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Beware of the Courtesy Flush

Courtesy flush & results

How many times have you gone into a public bathroom and smelled the stench of someone else’s efforts? Pretty gross ain’t it? I don’t mind my own stink so much, but no way in hell do I want to smell someone else’s. Sometimes when I’m at a party and I’ve got to crunch or whenever I’m not comfortable with my own smell I’ve learned the beauty of the Courtesy Flush. Come on, you know what I’m talking about – after the first round of “expulsion” you adeptly reach back and flush the toilet sending the offensive effluent on its way. If you don’t perform the accompanying Courtesy Wipe, the flush isn’t as effective, so I try to do both before relaxing for round 2. It doesn’t kill the smell entirely, but it decreases it a lot.

The public toilets we use here are no exception. They have a natural malodorous stench which never quite dissipates, even after cleaning. It’s a combination of poop and a month old cat litter box – more on that later. There are four commodes and 3 urinals in the bathroom, always at some level of disorder. The last time I performed the Courtesy Flush in Afghanistan was in one of those commodes.

I was sitting on the crapper one day, enjoying a short respite from the heat and getting rid of the latest experimental concoction the chow hall created. The smell wasn’t unbearable, but I had the feeling (in my bowels) that I’d be there for awhile so I did a quick courtesy wipe and flush – what a mistake. I quickly jumped up, nearly falling off the porcelain throne as the cold, crap-infused toilet water quickly engulfed my agates which had hitherto been innocently dangling below. I remember using a few of Sister Mary’s expletives – she would’ve been proud.

Distress, frustration, anger, revulsion – emotions I experienced simultaneously as the poop water dripped from by stones to my legs and down. Yuck! Those who know me understand how mentally debilitating the shockingly-quick ball washing experience was – I felt suddenly dirty and ashamed, all for wanting to “pleasant up” the stall. (My legs just now involuntarily clenched at the memory) My team says I’m OCD about cleanliness. I have to admit I like a clean office, desk and living quarters – so saggy wet balls dripping with non-potable sewage water couldn’t be more revolting to me.

Thank Christ I carry individual wet wipes with me everywhere, especially to the bathroom. Even though I was able to clean myself off with these heaven sent, anti-bacterial cloths from Jesus, I still felt polluted. So friends my advice to you, before you “Courtesy Flush”, I highly recommend you gauge the functionality of your toilet flusher and more importantly, the distance between your vitals and the water surface. Otherwise you may be scared for life.


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