I remember a period of time when my friend Jeanine referred to herself as a gym rat because she basically lived at the gym.  I am starting to feel like a Menards rat as I am spending far too much time there.

I have visited Menards more times in the past month than I have collectively over the five years prior.  The employees are coming to recognize me…before you know it they’ll be on my Christmas list…it’s getting out of control.  Today my mission was to address a potpourri of loose ends that are still lingering on the home repair items.  I had to pick the moulding, casing, paint color for the doors (you may think white is a one color selection, but not so my friends – spend some time looking at all the variations of white paint options if you want to slowly lose your mind).  I also had to select door knob handles, survey bathroom faucet options, buy a vanity top and select a toilet.

I was holding my own with a bit of help from my Menards pals until it came to the toilet aisle.  Who knew that there was so much to know about toilets?  The height of the seat, whether the seat is round or elongated, whether it all comes together or the tank and toilet are separate.  Then there is the color, the shape of the tank and the flush rating.  There are a lot of choices.  I am not good with all those choices.  Silly me, I thought most toilets were created equal – apparently not.

I spent a good 30 minutes walking up and down the toilet aisle trying to absorb all there was to know about toilets before I finally had to acknowledge my toilet savvy was basically nonexistent.  I flagged down Matt, a Menards’ employee, and had him give me the down and dirty on all there was to know about toilets in two minutes or less.  Apparently, the key concerns are: 1) type of seat – round or elongated (elongated is for those who like a bit more seat and is particularly good for those with a bit more fanny); 2) height of the seat – they typically range from 14″-17″; and, flush rating – basically how much flush power the toilet offers (they had models with flush ratings from 2.5 to 10). I chose a model with a round seat at 15″ that had a flush rating of 10.

The model toilet I chose is called Diplomat.  A toilet named  Diplomat…I wonder what the thought behind that was.  Do you think the name was assigned based on the toilet’s identity or as a marketing pull for the user?  Is the toilet the diplomat or does the manufacturer seek to conjure up a feeling of being a diplomat while you are sitting on it?

It may very well be that the toilet is a diplomat – after all, it does have a flush rating of 10.  There is something quite diplomatic about universally flushing all things big and small with the requisite vigor so no one feels singled out for creating an un-flushable moment.  Perhaps the goal is to give the user the feeling that they are more important and influential while using it.  I wonder if that means that the reading material in the bathroom needs to be upgraded from Entertainment Weekly or Cosmopolitan to the New York Times or U.S. News & World Report to help reinforce the diplomat image.

Of course, who will even know the toilet’s name except for me and now – all of you?  The average user probably could care less what it is called and is more concerned with the flush power.  I surmise I could put a little sign over the toilet that says “Diplomat” and then survey folks about their thoughts when they get out of the bathroom.  I could query if they felt like a diplomat when they sat down or if they believed that the toilet’s personality was well-represented by the label.  Wouldn’t that be an interesting conversation?  I can imagine it wouldn’t be long until folks started to talk about my odd fascination with my toilet in concerned tones.

But I am curious – why call a toilet Diplomat?  Why not Flush-Easy, Power Flush or something along those lines?  Why try and sexy up the name of a toilet?  Perhaps I should write to the manufacturer and ask my questions directly…surely there is a fascinating story or brilliant marketing rationale behind the name.

Or just maybe I should move on without further reflection.  I guess in the big picture of life this is fairly minor.  But just for good measure, I will make sure that I keep a copy of U.S. News & World Report in that bathroom…if a toilet can help create a diplomat, far be it for me to get in the way. 😉

Day five hundred and forty-one of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C