Averting Disaster

I have it on good authority that the worst thing that can happen to you, the confluence of events most feared by the average person, worse than meteor strikes, worse than alligator maulings, is an overflowing toilet.

It's terrifying: you push the little lever, the water floods into the bowl and, instead of gushing off to places unknown, it begins flowing... up.

And you're at work. With a meeting coming. And someone's waiting to get in the bathroom.

Now, though it would seem otherwise, this is no time to panic. We live in a world of modern-day conveniences, and these devices can be bent to our will as surely as Thomas Crapper helped popularize the modern flush toilet.

The first thing you want to do is stop the flooding. Water's leaving the tank on the back of the toilet and going into the lower part. That's bad, but it can be fixed.

Act quickly, and simply take off the little cover on the top and look for a little floaty stick thing.

(Don't worry, the water in this part of the toilet is clean -- it's the same supply that goes to the sink.)

There really is a floaty stick thing, just keep looking. It might look like a ball on the end of a stick, or a plastic stick connected to a sliding cylinder, but there is some mechanism that shuts off the water that is currently gushing into the flooding toilet. Pull up on it.

Now, the problem is solved, or at least it's not getting any worse, but you probably can't stand there all day with your finger on a float valve.

So take a moment to locate:

The supply valve. It's always near the floor, on the left side of the toilet. It's almost always an oval-shaped handle that you need to turn clockwise. Reach down, while holding up on the first thing (this is the mildly tricky part) and turn that knob whichever way you can. Stop when you've screwed the handle all the way down.

Now you can take your finger off the floaty thing. And you'll need to, because it's time to locate one of these:

You know how to use one a plunger, most likely, but the key is to make sure you get a good seal and that you're applying the most force while *pulling,* not pushing. That way you know it's sealed against the porcelain and there's less chance of you splashing horrifying toilet water all over yourself. Also, what if you slipped and somehow fell into the toilet? You couldn't accidentally flush yourself to London or anything -- probably -- but it would still be pretty awful, right? Right. "Yank, don't shove", that is your plunging motto.

If the plunging is successful and the blockage, well, unblocked, you're golden. Just turn the water supply back on, flush the toilet successfully, wash your hands and waltz out of there like nothing even happened.

If the plunging *doesn't* work, though, or there was no plunger in the bathroom in the first place, you may need to start looking for one of these instead:

(If the window sticks, just smash the glass with the soapdish.)

So there you go. You've either deftly averted disaster or begun your new life on the lam.



Thomas said...

That's hilarious! Engenious bit of writing! Completely random. Here, here, Colin. In fact, if I had a suggestion, it would be to insert an automatic loud flushing sound when you visit this post.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that, if all else fails, you can remove the toilet, carry it down the stairs, set it on the front lawn and embarrass the whole neighborhood by blasting it with a hose.


Michele Melcher Illustration said...

When I was a wee thing....I would run screaming from the flushing toilet because I was certain that I would somehow manage to get sucked down into the drain. The same with the bathtub. I agree that an overflowing toilet is one of the scariest things. Ever.