Say No to the Squat-and-Go | Urban Living

Say No to the Squat-and-Go

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My wife just spent a week being violently ill due to a viral bug. It was so bad, that after three days of dehydration, she woke me at 5 a.m. and said, "I've got to go the hospital." InstaCare was closed, so we ended up visiting the emergency room and the friendly women on the early morning crew at LDS Hospital. After two bags of saline and another bag of magical nausea-calming medicine, she was stabilized and back home in bed. "No more high-fives for me—only fist bumps!" is her new motto, along with washing her hands profusely. According to the World Health Organization, more than one million people die from intestinal bugs around the world every year. It's one of the leading causes of death in India and Africa.

Many developing nations don't always have toilets like ours. More people around the world use the squat method with no water. And now that Utah is becoming an even more popular place to visit, we're getting news reports that public toilets are being broken by visitors who are unfamiliar with them. The state Capitol's restrooms and our five national parks have been constantly replacing toilet seats because visitors climb on them and break them when attempting to do their business. And this isn't just a Utah problem—Lloyds Bank in London, the train cars running to Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, and tourist sites in New York all find broken toilets due to squatting.

Sadly, not everyone is great at aiming for the target, so cleaning up the mess has become burdensome. Some countries don't provide toilet paper, so instead you have to wipe with one hand and then turn on the faucet with the other to wash your hands.

Signs are now going up at Utah's Capitol and parks that depict a person squatting over an American-style toilet with a big red X over the graphic, and another person sitting on a toilet with a big green check mark. We have zillions of foreign tourists bringing their browns to the bowls around our state, and we've got to let them know that the "squat-and-go" is a no-no. There are no words on those signs—just visuals that all foreign visitors can easily understand.

Funny thing is, the squatting method is much better for releasing human waste. But I don't foresee the New Yorker restaurant taking out the tanks, removing the toilet paper and asking patrons to face the wall and aim properly any time soon.

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