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Urinetown: The Musical

Is this our future?

They say what happens in California will soon come to a state near you. If that is the case, we are all done for. I and my fellow California residents will be the first to go, followed by the rest of you.

The state of California is in the midst of an unprecedented, record-setting drought that has surprised even Al Gore. California regulators are jumping in to mandate cuts in water usage for residents and businesses.

Of all the drought prevention methods offered by government authorities and reported on in the media, there is one that has not received ANY attention.

You’ll know what I mean as you continue reading.

As a resident, I received a letter from my county water agency a few months ago asking for a 20-30% water usage reduction. The letter had a lot of good ideas on how to save water, though it said nothing about a specific  water conservation practice that could potentially save not only California but the planet. It said nothing.              At all.                  None.                                                 But I              can    un   der             sta      n      d                                              why. [spaces added for dramatic effect]

It is time for me to act. So I wrote this official memorandum to Everyone in Charge, in hopes that I could make a small (or big) difference.


Drought ‘n Flush Memorandum


I applaud the efforts of Everyone in Charge to encourage residents and businesses to reduce water consumption. It is with great concern, however, that I ask you to more directly target toilet water consumption. It pains me to say that word. But it must be done.

I need you to be mature right now

I understand why you would rather not touch the issue of toilet water at all (or actually touch toilet water, for that matter). It is uncomfortable to talk about, let alone write about, like I’m doing right now. And right now. With the exception of, no, actually I’m doing it again right now.

Don’t get me wrong ((I strongly dislike (i.e. hate) the expression “don’t get me wrong”),* California regulators have done a great job addressing toilet conservation.

Regulators honed in on useful toilet efficiencies, such as these mentioned in the letter from my county water agency:

  • Installing ultra low-flush toilets that are estimated to save 10-40 gallons a day.
  • Fixing toilet leaks that can save up to 500 gallons a day. (I don’t buy this one at all. I’d like to see your made up methodologies behind this figure.)  :)

Looking at those two bullets more closely, it’s clear that regulators look at toilet technology and toilet repair yet fail to address the elephant in the room: the actual people behind the toilet, or the people on the toilet, or the people whose behinds are on the toilet, who flush said toilets.

As toilets are abandoned altogether, popular games can be played with former parts.

Can I say what you can’t? We all will need to flush less often. There. I did it.

Residential water use is so small per home, but taken together on a cumulative basis at a town, city and state level, small changes can really add up.

Toilet use, as seen on the following pie chart, equates to a whopping 26% of our water consumption. Twenty-six percent is one percent more than exactly ¼ of our residential water usage.

The other important though overlooked stat is that 16% of water use comes from the faucet. What happens after the most clean among us use the bathroom? We wash our hands. If we assume that after flushing, 7% of the faucet use is to wash our hands for 30 seconds up to our wrists, then suddenly we find that a grand total of 33% or ⅓ of our water consumption is devoted solely to the bathroom experience.

A resolution for government entities to further tighten the belt

Because belt tightening can lead to more toilet usage, regulators will have to determine the proper tightening measure in order to prevent government office toilets from using as much water as residents are conserving, which could result in a net reduction of zero. To make it easy for you, Everyone in Charge, I drafted up a resolution you can use to require fewer flushes.

* Whereas California faces unprecedented drought;

* Whereas regulators mandated cutbacks for residents and high water usage sectors such as energy and agriculture;

* Whereas more water must be conserved in order to meet next year’s demand, requiring creative solutions;

* Whereas California produces one half of all fruits and vegetables grown in the United States (stick with me here);

* Whereas fruits and vegetables in the diet make a person more regular and frequent (see Exhibit A, attached);

* Whereas cutting all fruit and vegetable intake would make the population irregular and less frequent;

* Whereas less water consumed equates to fewer bathroom visits and fewer flushes.

* Therefore, we the People in Charge, require a reduction in food products that result in toilet flushes.

Bonus Amendment for Everyone in Charge

One more thing, Everyone in Charge. If you can find the political will to pass an additional amendment to the above resolution, it would make a lot more people happy in California:

* Whereas we do not discriminate by ethnicity, race, party, random affiliation, religious, tribal, creed, age, socio-economic status, sexual identity, genetically modified, prescription dependent, gender, transgender, disability, agility, veteran, anti-war, environmentally aware, climate dysfunctional, disorder prone, substance user, substance grower, high fructose corn syrup consumer, lactose intolerant, and not limited to these limited limitations or limits;

* Therefore, we reserve our right to discriminate against you individually or as a collective group if any particular individual or group is found to be prone to flush more frequently. For example, if it is found that Republicans flush more often than Decline-to-States, we will regulate the food and water intake of all registered Republicans** in the State of California. In fact, this is what we hope to accomplish. Their diet will include:

* For hydration, one teaspoon of water every eight days and

* For food, one cup of couch foam on days that don’t end in, “-day.”

In other words, if this amendment were to pass, inevitable deaths would result of certain groups that use the bathroom more than others. The bad news is that people may die. The good news is that bathroom usage is believed to end at death.

For those who remain alive, we could also destroy all books which could help the cause.***

The really good news is that we can finally have our super majority in the legislature.

Let’s not be too critical of the flushers, though. It could be worse. We could use bidets.


Attached: Exhibit A (not included here, Top Secret, and kind of gross)

* When I used the phrase “don’t get me wrong,” even though I strongly dislike it (i.e. despise it), I did so in order to humanize the memorandum.

** In case you didn’t know, I’m a registered Republican, so I’m allowed to joke about this. I also work for fruit and vegetable growers, putting my call to ban those products in direct conflict with my job. Boss, if you’re reading, I hope you see I’m not advocating that this continue indefinitely.

*** In Seinfeld’s book SeinLanguage, he suggests that bookstores are a great laxative. This resolution may also require destroying all books as well.

Speaking of toilets, reminds me of a book my Dad bought when I was a teen: Motel of the Mysteries. It gives the account of a future archeologist 2,000 years from now who finds the rare preserved remains of our civilization in a motel room. This image is a rendering of how women may have dressed during religious ritual.

How future humans may piece together our use of the throne.