John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
The detonating commode went off in Town Hall and lodged porcelain shrapnel in a door.
Welcome to this short, violent edition of Toilet Tuesday:
A COMPELLING EXPLANATION, IN THE U.K.
The central U.K. city of Sheffield is celebrating the arrival of its "first ever public Chinese-style squat toilet," heralds the Star. The mysterious loo from the East is located in the men's facilities at Noodle Inn Centro, a downtown diner serving soup and Halal delicacies. The squat pot, which is standard over much of the non-Western world, looks like a urinal plunked into the floor and can require certain idiots to memorize a photographic eight-step guide before using it. Some folks say it's better for your colon than the standard throne, because it allows (brace yourself) "complete evacuation."
And what brings this remarkable ground hole to Sheffield? As Noodle Inn's owner David Chan told the Star: "We get so many Chinese students in here and they kept breaking my toilet seats by standing on them. I thought I can’t be having that so I had this put in." (The restaurant just opened, so either Chan is referring to the situation at his other restaurants or is simply taking the piss.)
MUTINY OF THE PLUNGER-CARRYING CHILDREN'S CRUSADE, IN NEW YORK
The principal of a Manhattan public school is in detention this week after his plan to use toilet plungers as hall passes went grievously awry. The experiment began at the High School of Graphic Communication Arts when each classroom received a differently colored plunger, weirdly with no explanation, according to the New York Post. The newspaper then describes the chaos that ensued:
“The kids were using the plungers to whack each other, to pop ceiling tiles in the bathroom,” the source said. “They were sticking it in the toilet and then flinging them across the classroom.”
After school security officers complained, the Department of Education got wind of and revoked the plunger program. Again, with no explanation given.
FLUSH, KABOOM! IN SOUTH CAROLINA
The terror that strikes from below – an exploding toilet bowl – is sowing fear and fecal water all over the small, confusingly named town of North, South Carolina. The Improvised Bathroom Device lashed at the civic heart of North itself, going off in the men's bathroom inside Town Hall, reports the Times and Democrat. The stall's occupant had fortunately stepped away seconds before the eruption, which blew a third of the tank to smithereens and lodged porcelain shrapnel in a door. The culprit was a toilet engineered for heavy public use that employs a high-pressure valve and less water than normal.
Detonating toilets have become a recent scourge in the American bathroom scene. Although the brand of North's rogue crapper is unknown, earlier this summer Flushmate issued a massive voluntary recall of pressurized toilets after about 300 people complained of explosions. One poor victim of such a buttock-shaking barrage said that "I required dozens of stitches for an extremely deep wound," although being "a bigger person, I was able to absorb the brunt of the force."
Below is the picture of his demolished bathroom.