When government invades bathrooms

For what it's worth

Posted: Friday, April 21, 2000

When you finish reading this you'll dash to the telephone to call Mayor Dennis Egan, assembly member John MacKinnon, Senator Kim Elton or maybe even Senator Ted.

I'm about to flush out a brewing national scandal that reaches into the bowels of every state, community and family home. The time to put a lid on this situation is now, so it can be resolved at the municipal level and the groundwork can begin to take care of the issue statewide during the next legislative session.

Many Americans are unaware of the sinister government takeover of our toilets and showers. If you look through the Greater Juneau Borough ordinances and the building code you will find, buried in the bowels of the humdrum verbiage, required specifications for toilets and showers in new home construction. I'm not certain just where you would find similar information in the Alaska Statutes. Assemblyman McKinnon in particular should be conversant with the municipal specifications and maybe Senator Elton can help with the correct Title in the statutes. I don't know how much Mayor Egan knows about toilets. You might call one of his secret numbers Monday morning to ask him what he knows about the ``national toilet problem.'' I think you can reach him at 586-1800 sometime between 11:00 and noon.

Here's a summary of what the scandal - and what it's going to be - is all about: several years back a coven of pointy-headed, beady-eyed, sandal-wearing beard scratchers decided they knew how you and I could save water. You know the type; the same wussy little dweebs that broke up AT&T to bring us lower telephone rates (seen any lately?) and now want to trash Microsoft for making computers so easy for most of us. They mandated that henceforth the nation's toilets and showerheads had to be of the ``water conserving'' or ``limited capacity'' type. Anything other than what the government would be illegal, with ownership of such alleged water wasting devices punishable by fines and prison. After all, it doesn't make any difference to them and you know why?

It's a known and accepted fact that this type person sees the inside of a shower stall about as often as you find a parking space at Auke Bay boat harbor in the spring. Early on the primary targets of the regulations, which were of course pressed upon the states and thus the municipalities, were the nation's builders. But it didn't take long before individual tax-paying, blood-donating, flag-saluting Americans like you and me were being oppressed by the jackbooted thugs of the Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development Agency and federal enforcers of the National Plumbing Code.

What's all the fuss, you ask? Well, if you have one of these devices you already know. Here's the problem: the new toilets take two or three flushes to do what the old ones do in one powerful, satisfying, gushing whooooosh. The new shower heads try to make you believe you are enjoying a full, drenching shower by spritzing six or eight ounces of water in your hair. Imagine having a mouse pee on your head.

You cannot buy the old style appliances any longer and it is illegal for a plumber or builder to install them. Apparently this has lead to creation of a ``plumbers underground'' where patriotic plumbers work off the clock under cloak of darkness to install the forbidden items. And if you think the hourly rate for a good plumber is high now - which the folks at Harri's, Jacks, Cameron's and others assure me they aren't - wait until you get the bill for an hour's midnight labor. Then add the cost of a toilet and showerhead scrounged from a junkyard or purchased through an unscrupulous toilet bootlegger.

The problem with the Juneau area is we don't have large junkyards where an ordinary citizen can go to search out these treasures. Rumor has it that in some metropolitan areas people have been arrested sneaking out of junkyards with what are, for all practical purposes, black market toilets. Worse, and I don't want to alarm anybody with this, it appears homes are now being burglarized solely for the purpose of stealing the old style toilets and showerheads.

And now the unkindest flush of all: it is still legal to manufacture the old style toilets in the United States, but for export only. And do you know where most of them go. . .to Canada. Give you any ideas? People along the eastern seaboard, where there is far less respect for law and order than farther west, are already at it. While some Americans drive over the border to buy prescription drugs, an even larger number cross the border to buy bootleg toilets.

``Excuse me madam, that appears to be a toilet hidden under your bag of heart medicine.''

``Please officer. . .take the heart medicine, but let me keep the toilet. I can't live with that modern one. What with Harold's diarrhea it's just flush, flush, flush.''

I have a contact known as Deep Trout. He is well connected with underground movements. When not watching for black helicopters he practices survival skills at a local beer joint. Despite my aversion to such places, I'm compelled to drop by when he calls.

``So what's up,'' I asked, curling my hands around a cold Dr. Pepper.

``Looks like the feds have come up with another master plan,'' he began, eyes darting around the place.

``Its code name is POT, Prevent Outlaw Toilets. All toilets will be stamped with serial numbers and you'll have to register each toilet you buy.

``Do you mean to tell me if I own an unregistered toilet I'm going to become an outlaw?'' I exclaimed.

``That's not all,'' he continued. . .

But at that moment a helicopter passed over head and in the blink of an eye Deep Trout had disappeared.

When you hear a knock on your door and voice calling ``Borough toilet department'' remember your old pal warned you.

Warren W. Wiley, a former Juneau resident, political observer and radio personality, now lives in Montana. He can be reached by e-mail at wwiley@mcn.net.

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