FLINT - A little warning to my fellow man: If your travels take you to Wayne, Bay, Ottawa or Delta counties and nature calls, be advised that your urinal may talk to you.
The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, a division of the Michigan State Police, has distributed talking urinal cakes to hundreds of bars and restaurants in those counties.
Before I explain why, let me provide a brief explanation to the females in my audience who are probably asking themselves, "Wait ... urinal WHAT?"
Urinal cakes are little hockey pucks of deodorant that your finer eating and drinking establishments place into urinals. My nephew, Travis, who was three at the time, tried to wash his hands with one once. But that's another story.
In this story, the state of Michigan is attempting to prevent drinking and driving. For some reason not apparent to me, it figures that talking urinal cakes are a most excellent way to do that.
"Listen up," the urinal cake says to you after, um, sensing your presence. "That's right, I'm talking to you. Had a few drinks - maybe a few too many? Then do yourself and everyone else a favor: Call a sober friend or a cab. Oh, and don't forget to wash your hands."
To the end of that little soliloquy, they might want to add "... and the floor, and the wall, and maybe the shoes of the guy at the urinal next to you." Because if my urinal suddenly starts talking to me, I expect there'll be some cleanup on aisle six to take care of, if you know what I mean. Although maybe I'm just jumpy. In any case, I have several questions about and objections to this plan.
First, who's paying for this? That's a rhetorical question. I know the answer. The story I read said the cakes are paid for with federal traffic safety funds. That whoosh you hear is conservatives racing to their computers: "Dear Rush, in addition to turning the U.S. into a socialist regime, Obama is now frittering away our hard-earned tax dollars on ..."
In this case, I can hardly blame them.
Second, how in the world did the state choose the counties for the urinal cakes? Are those the counties with the highest rates of alcoholism and drunk driving? If so, then I guess they deserve them. If not, then as someone who was raised in Delta County, which is in the Upper Peninsula, I object. Yooper guys don't need this. They know their limits better than anybody. They're incredibly responsible drinkers. They also don't need a bathroom fixture nagging them. They get enough of that at home - have you ever met a Yooper wife? (Kidding! I'm just kidding!)
Third, how about a little fairness? Women drink, too, you know. Shouldn't women's restrooms have talking toilets? It'll never happen because women wouldn't put up with it, but if it does, I'd like to suggest a message that begins with "Hey, who turned out the lights?" Ahahaha.
Lastly, do they make these things for home use? I have two teenage sons who could use a stern talking to by the toilet in their bathroom.
I'm thinking something along the lines of, "Hey, dummy, you missed again. Clean it up."
EDITOR'S NOTE - Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist for The Flint Journal, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. For more of his work, visit his blog at blog.mlive.com/flintjournal/aheller. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.