Here’s What I Think: Toilet Seats


Phil Mullen

It was a gloomy Wednesday morning. I had just finished my first Statistics test, and I was not feeling good about it. The cramps in my stomach weren’t helping me out either. All I wanted was to go to the restroom and relaxingly use one of the stalls. I walk in, sit down, and immediately spring up… the seat was covered in urine. That one moment completely ruined my day; and I already had Statistics first thing in the morning, so that’s saying something. It was going to be a long day.

This is something that has always fascinated me: how such a small act can have such a large impact on someone. Whether positive or negative, a very minuscule part of one’s day can be the biggest part of another’s. Even a simple “what’s up?” in the hallways can alter someone from having an awful day to having the best day they’ve had in a while. Moreover, you never know what someone is going through, and taking a minute out of your day to say hello and ask how they are doing could change everything. Now, the struggle and problem with this is that you may never know if you made a difference in their lives. In fact, you probably didn’t; it probably meant almost nothing to them, but if you can touch one person’s life, whether it be the first person you say hi to or the 1,000th, it makes it all worth it.

Just imagine if everyone did the small things: everyone stacked an extra chair after lunch, everyone held the door open for the person behind them, everyone picked up trash on the ground and simply put it in a trash can, everyone said “please” and “thank you” to anyone of assistance to them… many people like the school janitors or parents that volunteer at lunch get taken for granted so frequently, everyone complimented a friend on something nice that they noticed, and lastly, everyone wiped down the toilet seat. The world and Chaminade would be a much brighter, happier place.

Now, I am not saying I do all of these things that I have listed. In fact, I probably don’t even do half of them consistently, but they are things that we all can work on. The amazing part about these little acts is that after you do it, you realize that it isn’t a trade-off where you must be impacted negatively in order to affect the other person positively; it actually affects everyone in a positive way, a chain reaction occurs, and many lives are touched just because you decided to do one simple thing.

Muhammed Ali said, “Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” It may be a bit extreme for the topic I am discussing, but it suffices and has much truth to it. Sure, Muhammed Ali said this in reference to all the intense and physically-draining workouts he had to do and all the ways he had to change his life in order to succeed and literally live the rest of his life as a boxing champion, but when broken down, the example of lifting the seat goes the same way. Lifting the seat before going to the restroom may take an extra few seconds, but the regret will not be there at the end of the day. Another example would be holding the door; it may use up 5 seconds of your time, but whether you are conscious of it or not, it will alter your mood for the better and inspire you to help out in more ways.

When all is said and done, everyone forgets what you did, what you said, and how much admiration you received—but they will not forget how you made them feel and the way you went about your life. In today’s world, there are so many distractions and different things attempting to grab everyone’s attention. It is so important to sit down, relax, and genuinely reflect on your life and what exactly you’re doing here. I hope that you, the person reading this, can realize how much of an impact you can have on other people’s lives; even by doing just the little things.