Student has Issues with Toilets

To the Editor:

I can’t count the number of times in the past few weeks that I’ve walked into a bathroom on campus and been greeted by a half-flushed or unflushed toilet already occupied by someone else’s giant turd or wad of toilet paper. One time I walked into a stall in Mudd, saw that the bowl of the toilet was harboring feces, moved to the next stall and saw a floater in that one as well. Jeez!
Being an Oberlin student, my initial reaction was to blame the white, Christian, capitalist patriarchy but then I gave the issue a little more thought. My next theory was that Oberlin students are dirty hippies who refuse to flush their waste on moral grounds. After even more reflection, however, I dismissed that hypothesis also. I think I clearly see the enemy now, though. I place the blame for this plague on the plumbing.
Many times a toilet will seemingly flush all the way, deceiving the shitter into believing that their waste has been removed. Then when the naive excreter leaves the stall, a rogue piece of toilet paper or the tip of a poop will reenter the bowl. Unknowingly, the person who last used the lavatory has left a disgusting surprise for the next patron. I call this phenomenon back-flush. I sometimes flush and then zip and buckle my belt. This leaves me time to see what happens after I flush. It is true, the toilets are not doing their jobs. They are leaving scraps behind.
Now you may be saying, “The toilet always flushes correctly for me. Maybe you’re just a big shitter.” You’ll have to take my word on this, I’m not an extremist in the number two area. It’s true that I’m no slouch. I’ve been known to spew a few sizeable logs in my time but I don’t think I drop an unheard-of load. I’m about average. What does this mean? We’re all at risk to back-flush.
So we’ve identified the problem. What can we do about it? I would suggest flushing once then waiting to see if you need a second flush. However, this can be a waste of time and water. The environmentally safe thing to do would be to flush, wait to see if back-flush will occur, and, if it does, leave a note to the next occupant of that stall warning her/ him that a plumbing problem is a real threat. Then, if you still feel the need to solve the problem, write a letter to Nancy Dye insisting that she take action and protect our bathrooms! Don’t be afraid to speak your mind!
On the topic of bathrooms, I would also have to warn about some of the toilets at the gym. They flush violently and can often spray water up, out of the bowl. Watch out!
As you may have noticed I spend a great deal of time in, and a greater deal of time thinking about, bathrooms. So I am not a stranger to the whole “Tom Yagoda blows dead bears” movement. While I appreciate your goal and effort in spreading this statement all over campus, I have one critique: the phrase you chose is a little on the not-very-clever side. “Tom Yagoda blows dead bears” is just a profane statement with no intellectual insight or social commentary. May I suggest a few phrases for your consideration: “Tom Yagoda’s mom blows dead bears”, “Tom Yagoda likes Yanni” or “Tom Yagoda smells like poo.” I think you’ll agree that these slogans not only demean Tom Yagoda but also remind us of the frailty of the human condition.

–Mike Connor
College sophomore


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