12.10.2010 07:49 - Toilet Terror
Never mind spiders and creepy-crawlies, if there's one thing which gives me the fear, it's going to the toilet at dinner parties. This is because my digestion always conspires against me during such proceeds. This started when I was about 10, when I first discovered how to spell "Gastroenteritis" in an extremely explosive and embarrasing way. The dinner party horror, however, has surpassed that.
Imagine, if you will, a dinner party in a posh flat. Imagine that one of the guests at this party has a sudden, and painful, warning message, that waste elimination activity is not only imminent, but unavoidable. Attending to this problem, in the highly ornamental bathroom of the posh flat, the gentleman in question discovers that he has given birth to a monster, or, in modern parlance, "dropped a floater".
Look. I don't know why it floats. I've spent the past hour on Wikipedia and found that it's sorely lacking in scientific information on why the damn thing floats. Perhaps I'd been eating cheap sausages which were padded out with cork or something. Or perhaps it's due to drinking all that fizzy water that the Germans insist is so healthy. Until NASA or someone sponsors an all-out Scientific assault on the problem, all I know is that the damn thing won't flush. Even worse than the floater is the "homing torpedo", which, instead of bobbing around when you attempt to flush, disappears round the bend, and, just as your hopes are building up that you've seen the last of it, slyly pokes it's nose out and floats back up. When that happens, you have a number of options. You either try and beat it to death with the loo brush - assuming there's a loo brush - or weigh the little bastard down with scrunched-up toilet paper. My personal preference goes for the former, for reasons which will become apparent. Either way, you want to avoid repeated flushing, because you might as well just march back in to the room brandishing a loudhailer and singing "I've done a floater!" to the tune of "Colonel Bogey".
Going for it with the bog brush has several advantages. Firstly, you can try drowning the little bastard, by holding it under whilst you flush. This has the advantage of cleaning the brush at the same time. Disadvantages : a strong flush can pull the brush out of your hand, and a weak flush is mitigated by the brush. Secondly, you can gore it, using a vicious flick of the wrist to puncture it, and break it into smaller pieces which will be less resistant to flushing. This may leave you with chunks which have worked their way into the bristles. Deft rotation of the brush between the palms will unstick the matter. Try and keep the brush in the water when doing it, unless you're going for the "Beware of the Leopard" look.
ON NO ACCOUNT attempt to sink it by dropping scrunched-up toilet paper in there. There's a good reason for this, and it is one I found out the hard way. If you sink it with toilet paper, you stand a very good chance of blocking the toilet. Now, most toilets are cleverly-built so that the volume of water used in flushing does not exceed the volume of the pan. Unfortunately, some older toilets, built before the advent of computer-aided design, lack this feature. You can only tell the difference by the time it's too late. The CAD toilets will back up, until the level of water reaches the rim, and then the pressure will clear the blockage, leading to sighs of relief.
Older toilets, such as those in extremely posh flats, will not.
They will continue to fill, overflowing the pan, and taking pieces of toilet paper and floater with it, flood the bathroom, and out under the door into the very expensive carpet, leaving you to sit, stranded, upon the cistern, gibbering with horror.
This is why the Germans invented the "inspection shelf".