Self-cleaning windows, hybrid cars, robotic cats, YouTube, ipods to name a few. Technology has been advancing at a rapid rate and we in the 21st century are feeling quite smug about our level of sophistication but in this century there hasn’t been anything invented that has benefitted the human race quite like some of the technological marvels of the 19th century. Take the toilet for instance. In the 19th century Thomas Crapper invented the toilet. What has been invented in the 21st century that has contributed to our comfort more than the toilet? It is an unsurpassable luxury. I know! Although I didn’t live in the 19th century, I lived in Woodford, so it might as well have been the 19th century. I remember having to don my coat and boots to make my way to the outhouse on frosty winter evenings when I was just a wee little lass. No horror compares to sitting bare bottomed in a dark, spider-infested cavern with other people’s excrement beneath you and a stench around you that would take your breath away while you have your daily constitutional. No wonder constipation was a common disorder in those days. How our mothers ever toilet trained us is beyond me. Hmm! Wear a diaper and sit in my own excrement or go to the outhouse and sit on everyone else’s. What would you choose?
I shall always remember April 6, 1962. It was a most blessed day indeed. It was the day our first indoor toilet was installed. I awoke early that morning and hopped from one foot to the other in eager anticipation of using the new contraption and when I did it was sheer ecstasy. It was clean. It was warm and wonder of wonders, we no longer wiped our bottoms with toilet paper that was produced by Sears and had pictures of ladies in the latest fashion on it. We were going for the best - white single ply toilet paper that felt oh so soft. Life doesn’t get better than that. When I sit on the throne in the morning contemplating life I like to say a little prayer of thanksgiving for Thomas Crapper, the greatest inventor of all time.