Sep. 12, 2011 at 3:44 PM ET
In this highly connected era in which we are "always on," rhetorically asking 1,232 of your closest friends, "How awesome would it be to have Alan Rickman-voiced GPS in your car?" now takes precedence over the ability to move our poo far, far away.
It takes precedent, at least, among the 3,000 adults asked what they couldn’t live without — ranking Facebook fifth and flushing toilets ninth. Sunshine, Internet connection, clean drinking water and refrigerators came in as No. 1 - 4, respectively, in a survey conducted by London’s Science Museum. The survey was held in conjunction with the exhibit, Water Wars: Fight the Food Crisis, the results of which no doubt proves some sort of point.
"Brits are obsessed by the weather, so it’s not surprising sunshine was rated as the top thing we couldn’t live without," exhibition manager Sarah Richardson told the Daily Mail. "But to say you can’t live without material things over drinking water is crazy."
Crazy and unsanitary.
We take for granted that once upon a time, people faced health and longevity issues caused by living with No. 2 in our general vicinity. When our poo stays close, bad things happen.
Envision the world in which these social media-mad Britons choose to live — posting on Facebook, "I totally just threw a bucket of poo out the window," announcing the same on Twitter with hashtag #gardyloo. (Twitter, BTW, came in at No. 50 in the survey, and Google, which you can now use to define "gardy loo," came in at No. 22.)
Look. You can’t just look at the base of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs — breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, excretion — and switch out the last to shoehorn Facebook in the budget. Well, you can, if you're a fan of sepsis. Food plus homeostasis doesn’t equal "Eleanor Roosevelt tagged a photo of you,l" you know.
Other than a select group of hippies who’ve already answered this question (humanure!), what exactly would we do with Facebook but no indoor plumbing? Load it into the car boot and drive it to the (appropriately-named) dump? Fertilize FarmVille ?
Most Americans have the good sense to fear our poo — unlike the UK, which has whole TV shows built around the loo — but sadly, we’d probably rank Facebook just as high, if not higher. People in the U.S. spent 53 million minutes on Facebook in May, according to Nielsen, far and above any other site on the whole wide Web.
If Facebook beats toilets, where does civilization draw the line? Are we willing to return to the pages of the Sears & Roebuck catalog and corn cobs, should we choose to give up toilet paper, too for Facebook?
If so, what other mod cons are we willing to sacrifice? I’d like to see a very long list of things we’d prefer to lose over Facebook. And then I want it made into a reality show. Which I would watch the hell out of.
Anyone who’s known life without indoor plumbing certainly wouldn't consider sacrificing that convenience for the privilege of sharing random lyrics from the Bachman-Turner Overdrive oeuvre — and not just because they don't get this new-fangled Interwebs and also, get off their lawn.
Despite what you’ve picked up from Jane Austin, chamber pots are not remotely charming IRL. In fact, we’re all terribly lucky "Pride and Prejudice" wasn’t filmed in Smell-O-Vision. "Oh Mr. Darcy! Why, you stink like unwashed bum!"
If you care to mock the results in full, here they are:
1. Sunshine 2. Internet connection 3. Clean drinking water 4. Fridge 5. Facebook 6. NHS 7. Cooker 8. Email 9. Flushing toilet 10.Mobile phone / smartphone 11. Tea and Coffee 12. Washing machine 13. Shower 14. Central heating 15. Painkillers 16. Fresh vegetables 17. Vacuum cleaner 18. Kettle 19. Sofa 20. Shoes 21. Fresh fruit 22. Google 23. Car 24. Hair straighteners 25. Public transport 26. Laptop 27. Chocolate 28. DVD Player 29. Wristwatch 30. Make-up 31. Flat screen TV 32. Wedding ring 33. Tumble dryer 34. Bottled water 35. Ebay 36. Bicycle 37. iPod 38. Air conditioning 39. Disposable nappies 40. Light bulbs 41. Spell-check 42. Sat Nav 43. Push-up bra 44. Nintendo Wii 45. iPad 46. Gym membership 47. Season ticket to your football club 48. Freezer 49. Xbox 50. Twitter.
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