In seventh grade, a “fancy dan” teacher with long polished and manicured finger nails attempted to teach us country boys about good hygiene, including sitting on the throne, instead of standing and letting it fly in the rest room.
Eighth grade bully, Butch, not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, somehow got stuck in the school urinal as he attempted to sit instead of standing. Wheweee, not a pretty site.
The educator was actually a good history teacher, but she didn’t last two years at our little school of advanced thinking and higher ciphering.
Fast forward to 2012.
Here I was, recently looking nice, minding my own business, the Whittle way, as my dog, Honey Bear, and wife, Pat, sat nearby as we watched a BBC news cast out of Europe.
That’s when the alarm went off, there is a legislative proposal over the ocean in some foreign country that men be required to sit on the throne when, shhhh, taking a whizz in public tinkeltoriums.
I immediately thought of that poor teacher attempting to “civilize” us country boys back in school.
Truth is, as country boys, we thought we were civilized by coming inside and using the then new-fangled indoor pumbling, instead of letting it rip out behind the barn or behind the big yellow wheels on our John Deere farm tractors that hid us from the road and viewing public.
Upon soulful reflection, this standing – or sitting – debate never surfaced before arrival of those civilized indoor toilets.
Back in 1957, when we got our first indoor tinkeltorium, our farm mothers and sisters taught us to at least raise the lid, by utterance of this former popular little ditty: “Be like Dad, not like Sis, raise the lid, when you (ahem)!”
I think that’s fair.
In the 1940s, during cold winter non-farming months, Daddy Whittle would remodel or tear down houses in nearby Sikeston, Mo., located 12 miles from our farm in rural New Madrid County.
One day, he announced he would be tearing down a house belonging to a Catholic family. Being that our farming community only had one Catholic family, we didn’t know a lot about that form of religion.
So, when Daddy brought home the first set of commode lids we’d ever seen, he let his children assume they were “Catholic” commode lids.
We went to town the next Saturday night, bragging to our city-fied buddies that our father had nailed two smooth-sitting, modern Catholic commode lids in the two-holer, to wit, our shack out back at the end of the path.
Word of this spread quickly throughout the farming community, as neighbors started visiting on the pretense they liked us.
“Truth is,” my older brother decreed, “they ain’t coming because they like us. They just want to sit on our smooth-sitting Catholic commode lids.”
I was 4 years old, I recall, when one particular day back on the farm became forever stitched clearly in the fabric of my rural life.
I’d gone out to the two-holer to sit proudly on our newly acquired Catholic commode lids, when this mean old rooster sneaked in back of the toilet.
I was taking care of business, when this old red rooster must have thought he spied a little worm dangling overhead.
When it did, I screamed in wounded bloodied-terror, and ran for Momma Whittle who was doing wash day chores in the backyard.
“What’s wrong, my youngest son?” Momma asked.
In painful terror, I stood speechless, as my older brother described that old rooster's assault on me: “Mother, ole Red, the rooster, nearly made a girl out of little Danny…”
From that fateful moment on, I’ve stood like a man when doing my business in modern-day indoor tinkeltoriums.