Saturday, March 21, 2009

Is The Economy In the Toilet? Or Vice-Versa?

To measure the economy, a lot of people look at the unemployment rate, the Dow Jones, the Gross Domestic product, or the number of contestants on Dancing With the Stars who are wearing last year’s shoes.

Not me. I measure the economy the same way I measure everything else: by conducting a thorough audit of the availability of different varieties of toilet seats.

Our household toilet seat has seen better days (and if you’re a toilet seat, that’s saying something). The enamel has worn through, resulting in the appearance of dark stains in places where it would seem unnatural that there should be stains.

It’s quite embarrassing, really.

So our weekly trip to town last night featured a stop at the Giant Home Improvement Warehouse of Last Resort, where there are some 30 or 40 different varieties of toilet seats available.

Knowing how important a toilet seat is – it’s where all the important thinking and reading gets done in our house – what should have been a two-minute purchase turned into a 45-minute affair.

Should I opt for the stain-resistant enamel? Enameled wood, natural wood, plain plastic, or plastic with pinstripes? Do I want the Quiet Close™ design?
Padded, or hard enough to leave a permanent dent in my derriere if I sit on it for more than 90 seconds?

Did you know they now make toilet seats with a “patented twist-off hinge” to make cleaning easier?

Fortunately, my eventual choice had to match the color and size of our current toilet, so that narrowed my choices somewhat.

I ended up getting the cheapest, flimsiest seat I could find, figuring that, for the price of the “twist-off” variety, I could by a new cheap seat every time we clean the bathroom.

Hey, at least I didn’t scrounge one out of the local dump, which is what my brother-in-law would have done.

When I got home, I remembered as a child visiting a hardware store with my dad, and noticing some of the novelty toilet seats they had for sale, including some clear plastic ones with barbed wire or playing cards embedded in them.

(Remind me in about six months that a playing-card toilet seat would be a perfect gift for my dad, who missed his calling as a riverboat gambler.)

Seeing this merchandise at such an impressionable age had a profound effect on my childhood development.

Nowadays, a search of will give you 100 different designs to choose from. I should have gotten the Decorative Polyresin Toilet Seat with Steer Head Skull. It would have cost me 44 clams, but it would have been so worth it.

After considering all of this, you have to agree that our economy is just fine. True, it has gotten worse of late, but as long as people can still make a living designing or decorating toilet seats, we have to keep things in perspective.

I guarantee you some of these toilet seats are not available in Uganda, which, not coincidentally, has an economy much inferior to ours by all other measures.

In fact, if our economy were single and on the dating scene, it would be buying the “extra large” Trojans, if you get my drift. Whereas Uganda’s economy is so insecure, it would be seeking something Ribbed for Her Pleasure.

Ours may still need a little stimulus now and then, but we’ve still got it where it counts.

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