Our Crowning Achievement

“Except for sometimes, when it doesn’t go far away. Then it just goes into a big metal bucket under the front yard and a truck has to come by every once in awhile to take it far away. So what kinda mileage you get on that space car? That a V8? V6? Whatcha’ got there? A flesh vaporizin’ ray gun?”

It would mean a lot to me if you signed up for Patreon and supported me there. Comics is my full time job, but it currently just barely pays full time money. Every little bit helps.


With this comic, I had two ideas along the same theme and sketched them both out. My Patrons got to see my alternate take on this comic’s theme! Were you such a Patron, you would have bonus comics as well!

I try to remind myself often to be thankful for plumbing. Not just plumbing, but INDOOR plumbing. I don’t have to go down the street to poop, or stand in line or wade through a crocodile infested river or anything! All I have to do is go to the room in my house that we’ve decided is the one place it’s ok to poop (I don’t remember voting on this, but there seems to be a pretty clear consensus among my family members and even our occasional guests) and do whatever disgusting thing comes natural.

In the uncomfortably recent past, people had to endure all sorts of ordeals just to poop and then get away from it. Sometimes they couldn’t get away from it at all! Other times they would get away from theirs only to be immediately confronted with someone else’s! MANY someones else! In Victorian England, you’d toss the contents of your poop pot into the god damn street, and be all, “Well, at least I don’t have to deal with my own poops anymore,” just as some other Victorian knob tosses their poops right out in front of you! Now you’re dealing with STRANGE POOPS! This is the worst kind of poops to deal with. It’s bad enough when they’re familiar. It’s a whole different story when they previously belonged to your neighbors and other various Victorian randos.

Indoor plumbing is a miracle. A fragile, beautiful, FRAGILE miracle. I say “fragile” because I know how much infrastructure is involved in keeping the pipes zooming the dooks away from the places where our children and pets sleep. When society starts to crumble in… let’s call it an even 15 years, we (just like the Pope) will be shitting in the woods. Then nobody’s gonna want to go in the woods. “Those woods were pretty nice, before the fall of Mankind,” they’ll say as they tear their neighbors trachea out with their bare hands because they heard the neighbor was hoarding clean water. “Yep, real sham about those woods,” they’ll mutter, arms awash in throat blood.

Oh, did you not know we were going to be killing each other over water before the current slate of Marvel movies has been released? Well, we are. If you need more evidence than the fact that we fill our toilets with clean drinking water when a billion Indians don’t even have access to the stuff, then… I don’t know, you’re dumb I guess. “Yep, we used to poop in water. CLEAN water! Can you believe it?” you’ll regale the tales of old to the children. “The hubris! Can you believe the hub-NO, Jacob! With the thumbs! Use your thumbs to poke his eyes into his brain! If he can’t see, he can’t stop us from taking his water rations! THAT’s it! Now you’re gouging!” At least you’ll still be able to spend time with the kids.

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  1. Comic and alt-text always hilarious, blog post usually some mix of amusing and an interesting look at the man behind the curtain… this is something else entirely and all I can really say is you’ve created a thing of beauty.

    Thank you.

  2. Looks like one thing we’ve achieved is clothes. Lil’ grey dude there is starkers. Unless that’s an alien in a gimp suit.

  3. Try going to France, they take indoor pooping seriously. Most old houses (and by US standards I mean ooooooooooollllllddd) have very narrow pipes, so modern toilets have an attached macerator to *ahem* de-biggify the poop into a near-liquid form to allow easy passage to somewhere far away.

  4. It’s no wonder why everyone gets sick so easily these days. Back in the poop tossing days our immune systems had some muscle because they had actual jobs.
    Now, with all the “sanitary conditions” we’re forced to live with our immune systems have become couch potatoes.

    Those lazy bastards.

  5. We have to haul our water from a good well some distance away (think like 1hour round trip) and fill our cistern. We’s country folk, mind. Not a lot of infrastructure except what we’ve set up for ourselves (large septic tank, pumps out the effluent [that’s fancy talk for the liquid part of the pooptank contents] into the middle of our sheep pasture to soak in and water the trees/grass out there and then our sheep eat the trees/grass HAH). There’s a hard and fast rule about flushing the toilet here. It never happens for Number One.

  6. What do these aliens do to achieve their singular culture? They are always singular culture planet aliens and not aliens from different culture planets like us humans.

  7. Since the grey aliens have eliminated war, he won’t be expecting you to punch him in the nose and steal his spaceship. Do it now, while he’s distracted!

  8. Long, sorry:

    I have far too much experience with a lack of indoor plumbing. People have no idea how much of a bloody miracle it is to live in a place where you can just turn a tap and water comes out. In multiple places in your house! And you can drink it! And hey, turn this other tap and *hot* water comes out! Holy f*ck!

    I was lucky enough to grow up spending a week each summer at the lake with my Mum and brother, in a cabin that had electricity and drains, but no running water, and an outhouse. I say “lucky” because I was extremely lucky; I mean, hey, week at the lake, that’s amazing; my own kids have never gotten to do that; but also when you’re a kid, outhouses and getting a bucket of water from the tap down the way for the day is just fun. And it prepared me for living in our first house, which we got very cheaply because it didn’t have a well or septic.

    Not a big deal; it was a rural property and we got a grant to cover putting them in–except what happens when you go to drill the well and don’t get water? Well, one: You don’t get water; and two: you don’t get a flush toilet, either.

    We did what everyone told us to do and got the property witched, and drilled where the witch said. Knowing now what I wish I knew then, I wouldn’t have bothered, we were never going to hit water there (there are things you can look for at the surface* that will indicate a good water source below, within a reasonable depth); but we didn’t know and if the drillers knew (and I’m not sure they did–they told us one place was as good as another–and it isn’t) they didn’t tell us.

    We ended up drilling down four hundred and fifty feet, and our well got us half a gallon an hour. To put it in perspective, a good well is considered to be a minimum of three gallons a *minute*. We got twelve gallons a DAY.

    A short shower takes about fifteen gallons. A top-loading washer of the older vintage ours was takes about twenty-three gallons per load (we washed our clothes in town). Flush toilets were right out; we got a composting toilet which we had for several years, with the end result that I, as the person cleaning it out, can no longer smell composting poo, so I guess it’s not all bad. *eyeroll*

    We moved in in the spring of 2003 and got a decent well put in in the summer of 2005; it didn’t get hooked up until the end of the year. So for like two and a half years we lived on extreme water restrictions; hell, for the first six months we only had running water in the house if we topped up a container ourselves (with rainwater collected in Tupperware tubs under the eaves) and primed and turned on the ancient pump. Hell, for the first month and a half or so, we couldn’t even get water in the kitchen even then, due to a leak, and couldn’t run the heater, so I had to fill pots up in the bathtub and then heat them up on the stove.

    Eventually we put in a cistern with a low-flow toilet, once we got the good well hooked up (which got an estimated 43 gallons per minute, and you have NO idea what a miracle it is to be able to have a shower without worrying about running out of water! Or just having a bath whenever you feel like it! Or even TWO baths! My husband was working and I was unemployed at the time, so he got to have quick showers every other day, and I got to wash in the sink. Long hair, you know. Would have used up our daily allowance of water before I’d even conditioned it). And hey, we got a house on ten acres for $65k, so there’s that. I suppose it was worth the stress–now.

    *Look for alder where you think you want to drill. If there’s only pines, dig elsewhere. A horticulturalist friend taught us that. See, pines especially can just live off rainwater, but alder need actual water systems to grow, and their roots only go down 40-50 feet. That’s why they tend to grow in lines, rather than just overall groups: they are following underground water courses. And our second (much better) driller (Abercrombie, out of Williams Lake, BC, who was amazing), taught us to take samples from the well drilling tailings every ten feet. Well, I did with the first, terrible guys, and it was all the same, which means no layers. The water flows between the layers of rock, so you want to see changes in colour and texture. If it’s all the same (basalt all the way down, for example), then don’t waste your time (and money!! The driller gets paid by the foot, not the gallon); you aren’t going to get anything worthwhile.

    The last helpful thing I learned from the second witcher (who was also wrong): if you don’t get water within five feet of where the water witch told you it was going to be, then don’t bother going any further: they’re wrong. Wish I’d known that on the 450′ well: the witcher said it was at 85′. >< Well, I guess the real lesson there was don't bother with witchers.

    If you ever find yourself in the unenviable position of needing to drill a well, learn from my experience! And of your area doesn't have alder, talk to a local horticulturalist/tree doctor and find out what native species require actual water beneath the ground (willows, for example), not just rain water, to survive, and how deep their roots are. Because clean, running water is a miracle and everyone should have it.

    WAY TL;DR: running water and indoor toilets are fucking AMAZING.

    • Do you happen to have a blog or anything that goes even TLDR-er? I’m super interested in self-sufficient living and whatnot, and hope to one day need to know this kind of thing… 🙂

      • Sadly, my blog is mostly costuming and kids. I did keep a detailed diary of the day our well was put in, but I haven’t transcribed it and put it online yet. A lot of alcohol was involved, though.

        A good place to start is Mother Earth News. They’ve been around forever and are really into living sustainably and off the grid, and have very informative articles. What I can tell you quickly is that solar panels are cheaper and take less maintenance, but need a certain level of sunshine to work (hours of daylight!= usable hours of sunshine, and in the winter you can go several days with not enough sun if you live half-way up Canadian provinces); but windmills, while taking slightly more maintenance (no moving parts in solar panels), put out significantly more power. If you have to choose one, go with a small windmill; you will get a lot more bang for your buck.

        Also if you are looking at building, check out books from say a hundred years or so ago on house design; they make use of a lot more passive heating, cooling, and lighting than houses today.

        I have far too much experience being more off-the-grid than I’d like, and most of it is involuntary, heh. But I do have some; I’m just too inherently lazy to do very much with it. Plus now we’re military and in base housing, which limits what we can do.

        Oh! Ground heat exchangers (or geothermal heating, more or less the same thing, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground-coupled_heat_exchanger) is really cool. We’re looking at putting one down our lovely dry well to get some use out of the $20,000 (mostly) dry hole in the ground. Makes a huge difference, and relatively cheap to install!

        Good luck with it all! 😀

  9. 1. My friends and loved ones are frequently reminded (by me) how lucky we are to live in that thin, recent sliver of human history in which our poop is magically carried away by the press of a lever (or press of a button, if you’re fancy.) Glad I’m not the only one who appreciates this.

    2. I often think about what we could show the aliens at inter-species show-and-tell. The answer turns out to be ice cream. Every time.

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