Zero Gravity Toilet Instructions

This has been circulating around for a while, but it was new to me so perhaps it'll be new to others as well.

In one scene during 2001: A Space Odyssey, the character of Dr. Heywood Floyd uses a "zero gravity toilet" while he's on the space station. He's shown briefly examining the lengthy list of instructions on the wall next to the toilet.

Stanley Kubrick was so obsessive over details that, instead of using gobbledygook, placeholder text for the sign, he actually had someone create a list of toilet instructions. Film buffs have extracted this text, and it's available for purchase as a poster (perhaps to hang in your bathroom) or printed on a t-shirt. (I won't link to any specific retailers, but they're easy enough to find using Google).

Far Out magazine suggests the zero-gravity toilet instructions may have deeper meaning within the broader context of the film:

Perhaps, thus the ‘zero-gravity’ toilet instruction is the only intentional joke in the film. In a scene aboard the space station, Floyd is seen peering at a detailed and convoluted instruction manual on the use of the zero-gravity toilet. Kubrick’s disdain of instructions for the understanding of the film highlights the irony of a page long instructions from the zero-gravity toilets. In an interview, Kubrick’s explained the zero-gravity toilet was the only intentional joke in the film. That evolution and technological advancement would lead to convoluting of tending to basic human needs is well worth a snigger. Despite its ambiguity, Kubrick doesn’t “want to spell out a verbal roadmap for 2001”. Kubrick’s film doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but the zero-gravity toilet does.
     Posted By: Alex - Fri Aug 13, 2021
     Category: Bathrooms | Movies | Space Travel

The scene came to mind when I was in the Air and Space Museum, looking at a zero-G toilet, which I think was an early version for the ISS. It's also possible I was at home, dreaming, and was an astronaut in "2001". That happens from time to time.

I'm wanting this poster for my bathroom. Maybe alongside another one that says "Thank God for Gravity".

I guess it's not as intentional as the zero-G toilet, but it seems like there is another joke in the movie when HAL sings "Daisy, Daisy" while Dave Bowman is disconnecting his upper brain functions.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 08/13/21 at 10:43 AM
Those are the first steps into madness - not being able to determine how the toilet works and singing the first song taught to you as a child.

Have you ever seen the "bombsight" toilet that used to be prevalent in foreign places? Those were an awful lot of fun. (Bring your own wiping material!)
Posted by KDP on 08/13/21 at 11:06 AM
The song "Daisy Bell" was the first song "sung" by an IBM mainframe computer. I'm not sure if it was meant as a joke to include it in the film, perhaps more of an homage. Although Kubrick did have a wicked sense of humor, this movie is, for all intents and purposes, nearly humorless. (I still count it as one of my 2 favorite movies. The other is another Kubrick movie, the initially underrated "Barry Lyndon".)
Posted by Brewvet on 08/19/21 at 12:33 AM
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