By David Sherman
This is the not-so-tepid tale of an insurance company, a hot water tank, a bidet and a fried ass. This sordid or sore-ass story begins with a notice from our insurance company insisting we change our hot water tank. They had decided it was too old, risked exploding and flooding the basement and they wanted no part of paying for it. Hence, it was buy a new tank or have no insurance.
So Reisa called the guy who sold her the now banned tank about 15 years ago and he installed a sterling new tank. The fact that a main water pipe, next to the tank, sprung a leak a day later and the basement partially flooded is a story for another day.
So, we had a big, new honking tank full of hot water. Wonderful, though washing dishes hinted the water was a tad warmer than we were used to.
But, let’s go back in time to the important part of this life lesson.
Many years ago, I rented a house with a bidet and it changed my life. How civilized. Not only did it do what is was supposed to do, on sweaty summer days I’d stick my burning feet in it and turn on the cold spray. A less conventional person could stick their head in the toilet and wash their hair. Or vegetables for dinner. The gizmo is a life changer, you don’t even have to download apps or charge it.
When Covid hit and people decided salvation came with truckloads of toilet paper, bidets became a hot commodity. As the New York Times reported, tactfully as possible, “toilet paper smears but a bidet cleans.” Short and tasteful summary.
After scouring online and going from hardware store to hardware store in the Laurentians, I finally bagged what I was hunting – an attachment that added a blessed bidet to our toilet. The store had one left and I grabbed it. I did not know at the time that Home Depot is a contributor to Republican nutwings, but I was pretty desperate for this $85 dream machine – an attachable bidet with temperature-controlled water. Keep that in mind – temperature control. (This is a literary device called foreshadowing.)
For $300, our plumber friend broke through the bathroom wall, hooked up hot and cold water and the dazzling white bidet device that sits under the toilet seat, a rear end’s best friend, was working. Heaven was only a visit to the can away. Feeling like royalty on a throne is spending part of your morning ablutions sitting, reading whatever you read, the bidet quietly gurgling warm water and soothing and cleaning where you live.
Not only is one clean, you feel clean. And it avoids embarrassment. As a gay friend explained to me one night, he was tired of bringing guys home and finding “skid marks on the sofa” when night turned to day. And, should your partner be overcome by your sex appeal and jumps you on the kitchen table, you don’t have to say, “Uh, wait dear, I need to …uh … find a washcloth. Don’t go away.”
Conventional wisdom claims the French shower notably less than North Americans, depending on the bidet to keep clean without scrubbing their entire bods once or twice a day. A guy from France claimed he missed people’s body odours. He thought we all smelled like perfume shops.
So, follow me as I take you to the day after the new hot water tank is installed. I sit for my morning constitutional, check the bidet temperature settings are what they were yesterday, read the news and do what had to be done. Other than the fact the entire world is going to hell, I’m as happy as I have a right to be. Until I mindlessly turn the dream machine on and am hit with a spray I figure is about 10,000 degrees F. I scream and hit the ceiling. No truer holy shit moment have I been through.
I can now sit less gingerly than a few days ago, and I have a renewed respect for this life-changing gizmo. Life changing, at the very least, ‘cause now I’m scared to death of searing the amusement park as well as the sanitation station. (Apologies to Robin Williams.)
Scarred and motivated, I attacked the hot water tank with a screwdriver to lower the temperature from scalding to acceptably hot, but, unscrewing everything that could unscrew, revealed no temperature control. No one answered the manufacturer’s help line and the online manual was perfect, except it was for a tank that resembles ours the way a VW Beatle resembles an SUV.
Yes, fried once, twice scared-to-death but I have returned to enjoy my stays on the hot seat because, it’s not hot anymore. It’s now a cool seat. And I’ll take it. Yes, cleanliness is next to Godliness. But so are my privates.