, instead of turning on the ambient lighting and warming the seat, gets propelled forward by the lid closing on him, forcing him to roll with the changes as the sounds of REO Speedwagon accompany his somersault into the hall.
There will be no $4,000 Numi for the old me. Unlike those who gather to bow in reverence at the newest or gaudiest throne, I pay no special honor to the rearly departed.