Sunday, October 24, 2010

Does purse-sized protection work in public privies?

As a mom there are certain locations that I’ve gotten to know, shall I say, “intimately,” since having children.

For instance, the diaper aisle of the local WalMart at 11:48 p.m. I found myself there one night, dressed in something akin to pajamas I’m sad to admit, navigating my way through a group of 20 other bleary-eyed parents who were desperately trying to figure out if they needed extra leak protection or the regular protection diapers with the cool Buzz Lightyear logo.

I’ve also climbed inside the slide at McDonald’s PlayPlace (a misnomer that should really be called McDonald’s House of Screams). My son once got to the top of the contraption, parked himself firmly like an emperor overlooking his fiefdom, and refused to come down, forcing me to shimmy my way into a claustrophobic oblivion.

Another place where I’ve spent far too much time over the years is the public restroom. Through potty training alone, I’ve put in hours waiting, coaching, and (being the writer that I am) reading: the signs on the diaper changing stations, the notes scribbled on the stall walls … anything to pass the time.

But today’s reading material made me laugh out loud. This particular public restroom had those handy toilet seat covers that are supposed to keep us safe from E. coli, strep virus, fleas, ticks and weapons of mass destruction (I’m not entirely sure of that list). And the dispenser in which they are stored is made by a company called REST ASSURED.

Now I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do when I am using a public restroom is REST. Seriously, who’s going to take some leisure time, kick back, put her feet up and take a breather in a public restroom? Come to think of it, why is it even called a restroom? It’s not like we’re heading in there for a nap.

And as far as being ASSURED of anything, I think that’s a bit much to claim when it comes to a public restroom. Have you ever experienced those automatic flushing toilets? They’re terrifying. Nothing assuring about that. Make one wrong move and you’re ready for takeoff.

My friend’s daughter used to sit on the auto-flushing toilets in a crouching position, looking over her shoulder frantically, staring at the red sensor light. When it would start to blink she’d yell, “See? It’s gonna blow!”

Preach it sister.

I dug a little deeper into my toilet seat cover research on the Internet (you’d be surprised) and found one product called Charmin-to-Go. These disposable seat covers are conveniently packaged so they fit in your purse, backpack or pocket so you are always prepared in any bathroom situation.

Seriously? I can barely remember my keys or the names of my two children, so the chances of me planning ahead to pack my own toilet seat covers are slim to none.
And another thing … which marketing executive had the brilliant idea to call it Charmin-to-Go? I don’t know about you, but any time I buy anything with the words “to go” in it, I expect a large fry and Diet Pepsi to accompany it. So I’m not seeing how an individually-wrapped sterilized toilet seat cover is an upgrade. Talk about false advertising.

Who comes up with this stuff?

But then, my friend Ann reminded me that the creator of the flushing mechanism on the toilet was named Thomas Crapper.

And another piece of the potty puzzle falls into place.

Eileen Burmeister lives and works in Roseburg. She can be reached at

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