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Tantalizing tales about toilets

World Toilet Day spotlights global sanitary issues. But we can also celebrate with some light-hearted facts.

World Toilet Day is an important day with a serious purpose.

It’s the official United Nations international observance day for taking action on the global sanitation crisis. The U.N. estimates 4.5 billion people worldwide live without safely managed sanitation.

Uncontrolled sewage can contaminate water and soils, and lead to diseases like cholera and typhoid. Recently, Bill Gates went so far as to say we need better toilets.

That being said, we’re fortunate we don’t have widespread sanitation issues in the United States. So please allow us to spend a few moments looking at the lighter side of a day honoring the john. After all, who doesn’t occasionally chuckle at bathroom humor, like these corny (but family-friendly) toilet-related jokes.

And personally, I’ve done a lot of work with toilets over the years.

No, I’m not a plumber. I’m a Denver Water employee, but I’ve never actually installed a commode or even repaired one. I’ve just worked with them. And by “worked with” I mean … well …

Maybe this spot promoting “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day”
will explain it.Toilet punches Steve for trying to flush pills.



Or this one talking about Denver Water rebates for ultra-high-efficiency toilets.Toilet punches Steve for losing the Toilet Shuffle.



Or this video promoting “Fix a Leak Week.”Leaky toilet punches Steve




Yeah, I’m that guy. I’ve been repeatedly punched by the Denver Water toilet, all to promote important lessons about water efficiency or quality. Trust me, this isn’t where I saw my career ending up either.

Nevertheless, I believe the work I’ve done makes me uniquely qualified to share other points about powder rooms with you. So here we go with four fascinating facts you should know in honor of World Toilet Day:

Fact 1: As you’ve read so far, there are A LOT of nicknames for the toilet or bathroom. came up with 101 alternative names, and they didn’t even use the dirty ones. Feel free to share your favorite ones in the comments below. Just keep it classy.

Fact 2: One of the nicknames is the “crapper.” That’s classy, you ask? It is. The word honors potty pioneer Thomas Crapper. While Crapper didn’t invent the toilet (that honor went to Sir John Harrington, an English courtier), Crapper did increase its popularity by developing some important improvements, such as the ballcock — a tank-filling mechanism still used in loos today.

And taking it one step further, the word “crap” doesn't even come from Crapper’s name. “Crap” is of Middle English origin, first appearing in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1846 under a reference to a crapping ken, or privy. We’ll just stop right here before we get into deep … well, you know.

Fact 3: Are you reading this story about hoppers … on the hopper? You wouldn’t be alone, particularly if you’re on your phone. A Verizon survey showed that 90 percent of respondents say they’ve used their phone in the bathroom. Time Magazine recently featured an article on reading in the bathroom by the author of a book called “Psychology in the Bathroom.” There are many theories as to why people read on the stool, and there is research on both sides of the question on whether it impacts your health. But it’s happening. And we don’t judge. Read on!

Fact 4: Denver Water partners with the Environmental Protection Agency to promote WaterSense-labeled fixtures, including toilets, many of which are eligible for rebates. But some people still worry anything labeled “efficient” won’t do the job without using more water (i.e. flushing multiple times). So what kind of load can a typical WaterSense-labeled toilet handle?

Back in 2014, when we were advocating for legislation that eventually mandated WaterSense-labeled fixtures becoming standard in new construction in Colorado, Chris Piper, a government liaison at Denver Water who earned the nickname “Toilet Man” for his research on biffies, shared this bit of information with the Colorado Legislature:

  • WaterSense toilets are performance tested to flush 12 ounces of uncased media.
  • That is equivalent to about 70 nickels, half a Chipotle burrito, four Taco Bell Crunchy Tacos, a small box of Cheerios or three McDonald’s Quarter Pounders.

So yeah, a WaterSense-labeled toilet can handle your business for you. Consider replacing your outdated oval office with an ultra-high-efficiency head, and start saving water and money.

I could go on forever. There are songs about toilets (21 according to this blog), blogs about toilets and even important works of art about toilets, like Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain.” Now, we’ve added a story about toilets on this prominent utility’s news site.

So let’s bring this story to an end. Time to put it … in the can!