Janet Combs

Janet Combs

Our obsession with throwing objects might manifest itself in catapulting pumpkins, tossing kegs, or hurling tomahawks. While some throwing events are serious competitions — like the shot put at the summer Olympics — others play more to the harmless thrill of seeing the airborne item land inglorioiusly on solid ground. This is known as the “belly flop effect,” documented in early research on Long Island by the "Planet Janet Institute for Adolescent Awkwardness" in 1972.

Wearing a one-piece bathing suit from Sears, a young social scientist discovered that a well-executed belly flop off the diving board at the public pool brought as much recognition and respect as the perfect swan dives done by the more popular, bikini-clad thirteen-year-old girl.

My point is, I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. But let us continue undeterred to the fact that my husband and I recently had a lot of fun throwing toilets off of our upper deck. And by “toilets,” I mean more than one toilet.

Toilets, as you probably surmised by looking at them every day for as long as you can remember, are heavy items. There have been a lot of innovations in toilet technology, but relatively none relating to the heft of the commode, and that’s because it’s pretty much the last bastion of quality in American manufacturing. No one wants a toilet to malfunction; therefore, it is built to last forever. You all go ahead and plan to spend your golden years tooling about in your self-driving Smart Cars — me, I’ll wait for Delta to come out with the Luxford Convertible.

I’m pretty sure the Delta engineers can do anything they set their minds to do, as evidenced by the fact that they’ve already come out with a built-in LED nightlight in their toilet seats. While we continue to wait with great anticipation for the Delta people to flush out their top-secret vehicular division, my husband and I did find ourselves in immediate need of some updated toilets that were the new “comfort” height. We also sought toilets that were environmentally friendly, requiring less than a bathtub of water with every flush.

So one recent Saturday morning, we shut off our water and attempted to remove the two porcelain dinosaurs from the main level of our fixer-upper. Apparently, I am the Maria Sharapova of toilet re-locators, as my husband had to stop a couple of times to ask, “Are you alright?”

“Why do you ask?” I said.

“You’re making a lot of grunting noises,” he said.

“Well, this toilet is heavy,” I said, stating the obvious. Sometimes stating the obvious causes you to rethink your strategy.

We had planned to lug the toilets down our 22 steps and load them into our van, but it was becoming increasingly apparent that I would not be able to do that without alarming the neighbors or perhaps establishing an unseemly reputation.

“Let’s just throw it off the deck,” my husband suggested.

Mary Poppins was right. "In every job that’s to be done -- there is an element of fun -- you find the fun and 'snap' the job’s a game."

Suddenly the toting of the toilets had real purpose. We ended up dragging them on a tarp to our back deck. Once there, we lifted them one by one to our railing, where they teetered enticingly.

“Go ahead, you first,” my husband said.

I gave mine a good shove. The sight of a toilet tumbling nearly two stories was nothing short of spectacular. It landed with a satisfying thud in the sandy grassland below and did not shatter.

It was my husband’s turn next.

“Don’t strain,” I cautioned.

His toilet sailed a bit farther out into the yard and did a half-twist, but bounced on landing, reducing his overall score. We stood for a moment together, admiring the scene below. But then we had to go clean it up. Nature called.