Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Thoughts while flushing the toilet.

The new toilet cistern during renovations
I changed the toilet cistern on our toilet when we were doing up our bathroom. I changed it to one of those which sits on the back of the toilet. It is nice, cute, doesn't take up much room and looks compact. (I guess "cute" is not a word to describe a dunny!)
As I fitted it I recalled the Night Tech Plumbing Class on installing toilet cisterns. One of the essential plumbing principles for installing toilet systems went like this... "The distance between the cistern and the bowl shall be as long as practicably possible to enable a forceful flow of water into the bowl with each flush. This helps ensure complete removal of soiled paper and waste matter from the bowl." So built into our plumbing "DNA" was the fact that good plumbing practice allowed for a decent drop for the flushing water to fall before it hit the bowl, so that it hits the bowl with some force, cleaning the bowl and aiding the hasty removal of the poo and/or pee. As I installed this squat, cute looking cistern I commented to my wife that this goes against my plumbing principles! It felt like I was breaking the moral code of a good plumber! In the name of modernity, and making my bathroom look contemporary, I did it, against my better judgement.
The plumbing principles were right! Mostly it works OK. But more often than it should it does not do the job as well as it ought. (I will spare you the details.) Quite simply it breaks this plumbing principle. You cannot flout plumbing lore and get away with it!
I think that is true in life. There are basic principles of life, that run deeper than just cultural norms, and if in your lifestyle you flout them, you will pay for it. These principles are not so much some arbitrary moral laws, but more like values and priorities we sometimes neglect in our lifestyle. When we ignore them life becomes more difficult and less than it could otherwise be.
Writer Stephen Covey died recently. He wrote the book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." and other books. In a personal note at the end of the book he says this...
"As I conclude this book, I would like to share my own personal conviction concerning what I believe to be the source of correct principles. I believe that correct principles are natural laws, and that God, the Creator and Father of us all, is the source of them, and also the source of our conscience. I believe that to the degree people live by this inspired conscience, they will grow to fulfill their natures; to the degree that they do not, they will not rise above the animal plane."
My religious terminology might be different, but essentially I agree. President Obama when he was a senator said,
"I'm rooted in the Christian Tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people, that there are values that transcend race or culture, that move us forward, and that there's an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived."
I like that too.
Even toilets teach me about the sacred!
To lift the tone of the photography in this post, I add a friends photo taken during our Sunday walk.


Linda Myers said...

I love the Obama quote. I'm going to swipe it from you. Thanks!

Dave Brown said...

It came out of the book "The God Factor" by Cathleen Falsani.