On the snowy Christmas of 2007, Santa delivered a beloved pet fish to my four-year-old son, Chauncey. “Sonny” the 15 cent goldfish, taught my son the responsibilities of pet ownership. Chauncey fed the fish himself. He maintained the level, cleanliness, pH and temperature of Sonny’s water. Once, when he had a long "piece of string" hanging from his tail, Chauncey flicked the glass to "startle" Sonny and make the string fall off. On each passing holiday, Chauncey made a card for Sonny. With each card, Chauncey’s crayon image of Sonny improved. As seasons changed, and toddler turned into boy, Sonny became a bigger part of our family. Sonny even came camping with us last summer! Chauncey made him a tiny "s'more".
Last week, my son notified me that Sonny was swimming like “Uncle Keith after too many Manhattans”. To appease Chauncey, we took Sonny to the veterinarian. Dr. Smoot pulled me aside and ribbed me about my $50 vet visit over a 15 cent fish. We shared a good laugh about that, and I’m pretty sure he drove over some nails or sharp glass on his way home. My drive home was the longest of my life--I had to explain to Chauncey that there wasn't anything we could do for Sonny. The next morning, Sonny was floating at the top of the tank.
We held a makeshift-yet-very-solemn ceremony in our guest bath. I reverently laid a toilet paper "cross" on the water in the toilet bowl. We lit a scented candle and placed it on the toilet tank. Then, we gently laid Sonny's remains on the toilet papery cross--it looked as if he were gently napping on a puffy cloud in the sky. We sang a nice song that I crafted, entitled "Sonny's Going to Flushington." My song described a soft, peaceful place where fish go after they die. I then asked my son to cycle the lever, and gently send Sonny to that restful place.
What followed reminded me of Sonny Corleone's toll booth demise in the Godfather. Chauncey started screaming, as Sonny’s corpse violently spiraled through the watery vortex like the cow in Twister. His head made smaller and smaller circles as it followed Sonny’s rapidly spiraling trek out of our lives forevermore. Chauncey was inconsolable—he barely even touched his fish sticks. He wet the bed that night.
I've got a big complaint with the design of your product. Funeral processions don't go 70 mph from wake to gravesite. Pallbearers don't wear running shoes, and pass the casket like some sort of 4x400 relay. And last time I checked, ash-filled urns aren't blasted far into the ocean with water balloon catapults. There is something to be said for dignity and respect. I think your flush was too abrupt for a five-year-old, or anyone saying goodbye to an old friend.
Your flush lacked dignity and respect. Your toilet has a critical design flaw. I think all of your product development and testing has focused on one particular aspect of a commode, with no focus on our children—the future of our nation.
One day, our children will be pulling our plugs—I would hope that I could provide a decent template for them to do so. I am asking for you to consider a "Flush-a-Fish" setting. Less gallons per minute than a normal flush. Fish burial is a common use for your product. This setting would make the grieving process that much more dignified--more like I would want to go.
While I have you, I think at some point, we've all been burnt at the other end of the spectrum. This is why people die trying to smuggle the higher flow toilets from Mexico across the Rio Grande. This is why "retro" toilets in hideous avocado tones, are highly sought after on Ebay.
Why not make a toilet with multiple flow settings. In addition to "Flush-a-Fish", how about "standard 1.6” and what I’ll call the "11" setting. Let me know what you think. If legislation stands in our way, let’s get the lobbying started. There’s a new man in charge--maybe he understands.
Lastly, people in movies often aspire for a solid gold crapper as a symbol of infinite wealth. Do you market such a product? Can you dish any celebrities who may have purchased one? Bea Arthur is the first name that came to my mind.
PS—If you have any prototype stuff—cutting edge home products that you need tested, let me know.
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