Ceramics of Real Life

A father's impromptu lesson on toilet talk

I was enjoying a well-needed shower when I heard the pitter patter of my four-year-old daughter come into the bathroom to use the toilet.

“Hi Daddy.”

“Hi honey, how was your day today?”

“Good” she replied.

Why do they cook toilets if they are not going to eat them?

“Did you learn anything today at school?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do mean you don’t know, you should learn something every day?” Silence…

The toilet flushed, and a minute passed.

“Daddy, where do toilets come from?”

This is where parenting on weed has its advantages: “Well honey, you see, aahh, toilets are made of porcelain, which is a mix of clay, feldspar and silica. The people in the factory mix the ingredients together before being subjected to one of three forming processes such as soft plastic forming, stiff plastic forming or casting. The choice depends upon the ware being produced. After they have formed the porcelain, they subject it to an ending purification process called bisque-firing, before being glazed.”

“Daddy, what is glaze?”

“Glaze is a layer of decorative glass the people in the factory put over the ceramic body. The last manufacturing phase is called firing, they put all the toilets into a  big oven called a kiln and cook them until they are hard.”

“Do they cook them like food?” She asked.

“Well, kind of, they don’t use a food oven, they use a toilet oven.”

“If they cook the toilets, how come it is not hot like food is?”

“The toilets need to come out of the oven to cool for a long time, like food.”

“Why do they cook toilets if they are not going to eat them?”

“The people in the factory cook the toilets to harden them so we can sit on them.” I slid the shower curtain open to take a peek. Soap ran into my eye.

She had her hands on her hips, and a leg jotted out in disbelief of my story. I chuckled and continued my education on toilets.

“After they remove the toilets from the big oven and cooled down, they put them on trucks and bring them to the store for you and I to buy, so we can put them into our bathrooms and use them when we need them.” 

I stopped the shower, slid the shower curtain to the side, and toweled off.

My daughter was now standing looking at the toilet in a perplexed position with her head tilted, pondering every possible question about toilets.

She turned to me, smiled and said, “OK daddy” and skipped out of the bathroom.  

And that was how toilets were made.

Fast forward fourteen years later. I was at the lumberyard when I walked down the lumber aisle; I heard a little boy in a carriage ask his dad, “Where does wood come from?”

His dad finished putting the 2×4’s into his lumber cart and, without looking at his son, replied. “It come’s from the store.”

The boy shrugged and shoved the half-dissolved lollipop in his mouth and continued sucking.

Way Past Tipsy - ran kime

Read “Ceramics of Real Life” and other stories by Ran Kime in the collection Way Past Tipsy & Other Silent Cries for Help

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Ran Kime Writer
Ran Kime, a writer, poet, musician and recluse from New Hampshire, crafts abstract stories, flash fiction & poetry that probe the psyche. His collections include “Spectre of the Brocken: Halo for the observer” and “Way Past Tipsy & Other Silent Cries for Help”.