A Senior Moment: ‘A Perfect Gift’

It’s not that I never appreciated having breakfast in bed on Father’s Day. Other years, I happily accepted those carefully chosen ties or socks. A good book was always a welcome gift on Dad’s big day. But what really moved me to tears of gratitude was a ‘toilet for Dad’.

Not just any toilet! This new one was 17 inches high, replacing its standard size 15 inch predecessor. You are entitled to ask what difference does a mere two inches make? Simply put, it makes the getting down and then the getting back up much easier for dads who have reached a creaky certain age. We still have one remaining 15-incher in the basement. When I occasionally choose to make use of it, I tend to forget which bathroom I am occupying. Suddenly I find myself rapidly descending beyond my comfort zone, heading toward some unknown hard landing. That is what difference those two inches make!

There was another reason to be excited and rapturous over my new porcelain fixture. To my surprise, on day one, I discovered my gift featured a “slow drop seat.” After flushing, I dutifully commenced to lower both the rounded seat and companion lid. (I use the word “dutifully” because since boyhood I have been well trained to do so in deference to family females.)

To my amazement, the seat and lid began a slow descent on their own, culminating in a graceful, gentle landing. What a feat of engineering!

I spent the next three hours repeating the process trying to figure how it worked, but was then just content to observe in admiration. I only broke off this reverie when three worried family members pounded on the door, anxious about my assumed gastrointestinal crisis.

I admit to being a long time foot flusher. (Editor’s note: this paragraph may give some sensitive readers a severe case of TMI: Too Much Information.) Many users of public washrooms have learned the germ-phobic art of foot-flushing – i.e. pressing the contaminated handle with one’s foot rather than one’s hand. I have transferred this acquired skill to our home.

To be even more transparent with you, I can honestly state that my germ-phobic ritual then extended to using the same foot to also lower the seat and lid.  It also served a secondary purpose of preventing the seat from crashing down and making an unseemly noise.

That whole procedure may sound easier than it actually is in practice.

With foot-induced seat lowering, one’s foot inevitably ends up under the seat , with no easy means of silently extracting it without pulling a groin muscle. BUT, back to my Father’s Day present. A slow-descending seat removes any risk of injury and avoids loud banging; just a simple toe tap to initiate the process and then stand back: mission accomplished. A friend was recently staying overnight at the home of his brand new in-laws. Like me, he was the proud homeowner of a slow-dropper. Around 2 AM, he felt the call of nature and tiptoed like a ballerina to the bathroom. His goal was to not disturb the blissfully sleeping household. After completing his business, he gently touched the seat and stood back to watch its graceful descent. Unfortunately, he had not recognized the toilet was not a slow-lower(er). The resulting crash startled everyone into wakefulness. My embarrassed friend crept back to bed thoroughly shaken. There is a lesson to be learned here about washroom due diligence. 

Today is Father’s Day. May dads and grandads receive the attention, accolades and expressions of love due them. Next year, for the man who has everything in the way of socks, ties and books, consider a toilet. Just be sure it’s a slow-dropper. That’s the bottom line!