As I kneed myself in the face yesterday whilst trying to sit down on a North American toilet, I came to a startling realisation about why North Americans know very little about the world. In the spirit of international relations I am going to share this with you so that now, rather than pointing at them and laughing, you can just weep a little to yourself about their plight. This is a tragic tale.

It’s quite simple really… North American toilets just aren’t made as a comfortable place to read. They are too low and it seems offputting and potentially perilous to be quite so physically close to all that water in the bowl.

In England people have traditionally retreated to the bog to sit and read and get away from the other people in the house. It’s sometimes the only privacy they ever get. People started to read on the toilet because we tended to use ripped up newspapers to wipe our frozen botties in outside loos. It gave us something to do whilst we were trying to shiver out a poo in the wind and rain and even though now our toilets tend to be inside and somebody invented Andrex1 the reading habit has carried on and no English toilet2 would be complete without a pile of toilet books. The upshot of this is that North Americans have never been exposed to books like “The Book of Heroic Failures” (volumes 1, 2 and 3), “The World’s top 20 Serial Killers”, “Not a Lot of People Know That” (by the esteemed Mr Caine) nor in fact, any Gyles Brandreth books at all.

You know… This is probably why Americans don’t have pub quizzes too. It’s all starting to make sense now.

1: Does anyone else still object to the slogan “240 sheets per roll”? It’s not true, at best you can get about 30. If you are a vegetarian, your mileage may vary.

2: Note, toilet, not bathroom, the toilet has the throne position here not the bath – And come to think of it, most American bathrooms don’t even have a bath, especially the ones in cafes – What sort of a rip off is that? Grrr!

3: Did you spot that I moved from they to we mid-posting? I can’t be bothered to correct it since it amused me.