Monday, 16 December 2013

Not so much toilet humour as toilet philosophy

In my youth, there were certain tasks I simply couldn’t bring myself to do. It wasn’t so much that I regarded them as beneath me, though there was no doubt a bit of that. It was more a matter of revulsion: they had to be done, sure but, please, not by me.

So it never occurred to me that I might some day learn to do something so demeaning as cleaning a toilet. Not that it is demeaning. Or that I even regard it so any more. On the contrary, it has made me really understand that there’s no useful and task so mean that you can’t take pride in doing it well. I thought I might get used to toilet cleaning once a week, but it’s become more frequent than that: the slightest dubious odour, certainly anything like a stain, and I’m on to it like a shot.

But it isn’t just pride in a good job well done that drives me. It’s also the philosophical and political lessons I learn from it.

Just the place for a certain kind of politics
And just the place to reflect on them
For instance, whenever I’m cleaning a toilet, I always think of our present leaders in Britain. David Cameron, our Prime Minister; his sidekick, George Osborne, our Chancellor of the Exchequer; and the man who’s preparing himself to be Cameron’s nemesis, challenging him for the leadership of the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London.

It isn’t just because the place I’m cleaning is where their policies and values belong. Though they do, of course. No, it’s because it occurs to me that none of them would ever do the job I’m doing. Probably never have in their lives.

They naturally float above all that kind of thing. They have people to take on such chores for them. They may well denounce those people, even threatening to deport them – yes, an awful lot of cleaners in Britain are foreigners, and not all of them are legal 
– but they depend on them.

It strikes me that my cleaning duties have revealed one of the great distinctions in our world today.

It isn’t whether you live in a mansion, switch hemispheres in tune with the seasons, or have people to drive your cars for you. None of those things really matter. The two classes are the toilet-cleaning class and the clean-toilet class.

At least I know which side of that divide I’m on. And there’s a great many more of us than there are of them. What I can’t understand is why we don’t all get together and dump those guys from the positions of power they hold over us.

And then flush.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent idea David; if you want help with the flushing, just ask. By the way can I wish you success with the book. I won't be getting it as I have probably read most of it already.