The Good, The Bad, And The Low Flush Toilet


There is a point at which love of the environment runs headlong into a need to preserve modesty and decorum.   That collision happens on the seat of a low flush toilet.

I love the environment.   I want it to be clean and sustainable for generations to come, world without end, amen.   I’m especially aware of the need to conserve water because we have a well and it has run dry.  Having said that, I’m lobbying for a universal return to the 10-gallon-per-flush toilet after what happened to, er, um, a friend of mine.

My friend, whose name is…Mabel – yeah, Mabel, was at work when nature called.   It was nature of a more substantial nature, if you get my drift.  She went to the Ladies Room, did her business in one of the two stalls, and flushed.   As she prepared to leave the stall, she looked down to make sure business had, in fact, been successfully completed.  This was not the case.

She had a floater.

Mabel stood before the porcelain throne and patiently waited until the bowl completely refilled with water and the tank stopped burbling.   At this point, someone else entered the Ladies Room and went into the other stall.  Mabel tried not to listen to what was going on next door as she waited for the silence in her stall that would signal it was OK to reflush.

Once more she pushed down on the handle and this time the offending remnant swirled down, down and out of sight.  Mission accomplished!

Mabel turned to the door.  She had her hand on the latch and was prepared to shove it back when she shot a quick, “just in case” glance over her shoulder.   At that moment, Unsinkable Molly Brown popped up from the bowels of the toilet.

The lady in the next stall finished, washed her hands and left the room. Mabel remained in her stall, tapping her foot.  She wondered how it could take 10 minutes for a scant 1/2 cup of water to run into the bowl.

The door to the Ladies opened again and she heard 2 co-workers talking as they entered the room.   Two!   One entered the neighboring stall.   The tank hadn’t stopped gurgling. Mabel knew it was too soon, she KNEW it, but she couldn’t help herself.   She pushed down on the handle.  No whirlpool resulted, of course, the water just shimmered a bit.   Her heart sank.   Her Baby Ruth bar did not.

She quietly took the top off the tank the better to watch the snails-pace ascent of the red, rubber ball that now controlled her fate, and she seethed with impotent rage.

Mabel knew the woman waiting for a stall was bending to peer under the door.   She could practically feel her gaze on her feet.  The fact that she would see the stiletto heels of Mabel’s red pumps instead of the toes would tell the whole, miserable tale.   She quickly spun around to face forward.

She didn’t recall eating marshmallows and feathers for breakfast, but what else could explain the disgusting, yet light and fluffy results?

Mabel racked her brain for a way out of her dilemma.  Obviously she would have to wait for these people to leave.  Should she then go and try to find some sort of extraction implement in her desk – perhaps a ruler?  Then what?  Should she make a dash for it and leave the problem for the next toilet traveler, praying that nobody would connect her with this debacle?   With her luck she would be opening the bathroom door at the exact moment the office’s biggest gossip came in, went to “her” stall and the jig would be up.

What was the protocol for this situation – as captain, was she morally obligated to go down with this ship?

She envisioned spending the rest of the work day trapped in that stall.  She could be there for all of eternity. Mabel: Sisyphus of the Flush.  Her quest for toileting closure would probably drain the municipal water reservoir.  The entire community would be plunged into a drought because this $%&*@ low flush toilet couldn’t get the job done!

By this time the person in the next stall was washing her hands and the second woman had taken her place.  Mabel waited until they were finished and the bathroom door closed on their chatter.  She squared her shoulders and turned, resolute, to face her nemesis.  The theme song from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly played softly in her head.

The tank had stopped gurgling.  The water in the bowl was a sheet of glass reflecting the overhead light fixture, undisturbed but for the wee guest which had out-stayed its welcome.  Mabel set her jaw, said a silent prayer to the restroom gods and pushed down firmly on the handle.   She held her breath.

The water swirled down, down and down, taking the Lincoln Log with it.  So far so good.  But she remained vigilant; she’d been burned before.   She waited.  She waited until the downward flow of water reversed and the bowl started to refill.  She waited as the water whooshed, then burbled, then shimmered.  Only when the Ladies Room was completely silent, the bowl empty of all but clear, still water touched with the faintest hint of blue, did Mabel throw back the bolt on the door of her prison.  She stepped out into the light of day on legs grown shaky from disuse.

As she washed her hands, she vowed that henceforth she would do all of her personal business in the safety and comfort of her home bathroom, with its 10-gallon-per-flush toilet.   Mabel left the Ladies Room a sadder but wiser gal.

Addendum: Anybody have any coupons for Industrial Strength Depends? For Mabel.



About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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111 Responses to The Good, The Bad, And The Low Flush Toilet

  1. Very funny and…discomfiting. We like the environment, too and installed a low flow toilet in our downstairs bathroom. Now guests can’t stay without getting “the talk”. Welcome to our lovely home. Please, for all that is holy, only poo in the upstairs bathroom.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Missy Craig says:

    Great post. I so admire Mabel and her determination to deal with the low flush. Lately I have noticed a trend in public restrooms of less and less effort to even flush at all!


  3. Marshmallows and feathers? Epic! In the future, use the tried and true method of the ‘Good Fella’s’, and anchor the little buoy with some wet T.P. to help it continue on it’s journey of ‘sleeping with the fishes’….metaphorically speaking, I hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the funny story.


  5. Elyse says:

    YES! Those toilets suck. Or, rather, DON’T SUCK when necessary.

    But Peg, I fear you are going to become Word Press’ Toilet Queen.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This creates yet another dilemma in the fashion realm: to wear those stylish but oh-so-identifiable new shoes, or to choose something more, shall we say, pedestrian?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Shannon says:

    Marshmallows and feathers! We’ve all been there, Mabel.

    The ten-flusher dilemma is too often left for the next warrior. Thankfully, upon entering such stall moments later, the offending log flushes perfectly enough straight away to make us ask the question to the air, “Why could that woman not have flushed BEFORE I got there?” Now we know. Now…we know. Thank you, Peg.

    PS – the reservoir of the low flush toilet holds more than two gallons. Hold the handle down for the convenient (and evidence hiding) “double flush.”

    Liked by 3 people

  8. AthenaC says:

    Oh my word – I have seriously considered getting an industrial toilet for my home. “Oh don’t do that, Athena,” my mom said – “those things explode.” Well, I’ll take my chances. The other option is using the plunger every. goddamned. time.

    You know something’s wrong when you would actually rather use the public restrooms at Wal-Mart rather than go at home simply because you know the toilets at Wal-Mart are more effective at their intended function.


  9. Michael says:

    Nice Unsinkable Molly Brown reference. I laughed aloud. I, er, rather, a friend of mine, Bob, had a similar trouble this morning in the bathroom of Bob’s hotel room, where Bob was stuck during a snow day. Alas, poor Bob. and poor Molly.


  10. susielindau says:

    Nothing worse! It’s in the bowels of awful….


  11. dmswriter says:

    Love this! Next time, Mabel should drape a webbing of TP over Molly Brown and spray with Poo-pourri. Yes, this is a real product, and the video is a hoot – check it out at Poor Mabel – I’ll bet she throws those shoes away after being outed like that… 😉


  12. Bill the Praise and Worship Guy says:

    Great post, Peg! Especially loved the Sisyphus mention… I hope it gets Freshly Flushed!


  13. Deborah the Closet Monster says:

    Bwahaha! Li’l D, our personal household policeman, recently announced that someone forgot to flush. I had to explain what “floaters” were.

    I had to explain again a couple of days later.

    So far, he’s much better about grasping the concept when coming into the bathriom than when leaving it …


  14. Akire Bubar says:

    Yep, been there. Then there are those crazy-powerful low flush toilets that flush so violently you think you’ve just created your very own wormhole to another universe right there in the bowl. Better than leaving evidence of one’s visit, sure – but remember to step away quickly after flushing lest you be splattered by the toilet’s vigorous efforts. Sheesh.


  15. Soooo….are you trying to get FP’d again? Make it an even 10?? When I saw this post in my reader I knew it’d be yet another gem. Lincoln log? Baby Ruth bar? bwa hahaaaaa!

    But please tell dear sweet Mabel she should take a cue from me — never ever use a public toilet for serious bidnezz. Leave work and go home if necessary. Your… I mean Mabel’s co-workers will thank her.


  16. Carrie Rubin says:

    So funny. So horrifying. So funny. So frustrating. So funny. Did I mention this post was funny?

    Thanks for a great laugh. Low-flush toilets are wonderful, but they certainly weren’t created with teenage boys in mind. We had to upgrade one of our toilets for that very reason. And it’s a decision I’ll never regret…


  17. Tell Mabel that next time this happens she should drape a few sheets of toilet paper over the bobbing corpse. It works like cement booties… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I feel for Mabel as these things always seem to happen in public bathrooms and never at home. You do feel like an idiot standing there waiting for more water. Taking up the stall and your own time. Tell Mabel she is not alone and I think this is a nightmare on most ladies list.


  19. Blogdramedy says:

    This reminds me of the story about Howie Mandel at a public swimming pool in Toronto, Canada. He floated a chocolate bar in the water and timed how long it took people to vacate the pool.

    Your story was funnier. *grin*


  20. Al says:

    I’ve always said those damn low flush jobs weren’t worth a crap.


  21. franhunne4u says:

    I – uhm – a distant relative of mine with whom I am not even on speaking terms – use – uhm uses a toilet brush. Those are not meant to stay clean …


  22. What an excellent foray into subjective, third-person limited narration, Peg. It’s like you knew Mabel’s every thought and feeling. Brava!


  23. I think the low flow toilet ended up using more water than a regular flow toilet with all the extra flushes needed!


  24. Dana says:

    This. Is. Hilarious. It reminds me of some European toilets, which seem to have a higher, inexplicably dry “shelf” inside the toilet bowl, a few inches above the drain where the water actually is and eventually flushes out. If, um, Mabel, were in Europe and had a more substantial call of nature to answer, her Baby Ruth would sit on this bowl-shelf, not even immersed in any water. Then, when she’d try to flush, she’d be praying to all the archangels and ascended masters to please, please, please pour water into that bowl with such force, so as to push the log off the dry shelf, into the tiny, water-filled part of the bowl, and then into the pipes and off to the sewers. Unfortunately, hearty flushes in European countries are unheard of. Horrifyingly, the water merely trickles onto and around the log, possibly dislodging it slightly– or even worse, causing it to smear on the shelf! Many flushes are usually required, first to actually get the log off the shelf, and then to wash away any offending poo-smears on the shelf, and then to coax the log off to the sewers at last. To add insult to injury, you usually have to pay an attendant to get a few squares of toilet paper for the stall! Mabel would hate this. Make sure she carries her own TP with her wherever she goes in Europe. Just in case…


  25. In My Cluttered Attic says:

    Can’t wait for the movie Peg…”50 Flushes of Brown” but I doubt Mable wants the part.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. mistyslaws says:

    Oddly, I was just randomly thinking about how glad I am that we don’t have those low flow toilets in our house. I will conserve and recycle in a myriad of other ways, but that is one that seems a step too far.

    I am so sorry that you were falsly imprisoned in that horrible stall. Let me know if you want to sue someone. I mean, give Mabel my card.


  27. If this happens again, all Mabel has to do is wait for someone to arrive and then leave her stall shaking her head and tutting and say “The person who went before me has left a nice gift for us!” or, just pile a whole load of toilet tissue on top of it, add a pee for good measure, and then it just looks like a blocked toilet. Alternatively, she could carry a large bucked of water with her, and just add to the flush if needed.


  28. timelesslady says:

    Thanks so much! I needed to laugh today…you had me at “floater.” 😀


  29. The music track was absolutely perfect!
    Judging from the number of stalls I have to check before finding one no floaters, most people don’t have the patience or common decency of Mabel these days. It is a dilemma, though. We try to help mother nature by conserving water with the low flow. Then when nature calls, she slaps us in the butt and makes us have to flush three times using more water than we would have with no flow.


  30. runsonsyrup says:

    Hilarious. When my husband and I were redoing our bathroom, I specifically requested a toilet that would be in danger of disemboweling me if flushed while sitting on it.


  31. Oh how funny – and horrible at the same time. These water saves are such a lie – everyone ends up using just as much water to take care of the reason you went there in the first place. (Some people seem to be getting like my cat and her litter box: – take care of business – then run away as fast as possible and pretend you weren’t there.)


  32. PiedType says:

    There are limits to what I’ll do for the environment. Saving water this way is one of them. Another is low-flow shower heads.


  33. I am weeping for Mabel. But now I understand the problem and will stop thinking women are simply nasty twits who fail to flush after doing their business, it is those low flow toilets.


  34. Disgusting yet Interesting.The fine detailing captures an ordinary situation with original language


  35. k8edid says:

    A friend of mine, Kitty, yeah Kitty, had similar situations that were simply horrifying. The first involved a dinner date at a young gentleman’s home. She had to inform her host that not only would the evidence not go down, it seemed to have plugged up the waste discharge system for the apartment building. The second involved a stay at a motel while traveling for work…when my, I mean HER, morning bizznezz plugged the works causing an overflow situation at exactly the same time she needed to leave to arrive at a work function on time. No time to call the front desk…Kitty never heard from her host again, and always secured a room at a different hotel when traveling to that particular city.


  36. amelie88 says:

    To do your business or not to do your business at work? I think we would all prefer to do it at home but sometimes nature comes calling and there’s nothing we can do to hold it in! I’m glad you survived your ordeal unscathed.


  37. Confused Intern says:

    Reblogged this on Confused Intern.


  38. koehlerjoni says:

    I had to write a six word memoir during a workshop. Here it is: I can’t poo in strange potties. So I almost never have Mabel’s particular issue. I have to get to know my toilets really fast when we travel for more than two days. However, I did have the experience recently of happening upon either a) the remains of a murdered chicken, b) a discarded lasagna, or c) a floater hit and run, in a public toilet. This grisly scene is forever burned into my cerebral cortex. I thought it needed to be addressed, so I went to the sales clerk and said, “There is a situation in the bathroom that needs to be addressed.”
    She was eighteen and perky. She looked at me like, “You did it, didn’t you?”
    And I looked back at her like, “No, but I bet it was you.” Then, there was like this Hitchcock thing going on in my mind as I was looking at every woman I saw in the store, thinking, “It was you, wasn’t it?” The knife sound was going on in the background, you know the one in Psycho with the woman in the shower. My point is this: all of this trauma was brought to the Southside Macy’s because of the low-flow toilet. The government should do something. I’m not the only person out there who can never unsee the tragic results of this infernal device.


  39. you are hilarious–but I unfortunately know whereof Mabel speaks


  40. thedailydish says:

    This is why I always carry a big “sippy” of water w me everywhere. To help flush away toxins of all sorts.. Also a note pad. In case of emergency I can always write a note of apology. Sorry I hit your car, sorry for being/leaving a turd, etc.


  41. thedailydish says:

    I get that all the time. Damn birds.


  42. Pingback: pauseRReport: On Six Months of Blogging, Brain Fog, and New Strategies | thepauser

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