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March 10, 2010 2:24 PM   Subscribe

What If Everybody in Canada Flushed At Once? The water utility in Edmonton, EPCOR, published a graph of water consumption last week. By now you’ve probably heard that up to 80% of Canadians were watching the Olympics gold medal hockey game between Canada and the USA. So, it stands to reason that they’d all go pee between periods. More from The Globe and Mail.
posted by netbros (56 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Linked in a thread yesterday. Still, as an Edmontonian who watched the game, I'm happy to have this FPP.

To tell the truth, I slipped out for a smoke after the third, and missed the opening minute and a half of OT (my excuse is that my 9 year-old was threatening rebellion at being denied some WII time).
posted by No Robots at 2:31 PM on March 10, 2010


What If Everybody in Canada Flushed At Once?

fortunately, it all wouldn't melt at once, so we needn't worry
posted by pyramid termite at 2:39 PM on March 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Uncle Cecil weighs in.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:42 PM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of the old stories about New York's water system breaking at the end of the MASH finale. Alas, not so much.

Yes, I know this article doesn't claim anything of the sort. Just jogged my brain a bit.
posted by lholladay at 2:43 PM on March 10, 2010


What a great chart to read!

Uncle Cecil weighs in.
Reminds me of the old stories about New York's water system breaking at the end of the MASH finale. Alas, not so much.


I think the crucial difference here is that this chart is showing water demand, not rates of water/sewage disposal. Of course water demand will shoot up at key times during the day. But that's not going to make the sewage system go kaboom.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:49 PM on March 10, 2010


thats a lot of poo...
posted by Confess, Fletch at 2:52 PM on March 10, 2010


I think it was actually a lot of beer...
posted by never used baby shoes at 2:54 PM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've been doing some work in Canada in recent years, and the most singular cultural attribute I've noted is the total, deep, serious commitment to hockey at every every level of society and among all genders and their variations. With all due respect for a great nation: You people are completely out of your minds.
posted by Faze at 2:56 PM on March 10, 2010 [15 favorites]


Could you keep it down, Faze? The playoff race is heating p.
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:02 PM on March 10, 2010


I'm 99% sure this was an episode of Pinky and the Brain and even put some effort into finding it. This means there's an actual super-intelligent mouse rigging the Olympics out there somewhere.
posted by amethysts at 3:06 PM on March 10, 2010


...I've noted is the total, deep, serious commitment to hockey at every every level of societysobriety and among all genders and their variations.
posted by MysteriousMan at 3:08 PM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The olympic gold medal match was the first hockey game I'd sort of watched since the women's gold medal game at Torino in 2006. I think.

Might have been 2002 in Salt Lake, though. I don't remember.
posted by Decimask at 3:12 PM on March 10, 2010


This made me think of China's bizarre plot to knock Earth out of orbit (also addressed by Uncle Cecil, some 7 years earlier).
posted by filthy light thief at 3:16 PM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Linked from a comment in the Globe & Mail thread: Water pressure in Vancouver during the final. It's not the same thing as water consumption, but they're related: All else being equal, as consumption goes up, pressure drops.
posted by ardgedee at 3:20 PM on March 10, 2010


Time for a poop joke.
posted by yeti at 3:21 PM on March 10, 2010


why are people so entranced with flushing every little bit of pee (etc.!)? If a housefull were at my place watching something on TV and drinking beer, I'd tell them not to flush each time, but I'd flush it after the event. (Doody is a more sensitive topic.)
And also: what about the sewage system? Can those every reach a certain limit if everyone in a huge city flushed at once? These are the things I think about.
posted by yazi at 3:22 PM on March 10, 2010


It doesn't matter who you are in Canada: you necessarily have some kind of close psycho-social connection to hockey. Some of my most vivid memories are of hockey: watching it on tv with my grandpa, walking home from a rink with a cousin when my toes were so frozen they felt like wood, sitting down in the gym with the whole school to watch a game of the '72 Canada-Soviet series, seeing Gretzky and the boys hanging out at Boston Pizza, watching my son score on a breakaway at a demo game at West Edmonton Mall.
posted by No Robots at 3:31 PM on March 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Curious thing is that, a few years ago, I was tasked with researching much the same story, which had been going around concerning Toronto's water supply during intermission at Leafs' games. The Toronto water supply people assured me they had no way of measuring that kind of thing with such precision, and that it was just an urban legend.

Now I'm wondering if things have changed, or whether Edmonton has fancy equipment Toronto doesn't, or whether I was just being misled in the first place.
posted by bicyclefish at 3:42 PM on March 10, 2010


Can those every reach a certain limit if everyone in a huge city flushed at once? These are the things I think about.

Here, let me freak you out even more.

The sewage system of most big, old North American cities -- your New Yorks, your Bostons -- are designed such that, in the event of a major breakdown, the sewage effluent is shunted directly into the storm drains, which are designed to provide greater short-term disposal capacity.

In other words, if the city's collective toilet backs up, the untreated shit goes happily right into the river, ocean, bay or lake.

In some very old places, the opposite occurs. A big enough storm will carry shit out of the sewage system and into the ocean.

And then you have a place like Los Angeles, which is built on a desert floodplain. The L.A. River sits quietly all year, the flood channels serving as a dumping ground for all manner of shit and garbage and needles and oils and automobile parts ... and when there's a big rain ... whoosh, a year's worth of garbage, right into the ocean!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:51 PM on March 10, 2010


Not all Canadians have a deep psychosocial connection to hockey. I spent my formative years in the far north - Yellowknife was the furthest south I'd lived until I turned 10 - and when it's that cold for that long, it's too cold to learn how to skate well enough to play hockey with any degree of skill. As a consequence, I can only name a few hockey greats and I don't go out of my way to watch hockey.

That said, I know as much about the game as anyone in the US midwest does about football - it's hard not to know, if you have more than a passing interest in the conversation around you.
posted by Fraxas at 3:53 PM on March 10, 2010


'NoMix' toilets.
posted by gman at 3:53 PM on March 10, 2010


So, it stands to reason that they’d all go pee between periods.

They might also change their pads.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:02 PM on March 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Some Canadiana:

you said you didn't give a fuck about hockey
and I never saw someone say that before
you held my hand and we walked home the long way
you were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr
posted by TimTypeZed at 4:06 PM on March 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


"why are people so entranced with flushing every little bit of pee (etc.!)? If a housefull were at my place watching something on TV and drinking beer, I'd tell them not to flush each time, but I'd flush it after the event. (Doody is a more sensitive topic.)"

While the writing implies it the spike in water use isn't just toilets. Hand washing, Kraft dinner making, Clothes washing, drink mixing, etc. all get put on hold and then surge when a period ends.
posted by Mitheral at 4:17 PM on March 10, 2010


If a housefull were at my place watching something on TV and drinking beer, I'd tell them not to flush each time, but I'd flush it after the event.

Women.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:40 PM on March 10, 2010


If it's yellow, let it mellow.

If it's brown, flush it down.

Why do I remember this?
posted by Splunge at 4:43 PM on March 10, 2010


TimTypeZed: "Some Canadiana:

you said you didn't give a fuck about hockey
and I never saw someone say that before
you held my hand and we walked home the long way
you were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr
"


How about this:

I hear your voice 'cross a frozen lake
a voice from the end of a leaf
saying, 'you won’t die of a thousand fakes
or be beaten by the sweetest of dekes'

~ The Lonely End of the Rink; The Tragically Hip
posted by bwg at 4:59 PM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Splunge: Why do I remember this?

Because it was David Suzuki's will that you should?
posted by bicyclefish at 5:01 PM on March 10, 2010


or be beaten by the sweetest of dekes

While we're on the subject . . .

Does any other sport use the verb "to deke" to refer to the act of dexterously steering around someone (thus rendering them either with their short pants around their ankles or with their sexual organ in their hands, depending on which idiom you prefer)?

'Cause if not, it strikes me that we've got a bit of unrecognized linguistic Canadiana on our hands here that's on a par with tuque and poutine.
posted by gompa at 5:10 PM on March 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


That would have to be one epidemic of stomach flu...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 5:13 PM on March 10, 2010


There was a CBS TV series in 1956-57 called The West Point Story. It was not great, but one memorable episode had cadets in the Engineering School telling the administration that the water-supply system was structurally weak. They were brushed off, and decided to prove their contention. They arranged for a cadet to man every sink, shower, toilet, and urinal in the common bathrooms, and operate them so that they all shut off simultaneously. This supposedly created a pressure spike that blew joints apart, creating geysers all over the place. Some of the stories in the series were supposedly based on actual events, but I don't know if that was one.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:26 PM on March 10, 2010


gompa: "or be beaten by the sweetest of dekes

While we're on the subject . . .

Does any other sport use the verb "to deke" to refer to the act of dexterously steering around someone ...
"

Not as far as I know.

Origin:
1955–60; Canadian English shortening of decoy
posted by bwg at 5:27 PM on March 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hey, come on, contextualize the lyrics a bit -- they're from one of my favorite Tragically Hip songs, and the bit you cut out is important:

If there's a goal that everyone remembers,
it was back in ol' 72
we all squeezed the stick and we all pulled the trigger
and all I remember is sitting beside you

you said you didn't give a fuck about hockey
and I never saw someone say that before
you held my hand and we walked home the long way
you were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:41 PM on March 10, 2010


And all I remember is havin' to pee real bad...
posted by anthill at 5:48 PM on March 10, 2010


It's a learned response to the hockey commentators' camera switching on: Don Cherry's suits are and always have been visually-administered combo diuretics and laxatives.
posted by CKmtl at 5:56 PM on March 10, 2010


Wow! I spent my formative years in (a suburb of) Edmonton, haven't spent much time in a real hockey town since. Can't complain, really. Anyway, in the decade-and-a-half since, I had totally, completely forgotten about the word deke.

So, hey, neat!
posted by Sys Rq at 6:26 PM on March 10, 2010


I did not watch this game, I'm in the 20%. I'm not particularly interested in hockey, in spite of being canadian, and I didn't want to see us lose to the americans. Too much pressure!

In spite of not watching, I did know about it the moment we won, because the grocery store I was in at the time went wild.
posted by Hildegarde at 6:36 PM on March 10, 2010


The deke is so fundamental to hockey that if it didn't exist you wouldn't have amazing one-on-one showdowns between a fast-moving forward on the breakaway and an aggressive goalie.
posted by bwg at 6:50 PM on March 10, 2010


I just got back from my eldest kids' playoff game in small Canadian town called Buttfuck. I also live in a town called Buttfuck. There is a smaller town down the road which is nothing more than a crossroads and a one-eyed dog and is also called Buttfuck and ALSO has a hockey arena and a curling club. Hockey is completely intrinsic to life in Canada in wintertime. My next door neighbor is an ex NHL player.

What people often don't understand about Canada is that NHL hockey is the least of it. Local hockey is much more important for most people I know, whether it's OHL or just your kids' peewee or atom league. Going to see an Junior A game (eg the Owen Sound Attack, my local team) is about TEN TIMES more exciting than seeing the Leafs play in the Air Canada Center and the hockey is thrillingly good. Plus sometimes my middle kid gets to play in between periods.

I'm English and hate sport, but I make an exception for Hockey. It totally rocks.
posted by unSane at 8:07 PM on March 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've always wanted to arrange a mass simultaneous flushing event across an entire university campus, just to see if it could be done.

Every university has too many bathrooms and not enough workspace (or parking). So it would be a protest flush.

Not really.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:27 PM on March 10, 2010


I've lived in here in Canada basically all my life, and - omgblasphemy! - hockey doesn't do a thing for me. It is undeniable and a huge cultural touchstone.
To that end I give you the obligatory links to both (youtube) versions of The Hockey Song. Stompin' Tom Connors, and the cover by NOMEANSNO's alter-egos The Hansen Brothers.
posted by Zack_Replica at 8:34 PM on March 10, 2010


It is difficult if not impossible for an outsider to understand or indeed for a Canadian to explain just how much of a cultural touchstone hockey is up here. The gold medal game was an incredible display of hockey, sure. But 80% of such a diverse population getting behind anything is amazing in itself, IMO. To get a glimpse of what hockey means in Canada, there are quite a few things you can look to. Here is one that I think says a lot:
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posted by Bartonius at 9:03 PM on March 10, 2010


Sorry. Here's the link: ">
posted by Bartonius at 9:04 PM on March 10, 2010


Embarrassed greenhorn finally sorts out the html ...
example.com
...I hope
posted by Bartonius at 9:24 PM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


So I was in Vancouver during the Hockey strike/lockout.

The TV's, man. They replayed fifteen year old games. It didn't work.
posted by effugas at 10:03 PM on March 10, 2010


I watched the latter half of the game, but I was rooting for the Americans and didn't really care either way.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:37 PM on March 10, 2010


Check out Gretzky's classic deke at 5.16 of the video.
posted by bwg at 10:51 PM on March 10, 2010


I am Canadian and saw the gold medal game. As for the hockey connection - well, I never played ice hockey (wearing skates kills my back), but I played it all the time on the street with a tennis ball... for hours on end,

TV has killed a lot of the entertainment value in NHL hockey. If you watch junior hockey, or some of the less commercialized international tournaments (especially in person) you'll see a lot of counter-attacking and play making that isn't apparent on television with its tight camera shots and television time-outs.

As for Olympic hype, I dislike flag-waving but I think international audiences need to understand how a lot of those players are familiar to Canadians... one of the better players on Team Canada was a childhood friend of my SO's family (he even made a grape pop stain on their rug).

Hockey is all about the grassroots... the NHL doesn't even have a Canadian presence between Toronto and Calgary.
posted by Deep Dish at 11:05 PM on March 10, 2010


(eg the Owen Sound Attack, my local team)

I'd just like to say that, for a moment, I thought unSane's town was called Owen and the team were the "Sound Attacks". The possibilities for mascots and themes were amazing. Then I realised my mistake.
posted by patricio at 4:11 AM on March 11, 2010


Limited love for hockey in my part of Scarborough. Was in the local Loblaws during the game - it was packed out.
posted by scruss at 4:53 AM on March 11, 2010


TV has killed a lot of the entertainment value in NHL hockey.

Xactly. The olympic hockey was so nice because it flowed, without the interminable ad breaks. Junior A hockey is so much more fun because the games don't take three hours and there's much more ebb and flow.
posted by unSane at 5:35 AM on March 11, 2010


TV has killed a lot of the entertainment value in NHL hockey.

TV hockey was great in pre-expansion days. Now, pro hockey has been thoroughly commodified. I don't think I could even name 10 pro players, nor would I care to. If we lost our NHL franchise, it might be a return to better days of long-term semi-pro local players. Well, I can dream, can't I?
posted by No Robots at 8:22 AM on March 11, 2010


Hockey is all about the grassroots... the NHL doesn't even have a Canadian presence between Toronto and Calgary

I'd like to note there is also no NHL presence between Montreal and Vancouver (if you keep going east). That is to say, Canada exists east of Quebec.

-defensive Maritimer
posted by hydrobatidae at 9:24 AM on March 11, 2010


A sewer metering company we work with fairly frequently, wrote a paper called Sewer Sociology (pdf link), that illustrates the daily patterns of sewer use for all sorts of different demographics.
posted by electroboy at 9:55 AM on March 11, 2010


What if everyone in Canada refused to get on a flight at once?

I've also seen people bring a laptop, projector and white screen to a restaurant during Stanley Cup playoffs. If the restaurants are mostly full of business dinners, no one seems to mind.
posted by jeather at 12:54 PM on March 11, 2010


FYI, here is the water graph for Ottawa
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 10:28 AM on March 17, 2010


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