Tag Archives: aging

Thrones of Bones, and Other Problems with the Modern Toilet Seat

As I get older, certain changes become more noticeable. Take toilet lids, for example. Overnight, it seems that good, solid lids have been replaced by these flimsy plastic imposters. Sitting on them courts slapstick disaster. Where did all of the good, solid toilet lids go? I imagine some young, up-and-coming business school graduate at Kohler or American Standard looking at the cost of manufacturing the plastic lid versus the solid lid, and selling their boss on the idea that the company could save millions by switching from one to the other.

Note that I specified young. A middle-aged innovator would never have made this suggestion. They would know, as I know, how useful the traditional solid toilet lid is. Every days, after emerging from the shower, the toilet seat is the perfect place to sit while I pull on my socks, something I can no longer do as easily standing up. It is ideal for sitting while tying one’s shoes. From a solid, sturdy toilet lid, I can sit and keep an eye on the Littlest Miss as she plays in the bathtub. It is much easier on my knees than kneeling on the floor. The toilet lid has served as an excellent step-stool when changing a lightbulb or cleaning out the fan.

Our old house had nice, solid toilet lids in each of the bathrooms. The new house has these flimsy things that creak inauspiciously under my weight when I perch them. I find myself sitting only on the edges, slightly off-balanced when pulling on my socks or tying my shoes.

I’ve noticed this trend in hotels across the country, a particular disappointment, because a toilet lid is a convenient place to sit and read while everyone else in the hotel room is sound asleep.

It seems that toilet manufacturers have replaced good solid toilet lids with what they call “slow close” lids. The “Slow Close” is a clever engineering gimmick to prevent reminding us of the satisfying THUD a solid toilet lid provides.

The names given to toilet lids are a mouthful. I was just looking at some to see if they give any sense of heft or solidity. Here are a few examples:

  • BEMIS Slow Close Round Closed Front Toilet Seat in White
  • American Standard Cadet Slow Close EverClean Round Slow Close Toilet Seat in White.
  • Brondell LumaWarm Heated Nightlight Elongated Closed Front Toilet Seat in White

Toilet seat names are longer than peers in England.

How about this one:

  • BEMIS Affinity Round Closed Front Toilet Seat in Bone.

Bone? Is there a demographic of people who desire throne made of bone? Or at least appear to be made of bone? Please let me never be a guest in their house. If my choice is between plastic and bone, I’ll take plastic. But what I’d really like is the nice, solid lid that used to cover all toilet bowls.

I try to embrace change, really I do, mostly. Kind-of. But I draw a line at plastic toilet seat lids, and so should you.

Stupid memory tricks

I have found that as I get older, my memory gets worse, or my brain plays more and more stupid memory tricks on me. Lately, I have found it more difficult to remember a word that I want to use, although I know it’s meaning perfectly and even have an idea of what letter it begins with.

In my previous post, I wrote the following sentence: “…we found ourselves at 2 bars.” When writing that sentence, I wanted to add a few words indicating these were bars which we regularly attended. I knew there was a word for this, I even knew the word began with a “p”, but for the life of me I could not drudge up the word from the murky swamp of my brain.

Until about 15 minutes later when, still brooding over it, the word, “patronize” popped out of the mire. (“…we found ourselves a 2 bars which we regularly patronize.”)

It got me thinking: how is it we can know there a word for something, even know the first letter of the word, and yet have an incredibly difficult time prying the actual word from our memory? I knew there was a word that described “giving a store, restaurant, bar, etc. regular business”, but I couldn’t think of what that word was. The word had to be there somewhere in my brain, but my aging synapses made it difficult to locate and extract. Why is this, I wonder? Is it simply some kind of stupid memory trick the brain plays on you as you get older? It is psychological? Or is it physiologic? Has my brain actually started to degrade with age?

I hope it’s not the latter. My body might degrade, but I want my brain to stay how it is.

Reading and hairlines

I finally finished In Joy Still Felt this evening, after nearly 2 weeks of reading it. As always, it was a great book, one of my favorites, as are all of Isaac Asimov’s autobiography volumes, and once again I was sad to have it finished.

The next two books I’m sneaking in because I simply couldn’t resist them: they are also autobiographies, this time by George Burns. My Grandpa used to have some Burns books on his shelf and every now and then I’d skim them and find them very funny. So when I was in L.A. last week, visting the Iliad Bookshop, I picked up, in paperback, Living It Up and The Third Time Around. They’ve been burning a hole in my backpack ever since I picked them up, and I’m getting started on the former just as soon as I finish this blog entry.

In other news, I’ve been noticing a disturbing trend lately that I have not yet had the courage to mention in these pages: I think my hairline might be started to recede. At least, that’s how it seems to me. It seems that my hairline is arcing in two places, like two widows peaks, leaving a tuft of hair more pronounced in the center. This could be my imagination. It could be the last haircut that I got. But in any event, I notice it ever time I look in the mirror now and have grown uncharacteristically self-conscious about it. It suppose, however, that something like that is inevitable.