We are going to ask you to close your eyes and picture your favorite hero. Who immediately springs to mind? It is probably Superman, Batman, Spiderman, or another fictional comic book character. These pillars of popular culture dominate our consciousness when we think about what it means to be “heroic.” But really, how many lives have these figments of our imagination saved? In total – zero. Zip. None. Nada. Next time someone asks you to picture your favorite super hero, one image should spring to mind. That of a true lifesaver. Imagine, in crystal clear clarity, a white, porcelain toilet. Yup, Plumbing, the real lifesaver, has saved million and millions of lives over the course of human history. Talk about heroic.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself… Huh?
Stay with us. It sounds shocking, but it’s true. Modern plumbing actively saves millions of lives each and every year. In fact, it is possible that no other scientific advancement in mankind’s history has had such an incredible impact.
Are you familiar with dysentery, cholera, typhoid fever, E. Coli, salmonellae, or the flux? These are devastating diseases which have wiped out entire populations, shattered communities, torn through developing nations, and crushed disaster stricken cities.
Symptoms of dysentery include: bloody diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, high temperature, extreme weight loss, and internal bleeding. If not properly treated, dysentery can result in death even today.
Symptoms of E. Coli include: severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, vomiting and severe dehydration. E. Coli infections can range from mild, to severe, to life-threatening
Symptoms of cholera include: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, severe dehydration, muscle cramps, and low blood sugar which can cause seizures and coma in children. If not properly treated, cholera can result in death.
You are probably seeing many similarities in the symptoms of these diseases. The similarities don’t end there. Each and every one of these diseases is transmitted through a rather unpleasant way, what doctors call the “fecal oral route.”
That’s right. People die because of poop. And not just a few people. Millions of people throughout human history.
Which brings us to how plumbing saves lives.
Picture in your mind 17th century London. Picture people emptying their overflowing chamber pots by dumping them unceremoniously out the window. Picture that filth pooling in the streets. Now picture people getting sick with dysentery, cholera, and a host of other diseases. Remember the symptoms, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea? When people get sick with these diseases they basically vomit and get diarrhea until they die. They produce all this waste that then gets tossed out the window and gets other person sick. The cycle continues. Until, that is, we develop indoor plumbing.
We don’t know exactly when the first flush happened, but what we do know is that it saved lives. With the development of reliable plumbing, we now had a way to dispose of human waste and manage sanitation. Finally, we could keep our communities and our cities clean.
Next time you see your plumber, you don’t have to thank him for saving your life, but maybe, just maybe, you should start thinking of him as a hero!
We try to stay modest here at Parker & Sons. Sure we do heroic(ish) work, but we do it because we care. We don’t need comic books written about us.
Next time your home plumbing system is on the fritz, next time your sink is clogged, your toilet is running, or your septic tank is backed up, call up Parker & Sons and we will have one of our highly trained, incredibly skilled plumbing professionals (heroes?) sent out to you at your conveniences.