Tuesday, April 29, 2008

An answer to trucker bombs?

Pee bottles have hit the mainstream, no pun intended. At least for children: If you want to relive the thrills of victory and agonies of defeat from toilet-training your own brood, just cruise over to this site, which will likely make anyone cringe.

Capitalizing on the growing national phobia of the bacteria and viruses our kind have lived with for eons, the creators of My Pee Pee Bottle make a trip to a public restroom sound like a week in a cholera ward. Although truth to tell, I’ve been in some public johns where I felt dirtier after washing my hands than before – and a disproportionate number of these have been in a gigantic international fast-food chain.

They don’t really offer any proof of this – they cite a study that found people don’t like using public restrooms, and then imply that death awaits those who can’t wait to get home.

Their revolutionary solution is not toilet seat covers, portable child-size seats or dousing the place with a bleach bomb. It’s to get the kid to whiz in a plastic bottle that you, Mr. or Mrs. Parent, have to kneel down and hold while encouraging your child to go. This, they say, is far more sanitary and safe for your little one. And you can rest easy, knowing that the paint contains no lead!

Think about that for a bit. While you are thinking, go to the site and read the directions for use.

Full disclosure – I don’t have children and have never had to deal with one’s toilet needs. But I’ve seen and heard a lot of fathers who do.

For instance, a couple of weeks ago, I was in a men’s restroom when I heard a father behind me cajoling his little girl to come in and use the facilities. She was resisting: “I don’t like the boys!” she protested, as he tried to explain that he couldn’t very well take her into the ladies restroom. I could really imagine her cheerfully agreeing to use a bottle out in public.

As for little boys, let’s just say that one of the great things about being a guy is being able to aim. Or not. It’s a free country.

This may be the solution to the eternal “I gotta go now!” quandary; I don’t know. But somehow this strikes me as a money-making solution to a need that has long been solved.

A friend of mine used to regale us with stories about how he and his family went on long station wagon vacations, and Dad stowed a Sam’s Club-size mayonnaise jar in the car for just such emergencies. Except, of course, Dad was intent on making good time so the children had to use the jar on the move. None of them grew up to be truckers, but they all had acquired a valuable skill they don’t teach you at the Three-Week Wonder Academies.

Instead of kids, this product ought to be aimed at truckers. It’s easy to toss a “free” plastic jug, but if you’ve paid $9.99 for just the bottle, you’d be less likely to leave it in a rest stop. Maybe this is something the fleets should logo and hand out to their drivers as incentives not to linger at truck stops? I bet they would get a lot of use then.