Ah, freeborn; your youthful vision of some ecological reason for this insidious device is understandable, but quite wrong. Quite wrong, indeed.

First of all, you must understand the German people as a whole. Go into the Frankfurt airport, for instance. There you will see a Sex Shop which asks you to peruse the items on the shelf. You think you'll see Hustler or Penthouse? Wrong, my schnitzel sojourner.

You will see magazines, in full view of God and everyone, with pictures of people taking a crap on each other. Don't ask me why the Germans are so into this. It's a mystery. Perhaps guilt for the Holocaust has driven them to this level. Who knows. I can't even blame this one on Socialism, although you know I'd like to try, don't you?

OK, so I'm in Germany visiting a girl. She lives in an apartment with another girl, and after a long plane flight (with much liquor involved) and a good night's sleep, I awake with three things in mind. Coffee, cigarette, and a good shit. Coffee's fine, cigarette is good, and then I go to door number three.

After my relaxing few minutes on the throne, I go to flush and notice that my leavings are staring me in the face. "What the hell is up with this toilet?" I scream through the bathroom door to my friend.

"Well, as a nurse, I can tell you that it is often good to see what you have done."

"Hell, I know what I've done, OK? And I want it to be underwater, OK?"

Does the Sex Shop have anything to do with this? Was the girl/nurse right in saying it's a "health matter?" Either way, it has nothing to do with Mother Earth; believe me, freeborn.

It's deeper than that.