The Return and Impending Departure of Your Man On the Can

The Return and Impending Departure of Your Man On the Can

From Thursday, I shall be pooing in America for a month, and I thought you might like to be kept informed. I will endeavour to keep a somehwat regular log, but it has been a while since my last deposit here, so to grease the skids, I shall first attempt a review of a local loo which I used for the first time recently.

During a moonlit stroll to kick the wall at the end of the Salthill Promenade, I found myself caught somewhat short, and was thus drawn to the bright lights of the public bathrooms beside the Blackrock diving board.

The 20cent entry seemed a very fair price to pay for some privacy and relief. The last time I attempted to do my business outside, midway through the proceedings, I adjusted my footing and stood on an anthill, and in the ensuing chaos, I shook my sandal off into a distant thicket in Norway. To clarify — I was in the wood in Norway at the start of the incident, and am not suggesting I possess superhuman leg-shaking strength and ought to be signed immediately for Liverpool football club, though I’m not saying that would be a bad idea either.

This was, however, the Ryanair of toilets, and included no toilet paper. Not having had the foresight to bring with me a newspaper, dock leaf, or copy of Knight’s Atari*, I had no choice but to cut my losses and venture to the next booth. Having spent my last 20cent piece, I was forced to part with a full euro coin to enter, and as I did so, I wondered whether this were perhaps some sick psychological experiment. This booth, however, did come replete with paper, so I did not end up taking out a second mortgage on a house that I do not have.

The booth had a motion-sensor activated light, to save the planet, and this promptly flicked off when I was evidently standing too still while creating a paper shield for the toilet seat, one begrudgingly dispensed sheet of two-ply at a time. Quite what manner of bewildered jig was expected of me to keep the light on for the duration, I am not fully sure.

In other time-sensitive quirks, there was a countdown timer on the door directly opposite the toilet, which you could watch as its fifteen minutes ticked down, in case you needed a little extra pressure to move things along. This is not a complaint — a visible timer is preferable by far to those public toilets which seem to choose some arbitrary and unannounced length of time to spew you ignominiously back onto the street.

Indeed, as I watched haphazardly and hurried, the timer display flicked off and started counting down from 15 again. It is quite possible that I was being awarded five fifteen-minute slots for my euro, but a part of me wondered somewhat gleefully if I had somehow managed to hack the toilet’s software system.** Sadly, I could not afford to hang around to find out, as I suspect my date must already have been getting impatient waiting by this point.

As I made my way to the sink, I noticed there was a slot near the ceiling for disposing of your old needles and razor blades, and at a more accessible level, a button labelled “Reset flush”. I did not press it, but I was curious. If any of our intrepid readers would like to investigate, do let me know how it goes.

The sink itself was one of those comprehensive units built into the wall, where you theoretically hold your hands in place as the unit sequentially administers liquid soap, water, and hot air, so all you have to do is rub your hands together. This one, however, seemed defective, as the water came so immediately after the soap that I did not have time to spread the soap around, and then straight after the water came soap again, and so, I found myself trapped in this vicious cycle of wet but really, really clean hands. In the end, defying the sign on the wall which mocked “Leave hands in place until dry”, I gave up and wiped my hands on my trousers and hoped my date would not get prematurely handsy.

 

In conclusion, I would not say the toilet is particularly glamorous, but it makes up for it in convenience. Convenience if you are out on the Salthill prom, that is, as opposed to in, say, France. The privacy is very good — provided you remember to lock the door, and conclude your business in a timely fashion. Certainly compared to American public restrooms, where, if you are lucky, the area between your knees and your shoulders is not as available to the general public as if it were featured on the nine o’clock news… but I shall no doubt moan about that further in the near future.
The facility is as reasonably clean as one can expect of one used by the general public. There isn’t really much to write home about in the way of entertainment, but my cell signal seemed fine, had I needed to call for assistance or play Angry Turds (I thought I was being clever, but it seems this game actually exists… ah well). Ergonomically, the toilet was a little high for comfortable squatting, and set very close to the wall, which is fine so long as you don’t think about everyone else who been squashed up against it before you.

Overall, I would give this loo 6.5/10, and would readily recommend it to friends if they were passing and were caught short. Maybe bring some toilet paper with you.

 

*Feel free to vote for the book of your choice, and I can update the article as necessary. Please appreciate, also, how I avoided the obvious cheap joke at the expense of certain maligned university courses, for fear of alienating our literate readership.

**You may scoff, but it would not be a first for me. Last summer I rescued a lady locked in a public bathroom by a Norwegian motorway (that is to say, beside the motorway, rather than to imply the motorway had malevolently captured her and imprisoned her thus — Norwegian motorways are lovely), using only my NUIG library card and a pair of sandals.

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Peeing on Three Continents.

Peeing on Three Continents.

OCTOBER 1ST
I peed on three continents today.* It all started with a bleary-eyed piss in the disabled toilet of the Galway Coach station. I like the toilets there – they are relatively clean and, presumably correlated, accessible only through a 40cent turnstile, keeping out the proletariat. The regular coin-accessible toilets were closed for cleaning, however, meaning I had bought a bottle of Sprite for change and for naught.

Upon exiting the bathroom, I stumbled onto a bus and ended up in Dublin Airport. They had a toilet there too, so I peed in it. It was an underwhelming experience. That isn’t even my poop smeared on the bottom of the toilet bowl. The first soap dispenser, tap, and hand-drier all failed to work, but not in any spectacularly dramatic or entertaining fashion.
Inspired by a tweet** from the wonderful Hannah Fry, I did download the BBC Four Pandemic app, which sought to study how quickly a virulent disease might spread. To do my part, I promptly boarded a flight to Peru, via Canada.

I refrained from using the facilities on board either plane, because I was trying to remain hydrated. I do not know if that is how hydration works. I wish I had studied a more practical science than maths. Some of these equations would be significantly more useful if you knew what values the variables represented.
The first public bathroom in Toronto I tried to use seemed to adhere to America’s policy that cubicles in public bathrooms need to be very public indeed – a regulated minimum of a two-inch gap between the door and its frame, so that you can see if the person using the toilet before you is circumsized, and walls that begin at the knee, so you can show off your new shoes to the entire row of cubicles.
The second bathroom was better – note the proper wall, and the rail for parkour.

Eventually, my father, my brother and I made it to our lovely Airbnb in Lima. Here is one of the three bathrooms:

It was a little small, and lacked a sink, but it was the one beside my bedroom. Sadly, after over a day’s travelling, it was unable to meet my demands, and so, very sleep-deprived, I found myself faced with an issue even Your Man on the Can’s How to Unblock a Toilet‘s recommended first course of action was unable to rectify. In the end, I added some warm water*** to soften the stool overnight. In such instances, a little dish-washing liquid can sometimes help to lubricate the sides of the bowl, but in the event that a caretaker or plumber had needed to called, I didn’t want to risk having to explain, without any Spanish, why the blocked toilet was full of suds.
In the morning, it still would not flush, so I found something long and disposable (an empty kitchen roll holder) and broke up the blockage therewith. That did the trick, and the toilet flushed without further ado.

When my father noticed what I was doing, he advised that, in future, using some of those antibacterial baby wipes, as opposed to normal toilet tissue, would reduce the quantity of paper needed, and thus reduce the likelihood of blockage. Of course, I already knew this, and it had not been the paper causing the blockage, but it was good to hear that the apple had not fallen so very far from the tree.

Somewhat related – if any of you have somehow not yet come across the fantastic Bristol Stool Scale story, I highly recommend, without even a hint of reservation:
A Daily Mail article.

 

Love,

Your Man on the Can

Addendum:
The Pandemic app’s “survey” was uninspiring, though I am curious to see what results are yielded. Most disappointing of all, perhaps, was that the “Distance travelled” options only ranged up as far as “100+ km”. What a waste of an almost 12000 kilometre trip! 😦

 

*I am relieved that I had no cause to use an incontinence pun there.
**A message posted to all of one’s followers on the social media site “Twitter” – a bizarre platform which somehow managed to survive and maintain popularity from 2006 to 2019, despite its sole “advantage” being an imposed 140-character text limit, which the majority of its users circumvented by posting multiple messages at once, or half an unhelpful sentence followed by a hyperlink. It served as a useful source of anti-epigrams and a soapbox for infinitely-recycled opinion on the one topical news item du jour.
***Closer to boiling than is recommended, in fact, but I added it very slowly and carefully so as not to risk cracking the ceramic.

 

 

How To Unblock A Toilet

How To Unblock A Toilet

Editors’ Note: In this article, for the first time ever, Knight’s Atari have taken heed of our readers’ repeated complaints about our “f*cking asterisks”, and provided convenient links between the text and footnotes. Your feedback matters to us.
  

As the honeymoon period of living with new housemates gradually wears off, many of you will start to find that the blocked toilet becomes harder and harder to ignore. Since all the cool social justice warriors are poorly driving the feminism bandwagon these days, I’ll start this article with a nod to gender equality*, and even a footnote for the gays, before subtly segueing into some permutation of whatever other doubtlessly salient points I have to make on the subject of unblocking a toilet.

76% of blocked toilets on campus are caused by males. Males are bigger, therefore they eat more and make bigger poops. On top of that, literally, they add more toilet paper because they invariably have more hirsute arses which are more difficult to wipe clean and deshitnuggetify.** I’m sorry, gender quota advocates, but that’s just the way it is. 83% of people of who poo on the bathroom floor instead of in the toilet are female or Asian, if that helps. Another oft unaddressed issue is that a man’s eye can distinguish between fewer colours than a woman’s can, especially in dimly lit public bathrooms, so while a woman in her cubicle, squinting at the toilet paper, can see as the afterwipe colour changes through Intense Chestnut, Hazelnut Truffle,  Leather Satchel, Muted Mocha, Perfectly Taupe, Gentle Fawn, Elderflower Tea, and white,*** a man must (obviously) err on the side of caution as he sees brown, brown, light brown, orange, yellow, yellow, looks white, looks white, probably is white, is almost definitely white but best give another wipe just to be sure… resulting in squandered toilet paper. I was amazed at how much toilet paper I saved when I would have my girlfriend or mother assess the colour of my pieces of toilet paper post-wipe, and probably used an average of six sheets of paper less than I otherwise would have.

Furthermore, we all know girls only defecate fairies and rainbows, which, given their ethereal nature, are not likely to cause obstruction. Instead, females’ toilet blockages are caused by flushed tampons, dead cats, pubic hair, and the swaddlings of toilet paper she buries her suffocated fairies and shame in.

Regardless of whatever form your genitalia may take, sometimes you just come home to find a bison**** has made use of your facilities, as captured in this sketch by Dr. Kevin.
bison

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