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“‘Flowers-in-a-can’ by any other name would still smell as sweet…”

A friend of mine has devised a couple of mottos – truisms, in fact – to live his life by:

Air conditioning is the difference between a good time and a great time.


You shouldn't have to pay for parking or sex.

The latter one especially is a sure-fire platform for election to local government, mark my words.

However, he recently came up with a new one, the veracity of which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is also irrefuteable:

You shouldn’t be able to tell when someone’s done a poo at work.

I’m not sure exactly how he derives these maxims – whether he posits such statements and then tests them empirically, or if he comes upon them merely by deep reflection. However, this latest one comes from, he says, personal experience:

“Our work toilet is just a dunny and one of those ridiculous tiny rectangular basins. The whole area, similar in size to a telephone box, is located right near Reception. Often, when couriers or clients come in, their first whiff is of faecal matter mixed with ‘flowers-in-a-can’.”

Turns out that the other philosophers my buddy works with aren’t as enlightened as he is.

“We are also having trouble finding (and keeping) a receptionist,” he says. “We’ve had about six since June - some are temps and some are full-timers. The full-timers we’ve had last on average three days.”

Here’s the clincher:

“We couldn’t work out why – the job/salary isn't that bad and the people here are friendly enough - oh hang on, she has to sit outside the toilet door.”

The irony is that my friend works for a waste disposal firm!

Postscript: I just had a thought: if you were a pathologist, say, and you worked maybe with the oncology unit of a hospital, and you had to analyse stool samples, then my buddy’s latest motto doesn’t hold true: if your job is to analyse stool samples, then you should be able to tell when someone’s done a poo at work; if you can’t tell, then you’re probably not going to be very good at your job!

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