Hartley: Eating out of toilets and other cultural norms | AspenTimes.com

Hartley: Eating out of toilets and other cultural norms

OK, folks, enough is enough; this sort of behavior has got to stop, pronto. As recently as July, in the very headline of this column, I admonished you all to please get your minds and bodies out of the toilet, but did you listen? No. No, you did not. In fact, you fecally fixated little ne’er-do-wells went and did just the opposite, didn’t you?

Last week, on the very same day, it was announced that a toilet-themed restaurant was opening in Los Angeles, and the Kennebec (Maine) Journal broke the story of an Augusta man who intended to fill his yard with toilets repurposed as flower planters to protest a zoning decision.

The Maine man, a plumber named David Labbe, wanted to sell his property to a developer so a Dunkin’ Donuts could be built, but local authorities rejected the zoning-change proposal that would have allowed a business in the neighborhood. So Labbe did what any rational, sane person living in Maine would do and put five toilets in his yard, tried to plant flowers in them in the middle of October and put up a sign saying he was looking for donations of 60 to 70 more toilets.

“I’m going to line the whole street with toilets,” Labbe announced. “I figure I can put almost a hundred up in there. They pissed me off; I’m going to piss them off now.”

All righty, then.

Look, David, no one except maybe my friend Sharon loves Dunkin’ Donuts more than I do. I totally understand how strong the urge to have French crullers and Croissanwiches in your neighborhood can be. I get it. But laws are laws; there’s no reason to bring literal potty humor into the equation.

It doesn’t even make sense unless for some bizarre reason Labbe is implying that doughnuts prevent diarrhea and without them you’ll need plenty of toilets. Or maybe, being a plumber, toilets are just his natural medium. Who knows?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, restaurateur Yo Yo Li opened the Toilet Bowl Cafe in Los Angeles. The new eatery, based on similar ones that are popular in China and Taiwan, boasts food served in toilet-shaped bowls and toilets for sitting on while you dine.

The menu, which one can only pray is not indicative of the gastrointestinal distress you’ll suffer if you eat the food, features such excrementally monikered fare as “Black Poop,” “Constipation,” “Smells Like Poop” and, perhaps most ominously, “Bloody Number Two.”

I don’t know about you, but nothing whets my appetite like the thought of treating myself to a bloody number two for dessert after a steaming plate of black poop with a side of constipation. I have a standing reservation at the Toilet Bowl Cafe every Saturday so I can hobnob with all the other Nobel Prize winners who hang out there.

The best part of the ABC News story on the restaurant was how it reminded us that racist statements aren’t really racist if you’re vaguely connected to the people you’re insulting.

“(Asians) just can’t resist these gimmicky fads involving food,” said Tony Wei, described as “a Los Angeles resident of Taiwanese decent.” “I, being Taiwanese, also can’t resist said gimmicky fads.”

Imagine Rush Limbaugh saying that roughly a third of the world’s population can’t resist eating out of toilets because they’re not white. That would go over well.

I’ll admit it: I like sitting on the toilet as much as anybody — except maybe my friend Sharon. (In Sharon’s defense, I have no idea if this is the case; I’m just saying it’s possible.) Some days, I’ll spend six or seven hours on the commode, just having myself a good think.

And trust me: I really do consider the toilet one of man’s most perfect inventions. We celebrate Sir John Harrington Day every year at my house. (Harrington, you’ll remember, was the real inventor of the toilet, not English plumber Thomas Crapper, who merely improved the design and gave toilets one of their most enduring nicknames.)

But we live in a civilized society — at least those of us who aren’t senators or congresspeople do — and we need to abide by certain rules of etiquette lest our society somehow devolve even further. One of those rules that is absolutely sacrosanct is that there will be no potty humor at the dinner table. Everyone knows that.

So I’m sorry, Mr. Yo Yo, but you’re just going to have to serve black poop for breakfast and lunch only.

Todd Hartley reminds you to always “feather the nest” when you use a toilet whose previous users are unknown to you. To read more or leave a comment, please visit http://www.zerobudget.net.

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