July 15, 2024

Some years ago, I was working on a big project to set up, validate, and prepare a big, shiny new building for building a range of medical devices. The building was state of the art, and the building engineering staff was very proud of it. One day, while taking care of “necessary” in the men’s room, I found myself next to one of those engineers, who described to me how the “water-less urinal” worked. 


This is relevant, I promise you.

Apparently, these porcelain devices, which looked very typical of this kind of appliance save for the lack of visible plumbing, drained into a compartment that had some kind of chemical cake that, when one initiated micturition, absorbed the results and had to be changed out monthly. I informed the engineer that when I was quite young, we had a water-less receptacle that was usable for both varieties of “necessary” and only had to be maintained once a year. He showed some amazement and asked how that worked.

“It’s mounted on skids,” I truthfully told him, “and once a year, we dig a new hole, chain on to the thing with the tractor, pull it over the new hole, then fill the old hole in.” When questioned, I was able to confirm that the device indeed had a quarter-moon cut in the door. (You don’t mess with tradition.)

All too few people today are familiar with the classic old one-holer, and that’s too bad, because it may well have prevented a Michigan woman from suffering an unfortunate and odorous ordeal while trying to retrieve her Apple Watch.


From the AP story:

A woman was rescued Tuesday from an outhouse toilet in northern Michigan after she climbed in to retrieve her Apple Watch and became trapped.

The woman, whose name was not released, lowered herself inside the toilet after dropping the watch at the Department of Natural Resources boat launch at Dixon Lake in Otsego County’s Bagley Township, state police said Wednesday in a release.

First responders were called when the woman was heard yelling for help. The toilet was removed and a strap was used to haul the woman out.

It is unclear whether the porta-potty was gender-neutral.

The woman’s name was not released (nor is it clear whether or not she was able to retrieve her watch), which is probably for the best, as when this sort of thing happens, it’s hard to keep a lid on it, and it’s certain her friends and acquaintances would dump on her about it. She was doubtless pooped after an ordeal like this and in no mood to deal with a coterie of friends flush with bad humor.


It’s also unclear whether the unnamed woman had any children in the area, although one would hope her kids, if there were any, weren’t around to witness this; it was doubtless embarrassing enough without a bunch of little squirts around. Once the rescue was complete, the mystery woman was apparently gone with the wind, no doubt heading for a no-dumping zone.

This seems appropriate.

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