Sandy wouldn't write this blog. I told her she can't back away from a story just because it may cause some discomfort. As long as you stick to the truth and the facts, then you just have to let the pieces fall where they may. Fast breaking news, complex issues or unpopular views require a steady hand to get the story out no matter what the ramifications may be. So here I go.
I'm sure many of you who have lived or visited Germany in the past have been wondering, and the answer is yes, we do. Our house is only 15 years olds, so I expected that modern fixtures would now be the norm and was actually surprised to discover we indeed do have them. However, apparently, my definition of modern may not be the German definition. Actually, we have four, and three of them have it, the master bath does not, thank goodness. I'm talking about toilet shelves.
For those of you that aren't familiar, the Germans have a toilet that, essentially, has a display shelf. Note the photo here on the right. That's a small porcelain duck sitting on the shelf. I thought the duck image would make this a bit more aesthetically pleasing. (Because of my ingenious use of this porcelain duck, any further reference to excrement, defecation, crap, poop or shit, will all be encompassed by the single word, duck.)
Other than this shelf, German toilets pretty much look like anything you'd find in the U.S. or other western countries. One other little difference though is their two flush capability. Whether it's a handle, chain or push pad, it's short push/pull for a short flush, long push/pull for a long flush. When you're moving a heavy duck it requires a long push/pull.
Back to the shelf. The intended purpose, after long inebriated discussions and a bit of research, is indeed a place to display a person's duck. I've heard it called "lay and display." The desire to examine your duck comes from a time when poorly prepared food could result in worms or parasites. A duck exam could reveal either. Plus, other types of intestinal disorders may reveal themselves with an examination of your duck. It would seem that modern food preparation would pretty much eliminate this need but there I go again using my definition of modern.
I said that, luckily, our master bathroom does not have a shelf because there are a few issues that go along with the shelf. If the shelf has dried off, when your duck hits that dry porcelain it's going to stick and stick good. That means even one long flush might not move your duck. It may take three or four long flushes.
If you're someone that likes to sit and contemplate while on the toilet, maybe do a little reading, the shelf will greatly impact the length of your stay. That duck, sitting on the shelf, and all the aromas associated with it very quickly drifts into the open air and assaults your nasal sensors. Yeah, you know what I mean.
Finally, when it's time to do the paperwork. It can be a bit disconcerting to reach back there and feel the wafting warmth of your 98.6° duck.
One last interesting observation. The Germans actually make two types of shelved toilets. You'll see in the photo here that the shelf is in the back, hole in the front. They also make one in reverse, shelf front, hole back. Not sure what's the driving factor there but that's got to be an interesting conversation when you're out purchasing bathroom fixtures for your new home. "Well sir, let's talk toilets. You want it with or without a shelf?" "With? OK, front shelf or back shelf? Personally, I like the front shelf. Easier access should any alarming issues be observed."
OK, that wasn't too bad, was it? We're looking forward to your visit. All our guest toilets have the shelf so you'll get a chance to "lay and display." QUACK!!!!