Monday, March 11, 2013


Saturday evening, March 9, I attended a lovely launch event for Forty Press. The party was held at a just as lovely bookstore in Wayzata, Minnesota, called the Bookcase.  The place was packed, and at one point I decided to use the restroom, which is located in the back of the store. When I stepped inside, I immediately noticed that the handle for the toilet was lying on the back of the tank, and the toilet itself had suffered from many non-flushes in a row. Now this is absolutely no reflection on the bookstore. These things happen, and I imagine the handle experienced a lot of use that evening. It just gave out. So I rolled up my sleeves, removed the lid from the tank, reached in, and manually flushed.

I regret being unable to repair the toilet, but I think it will require a whole new handle.  But anyhow…

Now I can't quit thinking about something that used to happen at my uncle's bar in Illinois.

 A guy walks into a bar… Goes straight to the men's room. Comes out. Orders a beer. Drinks it fairly quickly. Leaves. No tip. Very little conversation. Next person to go into the men's room comes out and says: "The toilet seat is broken."

That's not the end of the story.

Over a period of a year, the guy returned several times.  And every time he returned, he broke the toilet seat. My uncle began relating this story to other bar owners in the area. They knew the guy, and he did the same thing at their bars.  Toilet Seat (as we began calling him) wasn't a big guy, so the consensus was that the breaking of the seat was some kind of deliberate and weird fetish.   I'd completely forgotten about Toilet Seat until the other night.

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