By John Carlson—
Every now and then when you think that 2021’s problems with the pandemic, raging forest fires and global warming have become too much to bear, you come across a story that makes your blessings count.
So, have you read about the 2,700 year old toilet?
I did. Since then, I feel pretty good about life now. Back in Israel 2,700 years ago, only the richest of the rich could afford a toilet. This fact was confirmed by a recent archaeological excavation which found a rare toilet in the ruins of an ancient mansion.
What conclusion can we draw from this?
First, when it comes to luxury that people take for granted until it goes, toilets should rank number one among Netflix and Cuisinart food processors.
Long ago, when a mobile upward go-getter who perhaps owned a flock of sheep was sharing his dearest dreams with his future wife, he probably looked her deep in the eye and swore, “One day I will. promise … you will be sitting on a toilet, Sweet cheeks. “
And Sweet Cheeks would pass out and think, “This guy is a keeper!”
What other conclusion can we draw from this?
If Nancy and I lived in Israel 2,700 years ago, we would be among the ultra-rich. It is because our house, which is not large, has Three toilet, assuming one is not temporarily out of service.
Plus, our toilets also have those shiny little levers mounted on the sides that you push to flush them out.
In this, they are far superior to the 2,700-year-old toilet, one of which was pictured with the article I read. Instead of a shiny lever, it featured a hole about five inches in diameter. It wasn’t a hole fitted with a few hundred dollar gel foam padded seat, although the lack of a seat wasn’t a bad thing. Not having a seat has canceled out a major problem that has ended countless marriages. Twenty-seven hundred years ago, no one ever heard of an angry woman shouting at her husband, “You lifted the siege again last night, you moron!”
On the other hand, this toilet being a simple hole cut in a limestone slab, you wouldn’t want to spend the morning reading the Jerusalem Times on it, no matter how good the funny ones were. But since it was a apartment limestone, at least you didn’t have to hang on all your life while… well, you know.
In my limited experience using portable toilets, one thing wealthy people undoubtedly did 2,700 years ago was to look suspiciously at the hole before positioning themselves in it. What, they wondered, was hiding there besides the obvious? It’s an experience I nervously replicate when using modern Port-O-Lets, one of which was placed in our front yard for three days this spring by a street construction crew.
No lies. (Look at the picture)
Facing a portable toilet, I always imagine that there are hornets, scorpions and maybe even copper heads inside.
What threats did users face in biblical times? Snakes called aspics! Even Cleopatra was killed by an asp, although I’m not sure she was bitten… uh… the. It was the time when God put all of His weight to remind the people in charge, He sent heaps of plagues, including frogs. This means that there could also have been frogs in the toilet. Personally, I have nothing against frogs. Nonetheless, I would have hated sitting on a 2,700 year old toilet during a plague of frogs with hundreds of them bouncing off my buns in desperate attempts at freedom.
Under that hole was a limestone septic tank, according to a report by Smithsonian magazine. What was not found, however, was an invoice from an old septic service mounted on a camel belonging to a guy whose nickname was, say, Humpy. Therefore, archaeologists believe that the limestone septic tank was periodically cleaned by the servants of the rich. Unless these particular servants were extraordinarily understanding individuals, I guess, like some of us in AD 2021, they believed life in 679 BC.
Hard to blame them, really.
Another thing archaeologists couldn’t find was evidence of the shiny pieces of material needed to hang ancient Charmin toilet rolls on a wall. In fact, archaeologists believe Charmin was even rarer then than during our COVID-related hoarding days. This is confirmed, in part, by the complete lack of crochet-decorated toilet paper comforters, crocheted some 2,700 years ago by talented Israeli grandmothers passionate about crafts.
Other undiscovered? Things being pretty basic at this time, even for the super-rich, no evidence has been found of sprays of frankincense and myrrh-scented glade.
How do archaeologists explain this?
It is generally well known that the centuries between 2,700 years ago and even a thousand years later are not affectionately referred to by toilet enthusiasts as the golden age of toilet progress. Indeed, archaeologists have discovered the writings of a prominent scholar born a thousand years after the installation of this ancient Israeli toilet. The guy wrote that in his humble opinion the ultimate in freshness would be having a toilet hole located right next to his dining table.
Right next to her having dinner table?
I think we can all be thankful that the advancement has not taken.
John’s Weekly Columns are sponsored by Beasley & Gilkison, Muncie’s trusted lawyers for over 120 years.
About Beasley & Gilkison
We listen, analyze your unique situation and prepare an action plan that best suits your needs. Contact one of our attorneys to schedule a consultation, or for more information call 765-289-0661 or visit our Facebook page or website at beasleylaw.com.
Former writer and longtime columnist for The Star Press in Muncie, Indiana, John Carlson is a storyteller with an unwavering appreciation for the wonderful people of East Central Indiana and the stories of their lives, no matter how funny, poignant, inspiring or all three. . John’s columns appear on MuncieJournal.com every Friday.