The Ad Fool   

Crapper worship

Mrs. AdFool and I are in the process of renovating. Nothing huge mind you – just updated floors, paint, trim, (some) furniture, curtains, wall-hangings, kitchen, bathroom, exterior paint, lights......uh, well. Okay, we’re not actually moving the house to the right or anything like that but it is quite a job all the same. The point is that little details one’s mind might normally breeze over are now suddenly imbued with a kind of urgency and importance generally reserved for life-altering decisions like say, a new born child’s name – or one’s choice of face-tattoo. And yet here I am, staring intently at the toilet in my bathroom wondering if it really is the very best that it can be.

I am told that this is normal, and necessary to boot. If you are going to make an effort to change things up then you should take the job seriously. But even as I do, I find myself feeling more than a little pathetic as I agonize – yes, agonize! – over whether or not the new baseboard trim should be 3 inches high or 4. Priorities.......

Which brings me back to the toilet. Now I love my toilet. Not for its looks, or even its placement, mind you. I just have an overall fondness for all that surrounds it. The toilet alone is the one piece of furniture that has seen me at my lowest and most embarrassing. It doesn’t judge, it doesn’t accuse, it just sits there – waiting for the worst I can, uh, drop at it and takes it all in, willingly. Sure it has been known to push back a time or two but the fault of that is almost exclusively my own as I expect too much (used chili con carne, yes – glossy pages from illicit magazine as mom knocks at the door, no, not so much).

But even as my appreciation for the toilet reaches its zenith I cannot hesitate to call “foul” on a series of ads from the Kohler people flaunting their lovely biffs. The ads are featured in magazines, and on their website, presenting their porcelain stock so pornographically inappropriate that I can’t believe it. The pictures say it all as stunningly fit and obsessively-styled pretty people pose and sashay about hyper-designed palaces of opulence that appear constructed around their minimalist, and very fetching indeed, toilets. What pristine works of art these modern day crappers have become. All clean lines and look-at-me attitude. It’s no wonder the glamour shots suggest (demand!) that those using the facilities are expected to do so in full view of those nearby, and even the neighborhood at large. When you have a toilet so jaw-droppingly lovely there is almost a requirement that you groom and prepare before you attend to nature’s call, so that such an appliance can receive you at your best.

The pictures are hilarious. All Zoolander-like in their ridiculous seriousness as “the toilet” sits center frame, art-like, in an almost sick display of product worship. No hidden room, no shame-reducing blinds, just windows and light screaming that attention be paid to one most lovely – a Kohler defecation station. The drama is assured by the picture, and the subject is understood. Interesting lives deserve, nay need, interesting places to poop.

Look, one of my fondest memories is of sitting in an outhouse just up the hill from a buddy’s cabin. The cabin, and the outhouse, looked onto a secluded picture-postcard lake, smooth as glass and surrounded by trees. The treat of being able to do one’s business while leaving the door open to enjoy the beauty was wonderful. A striking contrast to be sure, but still naturally consistent with the reality of life – the world is beautiful, but our existence does tend to mess it somewhat. But this is about us as people, not the toilet itself.

So even as our home refresh continues while me and the Mrs. obsess over what paint matches with what curtains I will seek to remind myself of the supreme existential dead-end that results from intense object worship. Consumerism is fun, no doubt. And having (wanting) pretty things is a big part of living but when its importance starts to override the simple simplicity of taking a dump in the forest, well then I think we will have truly lost any understanding of the forest for the trees. Besides, I think those magazine pages would have stayed down in any outhouse, which would have helped – at the time. Ah, lessons learned......

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

My qualifications? Who am I to critique commercial advertisement? I have no degree in marketing. I don't work for an ad agency. I'm not an advertising professional. I am barely qualified to judge an Oreo stacking contest. Who do I think I am?

I am a target and I have been shot at by advertisers every single day of my entire life. Sales pitches are a part of living, and as a raging consumer taught to accumulate stuff and needing only a semi-good reason to do so means I'm more than qualified.

When Heinz introduced colored ketchups I bought purple and green. When Coke added vanilla I got a case. Crest puts whitening in the toothpaste and I'm brushing my teeth. Create a new package and I jump up and down. I can't help it. I'm an AdFool.

Jarrod Thalheimer is a freelance writer living in Kelowna who spends far too much time watching television and movies. He can be reached at [email protected]

Visit Jarrod's website at www.adfool.com



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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