Friday, January 6, 2012

The Destroilet

     The words of this title may baffle some, but speak that name in our family and laughter erupts. However, at one time in my life, that name was a nightmare.  The story begins in a small country town where my daddy was the parson. The town had once been a Quaker settlement.  There were many beautiful old houses and buildings in the small town.   The church building where our small congregation met was one of the oldest in town and therefore, had very old plumbing.
     Now, before we get into the full story, you have to understand something about small town plumbing.  When you have old houses, you have old plumbing.  Often a house that should be described as "2 bedrooms and a bath" is really "2 rooms and a path".  There are still homes in existence that have a well worn path from the house to the little building with a moon on the door.  Adding water and sewer pipes to an old house is a major ordeal as well as great expense to have all that work done.  I'm sure that was the reason that our little country church had to come up with a better plan.
     Small town churches operate on the same principle as big city churches, only with a minimal congregation which results in minimal offerings and not much to work with for a pastor's salary and building maintenance budget.  So, our little town church most likely heard about this solution and decided to run with it.
     A Destroilet operates on electricity and propane or gas. Maybe that gives you some clue as to what I am about to describe.  I remember it looking like a tall white trash can with a lid and seat on top.  You would sit down, do your business and then shut the lid, causing a flame to come out and destroy what was left in the bottom.  I distinctly recall a certain odor that accompanied the process.  The whole operation invoked terror in the mind of my then 5 year old brain.
     There were many Sunday evenings and Wednesday evenings that prayers were sent to heaven asking that the preacher would hurry so I could "go" at home.  Often, I waited too long and got in trouble. Being the pastor's kids, we spent a lot of time there. We were always the first to arrive and the last to leave.  If Deacon Smith or Sister Jones was in a rather talkative mood after church, it could spell trouble.  As a mom of young children, I know how dealing with that would have been a burden.  The question of showing mercy or exacting  punishment would have been a quandary.  Obviously, my mom didn't suffer with that same problem.
     Among the Sunday School children there were rumors of someone who had been burned on it at one time and therefore, did not come back to church as a result.  Understanding the full function of the apparatus, I now know that it would be impossible to be burned while sitting on it, but to my young mind it seemed completely valid.  No doubt there were many crude jokes that circulated among the youth group.  I often wonder about what rumors the old ladies and the gossip chain could come up with.
     I googled the name and found out that you can still purchase toilets like this, though the Destroilet is no longer made.  A company called "Incinolet" now makes them.  The pictures make them look like they have improved upon the original design.  No doubt they are a safe and convenient way of taking care of business, but no thanks on my part.  Yes, it does save water, but I want to save my children from the trauma. 
     The old country church I speak of has now become modernized.  I am told that they now have full functioning normal plumbing.  I wonder if the old timers in the church, trying to teach gratefulness,  tell the young children "Back in my day we didn't have things as nice as you have them........".  But, you'll get that in a small town.

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