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magic toiletAnthropologists broadly define ‘magic’ as those practices designed to gain control over aspects of our lives over which we have no other means of control. Old-time anthropologist Branislaw Manislowski stated that magic “is to be expected and generally to be found whenever man comes to an unbridgeable gap, a hiatus in his knowledge or in his powers of practical control, and yet has to continue in his pursuit.”

This seems like the very definition of the one place where we often find we must “continue in our pursuit” despite the presence of invisible, real, and threatening monsters: the public restroom. So what magic have we prepared to protect us in this place? One of our most cutting-edge technologies arose in the public restroom: interactive gesture. Where was the fist place you encountered a technological interface that responded to physical movement without direct touch? The bathroom.

For a while now, our public restrooms have been slowly populated with magical devices which allow us to pee, flush, and wash without ever touching anything. A magical wave of the hand, a gesture once only effective for evil magicians and Jedi Knights, can flush toilets, turn on sinks, and dispense towels; this is a veritable Disney Fantasia performance right here in the Texaco bathroom.

So next time you play with your Wii, whether it be tennis or hoola hooping, remember that this technology was brought to you by the war against those invisible monsters that lurk in public restrooms…

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