by Marissa Marangoni

This month was another under-pressure adventure for me to get material for this column. It was also a last-ditch effort to eat a proper dinner before it descended into a cereal-and-leftover-guacamole-with-nothing-to-dip-in-it kind of meal. I ended up at Aladdin’s Eatery in Fairlawn, trying to keep my three-year-old from talking loudly about poop for the entirety of the meal. Luckily, there weren’t too many people at Aladdin’s at 7 pm on Wednesday, and the waitress didn’t seem to mind my son announcing he wanted “chicken with fruit poop” for dinner. 

Every time I visit a bathroom, I try to find the thing that stands out so I can (obviously) write about it. Sometimes, there just isn’t much of anything. At first, it seemed that Aladdin’s had one of those bathrooms. It’s clean, functional, and fit for the public. Someone was in one of the two stalls when I walked in, so I was forced to be that person trying to take pictures as fast as possible without seeming like I was… standing in the bathroom… taking pictures. 

But we should thank that someone else in the bathroom, because had they not been there, I wouldn’t have discovered the standout feature. 

I heard the stall door start to open and quickly hid in a stall to keep from being seen in what I assume looks like a shady situation. I shut myself in the stall in a hurry, locked the door, and proceeded to take a few more pictures. I like that the stall had its own “feminine trash” receptacle that was not a box with a top you had to touch to open, but a can on the floor you can open with your foot to minimize skin-to-surface contact. 

By this time, the person in the bathroom was washing their hands. After the water stopped, they lingered. I figured I should at least pretend I was in there going to the bathroom. (If there is a person in the next public bathroom you visit who isn’t making a sound and has been in there just as long as you, it could be Urine Luck. If you catch me, I will happily sign a piece of toilet paper for you to frame and hang later.)

I waited a nice amount of time and shuffled around in the stall and then went to flush the toilet. This is when I found the standout thing: the toilet flusher. It appeared to be all one piece, but when I pushed it, there were actually two pieces. 

The Aladdin’s toilet flusher has an outer frame piece and a separate inner piece. If you push the outer piece, only the outer piece moves and flushes. If you push the inner piece, both pieces move to flush the toilet. I assumed that this construction was designed to mirror the button flusher design — one button for pee flushing, one button for what might come after a chicken-and-fruit-poop dinner — but when I tried all this out, the toilet seemed to flush the same exact way using both options.

I will probably never get answers. I don’t blame Aladdin’s. They did everything they needed to do in their bathroom: colored walls, clean floors, baby changing table in the bigger stall. It’s all there, and it’s all working. But this toilet flusher design is a mystery, and I can’t seem to solve it with Google. It probably has something to do with the fact that I’m calling it a “flusher,” and there is likely a more technical term for this toilet component.

The Aladdin’s bathroom in Fairlawn gets a 4 / 5 toilets, even though their unique flushers seem to do nothing interesting.

Marissa Marangoni writes about bathrooms and manufacturing.

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