I believe that auto-flush toilets will be the downfall of civilization.

You would really have to be living in a cave to not be aware of the current ongoing apocalyptic trends.  I cancelled our cable subscription and still am inundated with every type of apocalypse scenario man (or woman) can imagine.  To be fair, this is not a new trend. Each religion offers its own version of the end of times. The Mayans predicted an end of the world in 2012. Some say particle physics has the potential to cause a catastrophic event.  Computers were set to destroy society on New Year’s Eve 2000 or was it 2001, or 1999? (I never did get that one straight.)  If you include the three or four end-of-the-world predictions from CUT (Church Universal and Triumphant) out of Gardner, Montana, then I have survived at least seven episodes of the Sky is Falling.  (I really need to get a new t-shirt with that on it…)  Then there are the multiple theories from TV, Movies, Literature, Comic books, etc. of zombie-vampire-sharknado-volcanic-urban legend-alien-virus-gigantic bugs-radiation fallout-witches-weather-time traveling harbingers of doom and gloom.  Even Oakland university is offering a  Post-Apocalyptic Survival Studies (PASS) program that “will provide the necessary skills to not only survive as an individual in an apocalyptic aftermath, but to contribute in a meaningful way.”*  However, I think the end of civilization will be due to auto-flush toilets. Yep – you heard me right – toilets that flush themselves.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for advancements in convenience and technology.  As one who has sat on an outdoor vault toilet while camping in the late fall, I can appreciate that modern plumbing has eliminated the cold-wind-up-the-hoochi-coochi  that is standard when living out of doors for a week. However, you can’t debate the fact that auto-flush toilets are taking away the need to teach our children how to be responsible for their own sh*t.  I have listened to my sister teaching her little ones (and she has four of them!) what to do when they are done doing.  The parents out there reading this know that when you are potty training your little cutie pie, you don’t just teach her where to go but also to flush when done and then wash her hands. (And the world thanks you for that!)

“Wait!”  You say. ” Auto-flush toilets aren’t in people’s homes.  They are only in public areas. You still have to teach the little ones what to do at home.”  Ah ha!  But there you are wrong.  They are now available for installation in your own inside outhouse.  Should you wish, you too can install a new Rubbermaid Automatic Toilet Flusher designed specifically for home toilets.  In less than 15 minutes you can have a patented flusher with 4 easy to set flushing functions and batteries that last 100,000 cycles or 3 years. Run to Home Depot and you will never have to teach flushing to your youngster again. But ask yourself – should you?  Isn’t society built on each of us owning our individual responsibilities and contributing to the greater good for all? That is the very foundation of a civilization. But if we remove the very core of individual responsibility (caring for your own sh*t), then what foundation is left on which to build the first level of social interaction?

Generally we share ownership – not of our lives – but in them.  From dinner, to work, to caring for others, we interact, interfere, navigate, and negotiate our way through life with those around us.  We share the road with motorcycles.  We are part of a team at work.  We have friends on social networks.  We stand in line to buy groceries.  We walk on green, run on yellow, and stop on red.  But more and more I look around and see people who are unaware of their surroundings.  (And I am the first to say I suffer from being inside my head too much.) I sometimes stop in the middle of the aisle in the grocery store and block the path, or I step back without first seeing how close I am to the person in line behind me.  But I was taught to be aware of my surroundings – to care if I interrupt someone carelessly – to listen rather than talk – to make my own bed.  I don’t get it right all the time. (I certainly know of people around me who would love for me to get it right more often!)  But I was taught to be responsible for myself – all of me – even my sh*t.

What happens when little by little we erode that personal obligation.  If we struggle with it now when we have actually been taught the lessons that build our individual responsibility, what happens when civilization is run by adults who as children were raised with auto-flush toilets?  Heck with the zombies, we will be up to our collective necks in our individual sh*t.

*From <http://www.oakland.edu/post-apocalyptic-studies>

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