November 19th is World Toilet Day. No sh... I mean, no kidding.
Now, as much as World Toilet Dayjust screams Funny Business, maybe I need to hold off on the adolescent guffawing I'm known for.
The day is meant to point out that 2.5 billion people don't have access to toilets, and the World Toilet Organization (WTO...heh, heh) says the lack of proper sanitation kills 1.8 million people a year, mostly children. Oh, that's not funny.
But the issue doesn't stop there, "Because even the world's wealthiest people still have toilet problems - from unhygienic public toilets to sewage disposal that destroys our waterways." Anyone who's ever gone into a gas station restroom reminiscent of an abandoned crypt can relate to that. Cintas holds an annual contest for America's Best Restroom, and this year the award goes to the Shoji Tabuchi Theater in Branson, Missouri. Check it out!
The World Toilet Organization is planning events around the globe to celebrate the day in what's being called "The Big Squat" (I can't make this stuff up, people). Participants are encouraged to squat for one minute to remember the "toilet-less."
I suggest you bring a sign or something to explain what you're doing and why to avoid confusion.
Where can you find squatters near you?
The Web site's map lists locations of events, most appear to be in India and on the African continent. But in Chicago, employees at Google will have a Big Squat at the office. Another one will be held at a 4-H club in Milwaukee. In Washington, D.C., there will be a "Sanitation is Dignity" exhibit on the west side of the U.S. Capitol, and across the country in Portland, Oregon, there will be a talk given by a group called PHLUSH.
I checked headlines around the world to see whether the Big Squat was getting Big Play. The most unusual headline was "Kenya Quiet on World Toilet Day".
Elsewhere, the Lusaka Times reportswith concern that, "Kazungula District in Southern Province today failed to join the rest of the world in commemorating the World Toilet Day...people in the area did not know about the event and were doing their normal businesses while others where ploughing their fields."
I want to laugh, but I really can't. You never appreciate how important the lowly toilet is...until you can't find one.
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