Flushing out some serious facts


There are certain truths that we indeed hold to be self-evident.

Oh, that statement does not necessarily need to focus on grand-scheme issues such as individual liberties or the practices of efficient and fair government, it can also center on those things we encounter in our day-to-day lives that we just know are factual.

For instance, we know that our roads are not equipped to handle the additional traffic we have in the summer, because we’ve all sat there angry in our cars while trying to get to work or the store. And we know that random people do not enjoy getting their heads smacked from behind at the movie theater because, well, I’ll explain that one to you when the swelling goes down around my eye.

And, make no mistake about it, it is self-evident that people enjoy proper facilities when, um, using the facilities.

A ballot conducted by Cintas — a company that supplies restroom supplies, among other commercial-use items — reported that the top restroom in the nation is the public men’s room at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville. The facility is so nice, in fact, that hotel management has photos of weddings conducted in the restroom, according to a story posted on usatoday.com.

Granted, many marriages today end up being flushed down the proverbial toilet, but isn’t this kind of asking for trouble from the start? Why not go ahead and tie the knot at a nuclear testing facili...

But I digress.

Apparently, people really find this restroom to be special. That’s what the real lesson is here, right? It’s like our historical figures that we like to read about — certainly some facts have been embellished or misconstrued throughout the years, but the legends only grow because of how high a value people placed on the individual’s deeds.

And so it goes with the restroom at the Hermitage.

But that fine facility was not alone in the Golden Plunger Award (as I have thus dubbed this competition). Apparently, the Museum Hotel in Louisville came in second place for the Golden Plunger. So, what is the Museum Hotel’s claim to fame for restroom excellence? People renewing their vows? Confirmations?

Nope. Gentlemen at the urinals can look out through one-way mirrors.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

Got it?

I’m trying to get my mind wrapped around the positive impact of being able to look at people on the street while I conduct my business. I mean, I went to college, and I did that a lot — but I was usually close to falling down at the time and was standing outside. If I had my choice, I’d certainly prefer not to taunt the spirits of stage fright. But, maybe that’s just me.

Regardless, the whole Golden Plunger thing got me thinking about what constitutes a good restroom. Is it the cleanliness, the decor, the ability to look out at a homeless person while you conduct your business?

Should it be a place that has wide stalls? Or smells of potpourri? Or has an aisle wide enough to hold matrimonial services?

Actually, I’d start with clean, and go from there.

We have two restrooms in our office — one upstairs and one downstairs. Now, in the interests of full disclosure, both are pretty clean. We have an outstanding cleaning crew that makes up for some of the, um, weaknesses of our male staff, and the sanitary condition of both of our restrooms are certainly passable.

However ...

The one downstairs is just plain nicer. The women who work down there have taken pride in the restroom, and it’s a little oasis hidden behind a plain white door. They have taken so much pride in this room, in fact, that they have declared it off-limits to all us males who work upstairs.

But I’ve seen the castle.

When I was hobbled after knee surgery a few years ago, I was restricted to working downstairs, and the powers-that-be allowed me the opportunity to experience their little slice of Nirvana on a temporary basis. Yes, I was often being timed by Carolyn Fitz, and I would sometimes hear her through the door giving me a countdown to get out, but what I experienced in those few short weeks was unabated joy at the opportunity to use such a special room.

If only I could have looked outside at the same time, we’d have really been onto something.