Skip to main content

Flushing at Home, at Work, in Iraq

Toilet training is clearly not equal in the many parts of my world.  And new information can change the flushing habits of people brought up push the chrome handle after doing their business.

I work in a 7-story museum and library.  My co-workers average more than two college degrees each.  The bathrooms in our building are shining clean.  But in the 4th floor men's room, walking up to a urinal means looking down into yellow water.  At 9am the water is blue from the previous night's cleaning.  But the 4th floor has offices for the most environmentally conscious members of our staff.  Which means, I suppose, "If it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down."

At home, my 12 and 13-year-old sons are still being trained to aim, flush, and wash.  They always get two out of three.  I occasionally listen for the proper sequence of water sounds and correct on the spot if there is a mistake.  But sometimes when I take a shower I find and unflushed toilet.  

In Iraq the toilets were often horrendous.  Once people were posting Facebook pictures of a turd that would not flush and got named Il Duce, after Benito Mussolini.  How the connection was made, I don't know.  These guys not only pissed on the seat, they shit on it which seemed to me physically impossible.  But who knows.  On drill weekends, many soldiers clearly do not know urinals flush.  Or maybe they are environmentalists.

In any case, most days, I see yellow water somewhere.

Popular posts from this blog

Different Water for Sinks and Toilets--Camp Beuhring, Kuwait, and Amtrak

On the train to Philadelphia recently, the toilets had water, but the sinks did not in the last two cars. I walked three cars away from my seat to wash my hands. On the way back, I let the conductor know about the lack of water.  He said there are different water systems for the sinks and the toilets.  Then smiled and said the water is blue in the toilets.  
I told the conductor about a morning at Camp Beuhring, Kuwait, in April 2009. We were there for training before we went to Camp Adder, Iraq.  During our two-week stay, we slept in 77-man tents.  Outside the tent were several sinks and mirrors just standing in the open on the sand. I wish I had a picture.  
About twenty yards away were Porta-Johns or Shit Ovens, which everyone called the plastic enclosures when the temperature approached 120 degrees.  One morning just after down I went out to the sinks, brushed my teeth, then walked toward the Porta-Johns.  One of the soldiers just stepped out of one and was walking toward me.  

Ten Years Ago Today: Cold War Soldier Starts Re-enlistment Process

The Night Before Basic, Killing Brain and Lung Cells
On January 31, 1972, I flew to Texas to begin basic training. On April 2, 2007, ten years ago today, I called Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Askew, recruiting sergeant for the 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, and began the process of re-enlisting after 23+ years as a civilian.  I was 53 years old at the time, about to turn 54.

In the Spring of 2007, The Surge in Iraq was in full swing and recruitment for the Army was down a lot. The economy was good, Congress would not even consider re-starting the Draft, so in late 2006 Congress raised the maximum first-enlistment age for the Army from 35 to 42 years old.

The program was a failure and was rescinded three years later. But that failed program allowed me to re-enlist.  The maximum enlistment age for soldiers with prior service is the enlistment age plus the years of prior service plus a one-year waiver.  I needed all of that.

I called three recruiters before I called Kevin. He was the first one…

My Last Tanker Nickname: Oddball

Donald Sutherland as Oddball, a tank commander in the movie "Kelly's Heroes"
I got my last tanker nickname more than a decade after I earned the nickname Sgt. Bambi Killer.I got that nickname on a business trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2000.The company I worked for just bought a company in Brazil and I was part of a team that went to Brazil to introduce ourselves to the people who ran the business.
Sao Paulo has traffic that makes Los Angeles look like Omaha, so the local managers sent a limo for the four of us. This meant we could be more comfortable on the three-hour 20-mile trip from the airport to downtown. 
At the time I had a beard and still had a lot of brown hair.  Among the local staff people who were waiting to meet us was my now long-time friend Ivan Porccino. Ivan speaks five languages and was assigned as our interpreter.  When we got in the car, Ivan introduced us to the driver and said we would be in Sao Paulo for a few days. The driver said, “I love Americ…