Erin's Journals

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Just a thought… It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts. [Harry S. Truman]

There are a lot of things I don’t understand; the internet has only just taught me how many things. Used to be you could say something and be pretty sure that you were right. Now there are people who are more than willing to call you on it. And I’m grateful. I love to learn. Here are two examples.

First: a word. I have been known to use the word “empathic” a lot, especially in my keynote speech, Reclaiming Joy (a video version of which is now available upon request for those wishing to hear it in person and possibly book me to speak).

The context is that I used to consider myself empathic, but after losing Lauren, my heart was blown wide open to so…much…more understanding, sympathy and empathy to those who suffer. It’s a good thing. A happy side-effect to an awful event.

But I hear a lot of people use the word “empathetic” and I wondered: have I been wrong all along? Or is it one of those things that’s just evolved in our language and I’m holding on for the wrong reasons?

Thank you to @ToriBarron13 who gave me what I think is the perfect explanation:

So, while I’m not an empath, I can be empathetic. And I’ll be changing the way I use that word from now on. Thanks, Twitter!

Now to this.

I’ve been visiting a lot of public places lately. As I tweeted a while back, my super power is flushing toilets that have been left unflushed.

To date, I can happily tell you that nothing has jumped out of the bowl to eat my arm. I think that people are careless because we’re so used to self-flushing commodes now, and many just get up and go, after they’ve sat down and gone. It doesn’t trouble me. I’m not five years old.

But then we get to these things. (It’s a picture from the internet because I haven’t wanted anyone to hear the sound of my phone taking a picture in a bathroom stall.)

The automatic seat cover that whirrrrrs with the touch of a button (or better yet, without the touch of a button) to replace one bit of plasticky film with another. I have about a million questions about these things, but I’m going to start with just a handful.

1. WHY?


3. Do you change the cover before you go, after you go, or both?

4. Is there some kind of etiquette?

5. Do these things supposedly prevent disease, pregnancy or pee and flush splashes from the previous occupant from getting on your bum and legs?

6. Did anyone in history ever get a disease on their bum and legs that came from a toilet seat?

7. And finally….WHHHHYYYYYY?

Do you use an automatic cover when you encounter it? How about those tissue paper ones? And again, why? Do you use them at home? Do you have someone who comes and wipes the seat for you before you go? How about after?

I just don’t get this. There’s too much being flushed into our sewage systems that doesn’t belong there; I’m looking at you, so-called “flushable wipes” and those who toss their dental floss down there, too, effectively crippling water treatment plant equipment like a dense rope around the prop of a ship.

I’m not judging and once someone can explain the ins and outs (if you will) of these toilet seat covers, I think I’ll have a little more understanding the next time I encounter those automatic plasticky seat sheets and the paper ones that are just tossed and, yes, often not flushed – something else I witness when I push open the door of a public restroom’s stall to exercise my super power.

Again, so many things I don’t know. YES there are bigger issues today and this is the classic “First World Problem.” But forgive me, friend, I just had to get that off of my…chest.

And yes, I know, wash your hands. As I tweeted yesterday, I promise not to touch my face 77 times a day if you promise to compliment me on my new goatee.

Rob WhiteheadThursday, March 5, 2020