$85 plus shipping and handling from The Platform Company, 186 Westside Drive, Boone, N.C. 28607, phone: 828-297-7561, fax: 603-754-9644, Internet: www.naturesplatform.com
Suggested by Francesca and Allan Davies of Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Western Civilization has produced many bad things. Nuclear weapons. Pollution. Carrot Top. But for sheer devastation, none of these can compare with the damage that has been done by our commodes.
That is correct. If you, like millions of other Western individuals, are using the so-called ''modern'' style of toilet that a person sits directly on, then we have one word for you, and that word is: ''potential health problems.''
According to North Carolina inventor Jonathan Isbit, doing your bodily business in the sitting position could possibly cause appendicitis, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis, bladder incontinence, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and (it goes without saying) hemorrhoids. After reading Mr. Isbit's damning indictment, we found ourselves suspecting that Western-style toilets might also play a major role in global warming.
Is there a solution? You bet your internal organs there is! And, as luck would have it, Mr. Isbit is the man who invented it. Nature's Platform is a folding device that you set up around your toilet bowl. When nature calls (''HEY YOU!'') you simply climb up onto this platform and squat, as humanity did for millions of healthy years before we here in the West got on this crazy ''modern'' kick, with our fancy sit-down commodes and our indoor plumbing.
If you have ever attempted to use a restroom in Asia, you know that they use the squatting method over there. This is why you never heard them complain about having irritable bowel syndrome. Or maybe you did. It's hard to tell, because they speak Asian.
But the point is that you need to buy this item for yourself and everybody on your holiday gift list who has, or some day hopes to have, a digestive system. Imagine the excited reaction of the lucky person unwrapping this item (''I'm going to try it out right here in the living room!'').
To the best our knowledge, this is the only squatting commode platform that has been endorsed by Kenneth Yasny, Ph.D., author of (we swear) the book Put Hemorrhoids and Constipation Behind You. We are sure we speak for millions when we express the hope that this book will eventually be turned into a major motion picture starring Keanu Reeves.