Rummy Cake

The state of New Mexico is trying a new method to keep drunk drivers off the road – Shock Treatment.

The Land Of Enchantment recently paid $21 each for 500 talking urinal cakes and has placed them in men’s rooms in bars across the state.

Here’s how the apparatus works. When a man (or a really confused woman) steps up to the urinal, a motion-sensitive device says in a flirty female voice, “Hey, big guy. Having a few drinks? Think you’ve had too many? Then it’s time to call a cab.”

Unfortunately for New Mexico janitors, the reaction of most men will be to turn and see whether the voice is coming from a blonde, brunette or Barney Frank.

Imagine the pie-eyed conversations in these restrooms.

Urinal: “Think you’ve had too many?”

Patron: “Heck, yeah, the urinal cake is talking to me!”

Urinal: “Think it’s time to call a cab?”

Patron: “Yes, how do I get the operator on this thing?”

The real question is: How many guys will be so drunk they’ll try to buy the urinal cake a drink?

I suggest they scrap the “flirty female” voice from these contraptions. If you want to put the fear of God in these barflies, have Clint Eastwood say, “Thinking about driving home in that condition? Go ahead, make my day, punk!”

A talking urinal cake will be enough to shock most men into sobriety, if not a coronary. It’s normally like a cloistered monastery in men’s restrooms. No matter how crowded, you can usually hear a kidney stone ricochet off the porcelain. Small tykes might get away with foolish bathroom chatter in kindergarten, but they’re quickly schooled in the “No Talking” rule by the older and wiser boys (second-graders). A guy is in and out of a public restroom like a mute burglar who’s left his car running. You’d think Dr. Phil was in there lecturing on “How To Cuddle.” It takes us 20 seconds tops. Twenty-seven seconds for the three men in the world who wash their hands afterward. California’s budget is in worse shape than Haiti’s, so I doubt we can afford talking devices. We might manage cakes that change color from white to red as your alcohol level increases. For men, competition is paramount, so the chance to vie for drunkest Hombre would override the “no talking” rule. I can hear the conversation between two buddies at the urinal now.

“What color is yours?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“No, your urinal cake.”

“Oh, mine’s pinkish.”

“Ha! That’s what you get for drinking light beer.”

I wonder whether some saloons complained about having the cakes installed. I mean, this seems bad for business. Should See’s Candy restrooms be forced to have mechanisms that say, “I hope you’re packin’ insulin, Sugardaddy, because your glucose level is off the chart.” Should sushi restaurant urinals declare, “Holy Mackerel, your urine shows more heavy metal than Iron Maiden.” I doubt you’ll ever step away from a urinal at an Outback Steakhouse and hear Russell Crowe say, “G’Day, mate. Crikey, your cholesterol is three-twenty-six! You might bloody well think about ordering the bloomin’ salad.”

Unfortunately, I fear talking urinal cakes are going to catch on with retailers and will soon replace telemarketers as the biggest pimple on the buttocks of society. Leery of public restroom sales pitches, many adults will be fidgeting like 5-year-olds trying to hold it in. I can envision Lora and me at Sears.

Lora: “Jim, do you have to go?”

Jim: “No. I can wait till we get home.”

Lora: “Come on honey, you’re squirming like Attorney General Gonzales in front of a Senate investigation committee. Just use the public restroom.”

Jim: “No. Last time the talking urinal cake tried to sell me a George Foreman Grill and some bikini briefs.”

And, nightmare of nightmares – the political season is drawing nigh. You won’t be able to go into a restroom without hearing, “Don’t flush your vote down the toilet. Vote for Obama!” Or, “Wash your hands of liberals, vote for Rudy Giuliani.”

Call me more paranoid than Dick Cheney in a Turkish airport with an ounce of Maui-wowie in his pocket, but I fear the government will jump all over this like a pork barrel trampoline. Homeland Security will put urinal cakes in airport restrooms to check for traces of ammonium nitrates, babaganoosh falafels and pesto (everyone knows only anarchists enjoy pesto).

I say (and you can quote me on this), “Give me liberty and the old fashion deodorant urinal cakes, or give me death!”