Who knew that Thomas Crapper’s eponymous invention could turn on mankind? But one of them, in New York, turned on a meek and mild IT guy who now has a phobia about flushing — at least, according to his attorney
Saul Goodman Sanford Rubenstein, who’s helping him cash in \ \ \ cope with the trauma \ \ \ sue for damages:
[The] toilet exploded in his face after he pulled the handle to test the water pressure in his Brooklyn apartment.
Michel Pierre sustained shrapnel wounds from flying shards of porcelain that pierced his face, arms and legs, and required 30 stitches, his lawyer told AFP.
The 58-year-old information technology specialist is now so fearful that he uses a rope to flush the toilet from behind the bathroom door at a safe distance.
“Those fears are part of his damages,” said his lawyer Sanford Rubenstein. “Clearly toilets are supposed to flush, not explode.”
Turns out Pierre’s was one of four commodes that went grenade that day in that building:
The water had been turned off that day to allow for maintenance work in the 16-story building, which was built in 1964 and contains 275 apartments.
Theresa Racht, a lawyer for the co-op board, told AFP that it appeared to have been a freak accident.
“This is a horrific incident. Everybody feels terrible that such a thing could have happened,” she said.
“It certainly makes me think twice about flushing the toilet when the water’s been turned off.”
She said four toilets in the building exploded but that no particular evidence of wrongdoing had yet been found.
“It has never happened before and certainly nothing has happened since,” she said.
“The only conclusion anybody has reached — and they’re still investigating — is that there was a buildup of air pressure in the pipes so that when it came back on, the pressure was just pushed through the pipe and caused the explosion.”
The story, as reported by Yahoo News, makes little sense. Yahoo credits but does not link the New York Daily News. But the Daily News has proof, including photos of the wreckage of the “terlet” (as Archie Bunker would have called it) and what it calls Pierre’s “sharpnel” wound on the face, which took 30 stitches to close and left him with a nasty zipper on his face. (It’s ok, Pierre: chicks dig scars).
Meanwhile, as the News documents, poor Pierre has had to resort to a lanyard to process the waste in his WC. He may never again flush with confidence. (Remarkably, he doesn’t appear to have considered a return to Haiti, which would solve his indoor-plumbing phobia for good. Consider, too, the terrible risks the News photographer took to get this picture. Where would we be without the selfless courage of the news media?
It turns out that exploding toilets are something of a recurring focus at the New York Daily News, as a google search attests. Indeed, where would we be without the media to tell us what’s important?