Hands, Toilets, Work & Diamonds

overcoming fear of the blank page

A Cape Cod boy was retrieving his toothbrush from the family toilet when he found two diamond rings lodged in the pipes.


Apparently, the former owner had placed the rings on a piece of toilet paper after cleaning them and had accidentally flushed them 12 years before. Remarkably, the intervening years of flushing, cleaning, snaking and plunging had failed to dislodge them; it took a solid hand groping to find the missing jewels.


Many years ago when I was at the Crown and Anchor in Newcastle (not the old crappy dodgy Crown and Anchor, but the new crappy trendy Crown and Anchor) I found a drivers licence in the toilet. I weed, I wiped, I flushed – and then I plunged my hand in and pulled out the licence. Now before you say ‘ewww!’ you must realise that I knew then what very few people know, which is this: your toilet bowl is cleaner than your kitchen sink. Seriously.


Last month, a report comparing toilets and computer keyboards at one UK workplace found the keyboards far, far, far more grubby than the toilet seat and the toilet door handle. In fact, the keyboards had ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY TIMES the recommended limit for bacteria. This isn’t at all surprising. Workplace toilets are cleaned every day; when was the last time you cleaned your keyboard? It also makes sense that there are fewer germs on your thighs than on your hands. Hands are filthy dirty disgusting things. My geneticist buddy used to say that after going to the toilet men should wash their penises, not their hands. Sticking your hands in a (clean) toilet can only improve them.


Another friend of mine has just moved into a brand new apartment in Wellington. In the bottom of his toilet there is something that looks like a bit of rolled up paper, maybe a cigarette. Anyway, it was there when he moved in, it was there when I went round to help him set up his TV stand, it was there when I went round for a few drinks at his housewarming party. Chances are, it’ll stay there until he moves out in six months time. Some people, I guess, just can’t shove their hand into their toilet, no matter how clean it is.


The good news is, the father of the kid that found the diamond rings tracked down the former owner of the house and gave the rings back. I’m not sure what happened to his toothbrush.

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Nat Newman - portrait

Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.


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