Pimco’s Bill Gross Is a Hurried Pooper

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Photo: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bill Gross, the co-founder and chief investment officer of what is probably the world's most powerful investment company, has something to get off his chest. It's about poop. "I write this month to condemn the inventor of the seeing-eye toilet," he informed investors in the company's newsletter, Outlook, this month. "Yes, that's right, I'm talking toilets here. Doo-doo stuff."

He goes on:


"I know there must be more substantive and less objectionable topics to bring before you, but I have a sense that many of you join me in spirit, if not common experience, and so I devote this month's Outlook to another trivial snippet emphasizing our joint humanity and sense of loss due to the recent disappearance of the hand-flusher.

I don't know where it is located exactly but I do know there's an electronic eye in the plumbing of public toilets these days that can sense when you get up and get down (or is it get down and get up?) and are finally finished with your "business" if you get my drift. My doctor says a proctology exam is a necessary evil but cameras in toilets? Never having seen myself from this particular angle, it is particularly embarrassing to turn over the assignment to a camera and say, "Snap away—see anything that doesn't look right?" I figure if there's an eye there there could also be a little voice that says, "Have a seat," which of course I do, usually with much haste and a s sense that I'd better get on with it before I attract a crowd.

It's after the dirty deed is completed, however, that the real intrigue begins. Does it flush, or doesn't it? Only the computer chip knows for sure. Sometimes, though, after paperwork has been filed, pants pulled up, and an attempted getaway initiated—nothing happens. No flush. Well, what are you expected to do in these circumstances? You can't just leave it there, you know. Sometimes when the toilet's plugged and there's no plunger like in European bathrooms, you can get out of there quick with conscience intact, but only, of course, if there's no one else in the restroom who might testify against you in court for being a non-flusher. With electronic eye toilets, however, the conscience is never clear, and so you wave your hand in front of the camera, hoping to convince it by the breaking of light waves that someone really has used the toilet and somehow it just forgot, or maybe the deposit was so miniscule it didn't merit a flush. Hello in there! Having failed to trick it, however, the next step is to look for that little button in back that you supposedly push in an emergency, sort of like the "break in case of fire!" toilet equivalent. But think of all the billions of germs! At least with an old handle you could kick it with your shoe, hold up your arms like a doctor scrubbing for surgery and make an exit looking like you're auditioning for a part on E.R. Finally, I supposed you head for the door, listening all the while for the flush, the flush, the beautiful sound of the flush! I could have done it myself, you know, for a lot less hassle. Which is why I support a retreat to the old days (not the backyard outhouse) but a good-old fashioned hand-flusher. One push, and presto, you're good to go."

Outlook [Official site - PDF]