Years ago, I lived in Austin and went to a historic Episcopal church. The parish house needed major renovation, and when the parishioners were surveyed for what they wanted from the renovation, more and better bathrooms was at the top of the list. Considering how few and far between the bathrooms were, this request was predictable. Like others, I donated money to support the renovations, and the new parish house was wonderful, and the multitudes of new and bigger bathrooms were glorious and much appreciated.
My current DC area Episcopal church is also historic with a parish house needing major renovations. Once again I find myself being asked by my church to donate money to support renovations. The space is small and not used efficiently partially because the parish house is an old house. It has this tiny little ancient elevator that scares me. Also like my former church, at or near the top of everyone’s wish list is more and bigger bathrooms.
As I’ve contemplated how much money I want to and can give, I’ve also thought about what I’d like to sponsor if I had enough money to request something being acknowledged as being sponsored by me. I don’t actually know if anything in the renovations will be designated as being sponsored, but churches do that all the time with big donations. The church has brass plaques on all the pews, stained glass windows, and other items.
So I’ve thought about it just because it’s fun. The same way I think about if I died famous what would I’d like dedicated to me. I’ve already decided should I die famous that it will be written into my will that if anyone tries to name a freeway after me, my estate will sue them for defamation and pain and suffering, and I’ll come back to haunt them. A park or library would be lovely, but a freeway would be an insult.
I realized what I’d like to sponsor at my church. I want to sponsor the new toilets. I want a plaque next to a toilet that reads “This toilet donated in glory of God by GGE.” As much as the vast majority of people don’t want to think about toilets, when there are not enough, or they are not working, they are all you think about. I speak for all women when I say public places never have enough of them, and we spend too much time in line to use one. [More of my Opinions on public restroom design.] We have all sorts of euphemisms to avoid having to say the word toilet, and God forbid someone should mention the words urine or feces or urination or defecation in polite company. I’ve spent years in the lab analyzing urine and spent part of my career in wastewater treatment and conveyance. I could speak for hours on bodily human waste.
The truth is the toilet is one of the greatest inventions of all times. It effectively and efficiently takes human waste away to where it can be treated and not spread disease. Toilets prevent smelly and dangerous gases from the waste from coming inside. Humans no longer walk outside avoiding streams of human waste and falls from above from people emptying their chamber pots. Because of toilets and sanitary sewers and treatment plants, most of us do not have to worry about cholera, typhoid, Guinea worm, and many other diseases.
Be thankful that you have a toilet. When my church’s renovations are over, I know all the members of the parish will be grateful we have more of them.
“These toilets given to the glory of God and in appreciation of the past, present, and future people who ensure bodily human waste is removed from this premises and properly treated, by an environmental engineer who understands a toilet’s importance.”