Remember toilet seats? Those utilitarian objects that pretty much we all use every day to ease our biological processes? Used to be that these things were pretty much indestructable and we changed them when the bathroom was redecorated or the hinges just got too corroded to stand looking at. And I am sure that all the ones I have used were probably made in Dayton or some other bastion of western civilization.
Well, times have changed — all the toilet seats we have bought over the last few years from our local big box retailer were made — guess where. They look nice and were inexpensive enough but they all manifested a common problem. They break. So far the failure rate is 100%, some within the ‘warranty’ period. It has been the poor metallurgy of the hinges mostly — cast material that was visibly crystalized. But the latest failure was the ‘wood’ of the seat which when it broke revealed itself to actually be some cast material that looks suspiciously like bakelite resin and sawdust.
So we are looking for a source that can provide us with an old fashion toilet seat of real materials that will just sit there and do its job. Hopefully we will not have to plumb the depths of the Habitat Resale Store. But this regular failure is just downright boring.
It occurred to me that this issue with the toilet seats is probably a metaphor for contemporary civilization. We still produce the appearances of the old quality but we have gutted the manufacturing centers and shipped the production to places for which the number of units are more important, no matter how shoddily built, than the quality. After all, very few tourists are likely to come by to see where their toilet seats were made. Are we playing at being a civilization now? My toilet seat index seems to suggest that we are — there is the appearance of quality but its just rotten inside. I hope I am wrong.