Liam Farrell: A delicate situation brought a flush to my face

I am a sensitive and delicate person and I find scatological humour vulgar and offensive.

But I do recall being mildly amused when Billy Connolly described visiting the toilet on a train and finding a 'jobbie' (cue hilarious laughter) in the WC. Retreating in horror, he told the next person the offending object wasn't his.

'Why is that, pal,' came the reply, 'yours got your name on it?'

When Mrs Dooley asked me if I wanted to wash my hands after I'd seen her husband, I found myself in a similar predicament. Mrs Dooley always kept the house spotlessly clean, so I was surprised to see a little stool lurking at the bottom of the bowl. It was small and profoundly unimpressive; if we'd been picking football teams after school, this stool would have been left to the end along with the fat kid and the geek with spectacles.

I'd only intended to wash my hands, but I felt implicated. If I leave now, I thought, Mrs Dooley will consider me guilty (and rather constipated).

So, although it really wasn't my business, I pulled the chain. The toilet flushed, there was the usual sound and fury of water whirlpooling around, but when it was all over, the little stool was still there, squatting like a toad.

Suddenly the whole affair became more serious; if embarrassment were cities, I'd be the rose-red city of Petra. I'd pulled the chain, which made me an active participant, and to my fevered imagination, the whole Dooley family was assembled just outside the door, listening with boggle-eyed fascination, and wondering just what the doctor was going to do next, maybe calling the neighbours in to enjoy the entertainment. I tried again in desperation, but the stool remained, small but indomitable.

I looked around in a panic; the window was too small, no escape route there. Eventually I dive-bombed the bowl with toilet paper, waited as long as I could, and tried one last massive flush. This was a half success, in that the toilet paper didn't flush either, but acted as camouflage and ultimately presented a slightly less offensive spectacle.

I opened the door and peeped out; to my relief, the coast was clear, and I bolted for the car, in one fluid motion.

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