Plumbing and its Importance to Our Lives

I have recently become aware of, just, how important, plumbing is to our lives. Functioning plumbing is vital to the ongoing illusion of a perfect world. Where would we all be without the flushing loo? How could we gaze contentedly at our own reflections in the bathroom mirror if our wastes did not flush away? Yes thank the Romans I all hear you say, for flushing toilets from the first century AD onwards, until the dark ages of Christianity began to pull us back into poor sanitary practices after about the fifth century AD. The relationship of the Romans to good plumbing was like that of the Americans to the fast food industry today, except for the fact that good plumbing was beneficial to your health.

Plumbing, I must admit, is not something I would think about philosophically and it shows a superficiality in my character. The fact that I missed its importance to our lives, despite the very tangible reality it exhibits in my bathroom, conveys a blind spot in my cultural perception of human existence. Who else can put their hand up and confess their own intellectual neglect of plumbing? We sit on the toilet seat, more than daily I would imagine, unless constipated, and yet how often do we consider the wonders of working plumbing?

I would wager, how Australian of me, that the only time most of us think about plumbing is when its broken. When our toilets won’t flush or the hot water is stone cold; when sinks won’t empty or the nasty septic tank stinks; and only then do we consider the incredible engineering feats of fabulous plumbing. The Romans knew about the importance of good plumbing. Did you know that the Romans used to wipe their bottoms with sea sponges soaked in vinegar? God help those legionaries with haemorrhoids. Plumbing is the silent glue which keeps our wellbeing together, without it, scary smells and sights abound.

I must confess that my conversion to an awareness and appreciation of good plumbing did not come about spontaneously. It was not a Samadhi like experience about the divinity of plumbing. Far more prosaically but none the less rewarding, I found my enlightenment through work, as a copywriter producing online content about plumbing. Who says work is intellectually unrewarding? The more I thought about plumbers and plumbing, the greater my appreciation of the vital part they play in our modern civilisation.

Sometimes, your plumber inhabits a dank and dark subterranean realm. Occasionally, your plumber must confront things, we as amateurs, would rather leave alone. But without him, or her, although I have never met a female plumber personally, where would your plumbing be – up the shit, categorically, speaking. So, the next time that you bemoan the cost of calling out a plumber, remember, just try and remember, what plumbing, working plumbing means to our cultural development and peace of mind. Quite simply thank God for plumbing.

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