It all started in a Korean apartment leasing office with my friend and his Korean girlfriend, who was translating stuff for me. "The manager says you can't flush toilet paper down toilet because plumbing is not good," his girlfriend relayed to me. "Yeah, that's not going to happen," I said.

Angry toiletWell, six months later and my worst fears materialized in the form of toilet fecal regurgitation. And while I enjoy poop jokes, I hate poop. Absolutely hate it. I hate it so much that the thought of anal sex makes me want to barf no matter how many of my friends and Internet porn tell me how awesome it is. No thanks.

You see, in my basement apartment in Korea there's this grinder/blender thing in my toilet. Whenever I flush, even if it's just pee, this grinder grinds and makes a ton of noise like a wood chipper. Sometimes when I shower it even makes that noise. Or if I look at the toilet funny. Every so often, the grinder doesn't grind, and I'm faced with oodles and oodles of poo-water flooding my bathroom. Understandably so, that's not my favorite thing in the world.

My old swim team captain pissed on all incoming freshmen as a hazing ritual. Not my favorite college memory, but still better than wading in crap. Usually, some Drano, some plunging, and a whole hell of a lot of time fixes this, but not this time. It had been a week since I was able to use my toilet. It flooded and backed up without me even flushing it. All night. All day. Grrr-rrr-rrr-rrrr-sploosh-splooosh-splooooooosh. Yuck yuck yuck.

Since I couldn't use the toilet at all, I picked up a bottle of Drano. Then another. And then another. I bleached my floor once or twice a day. I broke open some air fresheners to try and kill the smell, but pretty soon my entire apartment smelled like the worst bus stop restroom in the world. I even bought incense to see if that could freshen my place up. Nope.

I started peeing in my shower drain. Luckily, my poop-phobia doesn't relate to pee. Hell, allegedly my old swim team captain pissed on all the incoming freshmen as some sort of hazing ritual. Not my favorite college memory, but still better than wading in crap.

When I needed to drop a deuce, I'd run to the nearest coffee shop, buy the cheapest thing, and then rush to grab the bathroom key. Or I'd crap at friends' places. Or in the gym. I needed to arrange my eating schedule so I'd only take a duker at my university office bathroom, which is always clean and shining. Dumping at my kindergarten wasn't an option because boys and girls, teachers and students share the same Johns. And there are three kindergarten teachers I'd really like to make adult time with, so I held my bowels a lot. That's really hard to do while yelling at kids.

One time, I nearly browned my pants trying to get to the gym before the deed needed to be done.

As a result, I begged a Korean friend to call a plumber. She forgot. I asked my wrestling teacher, but he was pretty busy teaching dudes how to break each other's arms. So I asked another gal pal. She needed to call the real estate agent, then the landlord, then a plumber, and then me to find out my address. I'm American! I don't know that! (Korean addresses are a lot longer and harder to understand than ours are.)

In preparation for the plumber, I spent a good amount of time cleaning the rest of my apartment. I don't know why; I'm pretty sure the guy who pulls turds out of random places doesn't really care whether I wash the dishes or dust my window sills or not.

The plumber said he'd come Wednesday, but didn't. Thursday was a holiday. Friday he said he'd be there at 7pm. He didn't come. Saturday he said 7pm, but there was a plumbing emergency (like my usually pristine bathroom floors covered in sewage wasn't) so he canceled again. He called three hours after my appointment, but I was already out drinking heavily to deal with the pain. So he made an appointment at 9:30am, but I figured he either wouldn't come or wouldn't mind if I was blindly hungover. I didn't care, I just wanted this thing to be fixed.

The usually absent plumber showed up earlier than expected and apologized many times. He grabbed his toolbox, the snake-thingy, and some protective gloves. He braved the shit-smell and took a look at my toilet, then flushed. He ran outside and called my friend, talked to her, and then handed the phone to me.

"He can't fix your toilet today. It's a huuuuuuge problem and he needs to talk to the building owner. If they find out it's your fault, they might charge you. A lot. It may be about $1,000. You don't flush the toilet paper down the toilet, do you?"

Now, come on. In the beautifully backwards country of America, we flush our feces AND our paper down a magical basin and never have to worry about it. I lied about it, but said, "This toilet has never worked well, now it never works." I really really really didn't want to spend a grand of my hard-earned money to my apartment owner to fix something I didn't really break. I worried and worried.

Then I received a beautiful text message: "They fixed it and found big cloth inside…"

So they fixed it… does that mean I don't owe $1,000 for using the bathroom the same way I've used it since potty training? My friend shot me another text. "It will cost about 10??," which is about $100. Did my friend forget a zero, or was my epic disgusting toilet problem only going to cost me a day's worth of work?

"First the landowner paid for it, but the plumber said it was your fault, so they are going to charge you about $100." What a fucking asshat of a plumber. First he cancels on me three times, then charges me $30 for jack shit and then blames me for something I didn't do. Maybe the landowner blew him or something.

Then I came home and found this little gem sitting in a very visible section of my bathroom:

Poop cloth in toilet

I'm certain I didn't flush whatever the hell that thing was down the toilet, but, what's $100? I'm a millionaire (in Korean money) so I can afford it. And hopefully, my home won't smell like Santorum any more.

Postscript: It turns out my landlord speaks perfect English. For whatever reason, I guess he just wanted to torture me. Also, the plumber and the landlord informed me I need to throw my TP in the trash. Not flush it. I don't have a joke about this. I just think it's shitty.