This morning I walked into the bathroom in the hallway in my parents house. I reached for the wall-mounted roll of toilet paper and the fixture exploded.
Well, not exploded. The axel the TP rolls upon popped out, and axel and roll landed together on the floor; thankfully, not in the toilet. As I reached to pick them up, a memory popped out from under the layers of years...
I was perhaps 12 years old, and still an early riser. I was also prone to frequent nosebleeds. One morning, as I rushed for toilet paper in order to stem a sudden stream of blood from my nose, I grabbed the roll in the bathroom, and -- like it did this morning -- it exploded. The roll of toilet paper fell to the floor. The axel itself exploded into two small hollow metal cylinders and a spring; the spring and one cylinder fell directly into the toilet.
I paused in shock until small red drops leaping from my face reminded me of my urgent errand. Picking up the toilet paper, I cleaned up myself and the floor and fashioned makeshift plugs. And then considered the axel.
Someone had used the toilet that morning -- probably me -- and forgotten to flush. The spring-and-cylinder that had fallen in lay attached at the bottom of the bowl, and I was reluctant to reach in and grab them. I was also reluctant to explain the situation to an adult authority, but no one was up yet, and perhaps I could solve the problem without it having to come to anyone's attention. I had seen someone do a neat trick where they cleaned a cloth diaper by hooking it on a coat hanger, dropping it in the bowl, and flushing, so I grabbed a coat hanger. This was not effective; I had not yet found the correct shape for a tool to retreive slippery cylindric objects from a toilet bowl.
Then a thought struck me: the spring-and-cylinder was longer than the exit aperture at the bottom of the bowl, and lying crosswise across it. I could flush, all the nasty stuff would drain, but they would stick, and I could reach through relatively clean toilet water and retrieve the prize, and no one would be the wiser.
I pushed the flush lever, watched the water level rise and realized as the water began to swirl and drain I had miscalculated. The swirling action rotated the desired items so that they no longer lay across the opening but would flow quite conveniently through end-first. Which, to my mild horror, they did.
I don't recall exactly how I hid the details of the event for another day and a half. Probably my parents didn't use the "kids bathroom" during that time, and neither my siblings nor I particularly cared if our TP was wall-mounted. But when the toilets began to back up, and my longsuffering parents began (figuratively) look to the heavens and ask "Why would the toilets back up?", I had to meekly offer a possible -- merely potential, you understand -- theory that included the whole account. They were forgiving, and did not even take the plumber's fee from my allowance (even after, if I don't imagine the event, he found the spring and cylinder). They may have even laughed.