Are you sure the toilet was destroyed?
Yes. While denial is a normal first response to misfortune, several close inspections revealed that the tank of the toilet was askew, that the bolts holding it together had worn through the ceramic, and that upon each flush, a sizable amount of water would dribble onto the floor. Some light wrenching proved futile and the toilet was deemed by me to be “absolutely destroyed.”
Why do you assume your brother-in-law is the one who destroyed your toilet?
The toilet was in pristine condition Friday. My brother-in-law babysat my son on Saturday. On Sunday, my brother-in-law asked me, suspiciously, if I knew my toilet was broken, and explained that he had put towels down to prevent damage to the floor and basement ceiling. He, my son, and my niece are the only possible suspects, but the two small children do not have the body mass to absolutely destroy a powder room toilet.
Is your brother-in-law a particularly big guy?
No. Though he seems sensitive about his weight on occasion, my brother-in-law is an average-sized man. If the police were to create a line-up of usual suspects, you would not pick out my brother-in-law as someone who could absolutely obliterate your toilet, if he wound up in the lineup at all. Furthermore, if my toilet failed because it could not hold someone’s weight, I would blame the toilet, and not the user. This would be an engineering flaw, as toilets should be universally designed.
So you think he was misusing the toilet in some way?
Yes. While I understand that this is the crux of the situation, I would rather not elaborate on how my brother-in-law might have used the toilet in such a way as to absolutely kill it. Surely it is not my responsibility as a victim to imagine every possible scenario in which my brother-in-law abused my toilet, though I can offer as a suggestion that perhaps he sat too quickly in a precipitous flop or there was a precarious wiggle. It’s also relevant that my brother-in-law is a fan of the Marvel superhero franchise, which glorifies impractical jumps and rough landings.
Did he offer to pay to fix it?
No. In the moment, without any real understanding of how toilets work, I assured my brother-in-law that the tank could likely be reattached easily. After inspection revealed that the toilet was absolutely executed without mercy, I shouldered the cost of a new toilet out of pocket, avoiding installation fees by performing this work myself at the guidance of Youtube DIY videos.
Wait, you didn’t tell him it was broken?
This is a delicate family dynamic, and I would appreciate your understanding. He had just provided me with reasonably-priced childcare when the issue first arose, so it would have been indecent to squabble toilets at that time. Then, after the damage had been fully assessed, instigation of the discussion would likely have been embarrassing for my brother-in-law, my sister, as well as for me and my wife.
Are you scared of confrontation or something?
No. I am not scared of confrontation, just a thoughtful empathetic human who understands the nuance of human relationships and who handles himself with a certain decorum.
So you’re a little scared?
No. Confronting my brother-in-law about absolutely slaughtering my toilet is not scary. You know what’s scary? A toilet — what should be the most reliable fixture of your house — bleeding out from the tank while the man responsible roughhouses with your son, teaching your progeny his methods for absolutely annihilating toilets.
Isn’t it kind of messed up to tell your brother-in-law that everything is fine and then turn around and put him on blast in an online article?
I can understand how you would think that, but no. My interactions with my brother-in-law and my interactions with others are separate social situations. When talking to my brother-in-law about the toilet he absolutely destroyed, I am bound by family honor. On the other hand, when sharing my experience with strangers on the internet, my allegiance lies with my felled toilet. I am handling both situations with aplomb.
Are you this passive aggressive in other areas of your life?
That is a very astute observation. Thank you for being so thoughtful. I will think about this further.
But you’re mad?
No, I’m not mad that I had to spend my PTO replacing my destroyed toilet. Nor am I mad that my psyche is being interrogated by an amorphous internet voice.
So now you’re mad at me?
What are you writing in that other FAQ?
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Troy Doetch is a Deaf writing teacher from Rockford, IL. He has written in McSweeney’s, Slackjaw, and Points in Case. His 3-year-old son likes his stories about hungry robots.