Blowing the lid off

Gene Weingarten on

Tom: Weird anomalies, mostly. No one imagines it could happen until it happens to them. I hear all the stories. I can't get people to stop telling me. A lot of people are heavily invested in individual stories of how their lid broke, and there are fairly similar plotlines. Very seldom is the person responsible -- it's always "my brother broke it," or "my wife," or "the cleaning lady." People never say, "Yeah, I'm the dumba-- who did it." It's much better to be the hero of the story than the damn fool.

Me: Do you suspect there's some secret, embarrassing reason that explains a lot of breakage -- one you never hear? Maybe something sex-related?

Tom: Well, a lot of toilet tank lids get broken in strip-club toilets. I can only imagine what goes on in there. Also, I've been told that some people hide vodka bottles in the toilet tank. You keep dipping in and out, you're gonna eventually smash the lid.

Me: Wow.

Tom: Yeah. Also, violence, if it happens in the bathroom, it could, a lot of times, involve the toilet lid. It could be a weapon, and a fairly effective one. It's heavy and hard, but, additionally, if it breaks and shatters, you've got a sharp object. I mean, what else do you have to defend yourself with in the bathroom? I don't think you could do anything with your safety razor, and shampoo would not be effective. You could make the person stand barefoot in water in the tub and throw the dryer in, but you know that's not gonna happen. But if you take the tank lid off, tap it on the ground, it'll break in half, and now it's a very deadly weapon that could instantly slice someone open! Plus, I think they'll think you're pretty crazy and back off if this person is coming at them with a broken piece of porcelain.

Me: You've given this a lot of thought.


Tom: It's what I do.


Gene Weingarten can be reached at Follow him on Twitter, @geneweingarten. Chat with him online Tuesdays at noon Eastern at

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