Remember that Virginia Slims slogan from a couple of decades ago -- "You've come a long way baby?"

That thought hit me the other day when I heard that Microsoft is now building portable toilets with internet availability.

I suppose there are some folks who might take their laptops to the restroom with them, but we're talking about an outdoor toilet here -- a porto-jon.

Depending on where you might be at the time, I can see taking your laptop inside with you to keep someone from stealing it. Yet, I have a little depth of perception problem on the possibility that someone will turn it on and hook up to the worldwide web.

I try to imagine that some guy has logged into the chatroom and the person on the other end of the conversation says, "Hey, whatcha doin?"

He pauses for a second. "Uh ...... I'm just sitting here. I'm not doing anything yet."

Of course I know some stock market junkies who would plug in and log right into a market review. And lately, I suppose that setting would be rather poetic, given that our economy has been in the toilet.

I wonder what individual actually came up with this idea. I'm guessing he was participating in one of those "think tanks." Or maybe the was just thinking tanked. Then it could be that he was thinking "outside the box." No wait a minute ... this would constitute thinking inside the box. Wouldn't it? Sometimes I get so confused.

I went into a restroom once and there was a guy sitting in one of the stalls, talking on his cell phone. At least that's what it sounded like to me. Just like nature, I guess if someone calls, you must answer. Just remember to hang up before you flush, though. You certainly wouldn't want the person on the other end of the conversation to think you had just interjected such a critical personal opinion or a caustic editorial statement to the preceding comments.

In the venue of toilets, I figured cell phones would be about the epitome of advancement. I say that with the acute realization that few if any modern toilet paper dispensers have added more to the concept of utility and advantage than the old bucket bail nailed to the wall. I've never seen one of those that would jam.

But I suppose when Sears quit printing those big catalogs about 15 years ago, it was just a matter of time before some other medium would take its place.

I could be wrong on this one, but I don't think internet access in portable toilets is going to be a big hit. I don't expect this to send the NASDAQ listings back to where they were just a couple of years ago.

And personally, I think some things should be left alone. Fire trucks should be red, not lime green. Baseball should be played on grass, not artificial turf. And I think outhouses should stick as close as possible to the basics. And until now, they have.

Think about this. The only difference between a porto-jon and the outhouse of my childhood is that the porto-jon is moved around a lot, and so it's difficult for wasps to build nests in them. Also, they are better sealed, which means an oak snake won't cause you to leave in a big hurry.

But, I would think it would be much easier to tip over a porto-jon than an outhouse. Six of one, half a dozen of another, I guess.

And for the guy who called me the other day and suggested that I don't write enough about politics, I'm pretty sure that guy on the cell phone in the restroom stall was talking to his congressman.

Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. E-mail:

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