Yesterday morning, I watched a plumber remove a toilet from a 130-year-old house. The toilet worked fine- well, it did work fine- but it had one small problem.
This is a toilet inside an apartment inside a house that my father owns. Until last week, a family with young children rented that apartment. They texted me a few weeks ago to let me know their toilet wasn't working anymore. A plumber came in, and said there was something jammed inside it that he wouldn't be able to remove, and we would have to replace the entire toilet. I had a suspicion what might be jamming things up.
Sure enough, there it was: a child's toy. One of the tenants' children decided a good place for her little plastic purple toy would be down the toilet. Would it flush, she may have wondered? What would it look like while it spiraled down the hole of the endless abyss of a toilet bowl? Would it come back? It would not.
They say it's not the big tragedies like divorces, death, and natural disasters that break us, but often it's the leaky faucet; the ink-less pen; the spilled cup of coffee on the sofa.
And it's the small junky toy that brought down this $500 porcelain toilet.
As a human, maintain your spiritual well-being so when a bird poops on your head, you don't burn the world down.
As a writer, use the little things to demonstrate your character's state of mind by way of subtext. Sure, if your character falls down a man hole, they'll be sad. But also show us how your character feels when they run out of ketchup.
As a landlord, get a security deposit.