Baxter Black: On the Edge of Common Sense
January 17, 2011
Say you were climbing Mt. Everest with your co-ed bowling team. You cover the last hundred yards to the summit. It takes five hours. After everyone has touched the flag pole they begin looking around and finally spot the official Tibetan Parks and Recreation A-One chemical toilet!
“Whew!” says one of the climbers, “I never thought we’d get here!” As she raced down the well-worn path, shoving a sherpa out of her way!
All of us know the feeling. At the county fair, tractor show, outdoor concert, rodeo, or construction work site, it’s one of the first things we scout out when on location.
I was visiting a friend in Texas who had built a beautiful log home. When they moved in 15 years ago they designed a lavish master bedroom on a second story hand-hewn loft. The peaked roof made it look like the lobby of a ski resort. It reminds one of a Paul Bunyan blueprint decorated by Martha Stewart! Lip Gloss on Babe the Blue Ox.
My hostess said that at the time (in their youth) it didn’t occur to them to put a bathroom in their bedroom. She said now days they often wake in the middle of the night, come downstairs to do their business and fall asleep on the living room sofa.
I remembered Grandma’s chamber pot but suggested to her that they put a full-sized Porta-John upstairs in the corner of the bedroom. Install an I-beam out over the loft with a block and tackle like a hay barn. Bolt a big eye-hook on the unit to get it up there. Or how ’bout building a ledge outside on the upstairs wall beside the stained glass window. Cut a door in the wall for easy nightly access! One might even be able to drain the unit through a spigot that runs to the garden.
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I could tell she was impressed by my suggestions the way she kept squinting her eyes and grimacing. I pointed to the success of chemical toilets in submarines, Boeing 737’s, space shuttles and protest rallies. Can you imagine the presidential inauguration or the Battle of San Juan Hill without Porta-pots? I mean how many legislative bills might have been passed or battles lost for the lack of a good chemical toilet.
I was losing her attention. “Wait,” I said, “How ’bout a compromise somewhere between rubber sheets and a major house renovation? We’ll cut a hole in the bedroom floor …”
She gasped! “And,” I said, “put in a fireman’s pole!”
She was speechless. I like it when I can be helpful.